I know I didn’t (until I learned these 3 exercises I’m about to show you).
I used to sit down and make a list of all the things I thought I should do in that moment. Choose what felt most important and then get to work.
This trapped me in an endless string of to-do lists and I wasn’t actually getting the most important things done for what I really wanted to accomplish.
My priorities were all out of whack and I was wasting a TON of time.
Until I discovered these 3 simple yet highly effective exercises that make prioritization a breeze…
1. Productivity Pyramid
1 – High lifetime value: Things that have the highest value like exercising, eating healthy, building high quality relationships with people for business and family.
2 – High $ per hour: Prospecting for sales, talking to customers and convincing them to buy, Marketing, etc.
3 – Low $ per hour: Running errands, administrative work, organizing, etc.
4 – Zero / Negative: Watching TV, eating junk food, worrying, gossiping, wasting our time. Activities that not only don’t reward us financially or contribute to long-term happiness, but ones which actually detract from our quality of life.
What we need to do now is make a list of the main things that you do right now on a daily basis for each of these 4 zones (include 3 – 7 items per level), both in your personal and professional life.
Ok, now that we have that (you did it, right? If not, STOP READING and do it NOW), we need to focus our personal strengths on our highest priorities.
What are our personal strengths? These are our talents or gifts that have been trained, educated and developed by mentors, experience and education. It’s what we are good at doing, where we get great results out of what we actually enjoy doing!
If you work on yourself and develop an ability to create results in a way that makes you feel good about it, you will always be fulfilled in your work.
2. The Sweet Spot in the Circles
So, you want to intentionally find the intersection between doing what you are good at and the places in your business and financial life that bring you the biggest rewards.
In order to do that, we are going to draw two circles (see below).
In one circle, write your strengths and in the other, write down the activities you wrote on Levels 1 and 2 of the productivity pyramid (the high lifetime value and the high dollar per hour value).
X = The sweet spot
Your sweet spot is where you should focus most of your time and energy, and if you do it consistently over months and years, then you’ll wake up one day and have a personal life, a professional life, and a financial that are fantastic — on your own terms, by your own standards. You’ll be living a life of comfort and fulfillment.
For example after doing some soul searching, I realized that one of my life strengths is that I am a natural learner. I always like to be learning new things and implement what I think that will improve my life.
I didn’t realize this before, but because of my interest in learning I lost about 15 pounds of weight and cured my gastritis and colitis problem. I initially got sick because of stress and a bad diet and I wasn’t cured after following my doctor’s advice and taking medication. So I started learning on my own and finally understood the root of the problem and I made the decision to change my diet, learned to relax and started practicing yoga.
My gastrointestinal problems were finally solved and being healthy now is one of my most important life values.
And today, I have included in my morning ritual at least 30 minutes of learning everyday to improve my life in whatever I feel brings me the biggest opportunity.
So from now on, prioritize the things on top of the pyramid and invest the first hours of your days in using your strengths and focusing on your high lifetime and financial value. This is the way we consistently set ourselves up to achieve our highest priorities for success.
Live your life in that sweet spot.
3. The Bigger Picture
We all want to set ourselves up for success, but if you don’t have your priorities figured out in the bigger picture, then you are probably prioritizing moment-to-moment.
This detail-oriented micromanagement in your daily life is an ineffective way to make the bigger goals happen. The solution? Get clear on your long term goals.
When we take time to figure out where are we going, we ask ourselves what the final outcome is that we want? What are we trying to achieve in the long term?
So ask yourself, where do you want to be in your career in 5 or 10 years and then plan backwards.
Do this exercise also for your personal life, and describe how do you want to be in 5-10 years, physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Lets say that I want to set a physical goal and want to earn $100,000 a year with an internet marketing business in 5 years. Now this will be a really simple and basic example but the important thing is that you ‘get’ how to do it.
For example, I should get clear on:
What services and products will I sell? For the purpose of this exercise I will say 2 high value information products, one about entrepreneurship and another about personal finances/ investing.
How much do I expect to sell them for to reach my goal? Each will be priced at $500 so I would need to sell 200 of them a year.
What skills do I need to learn and develop so that I can achieve my goal? Marketing and sales, writing and communication skills, possibly video creation skills, networking, product research and creation, etc.
Who do I need to network with or partner up with? Lets say 4 internet marketers with a list of at least 10,000 people so that we can cross-sell products.
Ok, you get the idea, the more detailed and specific, the better.
Then you can start getting clearer on what to do in the short term and start setting goals for 2 years, then 1 year, then 6 months, 1 month, then organize your week and your day.
When we have our long term goals defined and WRITTEN DOWN, we can start planning backwards and start figuring out what activities can we do right now that will give us the highest probability of achieving those long term goals.
You have just identified your strengths, defined your high value and the high income activities in your professional life. You’ve also gained clarity and focused on your long term goals. Now you can start defining what your priorities are and what you must do each day to accomplish each of your top priorities.
So go, live life in your sweet spot and make those priorities happen!
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Have you applied some of these strategies or have additional ones? Leave your comments and share your results or recommendations below!
About the Author
Mauricio Brito, a member of The Feel Good Team, lives in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where after 6 years as an executive at Citibank, he is starting a new path as an online entrepreneur. Mauricio helps enable executives who are unhappy or unfulfilled with their jobs to grow, take the leap, start a business and achieve freedom.
On The Feel Good Team, Mauricio helps out in whatever way he can, from analytics to web management and more!