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A smart way to set and organize your priorities

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Creating a smart set of priorities is crucial in any effective business planning process. Yet, determining them can be a complex task, fraught with potential errors—sometimes serious ones.
Here’s a simple, systematic approach to setting smart priorities:

The Old Way

Traditionally, priority setting involves asking, “What are our top or ‘A’ priorities?” This method, however, can lead to confusion and flawed decision-making, especially when numerous options are on the table.

A Better Approach

Is there a more straightforward and efficient way to tackle this? I believe so. Instead of starting at the top, begin by filtering out less important items:

Five Steps

Step 1: Make a list of all potential priorities.
Step 2: Review your list and identify items that can wait for the next month or so, marking them as ‘C’ priorities. These are tasks that can be postponed for up to 30 days. Some items might be important but are dependent on other events or preparations; these too can be classified as ‘C’ priorities.
Step 3: This is where we shift gears. Temporarily classify ALL remaining priorities as ‘B’. Here’s the key: do not allow any ‘A’ priorities yet. Bear with me—this unconventional approach will make sense soon. Before we proceed, let’s define ‘B’ priorities: these are tasks you should address when spare resources (time, money, materials, etc.) are available.
Step 4: Now, review the ‘B’ list. Identify items that feel like they could be ‘A’ priorities and elevate them to ‘B+’. Important note: resist the temptation to label anything as an ‘A’ priority just yet.
Step 5: Review your ‘B+’ priorities and select two or three to upgrade to ‘A’ status. It’s crucial to limit yourself to a maximum of three ‘A’ priorities to maintain focus. If you’ve struggled with task completion in the past, you might want to start with just one ‘A’ priority.

Managing Your Priorities

As you accomplish each ‘A’, revisit your ‘B+’ list to select a new top priority. This bottom-up filtration system simplifies identifying truly top priorities while minimizing confusion and mistakes.

The result is an agile, living priority list that keeps your business planning focused on what matters most right now. For more information, drop us a line and we’ll be glad to point you in the right direction

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