Tag Archive for: Prioritizing

Prioritizing What’s Important to You



I love to learn! Each year I give myself the gift of professional development. This week I am at NAPO 2023 Summit, the annual conference for our professional association and industry. I prioritize what is important to me which is learning with my peers for the benefit of my clients. Pictured with me here are NAPO Summit work team including Mimi Brown, keynote speaker for our Summit.


Know what is important to you

Education brings me joy. It is easy for me to know this is important for me. How do you know what is important to you? Think about what brings you joy.


Make it happen

  • No matter what date, there will always be conflicts in scheduling. We have to make choices. I choose to make this happen by writing this on my planner well in advance. I share this love of learning with clients who know I will be away at this time. You can make your priority happen by writing it in your planner.
  • I have learned that we need resources to make our priorities happen. I save funds each year for this opportunity. I allocate appropriate resources to travel, meals, and registration. Make your priority happen by using your resources wisely.
  • Sharing what I love with those I love helps me prioritize. They are my cheerleaders and encourage me to follow my path.


I encourage each of you to write a list of your three top priorities and make these happen!




How to Prioritize the Most Important Task



Prioritizing. It’s one of the hardest aspects of time management.  You set aside time to get important work done, and now what to do?  Here are 5 ways of determining what to do first when you are ready to get to work.


One thing

If you could choose just one thing that makes the biggest difference in your day at home or work, what would that be? That’s the essence of prioritizing and knowing the one thing that you can do each day. On the opposite hand, what is the one thing that if you did NOT do it, that your day would go awry?  Either perspective helps you prioritize what to choose that is the most important part of your work.


Getting Things Done (GTD) lists

GTD starts with a mind sweep and writing everything down. You divide the list into current projects and someday/maybe projects.  Then your list is grouped by the places you work will be accomplished. That can be at the computer, at a meeting, anywhere and errands.  Finally you add the single next step to each of these actions.  GTD helps you prioritize by knowing where you do your work and knowing the one next step to accomplish that task or project.



For non-linear thinkers, here’s a way to find your priority.  There’s not always a start or end, it’s a context within the work itself.  A mind map helps you write down ideas, link tasks that support that goal and then prioritize. By creating a context of what work needs to be accomplished and knowing the many different directions that are possible, you can focus on where you are in the task and project.


The Painted Picture

Getting things done is not the same as getting the right things done. To do this, Brian Scudamore  uses his “Painted Picture” strategy.  Keep the big picture in mind with the top third of your capture tool, then below add quadrants for quarterly, monthly and weekly.  Select just 3 tactics that align with this goal and your projects are outlined for completion.


Choose the one thing you never get started

Intuitively you know what to do and you never get to it. That’s the priority for you.  It’s when you have procrastinated and let tasks lapse, you know it’s time to get started.


How to accomplish prioritizing also depends on setting up your weekly routines to follow through.   Set up a weekly planning time to establish a big picture view that allows you to establish priorities.  That weekly planning time also gives you the opportunity to match your weekly tactics with your calendar.


More tips here for productivity! Join my newsletter!

Choosing Priorities

choosing prioritities


Life is filled with choices. Here’s a list of the upcoming January events recently shared by Sallie Alefson.  There’s so many to celebrate!  Is there a way to choose which holidays to celebrate?  How will I prioritize?

January is:

  •         Financial Wellness Month
  •         Get A Balanced Life Month
  •          Get Organized  Month
  •         International Creativity Month
  •         International Quality of Life Month
  •         National Clean Up Your Computer Month

Special weeks include:

  •         8 – 14: Home Office Safety and Security Week
  •         22 – 29: Clean Out Your Inbox Week
  •         27 – 31: Tax Identity Theft Week

Noteworthy days:

  •         3: Festival of Sleep Day
  •         6: National Technology Day
  •         8: National English Toffee Day
  •         9: National Clean Off Your Desk Day
  •         10: National Cut Your Energy Costs Day
  •         14: Organize Your Home Day
  •         20: National Cheese Lovers Day
  •         24: Belly Laugh Day
  •         25: Macintosh Computer Day (marks the day it went on sale to the public in 1984)
  •         27: Fun at Work Day
  •         28: Data Privacy Day
  •         30: Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day


While each and every one of these events has merit, how do we choose which to celebrate?

I could rely on personal or business connections to an event. I focus on organizing and productivity, so I could choose the events related to my work.  Or I could choose which I think is most fun. There are lots of celebrations with laughter and joy.  Another option is to rely on my priorities for the 2017.  Each year I have a word of the year. Last year was Accept, 2015 was 15, 2014 was Thrive.  My word for the year could help me prioritize.


Whatever your way of prioritizing, we know there will always be more choices than we can imagine.  I can’t celebrate each holiday, but I can prioritize the 3 that best fit my priorities this year.


How do I stay true to those priorities?

First, you may be overwhelmed and instantly think all are equally important. Give yourself a moment to process either with others, by writing, by speaking or just thinking.  Each of us has a strength to rely on to make this decision. There are also tools we can use.  Use a tournament method to whittle down the possibilities, weighing just one option against just one other option.  Give each option a number value of 1,2, or 3.   Decide the return on investment with finances.  All of these strategies have value.


