CAUSE FOR THE DAY – Friday – Mar 25, 2011
Priority – Status established in order of importance or urgency. First issue. Primary concern. Most important matter.
Let’s look at some articles on the subject of priorities.
All time management begins with planning. Use lists to set priorities, plan activities and measure progress. One approach is the 3-list method.
- List #1 – The weekly calendar.
- List #2 – The daily “Things to Do”.
- List #3 – Goals and other things.
Note that it is commonly recognized that 20% of your activities will account for 80 percent of your success (The Pareto Principle). Hence, if you have 100 tasks in your task list, probably about 20 of those will be the key ones to focus on. Hence, whatever prioritization method you use, you should ensure it helps you pinpoint these tasks.
Stephen Covey describes a high-level prioritization scheme in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. In this scheme, tasks are categorized by four quadrants:
- QI – Important and Urgent
- QII – Important but Not Urgent
- QIII – Not Important but Urgent
- QIV – Not Important and Not Urgent
Dr. Covey notes that highly effective people make time for the QII activities, and that doing so can reduce the time spent in other quadrants.
The ABC Method
It ranks tasks into three categories:
- A = vital
- B = important
- C = nice
Then it subdivides tasks in these categories into A1, A2, A3, …, B1, B2, … and so forth.
The Payoff versus Time Method
With this method, you weight each task by the payoff you expect from it versus the time it takes to do it. Tasks that have high payoff and that take little time are the ones you would do first. Correspondingly, tasks that have low payoff and that take a lot of time are ones you would do last or not at all.
When we don’t set priorities, we tend to follow the path of least resistance. (And following the path of least resistance, as the late, great Utah Phillips reminded us, is what makes the river crooked!) That is, we’ll pick and sort through the things we need to do and work on the easiest ones – leaving the more difficult and less fun tasks for a “later” that, in many cases, never comes – or, worse, comes just before the action needs to be finished, throwing us into a whirlwind of activity, stress, and regret.
AMERICA LIKES THINGS THAT ARE FUN AND EASY
In my opinion, America has grown lazy. All too often, we only want to do things that are fun, easy and painless.
- Why work on a project when we can watch TV?
- Why listen to educational audiobooks or take classes when we can play on the computer or watch American Idol?
- Why exercise when we can sit at home or go out to a restaurant and eat a HUGE, TASTY MEAL?
- Why save money for the future when we can enjoy spending it now?
- Why focus on our family, our work and our lives when we can focus on entertainers (Charlie Sheen, Lindsey Lohan, etc) or on sports (the football lockout, baseball, basketball)?
- Why do our politicians focus on short-term fixes instead of the long-term ones that are necessary?
It’s because America has grown fat, lazy and stupid. As Tony Robbins would say, we move toward pleasure and away from pain. Not all of America and not all Americans, but certainly way too many of them.
NO PAIN, NO GAIN
WE THE PEOPLE need to remember that pain is not always a bad thing. Think of exercise. Pain in the body is usually the body’s way of reminding us that it is getting stronger.
If WE THE PEOPLE continue to move only toward pleasure and away from pain, we will continue our long, steady slide downhill.
I know I don’t want that and I don’t think WE THE PEOPLE do either.
The Warrior Walker