“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have 24-hour days.” (Motivational speaker and author Zig Ziglar)
So true: 24-hour days, seven days a week, 365 days a year. But you may still feel as though you have countless things to do right away, which can quickly become overwhelming and cause you to drop all those balls you’re trying to balance in the air.
Here’s a four-step process to help:
- Make a task list.
Before you can successfully prioritize your tasks, you need a single view of all of them. Making a list may seem rudimentary, but often, this step is skipped in the rush to get started on everything. Take time to list what you need to work on to complete all your projects.
- The larger ones can be intimidating. Break them down into smaller parts, aka, smaller bullet items on your list.
- Include the amount of time it will take to complete each task, the deadline, and the level of importance or urgency.
- Find the method that works for you.
There are several proven methods for task prioritization. They include:
- Eat the Frog: This method is based on another quote, this one from author Mark Twain: “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning.” In other words, tackle your most important tasks – those tied into top-level objectives – first.
- Eisenhower Decision Matrix: Five-star general and U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower devised this method. It’s based on organizing your tasks based on their whether they are important, urgent, both important and urgent, or neither.
- ABCDE: Using this method, you grade all your tasks, from A (very important) to E (eliminate whenever possible). Then, you work on your A and B tasks first.
- Chunking: A chunk is a focused work activity. Using this method, you slot each of your chunks into focused, uninterrupted blocks of time by turning off distractions and signaling to others that you are unavailable.
- Schedule your tasks using a calendar tool.
When you’ve landed on your preferred method, transfer your tasks to a calendar tool or app. Use whatever works for you, from an old-school handwritten planner to the latest digital wonder. Just remember to be realistic about your timeframes and deadlines – and don’t forget to include breaks: break times are necessary, vital and non-negotiable!
- Communicate with other stakeholders.
In virtually every case, you rely on other people to help you complete tasks. Keep them continuously informed of progress and updates, as well as any obstacles that may arise. This way, you can minimize the time you spend answering questions and keep working efficiently and productively.
As you master task prioritization, whether a leader on your list is excelling in your current role or finding a new one, the PrideStaff Northern Kentucky team can help. We offer a wealth of ideas, insights and resources to keep you on the growth and success track. Contact us today to learn more.
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