Learning to Prioritize


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Did you know that we ADD Moms have trouble prioritizing? It’s true. We have a hard time deciding which of the 4,632 things we have to do is the most important because we don’t have a very good filtering system that helps us figure that out.

Or sometimes we want to wait until we can do it perfectly, so then we don’t do it at all. It’s so important that it needs perfection and we won’t touch it until we can provide it.

The good news is that you can learn to prioritize, and with a little practice, it won’t be so hard.

Now before we get started, anything that involves fire or bodily fluids almost always takes priority over everything else. OK?

Now having said that, this is how I prioritize:

I start by making a mind map of everything that I have to do. You can do this with a dump list too. I just find that the mind map makes it easier for me to get things down on paper because since it’s basically a drawing, there’s no order to it. (That graphic I did the other day for my coaching program is a kind of mind map, although it’s a bit more ordered than most.)

A list, even a randomly written one, still seems somewhat ordered to me. I’m inclined to start and the top and look for things to do when actually something more important might be at the bottom.

So after I finish my mind map, I go through and look at each item. Anything with an upcoming due date, like a bill or appointment, gets a star next to it.

Then I look for tasks that I need to do.

This is where it gets hard.

Let’s say your list includes making an appointment at the vet for the dog, deciding what to make for dinner, doing a load of laundry, and tackling some work you brought home from the office.

What’s most important?

Let’s start with what you can eliminate or put on pause. Making the appointment? Yes, you can put that off, but only for so long. The same with the dinner and laundry. Eventually they will have to get done.

Can you pause the work you brought home from the office? In theory, you can. Work should be done at work and not at home. Could you go in a little early or hold your calls or work during lunch to get caught up?

If you can do one of those things, then the work is scheduled for tomorrow at work as your most important task.

So now you have vet appointment, dinner, and laundry.

Can someone else handle those things for you? It depends on your household situation, but a lot of times, yes. You could delegate those jobs to someone else.

Let’s say you have no one to delegate to, so you have to do all three.

Now in reality, these three are pretty poor examples, but it was the best I could come up with. The truth is that you could call the vet while you throw in a pile of laundry and have dinner simmering on the stove.

That’s what we do all the time, right?

So let’s up the ante a bit.

The dog is sick. There’s no clean underwear for anyone, and dinner is past due and everyone is past hungry. What comes first?

In this case I would say dinner, dog, and laundry in that order. Put out the biggest fires first. Now remember what I said about bodily fluids? Applies to dogs too. In that case, everyone gets some sort of edible thing thrown at them while we drive to the vet.

Oh and don’t forget there’s always another option: just don’t do it.


Take a look at what’s on your list and see if anything there is something you agreed to do for someone else.

If so, do two things.

First, cross them off your list.

And second, call that person and explain that something has come up and you are sorry but you can no longer do that thing for them.

Will they get mad?


But look at it this way: maybe they’ll think you are completely unreliable and never ask you to do anything again. 😉

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Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle is the writer of Lacyestelle.com and the Podcast host for An ADD Woman.

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