Four Rules for Priority-Setting
As you think about what you want to achieve in the New Year, consider these four rules for priority setting laid down by the original management guru Peter Drucker in his seminal The Effective Executive (1966; my summary):
Courage rather than analysis dictates the truly important rules for identifying priorities:
- Pick the future as against the past;
- Focus on opportunity rather than on problems;
- Choose your own direction—rather than climb on the bandwagon; and
- Aim high, aim for something that will make a difference, rather than for something that is “safe” and easy to do.
How to Develop a Vision for 2020?
The first thing to do before thinking too far ahead in the future is to identify what success really means to you. Ask yourself, “It’s 31-Dec-2020 and the year 2020 is almost over. I am getting ready to celebrate the turn of the year with a tremendous sense of accomplishment. What have I achieved?”
Visualize a year 2020 wherein everything has turned out the way you’ve wanted. You have given it your best, worked your hardest, and achieved all your goals. Now write down what you imagine.
Take the time to think through and develop a clear picture of where you want yourself and your work- and personal lives to be in three months, six months, and one year.
This exercise is generally effective at helping folks differentiate between tasks that simply feel urgent or top-of-mind from those that are truly important.
Idea for Impact: Getting clear on your vision will help you create a path that feels the most meaningful, stimulating, and fulfilling to you.