If you’re like me, you have many priorities in any given day. And many interruptions. And changes in direction. And no idea what to do first!
If you’re not too frazzled, you at least write a list, but MAN, IT’S LONG. And everything should already be done. So… maybe a game of solitaire? some FB? just a little TV to calm your nerves? Lack of clarity can create anxiety, and you could end up doing nothing useful at all. (If you’re like me.)
Selecting and committing has become one of the most important things I can do for myself. All creating – whether business, writing or dancing – is about making choices.
I’m going to share a tool I use (used this very morning) to get clearer on what to do now, and what can wait.
Try this Tool: 4 I’s
Write down your entire list of things that “need” doing. Put every little thing in your mind onto the paper. Once you’ve cleared your mind of the crap you’re trying to remember to do, you’ll already be better equipped to make choices. To illustrate this tool, I picked up a To-Do list of mine from a few years ago, 10 tasks – that all felt URGENT at the time.
- Client Calls: 2,3 and 4pm
- Write an email
- Line up Storytellers Summit speakers
- Review and update my autoresponders
- Marketing copy/graphic look for CREATIVE SELFIE
- Book reviews for Sex, Lies & Creativity
- Website outline
- Brand & positioning statement for Kim
- Travel Arrangements/Call Mom
What should I do first? (AAaaargh!!)
We’re going to use four criteria to figure out your priorities. Overall, we’re going to see:
- –Which ones are most Important to you?
- –Which ones are completely under your Influence?
- –Which ones will have a lot of Impact in your life if you do them?
- –Which ones need Immediate attention?
We’re going to look at each task and assess whether or not it earns an “I” for each of the 4 criteria above.
Make a little chart, with a column for each of the four I’s – Importance, Influence, Impact and Immediacy. If I’m doing this in my notebook, the four left columns fit in the margin, next to my to-do list.
Now let’s start assessing the tasks, one by one, and one “I” at a time.
Look at each task, and ask question #1 above, Is this task Important to me? For each task that is Important to you, give it an “I” in the Column for “Important.”
Continue with each question above. If the answer is yes, then give it its “I” in the appropriate column.
- Is this Important to me?
- Is this under my Influence? My job to do?
- Will this create Impact on my project/business/life?
- Is this task Immediate?
What’s my takeaway?
Anything with 4 eyes is an automatic priority. (Highlighted in the chart to the left.)
Of the remaining tasks, you can assess based on which has three I’s? or you can prioritize based on any one criteria.
If you’re just getting your project on its feet, you might focus on tasks that have Impact, and let other things slide. You could look at the Influence column, and see what you could get more help with. Could I hand off autoresponders to a VA. Would I get more help with my Graphic Look for CREATIVE SELFIE.
Breathe deeply and assess. And in the end, you’ll be more focused on the appropriate tasks, and find progress. Ahhhh… Some of your tasks might be important, some feel immediate. Some you hope will have impact and others might be something you’re required to do – you know, like for money. I can jump like flea from task to task and not get anything, actually done. Or so it feels.
Four I’s helps me decide what needs my attention, and as the day progresses, I continue to feel assured I’m doing the right things.
Does this help? If so, come to our FB group, Write Without the Fight and tell us all!