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.