Ninja Prioritizing: Filters for Work and Home


The month of May at work means more than we can do, competing demands, deadlines, and beautiful aspirations and ambitions. For parents of school-aged kids, it also means special events, concerts, permission slips, sports, exams, graduations, teacher gifts, a seasonal change of wardrobe, and a longing to get outside.  

With practiced filters, our LeaderMom panelists skillfully check and reset priorities to make savvy moment-to-moment decisions about how to use their energy and engage others to add value.

Getting incrementally better at prioritizing has lots of benefits. Stepping out of the auto-pilot busyness and emotional drama enables us to “get to the balcony” and see the whole. With that kind of broader perspective, our decision making improves.

On the work front, here are a 7 powerful filters that our LeaderMom panelists and their better bosses recommend when you review your to-do list.

  1. Will this make a difference?” If not, it goes on the back burner.

  2. What happens if this doesn’t get done?” If nothing worthwhile, let it go.

  3. To what extent is this task in tune with the overarching business priorities of my group and company?
    How can I align my decision making regarding what to focus on with those priorities?”

  4. How much will this matter in 3 months, 1 year, or 3 years from now?”

  5. What can I delegate? Who on my team can reasonably handle this task?”

  6. Which will I regret more, doing it or not doing it?” With discretionary work like work dinners, optional trips, and overtime.

  7. Can we negotiate expectations on this?

And on the home front, here are a couple of our favorites.

  1. Be there for the bluebirds – the moments your family will remember.

    “There will always be another important meeting or conference call. There will never me another dance recital for a 5-year old dressed as a bluebird. Years from now, colleagues will not remember that you missed that meeting or call. You and your family will remember the bluebird.”

  2. Seek “this and not that” guidance rather than assume everything is important to them or that you can be everywhere. Life is full of tradeoffs between competing goods. Let’s model making those tradeoffs with skill and consideration of others.

    Moms will do what is important to their children and their families. To the degree that children and spouses articulate, ‘this and not that’ is important. My son will tell me, ‘I don’t need you to come to the award ceremony, but I do want you to come to my game…I am pitching…”

What works for you?

Kaitlin Hershey