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Decide: Work Smarter, Reduce Your Stress, and Lead by Example by Steve McClatchy

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Chapter 3

Prioritizing Tasks in Relation to Results

You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are.

—Fred Rogers

At what point in your morning routine do you first ask yourself, “What do I have to do today?” When you have listed so many things that you couldn't possibly complete them all in one day, do you then further break down the list by asking, “What is urgent today?” Most people prioritize their daily undertakings by asking one question: “When is it due?” The closer the deadline, the higher priority a task receives. This is a common method that prioritizes everything in relation to urgency.

If you've encountered the prioritizing models used in typical time management approaches, then you know that the letters A, B, and C have traditionally represented the urgency or the deadline that a task has. A task that's due immediately or today is assigned an A. Tasks that are due soon get a B, and a C is due next week or maybe next month, something you eventually have to complete. So really, all you need to do to turn a C into an A using this approach is to procrastinate long enough. Don't do it now; just wait. It will become an A at some point. Hang in there. It's coming! It seems unimportant now, and no one is asking you about it yet, but it will become urgent if you wait until it is due—or even overdue!

This method of prioritizing makes a task's life cycle look something ...

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