How to Sort and Prioritize
By Nishoni Harvey
You’ve taken your macro-goals and broken them down into smaller goals. You’ve taken your smaller goals and broken those down into micro-goals. You’ve gone further yet and broken those down into even smaller bite-size pieces where you can.
You’ve taken your micro-goals and placed them on a To-Do List—or on several of them. You’ve ordered them by their due dates. Now, you know when each is due and have an idea of how much to do on each list and when.
Now you sort the goals on your To-Do Lists and organize them into priorities.
But didn’t we already do that?
No. You’re going to find that your To-Do List becomes a living entity, a fluid being. It’s forever changing with the day. Forget “the day!” Try “with the minute” at times! Things come up.
I have my word count set up for writing on “Author Toolbox Fully Loaded,” my current book. That’s one of the things on my To-Do List. My other objects are getting my website set up, writing up an Author Training once a week, writing an Author Study Course twice a week, making a video once a week, and posting to my social media. It also includes working with my current Author Polishing Authority Author and various other smaller things that go into starting a new business.
The fluidity of my schedule was put to the test two days ago when another client hired me for an additional ghostwriting job. On top of my other tasks, I am now writing my ninth book. I find that exciting! That was outside my scheduled To-Do List. How do I know what to do when?
Sorting Your Schedule
Sorting your schedule should be pretty straightforward. Sorting is mostly done for you already. You know what you need to do, when, and why thank to Becoming a Productive Writer in Three Easy Steps. Now, you only have your new tasks to consider.
Take your to-do items on your list for the day/days in question and two days after and list them out on a sheet of paper for easy viewing. What do you have to do over the next few days?
List the items for each project under their own headings. What must you do today? Maybe the deadline is coming up. Maybe there’s a deadline you won’t hit if you don’t stay on schedule. Perhaps today is the deadline. Whatever it is, if it’s a “must,” highlight it yellow.
What action steps, or teeny bite-size pieces of a micro-goal, do you have marked down that can be moved to another day? Highlight those in orange.
Is there something that is just hanging there, stuck on your To-Do List as something that needs to done eventually but has no real due date? Now would be an excellent time to set a date and time on your calendar to re-evaluate that to-do item. If you put your “re-evaluation date” on your To-Do List now that it’s on your mind, you won’t forget about it later.
NOTE: Don’t do the re-evaluating now. You already have too much to do. Remember, we’re trying to cut down your schedule for today, not add to it.
When you re-evaluate a to-do item, you’re measuring its importance and giving it a due date and micro-goals.
Prioritizing Your Schedule
Now that you’ve gotten everything highlighted, you’ve pretty much prioritized your schedule. All that’s left to do is to figure out where your new to-do items fall and in which order to do your other “yellow” items.
If you have enough time in the day, add your “orange” items to your To-Do List. You’ll have to figure out which of those hold the highest priority, too, as you most likely won’t have the available time-slots for adding all of the “orange” to-dos to your List as well.
Make the items that will only take 2-5 minutes a priority for the day. Getting these out of the way first will not only free up your schedule, but they’ll boost your self-esteem, add enthusiasm to your day, and add some pep to your step. Action items that will take 15 minutes or less will have a similar effect. Set these next.
Set the most pressing to-dos next. What is your new item? How pressing is that? Does it need to be done today? Tomorrow? That will most likely be the next priority for the day.
Do you have a deadline looming near? Set the action step for that item next.
Fill in the rest of your To-Do List with any other items you had remaining for the day in the order of importance.
Now that you’ve sorted and prioritized your schedule, it’s time to get to work! Good luck, and God speed!
Coming second only to God, mothering her four children and “wifing” are Nishoni’s true loves.
Writing pulls up close behind. Having written since she was just a little tyke, she has a file full of stories that she wrote as a first and second grader and beyond, which she hopes to turn into children's books.
As of today, she has authored one novella, one novel, and seven non-fiction books, written chapters in two other books, and published several articles, and blogs.