How To Get Better at Prioritizing Projects And Tasks

Jan 29, 2021

Sharon: Hello, this is Sharon Heller, and I’m here with Steven Kohnke from Denver Business Coach. Hello, Steven.

Steven: Morning Sharon, how are you?

Sharon: I’m good. Looking forward to hearing what our topic is today.

Steven: Yeah. As we’ve been discussing here, at Denver Business Coach we did some qualitative research, just kind of surveying and pulling people in the area, business owners and asking where they’re showing up, where they might be weak in their business. And out of all those questions, we’ve shaped some of these conversations around to try to help people overcome some of these challenges here.

Steven: And one of the big challenges that really popped up is, prioritization and really being able to figure out what are the right things to prioritize that will actually move you and your business along further instead of just being busy, and just getting things done. So I thought we’d have a conversation around what good prioritization and time management productivity looks like today.

Sharon: Great topic. And we all know how challenging that can be. Why do you think it’s so difficult for business owners to prioritize?

Steven: Yeah, that’s a big question and a great question too. I think part of it, is business owners are just in it, a lot, they’re doing the in the business and on the business stuff. And they think that’s the next best thing, should be done or the easiest thing should be done.

Steven: And they’re really trying to just accomplish things and tasks and to make those checkmarks, rather than really taking a step back and looking at the forest amongst the trees and saying, OK, in order for me to really fulfill this vision, in order for me to hit these goals that I have set for this year, 5 years, 10 years, whatever they’re looking at, this is what I need to do today.

Steven: And that’s what it ends up becoming, is really working backwards and saying, this is what I need to do first, second, third, in order to reach this end of year goal. I’ll use that as an example. Because there are going to be a bunch of milestones in there. And being able to do things in the right order is what’s actually going to get you there, instead of just saying, OK, this is what I need to do right now. And not taking that critical view of it.

Steven: So to answer that question, just being in it and not being able to move yourself enough and think about things that way critically, is where prioritization kind of gets jumbled up. People end up falling back on what’s easy and what’s now, instead of really understanding what’s going to progress closer towards that vision.

Sharon: Yeah, I can relate to that for sure. So is this a skill that can be developed and if so. How? How can we get better at prioritizing?

Steven: Yeah, yes. Prioritization is absolutely something that you can develop and get better at. Prioritization is a major, major player in productivity and time management, and understanding If you have 5 hours to do “on the business” tasks, creative process, system, whatever. Being able to figure out what you’re going to be doing in that hour chunk, for instance, “on the business” or 5 hours trying spread out through the week.

Steven: That’s what prioritization is, is being able to plan ahead and say, OK, in order to hit this end of year goal, this is what I need to be doing Tuesday of this week and Thursday of this week. And I need to be able to at least get this far on that particular topic.

Steven: The first step to being able to do it is, sit down and look at your schedule during the time management piece and understanding where the pieces fit together and what you can do. What I used to do with some clients and still do, is we have a running list of things that need to be done, and I will draw a line at six, and these six here are what we’re going to try to accomplish this week. Where can we fit these in? This is what is highest on the priority level to get closer to our towards our vision.

Steven: So really being able to break it down and not be looking at a list of one hundred different things that you need to do, and then being able to just take out number 80 on that list and say this is easy, I’m going to get this done, and it could be easy and you could get it done quickly. And sometimes that is the right choice.

Steven: But to be productive in the way that you need to be productive for small business owners is really understanding what’s first, second, and third and doing that right way, and avoid shiny object syndrome. That happens a lot, too. I fall victim to that all the time. This is really cool. Let’s do this. And you end up with a bunch of projects that are half done because you realize it’s not actually going to get any closer and you just wasted all that time.

Steven: So the decision making part of what is on the priority list is super important. I know we’ve talked about that in the past too. So break it down, make it easy, doable chunks, time management, block it out, and understanding what’s actually getting you closer towards your vision and your goals. That’s going to be probably the quickest and easiest way I could help someone get there without doing it.

Sharon: Great conversation today, Steven and I think it’s something that we’re all going to be working on till the end, it seems like. It’s not like a one and done area, unfortunately. Any closing words before we finish up today?

Steven: To have a conversation with one of our coaching here at Denver Business Coach, about prioritization. If you’re unsure what needs to come first, second and third, just go to our website reach out to us there is probably the easiest way to get ahold of us and we’re happy to have that conversation with you.

Sharon: Great. All right. Thank you. Wishing you a great afternoon.

Steven: Thank you, Sharon, talk to you soon.