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Prioritizing: The First Two Steps

February 27, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 139

Most problems with others are because of two things. Style and a misunderstanding of priorities. Style we will discuss in another article.


You meet someone and hit it off right away. You both think fitness is important, love reading and movies. You talk about money and both of you label yourselves fiscal conservatives. You start dating and become exclusive very quickly.

Two months later you split painfully and wonder how you could have been so wrong about a person. He spent all his time at the gym unless he was watching some stupid Die Hard or Arnold movie, or had his head buried in a self-help book. He was so tight fisted that he wouldn't even charge the nice vacation to Maui you scheduled.

You tried to talk to him about it. He said you were lazy. You walked your dogs every day for at least forty-five minutes. You just didn't have time for anything more. He questioned the time you spent reading Vogue, People, Glamour, and Cosmo. And, he couldn't believe that you had $15K on credit cards! When you said you were proud of that because it was less than half of what most of your friends had, he freaked. And, you always pay double the minimum balance. How could you be so wrong about someone? And, what was wrong with watching Vampire Movies?

Priorities. When we talk to someone else we use words and attach our own meanings. If I were to say that I am into fitness what would you picture? I work out an hour and a half a day five days a week and walk my dogs for an hour a day and run on Sundays. You might say that's obsessive. I would say it's a hobby and an investment.

When you say you work long hours I might picture the sixty hour weeks I know many entrepreneurs work. You might work five hours overtime on top of a 38 hour week.

When I say I like So You Think You Can Dance? you might think that I put up with it because my wife likes it. I watch each episode more than once and think that the combination of great dance set to wonderful music, no matter what the style, is a gift from the gods-if there were gods.

If it so easy to misunderstand everyday things, how easy is it to misunderstand work priorities? Example: How were you to know that finishing the Jones proposal is more important than making the meeting this afternoon on sensitivity training?

The first step in prioritizing is to define terms.

The second step is to rank the order of importance.

When someone says fitness is important in someone they want to have a relationship with, what does fitness mean and what does important mean?

Is fitness lean body mass, good muscle tone, being a size four, running a 10K or winning a body building contest? Or does it mean three to four days a week for an hour or so and if something else comes up we can make up for it on the weekend?

When someone says fitness is important does it mean that that one and a half hours in the gym every day comes before or after your favorite TV show? Does it require buying $300 in supplements each month and six small meals high in protein and low in carbohydrates? Or does it mean you can share meals and she simply adds protein to her diet?

Action Items for Prioritizing:

Clearly define the meaning of the task, goal or word.Rank tasks in importance.

In the next article we will talk about other important aspects of prioritizing, especially at work. How and when do we communicate changes in priorities?

John Cameron is a consultant, speaker and trainer who delivers keynote addresses, workshops and webinars that help bosses become better bosses and project managers and project team members hit deadlines and budgets.

One of John's most popular workshops is designed for supervisors, managers and leads, especially new ones, and is called, "Creating an Environment of Accountability." Learn how to catch problems early, (crushing baby Godzilla) and deal with them with our LIFTS and PRAISEM templates for conversations that prevent early bad behaviors from becoming bad habits. Discover the difference between a problem and a condition and learn to deal with both. Learn to love delegation and learn how to master it. Learn our REAPP process for persuasion and more.

John's course "Demystifying Project Management" is a must for anyone who misses deadlines and budgets. Learn about Scope creep, triple constraints, master estimating time, the six stages of any project, dealing with risks, putting together and keeping together the right team and more.

Watch John teaching LIFTS here:

Contact him for quotes on consulting keynotes, webinars and workshops at

Source: EzineArticles
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