Categories
Life Progress Self-awareness

From Chaotic to Harmonized Mindset

Reading Time: 3 minutes

It’s 2020, and a lot of things happening now might seem very chaotic and confusing. Brexit inescapably happened. Man-caused global warming is changing landscapes. Oceans are flooded with plastic. The Covid19 pandemic brings risk to our lives and limits our mobility. Wildfires in Australia and the USA kill live beings. People are still experiencing discrimination and brutality because of skin color. Moreover, you might believe in some conspiracy theories that add to stress and anxiety about the current world situation. But do you want to stay under that stress, or would you instead want to have peace of mind?

First of all, what you can do is think about whether you can change any of that? Is it in your scope of control, or is it outside of your abilities? If you can’t control something, detach yourself from it. It is as it is. You have to adapt to it, but there is no necessity to keep worrying about it day after day.

If adversity happens to you directly and you are affected badly, you have to calm down and focus on what you can do to solve your situation. For example, if you lost a job due to Covid19, you have to find another one. Maybe even get some skills in another area than what you know already. Don’t panic. Clear your mind and surroundings at first.

If you have a chaotic mind, you probably also have a messy home. Start cleaning up your mind by cleaning up your home. Define places for each thing you want to keep. Get rid of or hide the things that bring you bad memories and emotions. It might take hours or days, but you will finally have a system for something you see every day.

Take a problem you want to solve and plan the way how you are going to solve it. Divide the path to the solution into multiple steps that you can take one by one. For example, you were in a restaurant business but decided to learn software development. So you will borrow some money, take online courses on some technologies, create a project for a friend, work on your LinkedIn profile, and apply for a junior position at a chosen IT company.

If you feel down, maybe you are lack of brain fuel. The human brain runs on glucose and needs at least 420 kcals per day to maintain normal function. That’s 42 grapes or cherries, 4 bananas, or 4 big apples a day. It can as well be more or less depending on your body mass and the mental work intensity.

To have a harmonious mind, make sure to spend time with people you care about. But also have some time alone. You need both: a feeling of connection and love; and time for meditation or prayer, journaling, and exercising.

When doing something, try not to multitask. Focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking brings you more stress and makes you less productive. If you have several or many things to do in a day, create time blocks for each of those things. For example, you will spend two hours reading and answering emails, one hour for the industry news, and one hour for an online meeting. Try to stick to your plan.

Simplify your life. It is recommendable to choose up to three most important tasks every day and only focus on them. Quality is more important than quantity. When you work a lot, you have a risk of mental burnout. That’s especially often in the tech industry.

Try to get information in your head classified. Either connect the points of knowledge in your head and group them into categories. Or read more about your interests and find some categorizations on Wikipedia or other resources. This gives you more trust in yourself and your opinions.

Get an essential objective in your life. It should be a big aim worth pursuing. Then make a plan for how you will achieve your dreams. And try to progress towards it. Know that failures will happen on the way. But focus on the process and enjoy the ride.


Cover photo by Hello I’m Nik.

Categories
Life Self-awareness

What Was Your Name Again?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Whether your first name is James, Mary, or X Æ A-Xii, your name not only identifies you but also shapes your character and influences how other people will accept you. With the wrong name, you could have problems with being accepted by the society you are living in. With the wrong name, you can have difficulties getting a partner or job you want. With the wrong name, you can have a weight of associations that people bring to it. When you are about to have a baby, don’t give them the wrong name.

Our story

My wife and I are from Lithuania, and we are living in Berlin, Germany. Before the births of our kids, we did some name researches to find names that would be well accepted in Germany as well as being Lithuanian. I wouldn’t be a programmer if I wouldn’t take 500 most popular names in Germany and filter them using Python programming language to see the ones with Lithuanian word endings. From that point, we got just a handful of names and intuitively chose the ones that we liked most. I hope that Joris and Laura will enjoy the names they got at birth and will live integral and successful lives.

If we didn’t trust our intuition, we could have used the strategic prioritizer 1st things 1st to analyze a few names by multiple aspects. Let’s see how we could have done that.

