Priorities are things that are more important than other things, and need to be dealt with first. That is the definition as shown in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
As I think about priorities, I understand that they are different for everyone. Your perception of yours may be viewed differently than the way someone else may view them. Someone else may feel that one of your priorities is more important than another. Perception plays a big part in determining what is more important than something else. This comes into play when you work for someone else. They may want you to work on a task or project that you may not perceive as being a top priority. If you want to maintain a healthy work relationship, you will adjust your priorities to meet their perception.
Many factors come into play when determining priorities. Many of us use task lists to get things done. They work great, as long as you prioritize those tasks. But how do you determine what should be done first? Consider the questions below to help determine your priorities.
- Does one task need to be completed before another one can begin?
- Does weather factor into completing this task?
- Does time of day need to be considered?
- Do I have the time to complete this task before the due date?
- Can I do it myself, or do I need help?
- Do I have the skill set required?
- Can I afford to hire resources to complete this task?
- Do I have family or friends with the resources/skill set to complete this task?
- What is the sense of urgency for this task?
Many time management coaches will tell you that you need to work on only your priorities, not those for someone else. That’s sound advice if you have no one else depending on you, but it’s not realistic. Most of us do have others dependent on us for a myriad of things. Parents and other caregivers have tasks that must be prioritized before their own on a regular basis. That’s when the last bullet point above, ‘sense of urgency’ takes precedent over the other questions; when the task is for someone else.
Whether you are prioritizing tasks for you or someone else, keep in mind the definition above, Priorities are things that are more important than other things, and need to be dealt with first. This simple concept will help you get things done.