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Creating Sanity - Getting Clear About Priorities

The first step in prioritizing (or distinguishing important and unimportant events/activities) is learning how to identify events and/or activities according to how vital and urgent they are.

Vital events/activities are necessary for the existence, continuance, or profitability of the organization as well as your personal well-being. In essence, they are of value in performance and business success, as well as the overall quality of your life.

Urgent events/activities are compelling and require immediate action and attention. In essence, they require an immediate behavioral response — which may be action or inaction.

Establishing Priorities

Use the matrix below for distinguishing typical important and unimportant events/activities that you participate in on a regular basis. Use a holistic approach by entering events/activities that are both personal and professional.

Category I. Serenity Vital/Not Urgent
Planned Most Important Events/Activities
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Category II. Upheaval Vital/Urgent
Unplanned Most Important Events/Activities
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Category III. Illusion Not Vital/Urgent
Unplanned Important/Unimportant Events/Activities
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Category IV. Trivial Not Vital/Not Urgent
Routine Unimportant Events/Activities
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Evaluating Priorities

Category I. Green Events Green means go there! Work on green events as much as possible.
Category II. Red Events When facing a red event, stop what you are doing and deal with it now!
Category III. Yellow Events Yellow means caution! Edit these events carefully. Some may have low payoff or value.
Category IV. Gray Events Gray means to avoid these events/activities. Most do not add value for you, your family, or your organization.

View our section on Work Life Balance Section for more information on how to establish work life integration or for more information on how we can assist your organization.

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