Using the prioritizer

At 1st things 1st, you can evaluate anything (like first names) by multiple criteria (like aspects) and get calculated priorities. The workflow looks like this:

  1. You define your criteria or aspects.
  2. You list out your things, like first names.
  3. You evaluate each name by each aspect.
  4. You explore the prioritized first names.

Step 1. Define your aspects

Let’s brainstorm for some aspects that we can use to evaluate first names:

  • Both parents like it
  • Easy to pronounce
  • Easy to spell
  • Sounds good together with the last name
  • Doesn’t have negative associations
  • Has a nice meaning
  • Unique
  • Traditional
  • Globally recognized
  • Authentic in your native country
  • Ethnically appropriate
  • Doesn’t prompt negative nicknames
  • Doesn’t sound foolish for a middle-aged person
  • Some relative has it
  • A person you admire has it
  • A favorite book or movie character has it

I will choose the ones that are most important to me and enter into the prioritizer.

Both parents like it
Easy to pronounce
Easy to spell
Globally recognized
Doesn't sound foolish for a middle aged person
Bulk-add all the aspects into the prioritizer

Here they are all added to the tool:

Essential aspects for prioritizing first names added to 1st things 1st

Step 2. List out the first names

Now let’s list some first names that you thought could be good candidates, let’s say, for a daughter:

  • Lina
  • Laura
  • Ada
  • Lara
  • Emma
Several female first names listed for evaluation

Step 3. Evaluate each name by each aspect

Then I go through the list of aspects and names and rate how each name matches each aspect.

Evaluating first names by 5 most essential aspects

Step 4. Explore the prioritized names

In the last step, I get all first names prioritized by how much they match all the aspects. “Laura” is in the first position with a 100% match. Other names got fewer points, so they are less recommended to choose. 

Last thoughts

If people call you by another name already or you want to start a new chapter in your life, you can still officially change your first name in some countries. But if you care about your kids’ well being, choose their names wisely as soon as they come into this world.


Cover photo by Yoann Boyer

Categories
Development

Restart with Better Charts

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Not so long ago, calculated priorities at 1st things 1st were displayed together with Radar charts. Was it the best visual representation for the priorities? Or is there anything better for your needs? Something more obvious, customizable, and intuitive?

Radar charts are the past

Radar charts (sometimes called Spider charts) are great for multidimensional comparisons. You have the complete overview at the fingertips and can compare the different items, side by side. Some radar implementations even suggest comparing different things with different dimensions on different layers of the same graph.

Radar charts are the past

But Radar Charts are the past. At least for the 1st things 1st. Because they have these drawbacks:

  • They don’t work well with less than 3 or more than 6 dimensions. In those cases, the best what I could think of was to replace them with Bar charts.
  • If you have different weights for different dimensions, you couldn’t properly represent them in the chart.
  • If the names of the criteria are long, they don’t fit into the dedicated space and make the chart very clumsy and fragile at the same time.

I did some googling and found another type of chart that could work. It was a Polar Area Chart. It’s like a Pie Chart with arcs of the same angles, but different radiuses representing the differences. I believed that with some slight modification, I could achieve even better results.

Aster Plot charts for the win

Some more time researching passed, and finally, I found what I had in my imagination – a rarely used chart which they call Aster Plot chart. Aster Plot Chart is a combo of the Polar Area Chart and Donut Chart.

Reading Aster Plot charts is simple. The more the donut is filled with color, the closer to 100% is its total score.

Aster plot charts for the win

With the Aster Plot chart, you can not only show different dimensions with any amount of them. You can also represent different weights for those dimensions.

Adjusting relative weights for criteria

For example, if we adjusted the relative weights for our criteria, the Aster Plot charts would show arcs of different angles for each weight, and different radiuses for each score.

Aster plot charts with custom weights

The names of the criteria are not gone. They are shown as tooltips on mouseover. And you can have as long names as necessary. I will just need to improve the accessibility by keyboard someday.

Final Words

When creating something innovative and crazy, you can be surprised that other people have already analyzed some steps of your path. Just do some googling, reading, and evaluation, and you’ll find ways that you had never taken or thought. And you’ll learn the vocabulary that you are missing.

Innovation is an original combination of what is already known. And if you haven’t already, try the first of a kind strategic prioritizer 1st things 1st.


