Changing priorities

Bringing a project to a success also means having a clear prioritization. But what do you do when priorities change from one day to the next? When tomorrow you no longer believe in the success of today's project?

This article is about changing priorities and how to tame indecision.

Perhaps first of all, changing priorities are normal. I say so now. I experience it in myself and have observed it often enough in others.

Sure: You can go here and set the priorities of all your projects today. You decide, for example, to give more space to project A than to project B. You plan your work accordingly. Accordingly you plan your efforts, time and money, what you want to invest.

But already tomorrow the priority might not feel right anymore. You have two options and I will offer you a third one in a moment. But first, the two standard options you're likely to choose:

Option 1: You strictly adhere to your previously established prioritization and stubbornly work through it.

First, respect. It certainly doesn't feel good to fight against inner resistance, but a strong person has to make sacrifices. You may be one of them.

Option 2: You reschedule

Project B is now the new project A. Full of verve you start anew, although you have already started anew the day before. Tomorrow, for sure, it might be project C's turn. A life full of new starts.

Here is an alternative option that I use and that has proven successful:

Option 3: Work on all projects.

If you're like me, your priorities change daily. Stubbornly working through my priority list would inevitably lead to procrastination. I need new impulses and I also like to start new things. If only because new starts bring with them an incredible learning curve.

Nevertheless, I need the feeling of moving forward and bringing things to a conclusion. To that end, I always work on several projects at the same time. But these projects have to meet several conditions:

They must be as different as possible (e.g. a programming project & a craft project).

They must be allowed to rest (a project that requires action at a certain point in time is unsuitable)

They must be easy to divide into small work steps

As always, project planning is key: I plan new projects down to the smallest detail and take a lot of time to plan them. I set initial tasks that I describe as concretely as possible. Each task, in turn, must be completeable within a manageable time frame. A task should take no longer than 1 to 3 hours. The shorter, the better. I have found that small tasks of 15 to 30 minutes in length work best for me.

Write down what the specific next step is

Here's my most important trick: at the end of the day, if you've finished a task or don't want to continue working on it (because you need a break, for example), take a few seconds to write down the concrete next step. Write down what you would do if you just kept working right now. The more concrete, the better.

Here are a few examples:

Example 1 "App Programming":
"A click on the button next to the table must create a new record".

Example 2 "Event Planning":
"Call the stage builder and ask how many speakers are planned"

Example 3 "Kitchen renovation":
"Drive to Baumakrt and buy 2 paint brushes and 1 large paint roller"

Working on multiple projects at once is great. You can drift and effectively use your current state of mind for the day to make progress on the appropriate project at the time. The key is that you're making progress. Smaller progress on multiple projects can work better than a big progress on one project.


Subscribe to my Sunday thoughts

Join a growing community of friendly readers. Every Sunday I share my thoughts about rational thinking, productivity and life.