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Get More Done by Doing Less - How to Prioritize Your To-Do List




Hey there!


Today, I want to talk about priorities.


Why? Because to be productive without exhausting yourself, you have to know what your priorities are. If you don't know what your priorities are, then you'll end up saying yes to everything, trying to do it all.


But I have some bad news for you: it's impossible to do everything! We all have 24 hours in a day, not one more, not one less. The difference between productive and unproductive people is that the former make the most of these hours. Not by doing everything, but by focusing their time and energy on what is important and what allows them to reach their goals.


If everything is important, then nothing is important. If everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority. - Garr Reynolds

If you want to live intentionally and consistently reach your goals, you must narrow down your priorities and focus on them daily.


Now, I'm not saying this is easy because we would all like to be able to do every single thing. But keep in mind that if you try to do everything, you'll probably end up doing everything badly while exhausting yourself uselessly.


(If you struggle with that, one of the main goals of my individual coaching program is exactly that! So don't hesitate to book a free discovery call with me so we can see how to work on it!)


So let's see some tools you can use to define your priorities and make sure you respect them in your daily life!


1. Clearly define your vision and your priorities, and set the appropriate goals


I already talked about that in episodes #1 and #14, so I won't go over it again. I've also prepared a free workbook called "5 Easy Steps to Achieve Your Goals" to guide you through each of these steps, so don't hesitate to download it in my library (click here to access it)


But basically, the first step to clearly define your vision, i.e. what you want your life to be like in the coming years. Without a clear vision, you have no direction. And it's hard to go somewhere if you don't know the destination.


Then, define your priorities (ex. your family, career, health, etc.). I like doing the Level 10 Life exercise for this. I talk about it in episode #14. You can use the template in the workbook "5 Methods to Efficiently Set (and Achieve) Your Goals" to do the exercise.


Finally, set goals that will help you achieve your vision and that are aligned with your priorities!


2. Prioritize your tasks


How often do you say or think: "I don't have time"?


Let's be honest: do you really lack the time, or do you simply put too much on your plate? Is every item on your to-do list important? Would it make a difference in your life if you didn't do some of these tasks?


I believe most people don't actually lack time; they lack focus on their priorities.


When you use most of your time for truly important and impactful tasks, you usually end up with much more of it!


The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule but to schedule your priorities. - Stephen R. Covey

How can you do it? By using these two amazing tools: the Effort to Impact Matrix and the Eisenhower Matrix.


I created the workbook "Get More Done by Doing Less - How to Prioritize Your To-Do List" to help you use both matrixes more easily! You can find it in my library (click here to access it).


The Effort to Impact Matrix


Your time is precious, so you have to make sure you're using it on the right tasks, the ones that make a real impact on your goals and your priorities. And with this matrix, it'll be easier to see which activities deserve your time and effort and which ones don't!


1. First, define your main goal and your priorities of the moment. Only consider the activities that are directly related to your goal and priorities. Here are some examples of activities an entrepreneur could include:

  • social media platforms

  • creation of free content (ex. blog, podcast, videos, masterclasses, interviews, etc.)

  • client work

  • admin work

  • etc.


2. Then, determine the impact and the effort that go into all the activities you're doing at the moment:


  • On a scale from 1 to 10, determine the effort that each activity requires.

  • On a scale from 1 to 10, determine the impact each activity has on the achievement of your goal.


3. Finally, sort your activities according to the effort they require and the impact they have on your goal.

  • The tasks from the 1st and 2nd quadrants are the ones you should focus on first.

  • The tasks from the 3rd quadrant should be done as fill-ins.

  • The tasks from the 4th quadrant shouldn't be done at all.


I suggest doing this exercise occasionally to make sure your time is used on the right activities! I do it every month, along with my monthly review. This way, I'm sure I'll spend my time on impactful activities the following month!


The Eisenhower Matrix


I love this matrix! I use it very regularly to sort the tasks I have to do. Lately, I've been using this matrix twice a month to make sure I'm working on the tasks that are important and/or urgent and that I'm not losing time on unimportant tasks.


Here's how to use the matrix:

  1. List all the tasks you have/want to do and that you've been thinking about lately. Write everything down to completely unburden your mind.

  2. Sort all the tasks from your brain dump according to their urgency and importance:

  • An urgent task is a task that is due shortly (or which is overdue). Urgency is determined by external factors and pressures.

  • An important task is a task that has a significant impact on your life. Importance is a highly subjective factor based on each person's values, priorities, goals, circumstances, etc.

3. Based on the quadrant the tasks are in, do the following:

  • 1st quadrant: complete the tasks as soon as possible.

  • 2nd quadrant: schedule these tasks in your calendar.

  • 3rd quadrant: delegate these tasks (as much as possible).

  • 4th quadrant: eliminate these tasks!


If you use Notion, I have created an Eisenhower Matrix that is linked to your to-do list. This way, you always have your matrix on hand! You can find the template in my library (click here to access it).


3. Establish filters


The matrixes are helpful to assess whether your activities and tasks are impactful, important, and/or urgent, and I highly recommend using them regularly. They are very useful to schedule your priorities.


However, they aren't always helpful when it comes to something new you hadn't planned (for example, a new idea, project, proposition, request, etc.).


So here's a concept I learned in Fabien Olicard's book, Votre temps est infini (2019, p.269-287): establish filters to help you make a quick decision that is aligned with your priorities and objectives.


Based on the priorities listed in the first step, determine four filters that will help you determine whether a new project or idea is worth working on or not. These filters allow you to decide more quickly and make sure you dedicate your time and energy only to the things that correspond to your priorities and values.


These filters can be based on your priorities, your values, or different parameters. Here are some filter examples: freedom, feasibility, profitability, business growth, personal development, fun, creativity, etc.


The order of importance of these filters can vary according to your priorities, your goals, the season of life you're in, etc. Don't hesitate to review their order as often as you need.


In short, every time you have to make a decision, it has to go through these filters. If it blocks on one of the two first filters, then it isn't for you. You shouldn't accept it. If it blocks on one of the last two filters, then take some time to reflect on it. Make sure it can help you reach one of your goals and get closer to your vision!


You can also find a template to do this exercise in the workbook "Get More Done by Doing Less - How to Prioritize Your To-Do List."


I hope these tools will help you define your priorities and optimize your time so you can ultimately be more serene and zenly organized! 😉


Remember, it's not about doing more, but doing what is truly important and what will bring the most impact with the least effort!


I wish you a zenly organized and prioritized week,


Sarah



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