Cover photo by Jason Coudriet

Categories
Progress Self-awareness

The Magic of Math Behind “1st things 1st”

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I am an intuitive thinker! I don’t like overanalyzing or changing my mind too often. The first choice that I make usually gets the most power. I trust my gut feeling. But sometimes there are choices to make, which depend on too many variables. I used to be lost in such cases. Some options have some benefits; others have other advantages. How can I make the right choice when I have multiple decisions depending on several criteria? Nowadays, for long-term multidimensional decisions, I use the strategic prioritizer “1st things 1st”. I will describe its formula in this article.

How would you use the “1st things 1st”?

Strategic prioritizer “1st things 1st” lets you bring multidimensional priorities to light. It allows you to make intuitive decisions for each criterion and uses a formula (that I will describe in a moment) to calculate the priorities:

  1. At first, you define your criteria.
  2. Then you list out things to prioritize (for example, activities).
  3. Then you rate each thing by each criterion.
  4. At last, you explore your calculated priorities.
Workflow of prioritization: criteria, things, evaluations, priorities

Relative weights of criteria

Each criterion has a relative weight in percentage. By default, these weights are spread evenly. For example, if you have 4 criteria, each of them will have a weight of 25% – the sum of relative weights is always 100%.

Just recently, a possibility to adjust the relative weights was added to the prioritizer. If we look at the project about finding your Ikigai which was the first prioritization example in this blog, you can decide to give the criterion “Am I good at it?” a lower relative weight (10%) than “Do I love doing it?” (30%), “Can I be paid for it?” (30%), and “Does the world need it?” (30%). Because practice makes perfect, and the skills can be gained over time.

Adjusting weights for criteria

Evaluations

Whether you evaluate the things by each criterion with yes/no answers, probabilities, stars, or percentages, behind the scenes they are all saved as numbers between 0.0 and 1.0 and can be represented as percentages between 0% and 100%.

The formula

“1st things 1st” uses the weighted average formula to calculate the priorities.

To see how much a thing matches all of your criteria, you would sum all criterion weights multiplied by corresponding evaluations:

A = w1 × e1 + w2 × e2 + w3 × e3 + w4 × e4

No worries, you don’t need to calculate anything yourself. You just do the ratings, and all the computations are delegated to the computer – that’s what computers are for.

Here is an Excel template laying out the calculations: 

Prioritization spreadsheet template

Our example with Finding Ikigai would look like this:

Prioritization example in a spreadsheet: Ikigai

As you can see from the last column named “Match”, programming, writing, teaching, and driving a car would be among my top priorities. Even when I can’t drive. Yet.

Final words

When making decisions, sometimes you can trust your intuition and the first thought that comes to your mind. And sometimes, the decision has to be analyzed and calculated. Why not leave those calculations to the computer? “1st things 1st” does that for you.


Cover photo by Michael Dziedzic

Categories
Entrepreneurship

How to Strategically Select Stories for Your Weekly Newsletter

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The problem: lack of clarity

Let’s say you have a mailing list with a few thousand subscribers. You send a newsletter every week on Tuesdays at 2 pm. You want to keep your subscribers engaged with some news related to your service and some industry news and opinions from around the world.

You use Quora, Twitter, and LinkedIn feeds, medium.com blogs, and your secret source to discover new exciting information from your industry. How would you decide which of the findings to send in the newsletter? You probably don’t want to send randomly selected news, because it matters to you how many subscribers you will have and how many of them will click on your links and buy your products.

You will carefully select your stories by the following criteria:

  • Is it relatable to your target user?
  • Is the news source trustworthy?
  • Are the events described actual?
  • Is the story captivating?
  • Does it create positive vibes?

One of the best ways to make a decision is to use the strategic prioritizer 1st things 1st.

The solution: using 1st things 1st

The workflow of the strategic prioritizer is pretty straightforward and consists of four steps:

  1. Defining criteria
  2. Listing out stories (or other things)
  3. Evaluating stories by each criterion
  4. Exploring priorities
Workflow

Let’s have a look at how to do that!

⚙️ Project setup

Log in to 1st things 1st and create a new project. From the prioritization project templates, choose “Blank”.

