Creating Your Sanctuary

How to Prioritize

May 31, 2023 Katie Sanders Episode 117
Creating Your Sanctuary
How to Prioritize
Show Notes Transcript

How to do you choose the items on your to-do list for the day?

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00:03 Hi, this is Katie and thank you for joining me on the My Senses, My Space podcast. And this is a podcast about feeling the world intensely, creating time to evaluate your needs, and planning your space and life to fit you.
00:18 And yes, sometimes, I put a W in evaluate. And on this episode, please don't mind any background noise. My husband and son are playing video games and this was the only time I could record this.
00:36 So let's get started. Today I wanted to talk about, how to prioritize your day and your tasks and what you're doing.
00:46 So to try to keep this as simple as possible, I'm not going to go over every single method, but I want to give you some ideas on like if you're in total overwhelm mode, but you know, Oh, that you have the energy to start on something.
01:05 This is a way to select the things that you're going to step into and do next. So the very first thing to do is really to get everything out of your head.
01:16 Do a brain dump get it all out on paper. Sometimes people can go to the wind. Unless you have really good ones.
01:43 So consider that. But then having like just a big sheet in your notebook that has them all written down and then transferring later, transferring them later can really be great because sometimes they do get lost in the shuffle.
02:01 And you still have, you know, your brain dump to refer to after you do this. So you're looking at all these tasks, right?
02:12 You're looking like, Oh, this is all the things that were in my head. These are things that I need to do today or tomorrow or in a week or in a month.
02:21 Or in five years from now, right? Like it can run the whole spectrum of what you're trying to achieve. So what do you do?
02:32 So one of the good, great places to start is to say, what's your energy level today? Okay, I. You could answer this a little later on, but really like really asking yourself, okay, how tired am I today?
02:49 Did I get enough rest? Have I pulled my resources of like eating a good meal of, you know, getting ready for the day?
03:00 Do I have the spoon? Do I have the spoon? Do I have the spoon? Do I have the spoon? And this can be like, well, I would need to start the task in order to kind of see that.
04:09 But I think we can do some preliminary work to keep it hands off, but still know like looking at a task, Wait a minute, I don't know how to do the first step.
04:22 At all. I need to find a YouTube video. So it's, this is not the time to go and find that video.
04:28 This is the time to write next to that task, find YouTube video, because that's actually your first step. Another question to ask, do I need to ask someone else some questions about.
04:43 This next task, is it a project that's involving more than one person? Do you need to catch up and see where the rest of the group is?
04:51 Do you need to talk to your partner or friend and go, Hey, what's our next step on this? Cause you may say in your tasks, I'm going to.
05:03 To get further along in this project. It may be that generic, but what is that? What does further along mean?
05:11 And I'm going to get to like, let's get down to specifics here in a moment. It's, do I need to touch in, you know, touch base with someone, check in with someone, see.
05:23 See what those next steps are because you may not know, you may need an update, an external update from someone outside of your brain to go, this is where we're at.
05:37 Because you don't See what those next steps are because you may not know, you may not know, this is where I'm behind on something.
05:46 I mean a lot of times we know what we need to do for that project. But sometimes it's good to just check in if it's been a little while and see, okay, am I on track with this?
05:57 Did anything change? Another question to ask is what does this look like when it's done? This is a really important task, well really important question to ask for a task.
06:12 Because having that really clear vision of well the report's done when it has five paragraphs on here. The email's done when I address these three items with this person.
06:25 This art piece is done when I have these elements on here. And if I need more time, I know that because art can be subjective, it can be a very feeling thing where you're creating and you have a timer going on or some kind of like, I'm gonna give this two hours, I'm gonna work on this and seeing
06:47 at the end of those two hours, is it close to where you want it to be finished? But you still have that end goal in mind.
06:55 You kind of have this picture in your mind of like, okay, this is what it's going to look like, especially for people who are visual.
07:03 This is a huge thing, huge thing. And we may need to ask more questions to see what the final version does look like.
