How to Prioritise Tasks & Focus On What Matters.
“You don’t need more time in your day. You just need to decide” – Seth Godin.
Have you ever felt like you can’t get on top of your workload and priorities? Does your never-ending to-do list continue to grow and expand? Do you constantly feel stressed and overwhelmed? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this may be the article for you.
Managing work flow and priorities is essential if you want to increase your effectiveness and productivity. Between managing a demanding full time job, my blog and personal projects, I’ve learned a thing or two about learning how to prioritise tasks and focus on what matters.
Here are my top 5 tips for how to prioritise tasks and get the most out of your 24 hours:
1. PRIORITISE YOUR TO-DO LIST
Prioritising your to-do list is one of the most effective ways to manage your work flow. Start by writing a list of things you need to complete. Systematically review your list and determine what items are the most urgent and important. Once you have highlighted the key priorities, delegate between 1-3 items for each day that you absolutely must complete. For example, Monday 15th April 2019:
1: Submit weekly sales report.
2: Review and negotiate contract terms.
3: Write blog post on How to Prioritise Tasks & Focus On What Matters.
2. TACKLE THE MOST DIFFICULT TASKS FIRST
Once you have determined the most urgent and important tasks, ensure you tackle them first. Whilst it is easy to allow yourself to become distracted by email and default to working on the ‘quick wins,’ this approach is counter-productive and will cause you undue stress. Utilise prime time (AM) to tackle the most difficult tasks whilst your mind is fresh and free of distractions.
Leaving difficult tasks to the afternoon is a fatal mistake. Chances are you will run out of time, resulting in you feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Once you have completed your top 1-3 priorities, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and will then be free to attend to meetings, emails and phone calls.
3. PLAN AHEAD
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”- Benjamin Franklin.
Planning your day or week in advance will ensure that you schedule in your important tasks and utilise your time as effectively and wisely as possible. If you don’t put any thought into planning your work flow and priorities, you will end up wasting valuable time thinking about what it is you should be doing next. Taking the time to plan ahead will save you the unnecessary stress and headache later.
4. BATCH YOUR WORK
Batching is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The Pomodoro technique is a specific form of batching where a timer is used to break work down into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length. Batching allows the grouping of similar tasks to streamline their completion. This in turn allows you to maximise concentration and increase productivity, creativity and mental sharpness whilst decreasing fatigue, stress and procrastination. Psychologically, batching is an effective method as you “just need to get through the next 25 minutes” before you can pick up your phone or get lost in your emails.
5. REST & RELAXATION
Rest and Relaxation are necessary for the mind, body and soul. Whether it is ensuring you get plenty of sleep, stretching, yoga, listening to music, reading a good book or meditating, ensure you are taking the necessary time out to rest and relax. Getting adequate R&R will result in increased alertness, productivity, creativity and increased general health.
HOW TO PRIORITISE TASKS & FOCUS ON WHAT MATTERS
Managing your priorities will ensure you have greater efficiency and effectiveness, make greater impact and help you to achieve some amazing results.
What are some of your tips on how to prioritise? I would love to hear your thoughts- leave your comments below!