The project creation wizard will guide you through the essential questions:

1. Enter a project title and optionally a description. For example, you can call your project “Stories for the Newsletter”:

Enter project title

2. Decide how to name things. In this case, we will be evaluating Stories by Criteria.

Decide how to name things

Now when you created the project, let’s explore the main steps of prioritization.

🧭 Step 1. Add criteria

The first step of prioritization is adding criteria. Choose Bulk add criteria and enter these criteria one per line:

Relatable
Trustworthy
Actual
Captivating
Positive

Choose the evaluation type From “definitely not” to “definitely” for them.

Bulk add criteria

You will get five criteria created in your project. Now to set the importance of any of the criteria less than 100%, edit that criterion.

Criteria listed

💡 Step 2. Add stories

In the next step, you will add stories to prioritize. For example, you want to sort three stories about Augmented Reality:

Choose Bulk add stories and enter the titles one per line:

Facebook teases a vision of remote work using augmented and virtual reality

Copy and paste the real world with your phone using augmented reality

This augmented reality eyepiece lets firefighters see through smoke
Bulk add stories

You will get the stories added to the project. There you can edit each of them and, for example, add the links in the descriptions:

Stories listed

🎚 Step 3. Evaluate stories by criteria

Now evaluate all stories by all criteria. Go through the whole list and mark your choices. Be aware that the number of evaluations will be equal to criteria × stories.

Let’s say, the first two stories are probably relatable, because lots of people work from home and copy-paste, but the story about firefighters are possibly relatable because not so many people extinguish fires. The first two stories are definitely trustworthy, because verge.com has high Alexa site ranking, and the third story is probably trustworthy because the ranking is lower. The story about Facebook’s employees working from home is probably not very captivating, because the video is of poor quality, but the other two stories are pretty captivating. 

Evaluate stories by criteria

📊 Step 4. See priorities

The prioritizer shows calculated and sorted stories grouped into the ones:

  • to choose for sure,
  • to consider, and
  • to skip.
Explore priorities

As a result, all of the chosen stories are pretty strong, but the story about copying and pasting in augmented reality would be the most worth sharing in the newsletter; it got the priority of 90%. The story about firefighters got 85%; maybe you can share it next week. And the last one, the story about using Augmented Reality at the home office of Facebook employees, got 75%.

If the results are entirely unexpected, try to adjust the importance of your criteria or change the criteria to match your values.

Final words

After prioritizing your news stories, create the newsletter, describe the story of high priority or link to the original, send it, and keep the number of subscribers growing.

Check out the strategic prioritizer at 1st things 1st.


Cover photo by My name is Yanick.

Categories
Uncategorized

Will Online Courses Be the Key to YOUR Success?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Udemy, Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, Masterclass, Mindvalley, edX, FutureLearn, Codecademy, freeCodeCamp, and so on and forth – with so many online learning platforms and their offerings, it is not so trivial to choose the right online course for you. What if I say that there is a rational way to make the right decision? I will show you how I did that with my online-course preferences.

A great opportunity to study

Coronavirus lockdowns forced us to spend more time at home. The lucky ones got possibilities to work remotely while saving commuting time. Many others were forced to stay at home without work, and that opened even bigger time slots to learn new skills.

I am not an exception. While staying home, I noticed that there is a little more time and decided to build up my skills. For quite a while, I’ve had a dream to learn the basics of piano, I wish to learn more about digital marketing, I want to improve my memory, and I think that machine learning skills could be beneficial in my professional life.

Over time I collected a list of courses that I would like to take:

  • “Piano for all” by Robin Hall on Udemy, because it teaches different genres of piano music, not just the classical, and should be fun to learn.
  • “All Access Pass” on 42courses, because all of those courses look very lively and modern, and teach different kinds of marketing skills that I would use for my company Human Insights
  • “Superbrain Quest” by Jim Kwik on Mindvalley, because Jim Kwik is the best memory coach.
  • “Applied Machine Learning in Python” by Kevyn Collins-Thompson on Coursera, because one day once and for all, I want to have a good understanding of Machine Learning and be able to solve real problems with it.
  • “Copywriting secrets” by Len Smith and Sean Kaye on Udemy, because I want to improve the writing skills that I will use in this blog, the 1st things 1st website, and elsewhere to create content that persuades and sells.

What should I study first? And why? I made use of strategic prioritizer 1st things 1st to figure that out.

Using 1st things 1st

1st things 1st is an online tool to rate anything by multiple criteria and calculate total priorities. You can prioritize anything in these 4 steps:

  • Define criteria
  • List out things (such as online courses)
  • Evaluate things by each criterion
  • Examine the priorities
Prioritizing online courses

Let’s have a look at how I prioritized my selected online courses to find out the first one to study.

⚙️ Project setup

I added a new project to my personal account. From the project templates, I chose “Online Courses”. The same project template exists at an organizational account too.

Choose project template

The project creation wizard guided me through the essential questions:

1. The project title and description – I was alright with the defaults, so I immediately went to the next step:

Change project title and description

2. Then I had to decide how to name things. The preselected values suggested evaluating Online courses by Criteria. That sounded pretty good to me. Next!

Change how you name the things

3. Then I could choose up to 5 criteria. I took the three ones that resonated with me mostly.

Choosing criteria

Now when I created the project, let’s explore the main steps of prioritization.

🧭 Step 1. Review and edit criteria

In the first step of prioritization, I could edit the list of criteria and change their importance or evaluation types. The default importance for all of them was 100%, and the evaluation types differed depending on the context.

For example, this is how I set the criteria for online courses:

  • Improves skills for personal mission because the mission itself is what defines my future.
  • Self-paced course because I don’t want to be bounded to specific times of the day and week for studying.
  • Entertaining because I like edutainment, not just dull streams of information.
  • Needed soon because I want to apply the knowledge gained as soon as possible before it is forgotten.
  • Low-cost because currently, I have other critical expenses that I need to cover.

All of those criteria mattered to me, so I set the 100% importance to all of them.

Add more criteria

Your criteria and their importance would depend on your attitude and perspectives. For example, maybe these things mattered to you: the authority of the lecturer, the popularity of the course, direct contact with the teacher, or the certificate after the successful completion.

💡 Step 2. Add online courses

In the next step, I had to list out the courses.

I clicked on the button “Bulk add online courses” and pasted this list:

"Piano for all" by Robin Hall on Udemy
"All Access Pass" on 42courses
"Superbrain Quest" by Jim Kwik on Mindvalley
"Applied Machine Learning in Python" by Kevyn Collins-Thompson on Coursera
"Copywriting secrets" by Len Smith and Sean Kaye on Udemy
List out online courses

As a result, my online courses were created at the prioritizer:

Online courses listed

🎚 Step 3. Evaluate courses by criteria

Now it’s time to evaluate all online courses by all criteria.

For example, learning piano didn’t follow my mission, but learning marketing skills did. All of those courses happened to be self-paced. The machine learning course was probably not entertaining, but the others were. Some of those courses were very affordable or even free, and some of them were very expensive.

Evaluate online courses by criteria

📊 Step 4. Examine priorities

The prioritizer showed calculated and sorted courses grouped into the ones:

  • to choose for sure,
  • to consider, and
  • to skip.
Analyze your priorities and take action

For me, the first course to take was about copywriting secrets: it supposed to move me towards my mission, it could be interesting to study, and it was very affordable. I took it without procrastination and completed it just a few hours ago.

The other courses were also quite high in the priority list, and I would take the opportunity to study them sooner or later.

Only learning piano could wait until I reach my primary goals.

Final words

Use your intuition when selecting a list of online courses, but evaluate them rationally if you want your life to lead you somewhere day after day.

Check out the strategic prioritizer 1st things 1st now and make a progressive life!


Cover photo by Noémi Macavei-Katócz.

Categories
Life Progress

Top 10 Things to Do at Home for the Next 2 Weeks

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Top 10 things to do at home? As if I could know what fits for you best. You are you, and your choices are what makes you – you. I can only give advice and help you make the most favorable and rational choices. Let your days shine, while you stay home and make coronavirus spread slower so that doctors could keep all patients alive.

What can we do during home quarantine?

