How To Prioritize Effectively: Guidelines And Methods

Twitter
Facebook
LinkedIn
3 min read

Workdays are busy. You have to juggle tasks, prioritize them, and plan for what needs to be done next. But how do you make sure that you are spending your time wisely?

There is no one specific way to prioritize tasks and manage your time. However, some general guidelines will be helpful for any workplace.

First of all, we should always ask ourselves: what is the goal for this task? What are the benefits I will get after completing it? These questions will help us decide whether this task needs your attention and how much time we should spend on it.

Secondly, if several tasks need our attention, we should delegate them according to their priorities. Finally, we should always have a plan for every day or week in advance – what do I want to achieve today or this week? When will I take breaks from work? What other activities would you like to do outside of work?

Choices and Priorities

Putting together a priority list is not an easy task. There will always be things that you want to do but don’t have time for because of other obligations you have made for yourself beforehand.

To be able to prioritize tasks, you need to understand what the tasks mean. By understanding this, you can then decide if it is a priority or not. If it isn’t, you can delete it from your list and go on to something else.

The key to prioritizing tasks is to make an informed decision about the right thing to do.

Whether you are trying to decide between two or more tasks or you need something more complex, five things can be used as a guide when prioritizing:

  • Urgency: The time-sensitive nature of the task
  • Importance: The significance or importance of the task
  • Dependency: How reliant the task is on another task
  • Ease: How easy it will be for you to complete this task
  • Personal Motivation: What your general motivation level for that type of work is

Methods that will help you to Prioritize Tasks

Are you tired of juggling multiple project files? Get everything in one place and organize. Focus on improving your productivity and getting things done.

If you’re wondering how to prioritize among your multiple tasks, well this is the right place to start.

1. Eisenhower Matrix

One of the best task prioritizing methods is the Eisenhower Matrix technique.

With the Eisenhower Matrix, you categorize tasks by their importance and urgency.:

  • Important and Urgent tasks: Do it now!
  • Important and Not Urgent tasks: Plan it!
  • Not Important and Urgent tasks: Delegate!
  • Not Important and Not Urgent: Off your schedule!

2. GTD Framework

David Allen developed this technique based on the concept that capturing ideas it’s crucial to process them later. When they’re just in your mind, they’re useless.

It’s a simple five steps process that works as follows:

  1. Capture: There are many ideas, tasks, projects & more that you have in your head. Make sure to get them out and put them somewhere outside of your brain so that you can focus on what needs to be done. Save it as a list on your laptop or write it down on paper.
  2. Process: Can you complete it in two minutes or less? If Yes, go ahead and do it; if not, trash it, keep it as a reference for the future, or put it in the someday list
  3. Categorize: This is where you manage all your tasks, by sorting, categorizing, and labeling your to-dos in a way that links every action to related projects, time to finish, and context.
  4. Review: Reviewing your activities helps you understand where your life is going and what needs to be worked on. Weekly reviews are crucial for success, and David Allen has said as much himself. They allow you to inspect the things in your life that need attention and make changes.
  5. Engage: Focus, act, cross your list and execute. Turning your detailed plans into action is the “it” step for success.

3. “Eat That Frog” Method of Prioritizing Tasks

As Mark Twain’s said:

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning.

And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

This translates into completing the most important task first.

Every morning, before you tackle the day’s tasks, take some time to think about what you want to achieve and what are the most important tasks to get there:

  • You should complete major and complex projects first.
  • Did you eat the biggest frog? good, now you can move on to the other tasks

4. Tracy’s ABCDE

The ABCDE method is one of the most straightforward frameworks to help you with your tasks.

As you can imagine, the alphabetical order dictated by the letters is reflected in the importance of the tasks to be completed as follows:

  • A– Important tasks that have serious consequences
  • B– Less critical tasks that have mild consequences if not done.
  • C– Tasks that can be done, if you want, and have no consequences.
  • D– Tasks that you can delegate to others to free up time for doing the “A” tasks.
  • E– Tasks that can be eliminated without making a difference.

Although not easy to understand, You can often find efficiency in completing your tasks with the simplicity of some methodologies, such as those listed so far.

Which one is best for you? Does it help you to have clear priorities, and therefore goals at hand?