When it comes to productivity, time management reigns supreme. But in order to properly manage your time, you must decide which tasks are most worthwhile. This is where prioritizing comes in. Prioritizing is defined as giving one item more attention than alternative choices. Here are three tips for prioritizing tasks.
1. Start With a List Each Morning
Before you can prioritize your tasks, you have to identify what they are. At the start of the morning, take a few minutes to jot down your day’s upcoming responsibilities. You should list every outstanding project, along with the amount of time you estimate each one will take to complete. The main objective is to establish an inventory of “to-dos”. By clearly laying out all of your duties, you eliminate the possibility of overlooking a vital task.
2. Classify Each Task
Now that you have a list, you can organize your tasks by importance (or time commitment). Look over your notes and pinpoint your most urgent tasks. You’ll want to isolate chores that are past-due or have an upcoming deadline. You can even mark the responsibilities that will have a consequence if they are not completed soon. If urgency isn’t an issue, group items that require a similar amount of time to finish. Label quick jobs as small, moderate jobs as medium and tedious jobs as large. From there, you can decide which tasks should be prioritized.
3. Divide Your Day
Many people follow advice that encourages them to complete their most challenging task first. But what if you’re a slow starter who needs a few cups of coffee to feel motivated? What about those who are regularly plagued with workplace interruptions toward the beginning of the day? What happens when your biggest task is so time-consuming that it leaves no opportunity to accomplish anything else?
There is no one-size-fits-all formula concerning productivity. Think about your day and divide it into categories that fit your needs. For some, dividing their day into “most productive” vs. “least productive” hours will be effective. Others may want to divide their day into time slots for small, medium and large projects. Remember, as long as you are meeting your productivity goals, the system that works for you is the best one to use.
“Think of your priorities not in terms of what activities you do, but when you do them. Timing is everything.”-Dan Millman
With these three tips, you’ll be able to prioritize your daily tasks for increased productivity. In time, you’ll notice that you are less stressed and more efficient, creating a happier and healthier way of living.