Setting Priorities – Organizational Skills and Time Management

| September 16, 2014 | Comments (0)

By David Suzuki – President of Bio-Therapeutic, Inc.,

Sunrise running woman

“Your life is as simple or as complex as you make it.” A very wise individual once made this statement to me, and I have never forgotten it. I think about this concept daily, and believe it to be true.

The hustle and bustle of daily life will eat us alive if we are not careful; we all have continuous demands from the moment that we wake up until the moment our head hits the pillow. Will we ever catch up, finish, and be complete? Sometimes it seems as though there is just no end in sight, and we have a feeling of helplessness—sometimes even hopelessness.

Although most realize the importance of balance and self-preservation, the reality is that between work, personal obligations and family, we often barely have enough time to keep the house clean, pay the bills and get the laundry done!

So how do we make it all work? Organizational and time management experts most frequently discuss how to categorize and prioritize your life, beginning with how to react to the “incoming.” This concept is crucial, as every day we have a plethora of incoming activity that can easily morph into a mountain of tasks, lists and projects.

If the incoming is not processed expeditiously and effectively, you will quickly find yourself pinned down with more work than you will ever be able to complete, which will inherently displace your priority tasks and projects. This creates a significant amount of stress, a sense of being overwhelmed, and eventually spirals into all-out gridlock, where even the basic tasks become difficult to achieve.

So what is the solution? Ask yourself these questions:

• What needs to be done that ONLY you can do?

• What is necessary for you to become involved in?

For that matter, what do you have time to get involved in?

Only you can answer these questions, and you must do so quickly and clearly, every moment of every day.

This concept in itself can be a game changer, as it frees up a significant amount of time each day that can be redirected to those tasks and projects that can only be done by you and are of the highest priority.

Tasks and projects

Each person has a unique and almost instinctual way of organizing their “to do” list. While there is no right or wrong way to go about this process, there definitely should be a method to the madness!

A task is defined as something that needs to be done quickly, and completed in short order. Examples might include organizing events or meetings on your calendar, sending a few thank you cards to new clients or placing a product order for new inventory.

Projects, on the other hand, are more complex, difficult and time consuming, usually requiring dozens of aggregated tasks to complete. Examples might include revising your prices and service descriptions on your menu, taking a complete retail and back bar inventory or creating a newsletter for your business.

Most have the tendency to complete their daily tasks, as they are a quick and easy way to achieve a sense of accomplishment. The completion of tasks is also a necessary attribute of running a successful business, as it is usually these small details that make clients happy, keep things organized and give you a sense of control. At the same time it is crucial to recognize that it is the completion of projects that allow for long term improvement of your business model and your life.

Taking action.

Although there are many strategies and schools of thought on how to tame your life, there are two facts that you will find threaded into just about every publication on this subject. First, there will always be more to accomplish in life than time permits. The second point is that you must take action. Acknowledging the first point can be a breath of fresh air. By no means is this a free pass to procrastinate about life or your business, only that we must be more precise about our priorities and clear about our objectives, as every move that we make, every moment of every day, either brings us closer to our goals or further away.

Taking action sounds simple, while at the same time many projects seem like mountains to climb. Rather than start the journey, we transfer them from list to list, think about them incessantly and collect the weight and stress that the burden represents to us. As the projects mount, this sense of anxiety worsens. Add a few crazy days into the mix which present an overabundance of tasks, and you have a model that produces a level of stress that will quickly bring your world to a screeching halt.

Compartmentalize

Accepting the idea that a project is a project, and understanding that it will take some time to complete is the first step. Breaking the project down into palatable, compartmentalized tasks is step two. Once you are viewing the project in the form of tasks, it becomes realistic to complete a few each day, making continuous forward progress toward making your project a reality. This action and measurement will also allow you to better assess when a project may be complete, which is important for planning and crucial for self-motivation!

Diligence, persistence and follow through are necessary attributes to stay the course and complete projects. Those who complete more projects successfully inherently experience more growth and success.

Priorities

If you take the time to jot down all of the projects you would like to complete, you will probably have no problem filling a page or two. This is normal, as it is easy to be ambitious on paper! At the same time, this process is a necessary exercise to help you evolve the importance and urgency of each project.

Setting priorities is yet another decision that can only be made by you, based upon your objectives, goals and life vision. Which project will most quickly bring you closer to this vision? Which project will bring the most benefit to your life or business? It is important to have two to three projects on your to-do list at all times. This helps you stay on course with your daily tasks that are relative to these projects.

What do you do with the other projects that you have so diligently thought out and described? You rate them.

Use a simple system of 1-2-3, 1 being the most important and 3 being least important. Keep the list in a convenient place where you can review and add to it frequently; I like to keep my list on my nightstand. As time goes on you will find that many projects you have documented are simply unnecessary and can be removed from the list, while others will change in priority, sometimes multiple times, depending on what is happening in your life. At the end of the day we must remember that life is a perpetually moving target, just as we are as people.

Self preservation

While we are conjuring up our massive lists of tasks and projects, we cannot forget to carve out project time for ourselves; body, mind, and soul. Remember that you are the primary performer in this circus that we call life, and if you are injured, out of shape or tired mentally or physically, you are useless to your cause. With that in mind, if you are one that “cannot find the time” for a massage, a workout or even 30 minutes of peace and quiet from time to time, make that missing thing a top priority project on your list. Remember to break wellness down into compartmentalized, palatable increments, just as you would with all projects. The key is to do a little bit all the time, which is what we also define as a lifestyle.

Most experts agree that the things we put off or delay in life usually represent what we perceive as difficult and complex, and our perception of what is difficult is unique to each one of us. The most basic task or project for one person may be an extremely difficult task for another, like climbing a mountain.

Admitting that you are a decision maker in your life—the primary decision maker—can be tough. This essentially means that you take full responsibility for who you are and where you are in life. Realizing this, and taking control of your life is inspiring and empowering. Deep down, we all inherently know that it is ultimately up to us to travel down the right pathways to reach our destination. The only thing left to do is to get started.

David Suzuki, president of Bio-Therapeutic, Inc., has been an active licensed member of the aesthetics industry for more than 18 years. He is an authority on technology and regulatory issues, including FDA submission and acquisition. Suzuki serves as an advisor to institutions and state boards, writes for numerous industry publications and journals and conducts educational seminars and classes.

For more information on Bio-Therapeutic equipment and products call 800-971-6438 or visit: www.bio-therapeutic.com.

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