Time Management. Part 2: Prioritizing
Here’s the second part of the series of life hacks about time management. Once you’ve analyzed and set the right goals and life objectives, the next step is proper prioritizing. To effectively prioritize your projects, you need to identify how urgent and how important all your different tasks are, and rank them accordingly. Important things should align with your long-term goals, whereas urgent daily tasks simply need to be done as soon as possible. By learning proper prioritization techniques, you’ll become more productive in your work life and more focused on your goals.
In our complex world, you can’t wait until you have reached one long-term goal before neatly moving on to the next. On any given day, you will be working on short-term tasks associated with multiple long-term goals and objectives. So how do you decide which to do first? The answer is proper prioritizing.
But how do you decide which tasks take priority over others? Which tasks should be completed first, second, third, and so forth? The first step is to have a clear understanding of what’s involved in each task by asking the following questions—who, what, when, why, and how.
Who? Who needs this to be done? Who will be performing the task? Who will benefit from this?
What? Exactly what are you required to do? Is it valuable in the big picture? Does the benefit of doing the job justify the investment of your time, energy, and resources?
When? By what date do you need to complete your task? Do you have the time to accommodate this request? Unimportant things usually become urgent because of poor planning. Keep your priorities in mind as you take on new work.
Why? Why do you need to complete this task? Why is it necessary in the context of your long-term goals? Understanding the big picture will help you stay focused and prioritize better.
How? How should you complete the task? How will your completed task be measured or evaluated? “How” something needs to be done has a huge effect on time management decisions and on the quality and cost of the task.
Always ask yourself the basics: Who, What, When, Why and How.
Make lists and stick to them. According to experts, lists are one of the most effective time management tools.
Allow yourself more time than you think you need to perform necessary tasks.
Don’t let distraction sabotage your list of tasks.
Don’t fall into time traps like net surfing. Try to stay focused.
The Art of To-Do List
If you have more on your plate than you think you can deal with, making a list is the single most important step you can take in the planning process. A written record allows you to see it all in front of you.
Do write things down.
Don’t try to rely on memory alone to remember important notes. Write them down on a piece of paper, which can always be referred to down the line.
Do list your tasks in order of priority. Complete the most urgent tasks first and then get to other pertinent but less important tasks.
Do use your list as a reference when confronted with new tasks. You will have a good idea of exactly how much time you can dedicate to these assignments.
Don’t get bogged down by a seemingly endless list.
Do make schedules using software programs, which will e-mail you to gently remind you of an impending deadline.
Do have a particular place where you keep your list so that it is easy for you and others to refer to it.
Don’t forget to remove tasks that have been completed from your list, so they do not clutter the list of what still needs to be done.
The Benefits of To-Do Lists
Writing down the things you need to accomplish as a to-do list offers many time-saving benefits, including:
Do you have any favorite tools or Apps that you used to manage your To-Do Lists? Share them with me, let's discuss!
And next time I will share with you my vision of the famous “GTD” system by David Allen, which is awesome!
Wishing you a great day!