If it ever seems like there is too much on your to do list, this episode is going to help you start to set priorities every day, so that you can achieve the most important things in your business. Setting daily priorities will help you to stay on track to achieve the weekly or monthly goals that you’ve set. And it will also help you to be realistic about what can be achieved in one day.
The most important part of this process is to be realistic with yourself. If we are not realistic, this process will not work and you may feel like you are failing. So if you are like basically everyone I know, read on to find out how setting daily priorities can be a game changer for you.
Why You Should Set Daily Priorities
A lot of the time, we come to the table and we have 15 things on our to do list and what happens is we get through one or two of them, and then the rest of the list gets moved to the next day. That cycle just continues on and on and on until you are buried in your to do list. So, when you are able to set a daily priority list, you are able to choose what you are going to prioritize for that day. You’re able to look back on the day knowing that you got the most important things done for the day, even if you did not get through your entire list.
This is also going to help you to start prioritizing the higher-level work. When you know you only have three main things that you are committing to getting done each day, you are going to be able to see a trend of whether or not you are prioritizing that CEO level work in your business. If you are not, it’s going to help you create space to prioritize that. Priority lists will also help you to reach your weekly, monthly, or quarterly goals that you may or may not be setting.
How To Set Daily Priorities
Step # 1: Choose the Time You Will do This
The first step is to choose what time you’re going to do this. For some people, it works really well to do this at the end of the day, looking forward to the next day. For others, they might decide to work on this first thing in the morning as they sit down to get started on their work. It really does not matter the time of day when it is done, it is important to choose when you’re going to do it so that you can start to build that habit.
Step # 2: Choose Three Essential Tasks for your Daily Priority List
Look over your entire task list that you have, whether it’s in a planner or in Asana or Trello, or any other system that you have. Look over that main list and decide which three tasks are the most essential for that day. So, you are looking for things that have a hard deadline. For example, if you have a sponsored post that must get done today, then you would want to wrap that up. If you have things that maybe your team is waiting on you for, or you have things that are in that higher level, CEO category, those should be on your priority list for the day.
Now, this is not going to happen overnight that you magically can pick the top three things and get them done. Over time you’re going to start to get more realistic about what you’re putting down on your task list. Here’s the other thing to remember about this daily priority list: You are choosing three tasks that are the most essential for your day, but that does not mean that you’re not going to get other things done. You’re going to prioritize getting the three things done first as they’re the most essential. So, if something happens, you know you have gotten your most important things done first, and the rest can wait until tomorrow. Setting that priority list is really going to help you to just gain confidence and start trusting yourself that when you choose things that need to be a priority that you can get them done.
How to Follow Through on Your Priorities
Step # 1: Plan Ahead
The first step is really planning, looking forward to what is coming up and not operating on an hour by hour or day by day basis. You’re really looking at the overall weekly goal that you’re trying to reach. We talked about that in Episode 97, so go back and take a listen to that episode after you finish this one. Essentially, you’re really thinking forward to what the next steps are that need to be taken to reach that weekly goal, or the activities coming up in the next few days that need to be prioritized at the beginning of the week.
Step # 2: Look for Areas Where You Need Support
This can look so many different ways, friends. If you do not have people on your team, maybe the support you need is help around the house. Or maybe you need someone to cover childcare for you during a certain part of your week, so you can get things done. Whatever it is that you need, this is a really great way to look ahead and figure that out ahead of time, so that you are not scrambling and feeling stressed out at the last minute.
Step # 3: Keep Your Task Load Manageable
The last thing that you can do to help yourself follow through on these priorities is to keep your task load manageable. This will happen naturally over time, and it will also happen as you start to delegate more things in your business and have support on your team. But in the meantime, if you know that you’re only going to have three main priorities every day, even if you work five days a week, that’s still only 15 Things that should be on your to do list, plus or minus maybe 10 that you can squeeze in around those top priorities every day. But most of us are starting every week with 40, 50 things on our to do list, so it’s really hard to get through all of them. Work on condensing your to do list so over time, you can keep it manageable.
Look ahead and then plan for where you need support on finishing those daily priorities every day. You’re going to be able to see traction and see momentum in what you’re trying to accomplish in your business. Setting these daily priorities will help you to see how often or how not often you are working on your business instead of in your business. As you start to see that trend, you can start to make sure that maybe once a week, you have a CEO level task as priority on a specific day. Whatever it is that you need to prioritize doing, you’re able to fit that in when you get really clear on what your priorities are, instead of feeling like you are reacting every day to what is coming up.
Like I said, when you set those daily priorities, and you accomplish them first, it really helps to set the tone for the rest of the day. If you get everything else done great and if not, you know that you got the priority things done. You don’t have to beat yourself up over whatever you’re having to carry over to the next day. This system of setting daily priorities works well when you’re able to do it in conjunction with setting weekly goals or monthly goals as you can break down those goals into action items that you can accomplish throughout the week.
But even if you’re not setting those larger goals, it really helps you to get on track and feel like you’re being productive. Even if you’re not getting as much done as you think you need to or your to do list says that you need to, the most important things are getting done each day and that is definitely something to be excited about.
So just to recap:
You should be setting these daily priorities so that you can really begin to prioritize your work (whether higher level, mid-level or lower-level work), so that you can take control of your time and decide what you’re going to do with it. Remember, it will help you to reach your higher goals.
To set these daily priorities:
- Choose what time of day you’re going to do this
- Look over your main task list and decide which three tasks are essential, keeping in mind what you need to focus on to achieve your bigger goals
- Use this list to help you plan ahead, get support and keep your task list manageable so that you can stay on top of it.
My team often does this where we will all share this on a random day that we’re just encouraging each other to work on the tasks that need to get done and have the highest priority. So, if you have an accountability buddy or someone on your team who you can share this with, that is also a fun way to do it. I find it helpful to write it down somewhere in front of me on a sticky note or in my planner, just to help me really visualize what the priorities are for the week or for the day.