07:15 Maybe we have an interpretation of, oh, this just needs to be one paragraph and another person's like, I expected a page.
07:23 So again, it's like connecting with other people, making sure that what does done look like? So another one is how can this fit within a day, within your energy, within.
07:40 So the last and capacity, which were on either side of, so it's load, balance. And then I said, well, let's reframe balance because balance doesn't exist to focus.
08:00 And then capacity. So these can work in tandem with what we're exactly talking about here. Load is like taking that brain dump.
08:08 These are all the things that are on my shoulders. Focus is deciding what you're wanting to do and then that capacity of what am I actually able to do in that day.
08:20 So how can these things that you've chosen or try. How can they fit within your day? Is there one that actually cannot fit in your day?
08:31 Like you may wish and want to have it happen today, but it's possible. There's no way to fit it within your day.
08:39 Maybe there's an hour commute and back to get to that thing or to finish that. Maybe, yeah, it's an art project that's going to take three hours today and two hours tomorrow, and there's no way to do it when you gotta pick up one of your children.
08:54 Maybe it's that you need to go and grab supplies today or a supply is out and you're not going to be able to start it today.
09:04 So you need to revisit. Tomorrow. And that brings it to like dependencies. Do you have, do any of these tasks depend on another person or supply or some outside, something outside yourself that is dictating how this project is going to be done.
09:23 This task is going to be done. Especially if it's like a supply that you do not have, you're going to be dependent on whenever that supply arrives.
09:34 Maybe you are waiting for some information from someone else in order to do the next part of the task. And so that's not a today problem, right?
09:43 You have to wait. But you could like send an email to someone or check in with someone or check in on that supply and do a quick check in before you're putting things on your task list to see if that thing is available or if that information is available so that you can move forward.
10:04 But you're not going to be able to do it. If it's dependent on someone else. Now on the flip side of that is someone else depending on you.
10:12 I love to try to go through all my my brain dump that's in front of me and think If I get this one thing out does it allow someone else to keep rolling on it so that I can move on to something that I need to focus on.
10:31 So anything that I can think of of it's like you know playing tennis right. If I can lob the ball back and have them have it for a little while and work on something I feel like really good like everything's still moving.
10:47 But I'm not having to do the work right. But I love that other people can work on things while I'm still busy with other tasks.
10:56 But I do prioritize those things so the earlier that I can get them to them the more time that they have to do a really good job on it too so they're not doing a rush job.
11:07 The other thing are due dates. Like, what are the due dates on these things? Sometimes they're your own personal projects and you assign your own due dates to them and they can become fuzzy.
11:20 But other things can be very high priority where the night before you're like, oh my goodness, I need to call.
11:28 The pharmacy about my daughter's medication, you know? And so the first thing that you do when you wake up, that's going to be your 8am call, right?
11:39 Your 9am call. First thing on your list and, and in some areas this is like doing your most important thing.
11:47 This is called. Eating the frog. It's whatever it is. That very high priority thing. Sometimes it can be the hardest thing if you don't have like a very urgent thing.
11:57 But you know right away like this has to be on my list today. There is no choice about it. This deadline is today.
12:06 Or even hours. Away. But then let's look at the other deadlines as well. Is it something that has a week to it?
12:17 Is it a longer project that needs maybe multiple check-ins? And then having like milestones within that saying okay I need to plan.
12:28 And this whole vacation with my family. We have three different families involved. So how do we coordinate? And get all the payments done, all the reservations, all the planning of how we're going to get there, logistics, all that stuff.
12:44 How is this going to come together? You're not going to do it. We're going to have to have some milestones.
12:52 This is when the deposits are required. This is when we need to confirm flights. This is when we need to confirm, well, dates are first usually.
13:02 And this is going to be, you know, our eating plan, what restaurants, what food that we need. And then this is the day we leave, right?
