Tag Archives: tasks

Merlin Mann on Priorities

Mud Rooms, Red Let­ters, and Real Pri­or­i­ties | 43 Fold­ers

Mak­ing some­thing a BIG RED TOP TOP BIG HIGHEST #1 PRIORITY changes noth­ing but text styling. If it were real­ly impor­tant, it’d already be done. Peri­od. Think about it.

Exam­ple. When my daugh­ter falls down and screams, I don’t ask her to wait while I grab a list to deter­mine which of sev­en notion­al lev­els of “pri­or­i­ty” I should assign to her need for instan­ta­neous care and affec­tion. Every­thing stops, and she gets tak­en care of. Con­verse­ly — and this is real­ly the impor­tant part — every­thing else in the uni­verse can wait.

Day One Bud­dhism.

Because, once you see what’s real­ly there — once you know about an idea or a thing or a per­son or what­ev­er that you’d reject 10,000 oth­er things to pro­tect and nur­ture — you’ve found your pri­or­i­ty. And, con­se­quent­ly, you’ve dis­cov­ered a bunch of oth­er things that aren’t allowed to be pri­or­i­ties any more. Even in spir­it.

After read­ing David Allen’s book, the whole idea of pri­or­i­tiz­ing tasks makes lit­tle sense to me.1 I love the way Mer­lin Mann puts it; effec­tive, mem­o­rable writ­ing that sticks with me bet­ter than Allen’s.

  1. The same could be said for due dates, at least the way most peo­ple seem to (over)use them.