Forum

  • If you are new to these Forums, please take a moment to register using the fields above.

Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Is "Priority" helpful or harmful?

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Is "Priority" helpful or harmful?

    I'm using the fabulous iGTD application on my Mac to implement the GTD column. There's a priority column in it, and I've been using it somewhat. I think it's actually decreasing my productivity. I spend a lot of time trying to order the list according to priority, which doesn't seem to work well and can be distracting. I remember David saying that prioritized lists aren't often very useful - and my experience bears this out - but I can't seem to get away from it.

    Perhaps I just need to take the high priority items and put them on my calendar with a due date.

    I'm wondering what you all think?

  • #2
    You are right, according to the system in the GTD book as I understand it there is no formal sorting by priority. The list has no order and you just scan it and pick things off based on the recommended criteria (time, energy, importance).

    However, I come to GTD from a prioritized system (Franklin) and find it hard to give up. I use an electronic list that is easily rearranged. I informally order the items roughly by priority so that as I scan down the list from the top, I hit the most important items first. This just seems efficient to me. Or I can just work down the list in order. I do not assign a priority code. If I had a list on paper, I would probably not bother to order them.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by switters View Post
      I'm using the fabulous iGTD application on my Mac to implement the GTD column. There's a priority column in it, and I've been using it somewhat. I think it's actually decreasing my productivity. I spend a lot of time trying to order the list according to priority, which doesn't seem to work well and can be distracting. I remember David saying that prioritized lists aren't often very useful - and my experience bears this out - but I can't seem to get away from it.

      Perhaps I just need to take the high priority items and put them on my calendar with a due date.

      I'm wondering what you all think?
      Great question! I'm also interested in other people's answers.

      I use the priority flag in Outlook. It is just on or off priority rather than a graded priority which I agree can lead to timewasting. I remember this from when I used a Palm.

      I like being able to tag items as priority and then view a new list of only priority items to work though in a period of time, or to print out. It seems to work for me very well, although I have steadily gone from a complex GTD system to ever more simpler, so maybe a "no priorities" list is the next step! One can always learn from people who do things different.

      Comment


      • #4
        I use an "urgent" flag sparingly on my NAs.

        Even with the use of a someday/maybe list I end up with a lot on my NA list and the urgent flag is a helpful pointer as to what I should be working on next. It isn't set in stone, and I still go through the 4 step process of deciding what to do (context, time, engery, priority). The urgent flag just helps me to cut to the chase more quickly.

        Ben.

        Comment


        • #5
          I like the idea of a priority flag, used sparingly, rather than prioritizing every message.

          iGTD (the software program I use to implement the GTD system) has an "effort required" column where you can adjust the amount of effort required for a given task using the + and - signs. I've requested a similar "time required" column, and I believe the developer will include it. So, in the near future, I should be able to sort NAs by effort and time required as well as context. This is consistent with DA's "Four-criteria model for choosing actions in the moment", and seems like a natural way for me to plan my day.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by benengel View Post
            I use an "urgent" flag sparingly on my NAs.
            I do this too. Because occasionally some things are more important, urgent, or both-- but I want to avoid prioritizing, because I've found that I:

            Originally posted by switters View Post
            spend a lot of time trying to order the list according to priority, which doesn't seem to work well and can be distracting.
            So the (sparing!) use of an "urgent" flag has been helpful to me.

            Comment


            • #7
              I like this article: GTD: Priorities don’t exist in a vacuum

              Comment


              • #8
                When I was using Outlook, I used the priority flag and ended up spending more time setting priorities then actually doing an item. It was like I got obsessed with each item being described correctly vs. just getting the item done! After I read GTD and realized that I don't have to fool around with priorities, it was like a breath of fresh air! Priorities change so often and quickly for me that in my case, priorities were more of a hinderence than a help.

                Comment

                Working...
                X