13:12 So there's all these milestones along the way. And being accountable for those individual, individual milestones is really important. So having a plan to check in with certain people at certain times, even if it's really rough, even if there's only two milestones, maybe three, it can be very, very simple
13:34 . And it can be a very small project as well. If it helps you to check in with someone, if you find yourself much more able to complete things that way, kind of like a body doubling or just being accountable to somebody, then yeah, do it.
13:54 You know? And so having those, looking to see what those milestones are and seeing if any one of those milestones are due today or tomorrow will.
14:09 Dictate, oh okay, I need to make more progress on that whole project. Because that's coming up. So again, due dates, whether it's just a hard deadline for one thing, whether it's a long project, whether it's an emergency thing that just popped up that you had no idea was about to pop up.
14:29 That day those things happen, but knowing what those deadlines are and having some buffer room around that will allow you to kind of go, oh, there's this emergency thing that just came through.
14:42 Let me tend to that. Another thing is going by your values, like looking at your. Brain dump and going, okay, these are the things I really have to do.
14:56 These are the things that I should do. These are the things I could do. And these are the things I won't do.
15:03 So you can organize these and say like, there's a bunch on here. It just may never happen. Ever. Like, it's good to get them on paper because maybe you're wondering about them.
15:18 Like, oh, it'd be really nice to schedule, you know, I don't know. You can make up whatever thing it is to schedule this one thing.
15:26 Like, I want to go paint one of those in that. Like, maybe re- enter a qualified your Mario, X, Mid- things.
15:51 So I know that I can go to that list when I'm like, okay, I need a break, I've been working too hard, let's schedule some fun things on there.
15:59 But it's not something I'm going to schedule today, and this week doesn't look like the best week to do something like that.
16:06 So it's not something I should be constantly looking at in the brain dump going. Oh, I need to do that because you don't, you don't actually have to, but it's like really nice to do something.
16:17 So like, you should have fun, right? You really should have fun. But does it need to be like the third priority thing on your list for the day?
16:32 Also knowing that anything that you're saying yes to within the day, whatever you're putting on your list, you actually are saying no to other things.
16:41 Now it might seem like, well, but I'm always pulling from my brain dump. I'm always having to go through all these things and eventually I get them all done and I re- So I re- I'm constantly re-filling my brain dump.
16:54 But I think the invisible part to all of this is that there are things you're saying no to every day.
17:01 There are opportunities that are kind of coming into your life that you have to say no to that day because of the things that are on your list.
17:10 It's just virtually impossible to say yes to everything. So even if it's like delayed, meaning like, okay, well, maybe you have to do your taxes, right?
17:21 So you go, okay, I'm gonna do them Saturday. And I'm just gonna get them done. But then they don't get done that day.
17:27 So they moved to Sunday and then they moved Monday and maybe they're doing, do Tuesday, you know? If you planned on doing them Saturday and getting them done, it's okay to estimate and go, well, my estimation was totally off.
17:41 I need to do these other things. But the things that you had planned for Sunday and Monday and into Tuesday, you had to say no to say no to say no to do.
17:51 Some of those things had to say no to some of your rest time to maybe spending time with a family member or like friends or something.
18:02 And so some of those things that really do help you live your life of relaxation, of doing fun, you're saying, no to because of this project.
18:15 Now I'm not saying that, you know, you can just go off and do something else, but you still have these to-do's to-do.
18:24 But figuring out a way of like asking for help, hiring someone. Making a plan to work on things more in advance so you have more time and chunk them down, so make them smaller into smaller pieces.
18:41 So you can do them having those milestones, looking at it much differently so that you're not waiting till the last minute.
18:49 And that can be hard to do. But I've helped a lot of people do this, but it's a way to kind of look at a big project that you're trying to squish into a small amount of time and end up saying no to some things, looking at it differently for next time, right?
19:07 Like you're not going to be able to do much when you're up to the deadline. And saying, okay, I'm going to next time this comes around, give myself more time, more accountability more milestones, more understanding of what each part looks like when done.
