Rank Order Your Goals

I’ve had a multi-decade debate with myself about solving one problem at a time or multi-tasking and trying to solve multiple problems concurrently.

After much internal debate, I’ve come to a conclusion that’s a slight hybrid of the two.

The hybrid approach presumes that you know your objectives.

It further presumes that your objectives are rank-ordered. (This is very important.)

So, your priority list should not look like this:

Priorities

  • Do this.
  • Do this other thing.
  • Do that other thing.

It should look like this:

Rank-Ordered Priorities

  1. Do this.
  2. Do this other thing.
  3. Do that other thing.

When you have rank-ordered priorities, I believe you should devote 100% of your resources in a day to achieving your #1 priority up until the point where no further progress can be made for the day.

For example, if you’re working on your #1 project at work, you should devote all of your energy to that project until you get to a point where you need to wait for someone else to do something before you can continue. You might need a client to sign off, need to get board approval, or need data from another department.

Then, and only then, work on your #2 priority until you reach a natural breakpoint for that work.

The same approach works for scheduling your week.

Look at your #1 priority (and there can only be one #1 priority).

Allocate your highest-productivity timeslots to your #1 priority as much as necessary until the point of diminishing returns.

Then, allocate time for your #2 priority as much as necessary to the point of diminishing returns. Then, do the same for the #3 priority.

The same is true for your personal life.

If your career is your #1 priority, your career should get the best hours of your day and week.

If your hobbies are your #1 priority, they should get the best hours of your day and week.

If your family is your #1 priority, they should get the best hours of your day and week.

If your fitness is your #1 priority, it should get the best hours of your day and week.

If you aren’t sure what your rank-ordered priorities are, it’s very simple. Look at where you spend your time.

Whatever you spend the best hours of your day and week doing – that has been your de facto #1 priority.

Now ask yourself, “Does my de facto #1 priority align with my intended #1 priority?”

If it does not, you have a major incongruence between your intentions versus your reality.

In business terms, you aren’t executing day-to-day against your strategic plan.

Either your plan is wrong or how you spend your time is wrong. Either way, it’s worth taking a closer look.

Additional Resources

If you found this post useful, I suggest becoming a registered member (it's free) to get access to the materials I used to pass 60 out of 61 case interviews, land 7 job offers, and end up working at McKinsey.

Members get access to 6 hours of video tutorials on case interviews, the actual frameworks I used to pass my interviews, and over 500 articles on case interviews.

To get access to these free resources, just fill out the form below:

First Name *
Email *

This form collects your name and email so that we can send you login information for the free materials you requested. If you check the Yes button we also will add you to our email list. Check out our Privacy Policy below for details on how we protect and manage your submitted data.

Read Our Privacy Policy


mail
Facebooklinkedin
0 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

[name=inf_field_Email]
[name=inf_field_Email]