How to Set Goals When Everything Feels Like a Priority

How to Set Goals When Everything Feels Like a Priority
Instructor: Dorie Clark
Released: 3/26/2021Course Details
Skills Covered
Goal Setting
Priority Management
Course Link
Professional Certifications and Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
Sometimes it can feel like you’re working on everyone’s else’s to-do list instead of your own. How can you make space for accomplishing the goals that are important to you? Join best-selling business author and consultant Dorie Clark as she shares practical advice on how to prioritize effectively so that you can get meaningful things done.

Dorie shares techniques that you can leverage to get clarity on what to prioritize, as well as how to take action when you find yourself unsure of your next steps. She explores well-known frameworks, including the Eisenhower matrix and the Pareto principle, that can help you become more effective. Along the way, she shares how to find the motivation to get yourself going, maintain your momentum, and make it all the way to your goal.

Source: LinkedIN Learning
How To Decide What’s Really A Priority

Coping with overwhelm

Three Ways To Take Back Control

  1. Make a list of everything you need to do.
  2. Take your to-do list and map it to your calendar.
  3. Notch a small win for yourself – take note of small milestones you can celebrate. Observe the progress you’re making along the way.

How your values influence your priorities

Your values shape the choices you make.  

To prioritize, look at three time frames

  • Right now – what’s most important at the moment.  It’s not always obvious where we should be expanding our efforts.
  • One year from now – make a list of both personal and professional projects
  • Five to ten years from now – what choices can you make today that will make life easier and better for you in the future?  Taking the long view can help you make better decisions right now.

Making hard decisions about priorities

Most of what we spend our time on each day is a bit less obvious.  

Three frameworks to make smarter decisions

  1. Eisenhower Matrix: urgent vs. important
  2. Pareto principle, or 80/20 rule
  3. Growth and impact – ideally, put your efforts towards things that can be transformative.
Taking Action On Your Priorities

Taking the first step toward your goals

Taking action on your goals, the first step is often the hardest.

Four Ways to Get Going

  1. Write down the time to complete each task.  Execution fails because we underestimate how long something will take.  If you learn to make accurate estimates, you will be far more effective.  
  2. Cluster tasks into groups.  
  3. Tackle projects that make everything else easier.
  4. Just do something.  Pomodoro Technique is a method where you set a timer for 15 to 20 minutes, and dive in and take action.

Keeping up momentum on your goals

Three steps to keep up momentum

  1. Shake up your strategy.
  2. Match tasks with energy.
  3. Take short periodic breaks.

Maintaining the energy to complete your goals

Anyone can start a project.  But not everyone finishes one.  Being viewed as someone who gets things done, can be a massive career benefit.  

Three techniques to accomplish goals

  1. Make deadlines work to your advantage.  Give a lot of space, do things as early as possible.  Think about past experiences so you understand your relationship to deadlines.
  2. Motivate yourself by thinking of others.  Many people take action to avoid harming or annoying others.
  3. Outsmart yourself by scheduling it.  If you don’t schedule it, you may shy away from tasks.  

Completing projects is the true mark of a professional.

Overcome Obstacles in Your Goals

What to do when you and your boss disagree about priorities

If your boss says it’s mission critical, you’re going to have to relent.

Strategies for when disagreement occurs

  1. Make your case in the context of company strategy.
  2. Be honest about your capacity.  Ask for help so you can make the right choices.
  3. Schedule a check-in to reevaluate priority.  Schedule regular check-ins.

What to do when you don’t know what to do next

When you don’t know what to do

  1. Talk to your boss about it and ask them for guidance.  There’s power in being willing to step up and ask.  Smart bosses will recognize it as a mark of leadership.
  2. Recognize you don’t have to figure everything out.  Just concentrate on taking the next right step.
  3. Find a friend or colleague to talk to.  You don’t have to accept their perspective, but it may provide a helpful reframe.

What to do when your goals keep getting pushed aside

If you never seem to be able to get to your goals, that’s a problem.  

  1. Raise the stakes.  Amp up the urgency by focusing on the long-term consequences if you didn’t take action.  What would it look like in 6 months, a year, or 5 or 10 years, if you didn’t do X?
  2. Look for patterns.  Are certain areas of your life always pushing out other ones?  You need to balance over time so that you don’t endanger your overall well-being.
  3. Reimagine your processes.  If a particular goal isn’t getting done, you probably need to change how you’re approaching it.  Do you have to do it yourself, or could you outsource it?

We can’t focus on our highest priorities all the time – the minutiae of life sometimes intervenes.  

To experience the full benefit of this guide, I highly recommend you watch the full training session.

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