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Setting Your Priorities

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

Our daily lives consist of tasks we need to accomplish before getting some rest to prepare for another day. Within the 24-hour period we have per diem, we often struggle how to tick off every item on our to-do list. Some people are commendable at doing this efficiently, but some still grapple on how to survive a day methodically. Without a doubt, being organized is one of the traits that make someone a successful manager, entrepreneur, or person. People who have a well-thought-out strategy in getting things done often succeed in actually completing tasks by the end of the day.

Getting organized largely depends on our ability to set our priorities. For each working day, we need to understand what to do first, what to do right now, and what to do later. In setting priorities, I would suggest that we think of our daily activities in terms of how they fall into what is called the “4 Quadrants of Activities”.

In these quadrants are groups within the X and Y axes. The X-axis includes activities that could either be urgent or not urgent, whereas the Y-axis includes activities that could either be important or not important. Following the intersection of the two axes are four quadrants that define the importance and urgency of each of our activities.

In Quadrant 1 are activities that are both urgent and important, which mean those that need to get done right at this moment. Examples of Quadrant 1 activities are crises and emergencies that must not be put off, otherwise, could have serious repercussions. Quadrant 2 activities are urgent but not important. Oftentimes, these are just interruptions which we could ignore for the time being because there are more important things to complete. In Quadrant 3 are activities that are important but are not urgent, meaning they could be unimportant at this moment but they are important in the future. Activities in this quadrant may be postponed but should be done nevertheless because their impact could build up over time. Finally, Quadrant 4 activities are those that are not important and not urgent, which means that these things should come last in our priority list because they are just time wasters.

In studying these quadrants, we need to realize that those in Quadrant 1 leave us with no choice: we must do it and we must do it this instant. Activities in Quadrant 4 give us a choice: would we waste our time and do it? For Quadrant 2 activities, we ought to know how to delegate them for another schedule because they can be put off anyway. However, activities in Quadrant 3 are rather important because they determine our success and effectiveness as a person. Consider these activities as your main priorities in living your life. They are activities that can be categorized under planning and improvement: what are the things you must do, even though not at this moment, but in the future? You can also think of these activities as looking forward to realizing your goals.

Let me tell you all about setting priorities in line with the third quadrant.

Shaped by our personal world view, priorities drive our daily tasks. They guide our judgment of what to accomplish first and foremost. In my case, my Christian world view pushes me to set my day-to-day tasks in accordance with my 5 priorities which are as follows: (1) God, (2) spouse/parents, (3) nuclear family, (4) occupation, and (5) ministry. Knowing these priorities allows me to face each day with a clear vision of what I need to accomplish, hence, the recognition of what are my most urgent and most important concerns parallel to my world view.

Understanding our priorities makes organizing daily tasks a lot easier. Likewise, it contributes to our effectiveness and success. Should you feel lost on how to get through a pile of pending tasks for the day, remember to review your priorities and check where your tasks fall into the four quadrants.

Do not hesitate to send me a message when you need further guidance in setting your priorities. You may also check my Facebook page for more discussion on the four quadrants.

This is Joey Gurango, your Business Technology Coach!


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