Possibility vs. Priority

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I recently went through a long phase of feeling overwhelmed and inadequate by all the things that I needed to do – but could never manage to get done.

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Struggling to understand, over time two things became clear: I was confusing possibilities with priorities; and wasting too much time on email.

Here’s how I changed: I stopped writing a lot of email. I went back to communicating in person or over the phone whenever I could. The less email I wrote, the less I had to respond to. Unless I was asked a direct question, I didn’t automatically hit the “Reply” button. And, as hard as it is, I stopped checking email constantly. A lot of things don’t need an immediate answer.

I also stopped filling up my daily and weekly lists with every item I wanted to do or felt I needed to do. By late Friday afternoon (or Saturday morning) I was still trying to catch-up. Now, in my planner I list a priority for the week and two or three tasks a day to support it.

My long lists of “To-Dos” never allowed enough time to handle unexpected problems and requests. These incidents often present the best opportunities for the company. I make addressing these requests a priority when they come along.

One thought on “Possibility vs. Priority

  1. I also discovered recently how thoroughly email was distracting me from my work and disrupting my efficiency. Now I structure my day to have times when I check my email; the rest of the day the application is completely shut down. Well, it’s more of a goal than a current state! But it helps a lot to keep email closed!

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