Make your priorities stick by creating a reminder resource. That’s a way to keep your priorities  upper most.  A reminder resource can be tucked away on Notes or Evernote in your smartphone, a vision board in your closet, or choosing your word for the year. It’s not easy staying on target with your priorities and reminders help.







Your Most Organized Year Ever

Your Most Organized Year Ever


Each year as we start the new year, we think of ways to make a change and improve our lives.  Did you know that organizing is one of the top three goals each year?  Throughout the month of January, I will be offering 31 tips to help you have Your Most Organized Year Ever.  Implement just one of these tips, tools, techniques or tweaks this year. 
It’s the basis of all things organized. Having a good decision making process makes organizing easier.  And what are good decisions based on?
  • Knowing core values like integrity, honesty, faith and family
  • Prioritizing and reviewing choices in a timely way
  • Eliminating and culling out distractions that take time and energy away
  • Creating logic while balancing emotion
  • Keeping focused while making the decision


What helps me most in the decision making process is usually having a good night’s sleep!


Check out all 31 tips for Your Most Organized Year Ever.



Family Traditions and Organizing


family traditions and organizing

It was Friday night and my son called.  “Mom, do you have the skewers to roast marshmallows”?


Let me tell you about my family and one of our family traditions.  My son, in his thirties, married and 3 children, remembers when he and his sister were in elementary and middle school, we would roast marshmallows in the fireplace.  We had special skewers we used for our roasting.  My son wanted to use these with his family for their first marshmallow roast in their new home.


Back to the request! In the kitchen, in the barbeque spot, were the roasting skewers.  He came, took the skewers to their new home, and their family continued our family tradition.


What is most important to me is creating and preserving family traditions.  Whether it is sitting down to a family meal together, or having cream puffs every Christmas, this is my priority.  Having the “stuff” that connects to the meaning of these traditions makes it easy for me to make decisions on what to keep.


I recently decluttered in the kitchen. Letting go of the skewers never came to mind.  I did bless others with a soup tureen (wedding gift, never used in 27 years), coffee cups (from my mom, but seldom used), bread baskets (we already have plenty) and extra utensils not used.   The skewers are in a seldom used spot, but one I could easily access.


Always, I want to encourage you to prioritize what matters most to you.  It is vital to how you live your best life, making good decisions about what is around you and how you use your time.  Begin by reflecting and creating awareness, then write down your priorities to have clarity throughout the year.  Take baby steps to stay on track with this priority whether by letting go and blessing others with things that are not used, or clarifying your commitments.


What are your priorities? What are your really important family moments?

10 organizing ideas for 2010

The beginning of a new decade brings big goals! Just thinking about one goal is a big step, but 10 goals are …. ?  What 10 areas are you focusing on to organize this year? Take one step at a time, organizing one room or thing at a time, and make a BIG difference in your life!

1.  Organizing your closet.   We put ourselves LAST in making a difference! Take time to organize your closet to feel ready to go in the morning and  confident.  Keep only the clothes that make you feel FABULOUS, no matter what the size tag is.  Once this is eliminated, order your clothes in a way that makes sense to you, by outfit or by pants, tops, etc. 

2.  Organize your bedroom.  Our space is intended to be serene and restful. Is it? This year make your bedroom your serenity zone with no paper, no clutter, and just items that are peaceful and promote great sleep.

3.  Organize your laundry room.   It make a big difference to get this chore done.  Having the right laundry sorter makes the difference.  Use a 3 compartment sorter for white, color and towels. Do one load a day, ask for help from your family, and keep it simple.

4. Organize your pantry.  Getting dinner done is about having the right ingredients.  Toss what is outdated (nothing is worse than food poisoning.)   Arrange like the grocery store.  Add a magnetic list to the frig so you can add what you need when you need it. Keep staples on hand to make dinner in 30 minutes. 

5. Organize your car.  Our cars are our offices!  Do the pump and dump (thanks Geralin www.metropolitanorganizing.com) and toss trash as you get gas.  Ask your kids to help you distribute what comes out of the car right away.  Create a landing strip for returns.

6. Organize your purse.  You can tell how organized a person is by their purse!  Have a command center for papers so you can empty these right away each day.  Keep items grouped together, use a wallet you can move to alternative purses, and place your cell phone and purse at an easy access spot in your home.

7. Organize your papers.  Create a command center to make your papers easy to access for action, easy to file for retrieval and easy to archive. Need help? See the tips of the season section!

8. Organize your kitchen.  We all want time together as a family. The magic of meal time is to gather to communicate and have fun. Organizing your kitchen makes this happen.

9. Organize your calendar.  Choose a calendar you love, either paper or technology.  Use it daily – refer to it, enter items right away, carry it all the time.  Once a week have your weekly planning time to get proactive!

10. Organize your time.  Life is about our priorities.   Think through what you are committed to and be sure you are able to fully commit.  There are zillions of options so live a meaningful and purposeful life by making decisions.

Take one idea and carry it through for one month! You will be amazed at the difference for yourself and your family.

