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How do you decide what you should do from your to do list? You have a free hour: should you write a blog post? Prospect for clients? Code a new feature? Instant message your boss? Take a nap? In other words, what are your priorities? It […]

How do you decide what you should do from your to do list? You have a free hour: should you write a blog post? Prospect for clients? Code a new feature? Instant message your boss? Take a nap?

In other words, what are your priorities? It doesn’t matter how much you get done if you’re doing the wrong stuff. Along with a to do list, you need a way of prioritizing that helps you decide what should be done.

I like the prioritization scheme that Susan L. Reid offers in her book Discovering Your Inner Samurai. She suggests you pick two top priorities and commit to them for one month:

Two priorities; one-month commitment. That’s all. Of course, if you can, you might narrow that priority down to one. Most of us, though, unless we are in an extreme situation, will have two.

Does having only two priorities mean you completely ignore other things you need to get done — work assignments, chores at home, or your taxes, for example? No. It just means when you’re scheduling your time and picking things to do you first look to tasks having to do with one of your two top priorities.

This may not work for your individual situation of course — two priorities may be far too few; a month may be too long. But it has the benefit of radically simplifying and intensifying your commitments for a duration that seems totally doable yet is long enough that it should produce some real results.

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By Anne Zelenka

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  1. Sometimes priorities impose themselves.

    That was the case for me in January with finalizing the line up for my Just Over 50 and Note Dead Yet panel at South by Southwest Interactive on March 8.

    As for my blog Serge the Concierge , I have set topics 3 days per week so that gives me a framework. Monday, I write Monday Work Etiquette , Tuesday is Green Day and Thursday is Tokyo Thursdays .

    My 2 cents.

    Have a good week-end

    Serge

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  2. [...] tasks priority and choosing what gets done next? Share your own samurai code in the comments. Tip of the Week: Two Priorities/One Month [Web Worker [...]

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  3. I have started to tag my tasks “1hr” “2hr” “night” “weekend” “lunchtime” “commute” etc and keep the priorities up to date/time in every tag.

    It is easy to pick up something from this list when i have un-expected free time !

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  4. Very interesting. I haven’t heard of this idea, but I kind of love it! Great post!
    Emile

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  5. I stumbled upon this “two priorities, one month” system for getting things done when I was drowning in a sea of never-ending to-do lists. By defining my top two priorities for the month and putting them at the top of every to do list for that month, I was able to complete 24 meaningful tasks each year.

    The result? My productivity shot through the roof, and I, not my to do list, was in the driver’s seat.

    Here’s to your two priorities, one month business success.

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  6. [...] priorities, at any given moment. Anne Zelenka at Web Worker Daily describes this process as really focusing on one or two things and that’s [...]

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  7. [...] Everything seems to be competing for your attention, and you can’t figure out what’s the most important priority for this very second. You have phone calls and emails to return, projects to complete, quotes to [...]

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  8. Hi Ann,

    Good question. Today it was yoga (better for me) although I was tempted to go to the computer! How are you? Email me, let me know if you have a family blog as well. Things are good with us. Theresa

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