You Can’t Prioritize Priorities

Dec 22, 2015

I’m afraid I don’t have any real or valuable advice to offer you today—I feel like my brain is on Christmas vacation already. So, you’ll have to bear with me through a rambling and probably nonsensical post for a hot minute.

A lot of advice you see about time management and productivity says you need to “prioritize”. I know I’ve even spouted out these instructions a time or two myself. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. Seems like some pretty sound advice, doesn’t it?

But, I’ve recently realized that it doesn’t always apply. What about those times when—no matter how much you shuffle things around on your to-do list—there’s really no logical way to rank those tasks? They’re all priorities. They’re all equally important. They all have the same deadline. They all need to get done as soon as possible.

Well, that makes things a little more complicated, doesn’t it? How can you possibly know what to tackle first when everything is on a level playing field? That age-old “prioritize” advice really only holds water when you have some decent metrics and criteria to work with.

Honestly, I’ve found myself in this exact situation a lot—particularly lately. And, while I wish I had some fantastic answer, valuable advice, or magic formula to offer you, I’m coming up short. Typically, my only solution is just to start somewhere. I figure since there’s really no single best place to jump in and get started, that at least crossing something off is a step in the right direction. At least it’s better than staring at my to-do list with a puzzled look on my face (which, believe me, happens more often than I’d like to admit).

So, I thought I’d turn to you guys—because you always have some great advice and suggestions. What do you do when you find yourself buried under a pile of priorities? How do you navigate your way out of that overwhelming mess of tasks and to-dos—all equally as important as the other? I’d love to know your methods!

Until next time!