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Author: Pencil Case  Date: 22 August 2019

Prioritise = Win

If you remember from my example in "Principles of time management" I lost my job because I didn't do the most important things first. Prioritising is a super easy way to get the most done with the time you have.

Before we look at Priority Lists we are going to play a game that will help us to understand what we are talking about here.

Activity - The Sinking Submarine


We are all submariners and our submarine the Intellegiss is going down in deep water. We only have a short period of time with which to repair the faults or the deep water pressure will cause the sub to implode. Our objective, is to get the sub safely back to the surface.

Our Tasks are as follows:

1. The depth gauge is faulty and is giving inaccurate readings.

2. The captain hasn't had coffee this morning and he is really grumpy.

3. The torpedo tanks are filling with water and we are losing ballast (ballast is the balance of air and water in a sub that makes it float or sink).

4. The diesel engines have been switched off for 4 hours and are unable to be switched on again.

5. The air filtration unit is full of water and needs draining.

6. Our active sonar is not operational and so we cannot let rescue vessels know where we are.

7. Fuel is leaking on the bottom level and the fire crew is on the top level and unaware of the problem.

8. No one has sent a mayday call yet.

9. The valve to flood the ballast tank with air has not been opened yet.

10. The crew are becoming more and more frightened.

Order the ten tasks above into a list of priorities from 1st (most important) to 10th and write their corresponding number below.

Your Answer:

I would do the tasks above in the order:
1st ___
2nd ___
3rd ___
4th ___
5th ___
6th ___
7th ___
8th ___
9th ___
10th ___

You will find the answer below.

The result:

Unfortunately we only had time to complete the first 5 of the necessary tasks on your priority list. If you fixed fault 9 and any two of the faults 3, 5, 7, or 9 out of the first 5 you numbered above, congratulations! Your sub survived. If not you are now lying on the bottom of the ocean. Below is an explanation of our result:

1. This is an important problem but fixing it will not stop the sub sinking. Medium priority.

2. This is very low priority but won't someone make the guy a coffee!

3. If the torpedo tanks are filling with water this is making the sub sink and so is of high priority.

4. The diesel engines have been switched off because you are underwater. Have you ever tried driving a car underwater? Diesel subs have to surface to get fresh air so until we can surface we don't need to worry about the engines. This is low priority.

5. Air filtration is vital to stop the sailors from suffocating. High priority.

6. Active sonar is important because it is like a distress signal that can keep going without us. But it won't get us to the surface so it is medium priority.

7. A fuel fire could kill everyone so this is very high priority.

8. Maydays are important but don't get us to the surface. Medium priority.

9. If we do not flood the ballast tank with air we will not surface at all. This is like having a deflated floaty on the bottom of the pool, when you fill it up it rushes to the surface. Very high priority.

10. Of course the crew are becoming frightened. Adrenaline and their training will fix this problem so this is low priority.

How did you go? Did your sub survive?

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