Prioritizing Tasks for the New Year

Here it is, the new year, and I bet you will soon list a bunch of goals and to-dos for 2022. Not a bad idea!

But this year, I encourage you to get realistic about how you set their priorities. There are right ways and wrong ways to prioritize to-dos. Do it wrong, and the list won’t get done—it will just be another bust on your new year’s resolutions.

Your success will be significantly higher if you use MYN and 1MTD principles to prioritize that list.

First: Limit Your High Priorities

The first error is putting too many items into the high-priority section. I understand why we do it—we’re all loaded with important to-dos.

But the problem is, if everything is a high priority, then nothing is!

Both MYN and 1MTD solve that by limiting the visible critical list to 5 items maximum. And in MYN you schedule and hide many items to a later date when you’ll have more bandwidth. Consider doing the same with portions of your New Year’s list.

Next: Limit Use of Deadlines

The second error is to put deadlines on too many tasks. Some people even add a deadline to every task, and that’s wrong!

I totally understand why we do this—we think a date commitment will help us focus. 

But overusing deadlines leads to too many tasks having fake deadlines. And that leads to us losing respect for the deadlines we write down—we just skip them when the deadline arrives.

Both MYN and 1MTD have built-in approaches that solve that.

Use Urgency Zones

The main approach is using urgency zones to classify tasks in both MYN and 1MTD. These zones have distinct timeframes built in. For example, the Critical Now zone is for tasks that you must do today. The Opportunity Now zone holds tasks you’d like to do soon—either today or in the next ten days or so. And the Over-the-Horizon zone stores tasks that can wait quite a while.

Using these urgency zones, you avoid putting deadlines on most tasks. Rather, you simply sort tasks into these zones using managed approaches—and task timeframes are now defined.

But of course, some tasks do have true deadlines—indicate them if so. But don’t make up deadlines just to pace your work. Rather, use start dates to do that.

Use Start Dates

In MYN we assign start dates to all tasks. Doing that defines when you want to consider starting a task. Start dates allow you to hide tasks to the future. It’s a fantastic way to time-pace your work without creating false deadlines. And it keeps the list you examine daily pared down in size.

To use start dates effectively, however, you’ll need to advance from the simple 1MTD system to the more advanced MYN system.

Start Managing Your Tasks this Year

These features (and many more) of 1MTD and MYN offer proven methods of focus. They prevent your list from becoming bloated and discouraging yet provide the tools you need to manage a long list of tasks—and to complete them over time.

So, when you create your list for 2022, create it in either a 1MTD or MYN to-do list. By doing that, you really will complete your goals this year.

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