Stephen Covey’s 4 Quadrants from 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was a roadblock. How could everything be a 1 or a 2? Buy Milk is a 2, so is Update my resume. But clearly Running out of a milk is more of an emergency than not having a resume.
Enter a new prioritizing scheme. Instead of 1-4 with 4 being bad and 2 being the best, I use 1-4 in terms of time. 1-Today, 2-this week, 3-This Month, 4-Later, 5-someday, just like TSW recommends. I was using a similar system before TSW, where 1 was urgent and 4 was less so but still needed to be done.
With Covey’s system I always felt like 4s were a waste of time and should be eliminated. This new way 4s can be just as important, but don’t have some of the time constraints of the other numbers. Now instead of some tasks being worthless, they simply get done when I’m having a very productive day and get through some of my 2s and 3s.
Another change I made was not going in any order. I have a list of all my tasks 1s-5s. I don’t ABSOLUTELY do 1s first. I try to do 1s first, but sometimes I’m not in the right context, or honestly, I don’t feel like it. So I browse 2s, 3s, and 4s, and pick which ones spark my interest at the moment.
This has worked pretty well for me lately. I’ve been a producing machine.
Try it for your system. No more judging different levels of tasks, and no more ‘order.’ Simply tasks that need to get done.