Second Key To An Effective Day

Second Key To Be Effective

#2: Identify Your Top Priorities 

Why overwhelm yourself with a long list that can lead to distraction and discouragement? Instead, on a fresh sheet of paper (or three separate notes or 3×5 cards) write down the top 3 things you need to do. (You’d be happy to get those three things done, wouldn’t you!?!) Park the rest in another place: a notebook, planner, computer document, or whatever (a topic for another time). Give the most weight to what moves you closer to your goals. Remove anything that someone else can or should do.

Remember Stephen Covey’s time quadrants:

  1. Urgent and Important-must be done!
  2. Important, but not urgent (often those things that will move you toward your goals, and are too easy to postpone. Better schedule time for those.
  3. Urgent but not important (often someone else’s priority pressuring you).
  4. Not urgent, not important-eliminate entirely, or save them for your “off” time for fun or relaxation.


Number your top 3 in order of importance and you will have prioritized your work. Focus on the first one until you have finished it or made significant progress. (See #4 Focus below). Take a break, then do the same with the second one, and so on.  If you do your top 1, 2 or 3 consider the day a success!

This approach is much less distracting than looking at a big list, making it easier to stay focused on one thing at a time. We’ll talk more about focus in Key #4.

Did you read Key #1? Feel free to check it out at or would you like ALL 5 Keys To An Effective Day now?  If you are on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the page.  Otherwise, look to your right for the 5 Keys.


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