How to prioritize the steps needed to reach your goal

How many times have you decided to do something and set yourself a goal, then got overwhelmed with the things you needed to do, not knowing what to do first, second, third, and so on…. then just gave up on the whole idea altogether?

If you’ve done that, then this is for you!

I’m going to show you a very simple, very easy-to-use tool to use every time you set a goal for yourself.

It’s a prioritizing tool – the Prioritizing Matrix.

It works like this….

Write down your goal, then make a list of all the things you need to do, obtain, and learn to reach that goal. Just one big long list. Don’t worry about what order you need to do them in, and don’t get hung up on details, just get them all written down in one place, on one list. Don’t edit or restrict yourself, just write.

Now that you’ve got that list, take another sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle, top to bottom. Draw another line across the middle, from side to side. You now have a sheet of paper divided into four sections.

The Names we’re going to use for the four sections:

High Level, Immediate Impact
High Level, Long-Term Impact
Low Level Impact But Would Like To Do
No Impact & Unnecessary

Here is a Prioritizing Matrix blank worksheet with the four sections you can download and use if you prefer.

Taking your list, transfer each item from it into one of the four sections.

If you think an item might fit into more than one section, sit with it for a moment and really think about the outcome of doing that one item; then check to see which of the four sections is a better fit.

Now that you have this done, it’s time to start on the items.

You want to concentrate primarily on the first two sections, both of the High Level sections. But first, start on the items that are in the High Level, Immediate Impact section. These items will get the ball rolling. You’ll see some results right away which will give you motivation to keep going.

As you start on those items, start adding in items from the High Level, Long-Term Impact section. These items interspersed with the High Level, Immediate Impact items will start to build and you’ll see the results a little further along but not so far that there’s a gap.

By intermingling these two sections, you’ll avoid that slump where you see fantastic results immediately but then nothing happens for a long time. This is when most people will give up. Without any visible or measurable results, the motivation to continue falls away.

The third section, Low Impact But Would Like To Do, if there are steps in there, either wait until you’re seeing steady results, or give them a very low priority, doing them only after you’ve done the steps in the first two sections if you have the time.

The last section is pretty much self explanatory. If there is no impact at all and it isn’t necessary, try to eliminate it.

You’re probably thinking, then why is it even on my list? Maybe it was suggested by someone who had the same goal and it worked for them, but it just isn’t going to work for you. Maybe it was something you thought would work, but on deeper consideration, you decided it would have no impact. Maybe it’s something you assumed you should do until you looked at the bigger picture. Or maybe it’s something you want to do but it doesn’t contribute to the overall goal.

Give the Prioritizing Matrix a try the next time you’re struggling with one of your goals and feeling overwhelmed. The more you can simplify the process, the easier it is to stay on track and in control.

Download the Prioritizing Matrix guide, and don’t forget the Prioritizing Matrix blank worksheet. Keep it simple, keep it clear, and you’ll reach all of your goals!

If you’re struggling with using the Prioritizing Matrix at all, shoot me an email, I’ll be happy to help you out.

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