Prioritizing tasks and projects (and whatever else is on our plate) can be challenging for anyone. For multi-talented people, it's even more difficult because modern day DaVincis have that many more things on our 'to do' lists. How to decide what to do? How to choose what to focus on among the plethora of projects – some nascent glimmers, some already in progress, some prematurely abandoned or ‘paused’? Should we finish that pesky historical novel that’s been underway for the past decade or should we start composing the horror musical we just thought of? How to select priorities from among the thousand possible practice, habits and actions that would nourish our talents? Should we spend the next twenty minutes practicing bellydancing or learning wordpress or is it better to plunk down, clear our heads and meditate? Without prioritization little gets done. To direct their many talents effectively, it's vital that creative people identify, choose and manage competing priorities.

True story: one day I was with Dee Wallace (perhaps best known for her acting roles in E.T. and The Howling -- and she's also a published author, a skilled teacher and a talented healer). She needed none of her considerable intuition to detect my distress.
“What’s up?” she said. “You look like hell.”
“I don’t know which project to do next,” I sighed. “I could do X, Y, Z, A, B, or …”
She cut me off. “It doesn’t matter.”
“It doesn’t matter?” How could it not matter? I’d been agonizing over the decision for…about as long as it would have taken to complete at least one of the projects I’d been contemplating.
“Just pick something,” she said. “And do it.”

She was right, of course. The important thing is to commit to something – anything – and commence some action. Otherwise you’re wasting time, energy and ideas – and you’re making yourself miserable. Needlessly.

Here’s a plan to help you avoid this angsty crossroads.

PRIORITIZING FOR CREATIVE PEOPLE:

Step One: Identify Possibilities

Take a moment to brainstorm at least ten things you’d really love to do. This is not the time to list domestic chores or social obligations or the activities that are already a part of your daily life: instead seek options that will engage your talents. Your options include
- starting a new project (e.g. composing a horror musical)
- resuming a ‘paused’ project (e.g. finishing that quilt you started in high school)
- establishing a new practice to nourish your talents (e.g. getting up at an open mic night at least once a month)
- resuming a former habit you now miss (e.g. practicing guitar at least an hour a day)
- learning something new (e.g. taking a weekly glassblowing class)

Step Two: Choose

Review your list. Circle your top three. Of those, does one jump out at you as something you’d love to do right now? Then that’s your project.

If more than one item are in the running, write each one done on separate pieces of paper. Fold up the papers and mix them up. Pick one. That’s your project. Does your gut concur? Are you excited? Excellent! Proceed to Step Three.

If, however, you find yourself mildly disappointed, then pick a different piece of paper. Feel better? If so, proceed to Step Three. If not, try again until your gut does somersaults of joy letting you know that yes! You got your number one choice.

Step Three: Do

Drop everything and spend at least thirty minutes on your chosen activity. RIGHT NOW.

Why are you still reading? Go do it and then come back.

Step Four: Check-in

Did you spend at least 30 minutes on your chosen activity? Huzzah! You’ve found your top priority and, even better, you’ve begun! You’re on your way.

Unless of course, you haven’t. If not, you’re letting something interfere with your decision. It might be fear (what if I fail?), it might be perfectionism (what if I pick the wrong thing?), it might be a sense of being overwhelmed (what’s the point of starting one thing when twenty other things will remain untouched), it might be plain fatigue (I barely have the energy to bathe myself, let alone starting something new).

Whatever the issue appears to be, the solution is to pick something – anything – and take some action – any action.

So go ahead and just pick something – and let us know how it goes.

Activity: Set aside an hour. Do the four steps described above.

(c) Liisa Kyle, Ph.D.

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Are you struggling with too many talents, skills, ideas? You may have The Da Vinci Dilemma™! Find tools, fun quizzes, coaching, inspiration and solutions for multi-talented people at http://www.davincidilemma.com/.

Author's Bio: 

Liisa Kyle, Ph.D. is the go-to coach for smart, creative people who want to overcome challenges, get organized, get things done and get more out of life (www.CoachingForCreativePeople.com).

Liisa Kyle is also an internationally published writer/editor/photographer as well as author of books including "YOU CAN GET IT DONE: Choose What to Do, Plan, Start, Stay on Track, Overcome Obstacles, and Finish" (http://bit.ly/YouCanGetItDone). If you are a creative person with too many ideas and too much to do, check out her other helpful articles here: www.DavinciDilemma.com