Values-Guided Priority System
Earlier this week I got it into my head to prioritize my get-done list in a new way. I can't even tell you what I was thinking, or how the new categories came to mind, but I've been putting them to use and they're having an interesting effect on my productivity, as well as my sense of satisfaction, so I share them here. Very simply, here they are:
L = Love It.
"Love It" projects and activities are those things that you are quite happy and delighted to do, and furthermore, happen to intersect with the business projects that have the greatest impact on the future of our business. When you're engaged in Love It projects, you know you're doing what's really important to you and your satisfaction soars. You could substitute the terms Love It with Purpose if you feel more comfortable with this designation in business terms. But try Love It for a week and see what happens.
N = Need It, or need to get it done
Need It activities or projects are also important to you, so you're happy to do them, but they're not so grand that getting them done makes you want to dance while you're getting them done. Even so, you have a positive feeling about getting them done.
O = Obligation
Obligation tasks and projects have a heavy feel to them. They are important to include because they should reflect projects and commitments that you have already committed to in some way or another, or they may simply be part of your job description. Either way, you think to yourself that if you never had to put them on your get-dong list you'd be a happy camper.
When you wake up to your Obligation tasks you have an opportunity to start making different choices about the agreements you've made and projects you've taken on in the near and far future.
F = Fun, yes fun!
The day I made this new system up, I had something fun on my list of things to get done, and so included the category. Fun may or may not be important, and usually has little to do with your business, but you've no doubt that it's 100% fun and something you want to get done.
Upon reflecting on the difference between my experimental prioritization categories, and the more familiar A, B, C ways to prioritize activities popularized in the 1980's, I got the sense that the A, B, C system is externally focused on the projects. Is it important, is it urgent, do I have to get it done or can someone else? It doesn't take into account how you may feel about the tasks and projects. Perhaps this explains why many tasks and projects end up on a never-ending to-do list day after day after week.
I've noticed that this new system addresses not only what needs to get done, but what I really want to get done. There is a difference, as you'll observe if you try it out. Furthermore - and this did surprise me - I was more drawn to get my Love It projects done first, whereas in the past I might have started with the Obligation projects. AND THEN, I found out that because I started with the Love It and Need It projects, I was often able to get to the Obligation projects, and the sense of obligation was significantly diminished. Interesting, don't you think?