I recently collaborated with a couple of people in drafting a letter to be sent out to a group on our behalf. What was interesting about this exercise was the way each individual chose to craft their letter. The order of topics was different. Albeit both were only a few paragraphs. Each understood what needed to be accomplished.
With certainty, I could see that they both chose different things as being important. I chose differently. Including some points that were not in either of their drafts.
Concurrently, I am working on organizing my to do list. Not finding the right tool to help me has been frustrating. For it has been difficult for me to take the clutter and noise in my life, organize it, and then filter it down to those important things that will create leverage in my life.
Many use prioritizing to filter their to do list. For me, it is weak because it misses a central point. Creating impact in your life depends on working on things that are important. You could (and I have) prioritize things that aren’t really important. When you prioritize, you infer importance which may not be true.
In both cases, finding importance is really hard. For letter writing, what is most important to communicate. In the second case, what is most important to work on. I suspect that some of the difficulty is in our lack of time to think about things deeply.
Finding importance resides within the context of a situation. You never find importance outside of it. It is inherent in the nature of the situation or issue you face. The only time this is not true is when you simply want your way regardless of what is in front of you.
I now look for outcomes to first decide impact and then judge importance. Disregarding the effort needed at the start. And ignoring the organizing tools up front because they do not provide any insight. Because only with impact can you leverage your efforts into something more and different than where you are now.