Setting Priorities Right

Setting the right priorities is something important in private life as well as in a company. But often it is not so easy to focus on the right thing. The crucial question is: what is the right thing - and what is the wrong thing to focus on?

Even with students, it is important that they make the right decisions about what things to learn. For example, if you want to know everything, would like to explain the universe, and then learns a complete subject book by heart for an exam, you will forget a lot of things at the exam and the lecturers will make deductions because you quote a subject book instead of explaining things in your own words. However, if you have already set priorities when learning and limit yourself to the important content, learning will be easier for you and you will graduate better because you can derive a lot of what you are still missing from the knowledge you have learned and reconstruct it freely in your head, so to speak.

In any case, a decision should be in line with personal strategy and personal values. Doing something that goes against one's values actually makes no sense at all, because one would be doing the job more poorly than well. Doing something that goes against one's values, simply for the sake of doing the work, rarely leads to success and is ultimately counterproductive because it is paralyzing.

To set the right priorities I have developed a method that makes prioritizing tasks, desires or plans a breeze. Instead of just prioritizing a task with a letter A, B, C, or D, I take into account the expected success as well as the difficulty of completing a task when prioritizing.

This helps you see very quickly which tasks are really worth tackling. And which ones you'd rather save for later or just leave out altogether.

To do this, you create a prioritized list of tasks

To do this, I create a two-dimensional space on a sheet of paper (or on the screen) with two straight lines. One points to the horizontal, and one to the vertical. All pending tasks can now be arranged within this space.

In the lower left corner is the zero-sum game. This is where tasks are positioned that do nothing, and are quite difficult to accomplish. I mark these tasks with the number zero.

Whoever divides his tasks with the help of this graphic can prioritize much better:

Bottom right are tasks that are difficult, but would also get a lot done. These tasks get the "P" because they are Postponed.

In the upper level, things start to get more concrete and interesting. On the top left are positioned the tasks, which are an easy game, but do not bring so much. I mark such tasks with the letter "B"

On the top right then finally are tasks of type "A", which bring a lot, but are not very difficult or elaborate. These tasks should be done immediately, of course.

Tasks of type "B" (easy but do not bring much) can be done in between, if you do not feel like dealing with something in particular a little more intensively.

It is important to understand that type "A" and "B" tasks do not all have to be equally easy or completed quickly. Rather, what matters is the ratio of revenue to effort, taking into account current capabilities. If this ratio is large in favor of revenue, and the current situation makes it possible for one to take on this task, then it will be weighted and prioritized accordingly.

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About the Author , Founder and CEO of Langmeier Software GmbH
Urs Langmeier Urs Langmeier is founder and CEO of Langmeier Software GmbH and thus responsible for the strategic further development of Langmeier software solutions.

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