Piles of Parked Priorities

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I have a goal every week to process my emails down to one screen.  I track my success on a spreadsheet which I mark as Red, Yellow, Green.  Happy to say I am GREEN every week.

Woo HOO!  Here's what I do. 

  • Step 1.  I look at the eMails and delete junk or ones that don't need my attention.
  • Step 2.  I move the low priority eMails into folders
  • Step 3.  The remaining eMails are ones requiring my mindshare – usually decisions - so I leave them to process later.
  • Step 4.  ….

That's it.  There is no Step 4!  That's the problem!  I rarely go back to the eMails requiring my attention! 

Delayed Decisions Don't Get Done!

Want to know how I plow through Piles of Parked Priorities?

In the 1990's there was a craze that took the corporate world by storm called Re-engineering.  As an engineer and consultant, I dove deep into the concepts and integrated many of the practices into my life.  One of those concepts was to watch out for Piles of Things.

I would walk through a manufacturing plant and look for piles of things.  Unfinished goods piled in front of machines.  Paperwork stacked in someone's in-basket.  Finished goods on the dock waiting to be shipped.  Piles of Things was an indicator of inefficiency.  It was an opportunity to streamline.

My parked emails is a clear indicator of an inefficiency screaming for streamlining.

I started brainstorming all the Piles of Parked Priorities I had in my life. 


Do you want to hear my list? 

WARNING:  Reviewing a list of Parked Priorities may damage your positive outlook for the day.

Before you go through the list, take a deep breath.  When you read a Parked Pile with which you resonate, put a smile on your face and say aloud, "That's Me!!"

That's right….OWN your Parked Priorities! 

Afterwards, I'll give you 4 steps to process those Parked Priorities.

Here goes my list of Parked Priorities:

  • eMails not responded
  • Business Cards collected with no follow up
  • Online Courses purchased and never taken
  • Clients you promised to stay in touch with
  • Friends you promised to stay in touch with
  • Books bought and never read
  • Files – paper and electronic you just might re-use some day
  • Web pages stored in Favorites and never reviewed
  • Clothes saved for the day when you can fit back into them
  • Attics and Storage Units are physical manifestations of Parked Priorities!

Got any more? 

Send them along to me and let's create a BIG List of Parked Priorities! ([email protected])

Okay, so now you are absolutely ecstatic about your Piles of Parked Priorities.  Congratulations!

Here are 4 simple practices to PROCESS your Piles of Parked Priorities.

Do.  Defer.  Delegate.  Delete.


When I worked in corporate consulting, we produced roadmaps of hundreds of initiatives, thinking we were impressing our clients.  They were usually overwhelmed.  I extracted 3-5 initiatives from the roadmap and called them, Do Now's.  To climb a big mountain, you have to take the first step.  Make the first step easy.

Break Down Piles of Parked Priorities into Chewable Chunks.


This one is tricky because this is what we've been doing, right?  We keep kicking that can down the road and never pick it up.  Here's the trick to deferring priorities.  Defer with Deadline.  When you defer something schedule a time by when it'll get done.  Even better, schedule a time block to get it done.

For example, schedule 45 minutes every day to process 100% of your eMails.  Miss a day?  Add 15 minutes to the next day.  Did you catch the math on that?

When you Defer, always INCREASE speed and efficiency! 


A fellow executive once told me she received 35 eMails an hour!  WOW!  She had to delegate her eMails to her executive assistant or she would be chasing everyone else's agenda instead of doing her job.  Novel idea, but when I tried it, it was tougher than I thought.  Giving my eMails to my executive assistant was like taking ice cream from a kid.  Delegation requires a level of trust, clear direction and a large dose of letting go. 

One of the greatest teachers of our time is Stephen Covey.  Check out Stephen Covey's lesson on Green and Clean:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8MylQ_VPUI

Delegate Responsibilities, Not Tasks.


Clothes you don't fit into but you're saving for that day.  Toss. 
Books you bought five years ago that you haven't read.  Sell. 
Kid clothes / toys you're saving even though you won't have more kids.  Donate.
"C" priority eMails you've saved to respond to … some day.  Delete.

You might be surprised at the weight you lift when you remove them!

Delete with Delicacy and Delight!

Do Defer Delegate Delete.  4 Simple steps to process your Piles of Parked Priorities.

Here's your challenge:  Plan to Do, Defer, Delegate or Delete one Pile of Parked Priorities this week.

When you finish that one, well, move to the next pile!  When you let go of heavy things, you move faster!   

Feel the Freedom!

Live 100% Empowered!


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