Today, I want to talk to you about how to prioritize like a five-year old. So, what do I mean by that?
When it comes to prioritizing your tasks, your projects, your operations, what you want to get done in your business, or what your day is throwing at you, how do you prioritize all the things that are on your plate? You’ve got work tasks, personal tasks, household tasks, or other types of tasks. So, how do you prioritize all that stuff without dropping the ball on key things that need to get done?
In a previous post, How Playing with LEGOs Can Help You Build Your Personal Brand, I talked about my experience in an Agile product owner class where we had an activity using LEGOs. We were building LEGOs based on requirements for a project and how to iteratively build on those requirements to satisfy the customer’s needs.
It was interesting because we were using LEGOs, and my son loves using LEGOs. It was really an eye opener for me to use them in a different context, in a completely different manner, and in the work that I do every day which is doing prioritization as a product owner.
So, that got me thinking about studying a little bit more about how kids, five-year olds, prioritize their tasks…
Watch the video here:
How do 5-year olds prioritize their tasks?
With kids, they don’t necessarily think too deeply about everything else and the whole laundry list that must get done. They’re using first-in-first-out (FiFo) type of Kanban style. Their mindset is, “I’ve got something on top of mind, and I’m going to go and do it”, and that’s it. They’re very focused and one-track mind oriented. They don’t get sidetracked by anything else.
If I’m thinking like a five-year old, I am just picking that one task that I need to do and just getting it done. I’m not thinking too much about all the other stuff that I have on my plate because that’s very inefficient and ineffective. Doing this may lead you to end up spinning in your wheels. Then, an hour goes by and you haven’t got anything done.
So, what can you do to prioritize?
How can you prioritize like a 5-year old?
You’re never going to get prioritization a hundred percent right, and that’s one thing I’ve learned. You’ve got competing tasks and everything, especially in today’s world, is always a priority. If you’re at work, your boss, your boss’s boss, or your peers, there’s always someone coming to you with something that needed to be done yesterday.
So, you just really need to approach your task management and the work that you do with speed of implementation. Tackling tasks as fast as you can is going to be the key to your high velocity and performance. This is thinking like a five-year old. Blocking out everything else that is on your list and just picking that one thing. Focusing with laser-like intention on getting that thing done.
When I watch my son build his LEGOs, it’s like everything else doesn’t matter. He’s focused on just completing the project that he has in his mind. They’re actually some pretty elaborate projects. I have to share them sometime, but essentially, that’s how to prioritize like a five-year old.
How can you apply this in your everyday life?
This is something I’ve been looking at and applying to the day-to-day work that I do. I also do it to help my son be a bit more organized.
My instructor from my Agile class shared what he does to help his son get more organized, and that’s doing daily stand ups. Agile daily stand ups are basically when you talk about what you’ve completed, what you’re working on, and what obstacles or impediments you’ve experienced since the last time you’ve met.
This is what I’m trying to do with my son. I’m trying to get my son to wake up a little bit earlier in the morning, so we can start working on a Kanban board. He loves post-it notes, which we use, so that’s a win-win right there.
I started by listing out a few simple tasks that he needs to get done. It can be homework for that day or making sure he’s got all his stuff together in his book bag before he goes to school. Some simple things for him to start getting that habit of organization and being proactive rather than reactive each morning and seeing how that works. It’s very exciting. I told my son about it. He’s not really sure what that means, but once we start practicing, I’m sure it will be lots of fun.
I hope this has helped you get some ideas and tricks on how you can prioritize your daily tasks. Don’t forget to check out my previous post, especially if you’re interested in learning how LEGOs can help you with planning, prioritizing, and building your personal brand.
If you have any comments or questions, please leave them in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you. 😊