Time Management Part 5: Prioritization Continued

Robert McCain says that “the reason most major goals are not achieved is that we spend our time doing second things first.” People spend time on low priority items and before they know it, there is no time for those high priority items that you SO want to get done.

Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist (among other things), developed a principle that has proven to be true throughout time. He determined that 20% of the activities/people/clients, etcetera you focus upon determine 80% of your productivity—whether that be in the work or personal life. So, here is the principle:

20% of your priorities give you 80% of your production


You spend your time, energy, money and personnel on the top 20% of your priorities.


Now comes the hard part—determining your priorities and not letting yourself fall into the trap of spending all of your time on the low priority activities. John Maxwell says that prioritizing becomes effective when you focus on “the 3 R’s:.

  1. What is Required of me?
  2. What gives me the greatest Return?
  3. What is the most Rewarding

Maxwell says that most people focus on the 3rd one on this list: what is most rewarding (or the most fun). But, he says that you have to follow the 3 in order if prioritization is to be effective.

Consider the following guidelines for prioritizing:

  • High Importance/High Urgency
    • Tackle these projects first
  • High Importance/Low Urgency
    • Set deadlines for completion and get these projects worked into your daily routine.
  • Low Importance/High Urgency
    • Find quick, efficient ways to get this work done without much personal involvement. If possible, delegate it to a “can do” assistant.
  • Low Importance/Low Urgency
    • Busy or repetitious work. Stack it up and do it in ½ hour segments each week or get someone else to do it, or dump it

Review my last blog about the List of 6 Things. Now, engineer your list of 6 to reflect the information on prioritization that I’m sharing today. Your efforts on time management will come back to you multi-fold—and will reduce your stress substantially.