19:28 And let's come back to the sticky. So sticky. These are, I think, really pretty popular because they allow our plans to be fluid.
19:40 They allow our plans to move around and understand, like just for instance, if you do like an evening food plan.
19:51 So like all of the day. I'm constantly moving around like, oh, let's have this for dinner. Like I have a bunch of meals for the week, but the particular day that they fall on, a lot of people have opinions about which meals should be on which day.
20:11 And I'm just. Saying like within my family and maybe someone doesn't want to have a meal that's very similar to the one that we had last night.
20:21 So it's like, well, you know, if you defrost meat, I'm getting into the weeds here a little bit. But sometimes you can do that and sometimes you.
20:32 You can go, oh yeah, let's flop this around. Let's have something else. And it's really nice to have those own stickies and to just move them around.
20:41 And I love the concept of having some sort of like glass frame and putting maybe some kind of calendar behind it and then using the stickies on top of the glass and.
20:52 And using, you know, the calendar behind that as the grid and how to kind of organize everything. But then you can move the stickies around.
21:01 You can move for meals, for events, for any kind of planning that you're doing. You can color code them. You can take things off.
21:13 And replace them and swap things around. It's really such an amazing tool to keep everything right there. Now you can do the same thing in digital apps as well.
21:25 Of things like Trello or even Todoist has kind of a bored way of doing things.. And there's many more out there.
21:34 And I think Asana might even by now and just having a way of moving things around so that when due dates change and priorities change and everything, having this like fluid system, being able to move things around is really beneficial.
21:52 It helps. It, I think it more reflects what real life is and that's how, you know, things happen. Things jump up and our priorities change.
22:03 And so having the ability to go, okay this is what's most important. But something just came up, swap it out.
22:13 And go, okay, I can move that to tomorrow. That's okay. And what is really important to me here, we're getting to the end of it, is having a to-do list that I'm not looking at all the other stuff as well.
22:29 Then I'm really blocking out things that are not. My problem for the day. And I do ask, I'm like, is this today Katie's problem?
22:39 Is that something I should be working on right now? I don't think so. So really having that out of my line of vision altogether helps me so much.
22:51 So I only see my three or five. I have things that I'm focused on for that day. I may, I do find that like having a weekly planner and looking at the week is really beneficial, but if you're just looking at what you're doing for the day, I'm finding I'm using that more and more of like, these are
23:12 the only things. Then I need to focus on for today. So after you've brain dumped, after you've had these decisions of what is the most important thing, is it something that you highly value in your life?
23:29 Is it something that has a deadline? Is it something that's dependent on someone else? All of these things and looking at your own capacity.
23:40 That's why we looked at that first, right? What is your capacity for today and not overloading yourself? It allows you to take the next step.
23:49 Now, if you are feeling stuck. I'm starting into that next step. That's going to be another part podcast. But for today, knowing that you can really dive in and going, okay, now I have my priorities straight.
24:11 Now I have an idea of. What this looks like when it's done. Now I know what the due dates are, what's happening.
24:19 You just get a very clear picture of everything. And then if you are blocked, ask why. Ask why? Why is it?
24:29 And there are no wrong answers here. There's no judgment here. There anything that. What you are feeling is completely valid.
24:37 And again, I do want to go into this more deeply. And I have gone into those in the last few episodes.
24:44 Like what is blocking? What is internally blocking? What is externally blocking? So go back to those. But. If you ask your.
24:54 Stuff. What, what is the feeling that's coming up? Do I feel like it needs to be perfect? Do I feel like it?
25:00 My work's going to be judged? Do I feel like there's no way I can make this deadline and I need to talk to somebody?
25:07 There's a lot of different factors there. But if you don't feel friction. Start at the top. I'll put a list with your first priority and take action.
25:19 So thank you for your leniency on this one. I have an important day tomorrow so I'm trying to get this out as soon as possible.
25:28 And so I may be stumbling over some of my words in this one and thank you for your patience. And until next time, thank you for joining me on the My Senses, My Space Podcast.