It's All About Prioritization

"No one is busy in this world. It is all about priorities." In almost everything we do, prioritization is the key to surviving in today’s fast-paced world. The choices we are presented with to complete an activity, the various roles we play, and the multitude of outcomes expected of us in each role are all mind-boggling. There are survivors, those who thrive in this environment, and there are those who are so overwhelmed and cannot keep pace with the volume of activities and expectations, that they are at risk of giving up. Prioritization is particularly relevant in the software industry right now because being agile is the latest mantra for success at the product and individual level.

So, what is it that differentiates those who have an edge over others? Among many variables, prioritization is the one thing that makes all the difference. Lately, some prominent executives have been commenting that success is all about prioritization. Interestingly, most of these comments are from female executives, which makes sense given that recent research shows that women are biologically more adept at multitasking than men.

Each of us practices prioritization differently—and some more effectively than others. For example, Julie Larson-Green, Chief Experience Officer at Microsoft, explains that her prioritization style is largely based on procrastination, because she works best under time pressure. Whereas Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, has a prioritization style that is more of a coping mechanism given her busy lifestyle.

Optimization is another important prioritization technique when you cannot do everything and have to choose to only take on a few. If you have no choice but to do it all, adopting a prioritization strategy is a great technique, such as easiest first, hardest first, longest first, quickest first, most important first, etc. While it may sound very simple to execute, Marie Forleo talks about understanding the difference between urgent and important in order to enhance your ability to prioritize and stay productive.

At the end of the day, the strategy that works for someone else may not be the one that works for you. Understand that prioritization in anything we do is important. Develop your own strategy to achieve success, and reevaluate your strategy every now and then. While this may sound daunting, over a period of time, you will become so proficient that the prioritization process will happen involuntarily.

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