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In Chapter 2 of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, David Allen spells out the four criteria model for choosing the next thing to do. He says that you choose what to do next based on (in this order) context, time available, energy and priority. In this series of articles, I will explore ways to maximize the criteria so that you always have the most possibility of getting something done.
Priorities are the importance and urgency we attach to things that need to be done. Some priorities are the result of natural needs, and others are artificial. These tips can help you determine the difference:
The Different Types of Priority Sources
Biological priorities result from biological needs.
Natural priorities arise out of familial commitments, dreams and desires. They are centered in items that we have willingly taken on.
Artificial priorities are those items which are imposed upon us.
How To Tell
The easiest way to tell what sort of priorities you are up against is by examining each in the light of the following phrase: “Does this need to be done by me?” By changing the emphasis on the words and looking at the task, you get a clearer picture:
- does THIS need to be done by me (is it the right thing to do?)
- does this NEED to be done by me (is it really essential?)
- does this need to be done by ME (is it in line with what I need to do?)
By examining each of these questions, you can see if the priority on an item is in line with where it should be for your life. And if it isn’t, you can take steps to change the priority or get it off your lists entirely. This should leave you with a smaller list of items that make it easier to get through.