Priority Setting

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How to Set Priorities

(From a Brian Tracy tape set distributed by

Setting priorities is essential to personal effectiveness. The number one quality is the ability to set priorities and follow through. 

Key ideas to setting priorities:   

The 80/20 rule, The Prado principle

  • 20% of what you do accounts for 80% of your results
  • 20% of your customers generate 80%  of your sales
  • 20% of your products result in 80% or your profits
  • 20% of your transactions require 80% of your time. 

Prado Everything. What are the 20% of the things that I do that will make 80% of the profits both short and long term. What 20% of the things you do give biggest bang for buck? 

2.   Urgent -vs.- unimportant. Exams, telephone people coming in, mail need to be prioritized. Are they . . .

   A. Urgent:  Most people spend most time here.

   B. Important: Get free of this in a hurry. These items are pressing

   C.  Not urgent:  This quadrant pays most working on professional skills, family, light reports,  upgrading your abilities.  Most vital to future.

   D.  Not important:  If caught up, then don’t finish or start these tasks. 

Ask “What are the important but not urgent things I can do?” 

3.  What are your personal values?  Are your goals associated with values?  High performance comes when goals are congruent with valves.  Low performance comes when values and goals clash. 

4.  What are your unique strengths? Do them.  The most effective people and leaders in society have taken a close look at this area.  

5.   What are you better at than other people?  Where could you become better to make an even greater contribution, even faster for acceleration? 

6.  What is your area of mastery?  What can you become outstanding in doing?  Top priority of spending time should be spent here.  Spend more time to learn how to be really good at these areas. 

7.  What are your high value activities?  What are the things that you and only you do that makes important money contribution.  The answer to “Why am I on the payroll?”  Don’t give into the temptations doing small things first when you still have big things to accomplish. 

8.  How do you use the ABCDE system?

      A.  Must do jobs – serious consequences if you don’t get these done (20% of things).

      B.  Should jobs – important not big consequences if they don’t get done.

      C.  Nice to do – completion by deletion is the key here.

      D.  Delegate

      E.  Eliminate- fastest way to increase productivity. 

9.  What is the most valuable use of my time right now, in respect to the big picture? 

10. Do the right things rather than doing things right, go thru steps 1-9 everyday. 

11. Do first things first and stay with them until they are complete. 

12. Have the courage to put off doing the things that are low in contribution

13. Establish a list of posteriority. You can’t do the right things until you discard the past jobs, people and activities that are on your plate and in your face. 

14. Always choose the future opportunities over the past. Stop blaming others.  When things go wrong ask, “ Where do we go from here?” 

15. Focus on the opportunities of tomorrow

16. Consider the futurity of all present events.  What is the positive potential future impact of what I am doing?  People who have the longest time perspective accomplish the most.  Think ahead 1 yr., 5 yr., 6 yr., 20 yr.   Everything they do is on a daily basis.  Success is attitude.   Think in terms of the long term to enjoy the benefits of tomorrow.  Practice delayed gratification. 

17. There is always enough time to do the important things.  So ask yourself, “What is important?” Think about your work before you begin. 

18. Always upgrade/downgrade your posteriorities/priorities. 

19. One month question – What would you do more of or less of if you were called away for an entire month?   What one thing would you do if you were leaving tomorrow?  What is the second thing you would get done? 

Helpful Links and References:

Success magazine priorities article:

Prado Principle: