The Pyramid Of Importance

8966403_sOne of my favourite things is when I’m learning something new – but then suddenly realise that it has even more value when applied to something else entirely.

This happens for me a lot.

For example, when I took classes for improvised theatre, I noticed that the ethos of improv wasn’t just applicable to making up theatre on the fly – it was a whole philosophy of life!

Well, I want to tell you about another time this happened for me and changed my entire way of working. I’m keen to share this because it will have a big impact on how you do album projects, how you record, how you write songs, and lots more.

It all started with learning how to write press releases for my music career.

You see, journalists work in a particular way – so when writing a press release, you have to fit in with what they need.

Pick up any newspaper and you’ll quickly start to see how news stories are put together. It works according to what I call a “pyramid of importance.”

The most important facts are in the first paragraph. The second paragraph has all the next most important info. And so it goes on throughout the story. Each paragraph is a little less important than the one before.

You’ll never see a news story where the key facts are in paragraph seven. They are ALWAYS in paragraph one.

There’s two very good reasons for this – and it’s all about getting cut short.

There are two ways a journalist can get cut short.

The first is that a big news story comes in that will take space away from the story the journalist has filed.

The editor doesn’t want to have to read through every story they need to cut. They don’t have the time for that. The Pyramid of Importance means they don’t have to.

They know the important stuff is at the top, so they can just cut the bottom few paragraphs without even reading it. Easy.

The second way a journalist can get cut off is due to communications.

Historically, journalists would call their story through over the telephone. In days gone by, this wasn’t necessarily the most reliable of communication methods.

At any point, the line could go dead, and reconnection may not be even possible.

Yet by working to the Pyramid of Importance, the key facts would never be lost. They always go first.

The reason this changed how I work is because I realise that this is how life works too.

Stuff happens.

The best laid plans can be scrapped at a moment’s notice depending on what life throws at us.

So now, no matter what I’m working on, I use the Pyramid of Importance myself.

I always start my work with my most important tasks first.

I imagine that there is a bell that could randomly ring out at any moment, and when it does I’d have to stop whatever I’m doing. And I organise my work accordingly.

There are some tasks that HAVE to be done. And there are others that I could more easily lose should that imaginary bell start ringing.

In the past, I did my tasks in the order that I fancied doing them. Not any more.

Now I make sure that the most important task is done first. Then the second most important. And so on.

I mimic the journalist’s Pyramid of Importance.

When a crisis rears its head and means I have to stop what I’m doing, it’s never ideal, but at least I know my important stuff is done.

Try it yourself and see how much more productive you become, and how your decisions about what to work on shift.

Finally of course, there is the biggest question of all. We all live with our own mortality. We are all living with the knowledge that our own final bell will toll. This raises a much more profound question.

Is what you are doing with your life now the things that are most important to you?

Are you waiting until later for the important stuff?

And what happens if “later” never comes?

Isn’t it time we all make sure that we are living the life we want right now?