Let me know your first step on organizing!

ADD and Getting Things Done

My clients with ADD are a blessing to me! They are the brightest, most creative and most fun people on the planet!  The gift of ADD is the natural flow of ideas, thoughts and scenarios generated by prolific thinking.  ADD people continually come up with new ideas that lead to solving problems, engaging people with new concepts, and starting new projects.   Working from these strengths is important for people with ADD.  However, when tasks are tedious, mundane and repetitive, it becomes a challenge.  People with ADD become disengaged and bored, unable to complete these tasks.  When the possibilities are endless and exuberant, people with ADD are at their best.


To catch and prioritize information is important for productivity for people with ADD.  In tackling this first step of containing information, there are an array of options such as low tech post it notes, spiral notebooks, the planner pad (www.plannerpad.com), Levenger CIRCA notebooks (www.levenger.com), and technology such as www.evernote.com.  Establishing your personal system and working it are important.   Keep practicing with your system for a minimum of 21 days for your system to become a habit. 


Once captured, prioritizing what is critical to success is important.  Making decisions can be one of the biggest challenges facing a person with ADD. First the decision is what is important and what is not.  Keeping everything on the list is a way of not deciding.  Decisions can be formulated by simple and consistent rules that synchronize with personal goals and mission.  With prioritizing as the key, it is important to go beyond making lists.  A list can start out as a “brain dump” and then it can be refined. After making the list, create a short, 3 task Most Important Things list.  This leads to accomplishment, working toward a goal and feel productive for the day.  If it is exceedingly difficult to define tasks, enlist the help of an accountability partner or coach to keep on track and be authentic in aligning your goals and tasks. 



Procrastination affects even the most linear thinking right brain people (professional organizers!) and there are strategies to help you make simple shifts to change.  Sometimes procrastination can take on a life of its own. It brings on worry, depression, regret, and stress and has the power to reduce people’s ability to function normally.  The first step in moving forward it recognizing what is most difficult about productivity  or the task itself.  Is it the spot where you work? Is it the work itself? Is it working by yourself? Here are some ways to get started thinking about procrastinating.

Set up a distraction free, reminder rich environment.  Think through where you work best with an appropriate chair, desk and space.  Do you need soft music, good lighting, or any other options?  Is your space in your home or out? Reminders can take the form of post it notes, 3X5 cards, or a task list on  your PDA.    

Establish priorities.  You may be busy with low priority tasks, for example pruning the hedges instead of working on your presentation that is due the next day!  Prioritizing is the first step to being more effective day to day.  Part of prioritizing is making manageable, short lists with a “do-able number” to ensure success. 

Commit to what is important by slotting tasks on a calendar. This sounds simple but this exercise cements the task in your mind which is important when you struggle with focus and time.  Set “mini deadlines” and add rewards to keep you moving toward your goals by delaying gratification until completion.


Sometimes it takes more than the space or time to complete a task.  Find a partner to discuss the steps and be accountable to completing.  Accountability can be done with texting, telephone or a quick email.  Loving accountability makes you more successful.  


So what do professional organizes procrastinate about?  For me it was being the committee chair of a national committee. Once I had calendared the dates for significant events, committed to working on baby steps in the process, and finding partners that helped me in the process, it all proceeded well. 

What do you procrastinate about?

Have you uncovered the cause?









Gigi Day

As an organizer, it is important to me to to prioritize. And nothing is more of a priority to me than my family and relationships. Last year, I started having Gigi Day with my grandkids.  Why Gigi Day? I am called Gigi by my grandkids and 2 of them live nearby.  Every Friday I spend the day having fun with them.  What do we do? It can be as simple as a trip to the park, the zoo or Children’s Museum. Some time it is playing hide and seek.  It is my way of spending time with them every week just to be a part of their everyday lives.  

Each summer my other grandchild comes to visit for several weeks and it is our time to spend with him.  As a far away grandparent, we are thrilled to have him play with his big wheel on the driveway, color or play with trucks.   This is time that is priceless, super valuable and incredibly important!   

These times are my small but important ways to do what is most valuable to me.   The greatest gift is time spent together, not the stuff you can buy. 

Think about what your family shares. How do you spend time together? Do you have family dinner and time to have fun? Listed here are some Houston links  for family fun. 








 What family fun are you sharing this week?

Date Night

When asked to give advice to newlyweds, I always answer to include a weekly Date Night in their activities. Daily life takes it toll on relationships, when conversations about finances, kids and work can take priority over relationships.  Date night is one evening (or day) once a week spent having fun with your spouse.  It is a time to connect on different levels, including communicating about what you are thinking about as well as making plans for the future.  It is also the time to renew the fun you had when you began your relationship.  Date night does not have to be expensive or elegant. It can be a dinner and movie in or out, ice cream at Sonic, a trip to a museum or zoo, or whatever simple activity you both enjoy.  Date night keeps communication and fun in your most important partnership. This is just another way your planner  help you prioritize and  empower our relationships. 


Others agree too! http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/main/6544045.html


JQ and my favorite date night is dinner and a movie.  What is your’s?