Prioritize Like a Pro

by | Mar 30, 2020 | Productivity Boosters

I’m going to bet that this has happened to you: there are 20 things on your to-do list (50 if we’re being honest) and you buzz busily through your day like a little bee and accomplish nothing on the list.

You do a little bit here, and a little there, and then you browse the internet for a while, then you make a sandwich, then you spend a few hours down a rabbit hole of some other, entirely unrelated task that’s not even on your to-do list.

Part of the problem is that you have so much on your plate that you simply don’t know where to start at all.

Productivity is not about doing more things – it is about doing the right things. It is all about planning: mapping the tasks required to achieve the desired goal; and prioritizing: ensuring you are doing the right things.

Next time your brain is swimming with all the wonderful possibilities of things you could do, or drowning in dread of all the things you have to do, try a framework called the Eisenhower Matrix.

This system of prioritization can be split into 4 categories. It’s a fast way to get everything in order at the start of the day.

The Important Checklist

  • It will affect many people or projects if incomplete
  • Other tasks depend on its completion
  • It contributes a lot of value
  • It’s low effort-high results (80/20 principle)

The Urgent Checklist

  • It is overdue
  • It is due soon
  • It demands immediate attention
  • The consequences of not doing it are immediate

The order in which you execute the tasks on your lists are:

  • The Do column: do these first, as they are both important AND urgent.
  • The Decide column: do these next, or even create a calendar invite or reminder for yourself for when these tasks will be on deck.
  • The Delegate column: We don’t all have personal assistants, but there still may be members of your team or family that can take some tasks off your plate.
  • The Delete column: When you have a lot of tasks, anything in this list needs to get put to the side. OR, you can use these tasks as your “reward” for completing everything else in the other columns on your list.

The order in which you execute the tasks on your lists are:

  • The Do column: do these first, as they are both important AND urgent.
  • The Decide column: do these next, or even create a calendar invite or reminder for yourself for when these tasks will be on deck.
  • The Delegate column: We don’t all have personal assistants, but there still may be members of your team or family that can take some tasks off your plate.
  • The Delete column: When you have a lot of tasks, anything in this list needs to get put to the side. OR, you can use these tasks as your “reward” for completing everything else in the other columns on your list.

Practice these methods and adapt them to your work style and your energy flow. With a few adjustments, you’ll be on your way to achieving a more productive workday, and you’ll be ready to get a grip on your time management game.

 

Kelly Higgins

Kelly Higgins

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