Effective Time Management for High Achievers, Part 5

Chapter 6: Prioritize

Congratulations on successfully integrating basic time
management for high achievers into your life. It is now
time to learn advanced techniques and skills that will
boost your time management efficiency even further.
This is the first stage of advanced time management.
You should be a master of the previous steps before
proceeding. If you are uncomfortable with any of the
prior steps, please practice those steps first until proceeding
with this chapter. It will not help your time
management effort to proceed with this chapter if
you are not a master of the basic time management
steps. You are not expected to have developed any
time management habits as yet; however if you are not
practicing the processes as described in this time management
program the remaining chapters of this guide
will not benefit you.

Prioritization is a tool used to help manage tasks within
your schedule. Correctly prioritizing work allows you
to efficiently handle the most important tasks for your
career and personal life. Effectively prioritizing tasks
will also eliminate many tasks that you simply do not
need to perform because they are not important to
your goals. A high achiever with excellent prioritization
skills will become a star performer for any organization
because their time is spent on the important issues,
not the routine busy work. Furthermore, those same
prioritization skills will simultaneously allow the high
achiever to create a fulfilling personal life.

Supplies Needed

• Organization’s mission statement, vision statement,
value statement, or other materials that clarify the
important drivers for the high achiever’s business
affairs

• Job description

• Personal mission statement, vision statement,
value statement, or other materials that clarify the

important drivers for the high achiever’s personal
affairs

Process for Business Affairs

1. Develop a reference tool for your organization’s priorities.
This list should be generated from the mission
statement, vision statement, value statement,
or any other materials used to clarify the important
drivers for the organization. If your organization
does not have these tools, set up a meeting with
your organization’s President/CEO to get the information
directly from top management. Do not get
the information from anyone other than the highest
level of top management accessible.

2. Cross-reference the list of your organization’s priorities
with your job description. Develop a new
list of primary job duties that are directly linked to
your organization’s priorities. The first item should
be the most important factor. This new list is how
you directly impact your organization’s future and
performance. If you excel at these items, you will
be a star performer. Develop a list of primary job
duties that you can refer to on a daily basis when
making decisions on which tasks are most important
to your performance and your organization’s
performance.

3. Cross-reference the list of primary job duties with
your personal mission statement, vision statement,
or value statement. These lists should match closely:
if not, it may be time to consider another career
path. High achievers can only truly excel if they
believe in what they are working for.

4. After you have a comprehensive list of priorities,
develop a refined list and publish it in a document
that you can display at your desk, and take with you
on business trips. Be creative and make something
you are proud to display. Business card sized priority
lists are terrific tools for the high achiever. Other
ideas include mouse pads, screen savers, posters,
desk pads, note pads, magnets, etc. The idea is to
keep your personalized set of priorities in front of
you at all times.

5. Use the list when you are scheduling tasks. Run
through the list from top to bottom. Schedule
those tasks that fit within priority #1 first, and then
continue through the list scheduling items appropriately
with their priority. This process will ensure

that the top priority items are never overlooked.

6. Tasks that do not correlate with any of the priority
items are probably unimportant. Make a decision
to delegate them or throw them away. It is not
worth your time to invest in any task that is not
related to your personalized priorities. If you feel
you must address the task, although it is not related
to your primary job duties, clarify with your supervisor
that the task should be your responsibility and
confirm the priority for the task to be completed. In
this way, you are effectively amending the task into
your priority list. Be sure to update your priority list
as things change.

This prioritization tool will feel strange at first, but will
quickly grow into a habit. Everyone around you will
notice an improvement in efficiency and performance.

Process for Personal Affairs

1. Develop a reference tool for your personal priorities.
This list should be generated from the mission
statement, vision statement, value statement, or
any other materials used to clarify the important
drivers for your personal affairs. If you do not have
these tools, set up a meeting with your family
and talk about what factors are most important in
family life. Clarify the expectations that each family
member has of one another. Decide, as a family,
how everyone will behave in order to achieve their
desires within the family. If your family is willing,
conduct a complete Life Planning Session that is
discussed in detail in another of my publications.

2. Develop a list of primary personal duties that are
directly linked to your family’s priorities. The first
item should be the most important factor. This list
is how you directly impact your family’s future and
happiness. Develop a list of primary family duties
that you can refer to on a daily basis when making
decisions on which tasks are most important to
your family.

3. After you have a comprehensive list of priorities,
develop a refined list and publish it in a document
that you can display at your desk, at home, and take
with you at all times. Be creative and make something
you are proud to display. Business card sized
priority lists are terrific tools for the high achiever.

The idea is to keep your personalized set of priorities
in front of you at all times.

4. Use the list when you are scheduling tasks. Run
through the list from top to bottom. Schedule
those tasks that fit within priority #1 first, and then
continue through the list scheduling items appropriately
with their priority. This process will ensure
that the top priority items are never overlooked.

5. Tasks that do not correlate with any of the priority
items are probably unimportant. Make a decision
to delegate them or throw them away. It is not
worth your time to invest in any task that is not related
to your personalized priorities. If you feel you
must address the task, although it is not related to
your primary family duties, clarify with your family
that the task should be your responsibility and
confirm the priority for the task to be completed. In
this way, you are effectively amending the task into
your priority list. Be sure to update your priority list
as things change.
This prioritization tool will feel strange at first, but
will quickly grow into a habit. Your family will notice
increased involvement from you and a more fulfilling
family life.
At times the high achiever can feel overwhelmed with
requests from business and/or personal obligations. It
is during these times that time management efforts
must be maintained at their most efficient. This can
be extremely difficult because periods of overwhelm
tend to create frantic thinking and difficulty in prioritizing.
However, there is a brief tool that will help the
high achiever prioritize tasks so they can be scheduled
appropriately. The tool is called The Prioritization Tree.
The Prioritization Tree is designed to minimize uncertainty
when multiple factors seemingly carry the same
importance. Clarity is achieved by eliminating multiple
factor decisions down to just one simple decision between
any two items on the factor list, no matter how
large the list.

Here is an example of a completed prioritization tree.
A blank prioritization tree is included.