I have been working on getting better at prioritization lately as a part of my quest of skill building. Sometimes I feel like I struggle with having my time consumed by tasks that are urgent but not necessarily important. To try and get better at this, I have been reading the book, “Organize Tomorrow Today” by Dr. Jason Selk and Tom Bartow. The book has eight different ways to help with improving your performance and focus, but for this blog post I want to focus on two items that I think will really help me personally.
The first thing the books talks about is building a habit of planning your focus for the next week on the previous day. The idea is to take five minutes to review your projects and tasks, pick the top three most important task to work on, and out of those three to pick the most important task and mark it. This gives you a list of the things you need to focus on the next day. The reason to do it on the previous day is to have time to think about it and make your plan before interruptions and unplanned work shows up to derail your day. The idea is to first complete the three items on your list, starting with the most important task, before you do anything else. This allows you get the truly important work completed before getting distracted and having your day completely derailed.
I am going to incorporate this into my Bullet Journal habit as part of my daily and weekly logs and I want to see if it helps my to defeat the tyranny of the urgent. While I recognize it won’t allows work out, I think it will help me to focus better and to get my important work done first.
The other item from the book I want to focus on is the idea of focusing on the process and not the outcomes. I’ve been very discouraged when I don’t see the outcomes in my life and work that I want to see, and sometimes that damages my motivation to continue working on those things. Instead of focusing on the outcomes all the time, the book talks about being focused on the process that drives and outcome. The idea is that if you focus on the process and continue to work and improve on it, the outcome will take care of itself. This also gives you an opportunity to celebrate the small wins when you do the process well or make a noticeable improvement.
I plan to use this technique to help me to keep up technical skills sharp. Lately I have felt overwhelmed by the idea of trying to keep my technical abilities from getting rusty. The technology landscape is very large today and continues to grow. By focusing on the process I can continue to make regular, small improvements without getting discouraged by focusing on an outcome that I am struggling to accomplish.