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In the context of your work, how many top priorities do you have? How many things do you have to complete or bad things happen?

How many times does your manager come to you with something that sounds like, “Well, we’ll just have to make it a priority.”? How many times do you do that to yourself or to your team?

Etymologically, priority has roots in Latin as prioritatem which was defined as “fact or condition of being prior” and prior meaning before.

So when we create a system for ranking tasks as important, critical, super important, vital, somebody-dies-if-I-don’t-get-this-done, OMG-the-planet-will-explode we may find ourselves not getting to the other 80% of our to-do lists.

We’ve forgotten the basic physics-like truth of prioritization. Something, some one thing, must come before another. Anything else is delusional.

And until we remember that truth, no tool will help — unless perhaps that tool allows for one and only one priority at a time, or better yet, just randomly deletes tasks without letting us know.

Yes, I know this is a facile approach to time management, but it seems like our track record of more and more time management, task list and to-do applications isn’t getting us to the place where we want to go.

But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe, when I get the next cool new task management app on my Google Glasses it will all be solved.