Prioritisation At Work: How You Can Do It
Prioritisation At Work: How To Do It
How to prioritise work
Prioritising work means making tough decisions about the importance and priority of your current jobs. You, like most people, start your day with the goal of being productive. As the day goes by, you start to get multiple urgent requests, and your task list grows. You end up putting off what you originally set out to do.
Tips to Prioritise Your Work
- Imagine this: You just arrived at work and your boss has given you at least five tasks. It’s chaotic, hectic, and you have to complete them all. Your mind might be racing and you may assume that each task is equally important.
- There are many sources of to-dos. You get an email from your boss, a Slack message in IT, a bill in the mail, and a request for help in the hallway. To prioritise your tasks efficiently, you will need a master list. This list should contain all the tasks that you need to complete from all sources.
- Before you start prioritising, pick a place for your master to-do list. You can use a to-do app, an email inbox, Slack or a paper notebook as a place for your master to-do lists. Or even your phone’s memo app. If your task list contains all of the tasks that you need, it doesn’t matter what place you keep it.
Five methods to prioritise your tasks
1. Use a priority matrix
This tool is especially helpful when you feel overwhelmed by a million tasks. It helps you to see what’s most important and what can wait.
After you have outlined your tasks, you should prioritise the important and urgent tasks first to avoid running into deadlines. This will allow you to focus on the most important and productive quadrant, which is not urgent or important. These are the tasks that can be put off, but are very valuable when completed.
2. Use relative prioritisation
It is a good idea to give each task a priority number. Each task receives a number from 1-10 if you have ten tasks. There can be only one number. This exercise will allow you to compare each task with the others to decide where to begin.
3. Make a priority task list for today
If your task list is not very dynamic, assigning relative priorities works well. However, if you are adding to-dos every day to your to-do list, reprioritising it becomes a task all by itself. It is helpful to create a prioritised task checklist each morning to help you manage all the tasks that you need to accomplish for the day.
Take a look at your calendar to see how much time it takes to complete tasks on your task list. Next, choose the most important tasks from your task list that you believe you can complete today. You can forget about everything else until you are ready to plan tomorrow.
When planning your day, a good rule of thumb is to underestimate the amount you can accomplish and underestimate how long each task takes. There are plenty of things that you can accomplish if you check off everything on your to-do list today. This is much more satisfying than constantly moving tasks to tomorrow.
4. Concentrate on the Most Important Tasks (MITs).
MITs allow you to have 1-3 tasks on your to-do lists. Anything else would be considered bonus or “nice to do if time permits” tasks. Bonus tasks can only be completed if you have all your MITs done. If you don’t get your MITs through, it is still a success. Now we’re going to be ruthless. This method is worth considering if you are really struggling to accomplish anything, even temporarily.
Take a look at your tasks and choose one thing you want to concentrate on each day. You could choose one large task that you want to complete, or a theme that is related to many of your tasks like “increase sales.” It can be helpful to choose a single task to keep your attention when you get distracted.
5. Find your 20% job
It’s not easy to figure out the 20% that produces the best results. Once you have this information, you can start to apply the ultimate in ruthless prioritisation of your workday. Make 20% your priority and your benchmark for a productive workday. You’ll soon find it easier to be ruthless in your to-do list and will be able choose the best method for you. You’ll be able to prioritise tasks with a ruthless approach that can be very liberating.
Note down all the tasks you have to complete. If the tasks are large, separate the first step and add the larger task. These tasks can be sorted by priority from A (very important or very urgent) through F (unimportant or not at all pressing).
It may be easier to create multiple lists that cover personal, work, and study. You can try different methods and choose the one that suits your needs best. You can use your list by simply working your way through it, starting with the A priorities, moving on to the Bs and then the Cs. You can tick off tasks or mark them as complete when you finish them.
If you are in an operational position or have tasks that require too much attention from others, it might be better to concentrate on a longer-term task list and then “chip away” at them day by day.