The latest book I have been reading is ‘The 4 Hour Work Week” by Timothy Ferris. As with all books, I find that if you can dig out that one piece of advise that applies to you and enables you to improve your life, then the book wasn’t a complete waste of time and money. I have read a lot of management, self-help, financial advise and work improvement type books. There seems to be one central theme that every book eventually pulls out. PRIORITIZATION.
Usually it involves figuring out your goals… and then you prioritize accordingly. As a career project manager, this is my main task. I prioritize and then I re prioritize (for myself, for the project and sometimes for other people who obviously do not understand the concept and have not read the many books that I have)
So what exactly does prioritization mean? I have looked at all sorts of models grids that have impact vs. effort (another way of saying cost vs. value) on the different axis (The Action Priority Matrix) , the 100 point method that involves doling out 100 points between all items (more of a group exercise) or perhaps a method born out of the Agile Development method, DSDM (Must have this, should have this, could have this if it doesn’t affect anything else and Won’t have this time but would like it in the future) All these sound great but the REAL problem is that people simply do not know what they want. If you know what you are trying to achieve (in a project or in life) prioritization becomes a clear and tangible process.
Its not easy to know what you want. In projects, hopefully you have it written down somewhere at the beginning of the process. Yes, of course every once in a while, you have to pull out that sheet of paper and ask around the table, “These were our objectives at the start of the project. Has anything changed?” Clear goals are the key to prioritization. And prioritization is…the key to sanity, success and smooth (project) sailing. I am a master list maker. I love lists and even more, I love lists in order of priority.
Life, however, is not as easy. Rarely do we ever sit with ourselves and go through our goals (unless you are addicted to self-help books) Travelling is a great way to take stock of where we are in our lives and go over our goals and yes…reprioritize. Have you just been blindly following the values that your friends, the media and society have shoved down your throat? Has your life been planned for you…but somehow you weren’t there the day that planning took place?
You know those people who take a vacation come back and quit their jobs? It’s that travel time coming back wondering..what exactly is it that you are coming back for?
Perhaps it’s time we prioritize prioritizing our lives.