There are many things you could do:

  • You could practice your hobbies, like singing, knitting, painting, or reading books.
  • You could try out new hobbies, like decoupage, sculpting, creating poetry, carving, or playing cards.
  • You could improve your skills, like taking online classes, practicing a foreign language, or watching webinars.
  • You could play with your kids, spend quality time with partners, skype with relatives, or care about pets.
  • You could clean up the home, reorder books, or declutter the wardrobe.
  • You could cook dinners, bake pies, shake cocktails, and taste wines.
  • You could socialize online, stream your skills, or participate in web campaigns.
  • You could watch TV, binge-watch a series on Netflix, or play a video game.
  • You could do yoga, workout exercises, or lift weights.
  • You could work from home, build a new business, or develop something for passive income.

But there is one problem. You only have 14 days to stay home during the quarantine. For now. So which things should you choose to make the most of your time?

Maybe you want to do only fun activities? Or maybe you want to do only creative activities? Or maybe you only want to do activities that have long-lasting effects? Or perhaps all at once? Let’s have a look at how you could evaluate things by multiple criteria using the strategic prioritizer 1st things 1st and create your top 10 activities. There is even a project template for that.

⚙️ Project setup

When you go to the Projects section of the 1st things 1st prioritizer, you can start a new project and choose a project template with which to begin. A project wizard will guide you through the configuration steps.

1. Choose a project template, “What to Do at Home”:

Choose a project template

2. Change or keep the project title and description:

Change the project title and description

3. Decide how to name things. By default, you will be evaluating activities by criteria. If you want, you can rename that to things evaluated by values or something like that:

Decide how to name the things

4. Choose your initial criteria. You will be able to add some more free-text criteria later.

Choose initial criteria

5. Choose your initial activities from a list of more than 150 options. You will be able to add even more free-text activities later:

Choose initial activities

Now that you set up the project, let’s go through the 4 steps of prioritization.

🧭 Step 1. Review and edit criteria

In the first step, you would edit the criteria and adjust their importance and the way of evaluating. As I prefer the word “Fun” more than “Engaging”, I renamed that criterion.

Edit criteria

💡 Step 2. Review and edit activities

In the second step, you would edit the activities. For example, I added “Play with my son”, because I find it an essential thing to do for his development and family healthiness.

Edit activities

🎚 Step 3. Evaluate activities by criteria

In the third step, you would evaluate each activity by each of your criteria. For example, cleaning up the home is definitely not fun for me, but probably necessary, and taking a selfie is definitely family-friendly, but probably not mindful. Of course, you could argue about my choices, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that you make correct choices for your evaluations. 

Evaluate activities

📊 Step 4. Analyze priorities

In the fourth and last step, you would see all your priorities. Check the first 10 priorities – these are your top 10 activities for the next two weeks.

For example, for me, it was:

  • Start journaling, because it’s my way of tracking progress, and I do and like it already anyway.
  • Read a book together, because I find it a good activity for my child’s development, and I still need to get him used to book reading and storytelling.
  • Practice coding, because that is one of my most reliable professional skills.
  • Learn internet marketing, because I need to market the strategic prioritizer and earn more money for lots of different things and causes.
  • Listen to an audiobook, because that allows learning something new while relaxing the eyes.
  • Call a friend or a family member, because during a lockdown, I still need socialization.
  • Chat with someone, because of the same reason.
  • Coach or mentor someone, because we learn by teaching.
  • Play some brain games, because I need some rest too.
  • Play with my son, because for him playing is a fun way of learning.
Analyze priorities

Final words

It makes sense to follow your top priorities because then you can mostly realize yourself and make the best out of your time. Of course, you shouldn’t limit yourself only to those activities. You will still need to do some things that you don’t like. But when you have self-defined guidelines to follow, you can make your life more progressive.

Check out the strategic prioritizer at my 1st things 1st.


Cover photo by Pierre Bamin.

Categories
Life

How to Prioritize Your Necessities Today and Stay Healthy Tomorrow

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Last weeks have been stressful for a lot of us. Just in days, we switched from skepticism, irony, and relaxation to uncertainty, awareness, and caution. We locked ourselves at homes and got anxious about real contacts with any people around. Coronavirus changed our lifestyles a lot. We started communicating online more. Some of us began to work remotely. At last, we learned how to wash our hands properly.

What do we need during home quarantine?

