Most people complain that no matter how hard they try, they can't seem to finish all their chores on time. Something always ends up being delayed. And it's not uncommon for even urgent tasks to be delayed. More often than not, it's time management that's the issue. Learning how to prioritize task and plan your day is a key strategy for success!
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Do you also feel that you are unable to complete your urgent responsibilities on time? Don't fret! Once you learn how to prioritize tasks, your day will become a whole lot more productive.
"The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities" -Stephen Covey
Think about it. Haven't you noticed how assignments and projects are given importance based on their urgency and deadlines? Why not use the same strategy in your routine too?
You have limited time on your hands, and if you prioritize the tasks, you will get a lot more done. It's not about being busy. You need to ensure that your energy is being used at the right place.
Your goal should be to prioritize tasks such that they take you closer to your goals. It's vital to ensure that your crucial responsibilities aren't missed as you get too busy dealing with the unimportant ones. But how do you prioritize tasks? How do you decide what warrants your attention at the earliest? We are about to reveal some strategies that will make it all easier for you!
How To Prioritize Tasks And Manage Your Time Productively
You aren't the only one facing this issue. Indeed, everyone from executives to the everyday "joe" finds themselves struggling to complete their to-do lists.
There must have been times when you felt like a hamster in a wheel who couldn't seem to get done with his chores no matter how hard he tried. The result? The quality of your work suffers and so does your motivation.
"Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least." -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
But if you learn how to prioritize task and allocate time with thoughtful consideration, you will be able to get more done within a short span. Here's what you should do.
Start With A List
Until you are clear about everything that needs to be accomplished throughout the day, you won't be able to figure out which tasks take priority.
So, first things first, compile a list containing everything that should be done in the day. Don't leave anything out, even the most mundane and seemingly unimportant things. Everything, including personal and professional responsibilities, should be a part of this list.
So whether you have an important meeting with a client or have to pick up dry cleaning, mention it all in the list. After the list is ready, you can now begin to analyze and figure out how to prioritize task and allocate time easily and wisely.
Analyze Your Chores
"It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials." -Bruce Lee
Once your list is ready, you have to go through it closely and minutely. Review each task to determine its urgency and value. Categorize your tasks into four groups, including:
- First group: all tasks that should be completed the earliest
- Second group: tasks you can defer to deal with them later
- Third group: tasks someone else can handle for you
- Fourth group: stuff that you really don't have to do for the day and can be removed from the list
Start by doing any task that wouldn't take more than two minutes to complete immediately. This will automatically narrow down your list. Once the list is decluttered, it will be easier to realize which ones are the high priority tasks.
It's not always necessary to manage everything on your own. Sometimes, when your plate is too full, you can delegate the responsibility to someone else too. For instance, if groceries need to be bought or clothes ironed, you can ask another family member for help.
Once you have found someone else to handle the job, check it off your list so that some of the pressure is alleviated. Don't forget to follow up on it later to ensure that the work is actually done. As Jessica Jackley said,
Prioritization is The Goal
“As all entrepreneurs know, you live and die by your ability to prioritize. You must focus on the most important, mission-critical tasks each day and night, and then share, delegate, delay or skip the rest.”
Deleting things that aren't really urgent will furthermore release some of the nerves due to a lengthy to-do list. These are the things that you never get around to or aren't too valuable compared to everything else that you have to handle.
Such tasks are never checked off the list and do nothing more than make you feel guilty. So why not get rid of them?
Figure Out Which Tasks Are Valuable For Your Goals
Why do you want to manage your time effectively? To make your day more productive so that you can inch closer to your long-term goals! At the end of the day, all of us are working for something, be it a promotion, landing a big client or something similar.
So to determine which task is a high priority, you need to figure out which ones will offer the most valuable outcome. You have to look at the bigger picture. For instance, if there is a potential new client you want to land, you will have to ensure that your pitch and presentation is ready on time. So this project will be your priority at the moment.
Avoid dealing with tasks that won't really contribute much to your goal initially. You have to realize the value of each task on your list, keeping your end goal in mind.
Highlight The Important Stuff
Simply making a list isn't enough. You have to ensure that you are constantly reminded of the deadlines and urgency. Would the list really do you any good if you miss out on the tasks that were meant to be completed immediately? Of course not!
So ensure that you highlight the critical jobs as you prioritize the tasks. Have a deadline in mind for everything so that you don't delay it, thinking that you have all the time in the world. All of us tend to work better under pressure. If you have a deadline in mind, you will be inclined to complete the task at the earliest and not delay it any further.
Don't Let Multiple Tasks Clash
It's great if you can multitask. However, quite often, handling multiple things simultaneously leads to a decline in performance. The goal isn't to simply check off stuff from your to-do list. You also have to ensure that you do a good job. That's what we entrepreneurs do!
It's vital to stay focused on one thing at a time. You have to eliminate all distractions. When handling one high-priority task, put the other one on hold and block it from your mind completely. Don't take any calls or messages related to it.
If you give complete attention to one task, you are likely to finish it sooner and with a higher quality than you would get from multitasking. You can then proceed to the next job at hand.
Pay Heed To Time And Effort
It's pretty common for people to feel overwhelmed with the amount of stuff they have to do. They get so nervous about managing it all that all the time is wasted in procrastination, and nothing is done.
If you have an extensive to-do list, do the ones that wouldn't require much time first. As you move through them within a short span, you will get the motivation to finish the rest too.
Refer Back To The List
There's a reason that you spend so much time preparing your to-do list. Don't simply forget about it as you go about your day. Ensure that you review the list periodically and remove the things that you have done.
This will do wonders for your focus, and motivation too. But here's the thing. You have to be realistic. You have to give every task the right amount of time. For instance, if you have to prepare 50 slides for a presentation, then you can't expect to be done with it in half an hour. Entrepreneurs will set up a realistic deadlines so that they aren't disappointed later.
Don't be too hard on yourself if you aren't able to complete everything on the list. There's always a chance to do better the next day.
Keep one thing in mind. You can't plan everything. Things will inevitably change. Perhaps you will get stuck in the traffic, or something else you hadn't anticipated will take up a significant chunk of your time. Don't hesitate to rearrange your list if required.
The priority level of your tasks can change over the course of the day too. Of course, the urgent ones remain unchanged, but if you feel you need to change the order a bit, don't hesitate to do so.
Quite often, many of us continue to carry the tasks on our to-do list to the next day and so on. Months pass, and the tasks remain there as it is. If you have figured out that there's some stuff that you won't be able to complete during the day, you can simply cut it off, and you can tackle each day with a vision of where you want it to go.
Get More Done By Prioritizing Tasks
Once you learn how to prioritize task and plan effectively, you will feel more in control of your time and the day. Doing this will grant you more productive days and more peace of mind.
"The best we can do is prioritize our needs and make choices accordingly."- Janet Evanovich
So figure out the prioritizing strategy that works for you. Identify the urgent tasks in your list based on their value. Endeavor to complete the ones with close deadlines first and think about how much time each job would require. It's time to take the reins of your day back into your hands!
Catch you on the flip,
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