Day 3 — Don’t Prioritize, Categorize!

Your brain was not wired to prioritize, because your understanding of how things work is that everything is important. You see patterns. You understand data generated by life decisions, and it is easier for you to draw insights that others cannot easily perceive. You know exactly how one event led to another. You can retrace your steps to an activity you performed months ago, and know exactly how your life would have been different if you did it the next day.

Your approach to execution of tasks is not geared towards completion, it is geared towards optimization. Is this the best use of my time? Can I do this another day? Is there anything else I can do right now that would make my life much more amazing? And therein lies the problem, what you believe will make your life much more amazing might just be a fantasy that may be difficult to achieve. This is why instead of taking out the trash, you prefer to call a slacking mentee to ask how they are doing, because you think the ultimate responsibility for their success lies squarely on your shoulders. No, it doesn’t.

Categorize: Because you are not wired to do one thing at a time — a basic premise of prioritization. If you do one thing at a time, even when you are on drugzzz, you will feel like your life is not optimized and you will be unhappy. After categorization, you will feel better about letting things go. The traditional prioritization system makes you feel like shit when you let things go. Cue depression.

How do you categorize? Block out a time to tackle all fun tasks. Block out a period to tackle all due boring tasks. Block out a time to tackle all urgent tasks. Block out a time to tackle all important and boring tasks. Block out a time for cleaning the house, taking out trash, and doing a Home Depot run. Block out a time for calling non-relatives (like your mentee).

Before you start blocking, know that you need a system that helps you see everything you need to do from a bird’s eye view, and then allows you to easily categorize everything you want to do. From there you can group tasks together and it will be easier for you to decide which group of tasks is more important than which other group. After categorization, unleash your hyperfocus superpower and watch what happens.

Do not fucking separate work tasks and personal tasks. Why? Because separating them means you will forget about one, and slacking in one will lead to inner turmoil and fuck up your ability to function correctly in the other.

Don’t use a todo list. Todo lists are for mere mortals. Use a grid or a quadrant. See suggestions below. Like I always say, experiment like crazy, and find what works for you.

Eisenhower/Covey Quadrant
Docemo Quadrant
Use Trello to translate your group of tasks into a grid of tasks so you can see everything categorized from a bird’s eye view