While staying home, we need to have some necessities by our side. What exactly should we purchase to be able to stay home safe and healthy two weeks or even longer? There are many aspects of how we could evaluate the importance of things that we need to get. Some of those follow:

  • Is it something that has no alternatives?
  • Is it not too expensive? You know, the jobs and economy are on the risk now for many of us.
  • Can it stay on our shelves for a long time without expiring too soon?
  • Is it healthy for our bodies?
  • Does that make our lives more comfortable?
  • Is it ecological, vegan, ethical, fairtrade?
  • Is it something that we don’t have yet?

When there are so many perspectives, how can we make the right decision on what to buy, so that we don’t end up only with the piles of toilet paper? We are going to use the strategic prioritizer 1st things 1st to evaluate a list of necessities by multiple criteria. There is even a project template for that.

⚙️ Project setup

Start a new project. From the project templates, choose “Necessities While in Quarantine”.

Choose a project template

The project creation wizard will guide you through the most important questions:

1. Change or keep the project title and description:

Change project title and description

2. Decide how to name things. The preselected values suggest evaluating things by criteria. You can change that to evaluating necessities by aspects, or anything else.

Change how you name the things

3. Choose some or all criteria from a suggested list. You’ll be able to enter some more criteria as free text later. 

Choose initial criteria

4. Choose some or all things from a suggested list. You’ll be able to enter some more necessities as free text later too.

Now when you created the project, let’s explore the main steps of prioritization.

🧭 Step 1. Review and edit criteria

Now you can edit the list of criteria and change their importance or evaluation types. The default importance for all of them is 100%, and the evaluation type is choices from “definitely not” to “definitely” (you will see them in step 3).

For example, this is how I set the criteria and their importance:

  • Irreplaceable with the importance of 100% because we definitely need something that has no alternatives.
  • Affordable with the importance of 100% because the state of our jobs is unclear, and we have to save money.
  • Long lasting with the importance of 80% because we can order food online in case of running out of some necessities.
  • Healthy with the importance of 100% because we can’t properly function if we don’t care what we consume.
  • Comfortable with the importance of 50% because we can allow ourselves to live less comfortably in such critical times.
  • Ethical/Fairtrade with the importance of 70% because other criteria are more relevant to us when it’s a question of life.
  • Vegan with the importance of 70% because I am not vegan anyway.

Your criteria and their importance will depend on your attitude and perspectives.

💡 Step 2. Review and edit things

In the next step you will see the list of our chosen things where you can change their titles and descriptions.

For example, at the setup I chose these things:

  • Wifi because I need to work from home.
  • Drinking water because I drink a lot of tea and sometimes coffee.
  • Breads because we like sandwiches for breakfast.
  • Rice because it’s a food that can stay on the shelf for a long time.
  • Pasta because I love having Italian dishes from time to time.
  • Fruit because we need vitamins.
  • Cheese because sandwiches include something more than just bread.
  • Avocados don’t ask me why.
  • etc.

And also, I need some toddler supplies for my little son and some caffeinated drinks to stay awake and productive every day. So I am bulk-adding these things to the list:

  • Milk
  • Diapers
  • Wet wipes
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Club-Mate
  • Coca Cola
Add more things

🎚 Step 3. Evaluate things by criteria

Now evaluate all things by all criteria. Go through the whole list and mark your choices. We see that fruit is probably not long-lasting, but definitely healthy. Rice is probably fairtrade, and cheese is definitely not vegan. Some things will be objective (like drinking water is definitely healthy), and some will be subjective (like cheese is probably affordable to you).

Evaluate each thing by each criterion

📊 Step 4. Analyze priorities

The prioritizer shows calculated and sorted things grouped into the ones:

  • to choose for sure,
  • to consider, and
  • to skip.

My most essential things are electricity and wifi (I should not forget to pay the bills), drinking water, and stuff from the drugstore like hand sanitizer, shampoo, diapers, soap, toilet paper, trash bags, etc. The most questionable thing is cheese (I could live without it).

Analyze your priorities and take action

Final words

After prioritizing your necessities, it’s time to print the PDF version of the results, grab a couple of tote bags, and go to the supermarket.

Check out the strategic prioritizer at my 1st things 1st.


Cover photo by Şahin Yeşilyaprak.