Knowing how to prioritise your work as a business owner is an underrated basic skill. You are always faced with a lot of necessary work with crazy deadlines.
Sometimes, it’s hard to pick which task is more important. The thought alone of how to prioritise tasks can be overwhelming and full of anxiety but not to worry, establishing priorities is possible if you diligently do everything written in this post.
Why is it important to know how to prioritise work?
Knowing how to prioritise work is an important aspect of a work skill that can rapidly improve your quality of work when you become a master at it.
Working faster is not the best answer to countless emails, business meetings, work files, serious deadlines, and all, learning prioritisation strategies are.
According to Harvard Business Review at least 23 hours per week are spent in senior managers’ meetings. Unnecessary meetings waste your time so before accepting one, weigh your priorities.
Prioritisation doesn’t only make a person diligent at work; it also allows them to have a well-structured home or personal life. Establishing priorities is key when it comes to productivity and every business person should go for it.
Work prioritisation is important because of the following reasons.
- It allows you to pay attention to tasks that are important and urgent so you can later focus on low priority tasks.
- It helps you get things done at the right time.
- It helps you improve employee experience at your organisation.
- It helps your quality of service.
- It helps your personal life, family life, and business experience.
- It improves employee experience.
Knowing all the benefits of prioritisation, here are 10 tips to help you know how to prioritise work when everything is important.
- Make a priority list
- Separate important tasks from urgent ones.
- Prioritise based on the important task
- Assign time frames to task
- Outsource other
- Fix the right amount of time
- Be flexible and realistic
- Set boundaries
- Use technology to your advantage
- Prioritise one thing at a time
These 10 tips would be a great guide to helping you prioritise your work. Now let’s discuss them in detail!
Make a priority list
In case you are wondering how to make a priority list, here is how to write down everything you want to do and identify the most important ones.
No one gets the job done by merely thinking about how to prioritise tasks in their minds. You can choose to use a mobile device or you can get a journal to write down your task.
After writing all that you want to do, you will notice they don’t all require the same level of attention. Some tasks could be more daunting and will require you to break them down into smaller tasks.
For long-term tasks, it’s important to break them down into smaller tasks, this way they don’t look as daunting as it seems.
The goal is to focus on more meaningful tasks rather than just any task. When you have written everything you want to do, you can be sure to work on more important goals than the deadlines.
Separate urgent from important tasks
Sometimes we get ourselves worked up with work that isn’t worth stressing over. In the book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, businessmen, and keynote speaker Stephen Covey related with the aid of a diagram how we could prioritise the urgent and important tasks.
Urgent tasks are tasks that need immediate attention like responding to emails, texts, calls, and visitations. However, it has been discovered that most urgent tasks are short-lived and don’t contribute much in the long run.
Important tasks contribute to your long-term success. When you have a view of what brings results in the long run then knowing how to prioritise won’t be a big deal. This is how to prioritise your work next time. Break it down into the four sections listed below.
Urgent and Important: You should do these tasks as soon as possible. For example responding to emails and meetings. These are high priority tasks.
Important, but not urgent: You have to decide when you’ll do these and accordingly schedule it. For example customer satisfaction, research and analysis and networking.
Urgent, but not important: You can delegate these tasks to someone else. For instance, paying bills and running errands.
Neither urgent nor important: Drop these from your schedule as soon as possible.For example posting pictures on Facebook, employee gossip and changing picture background.
Prioritise the most important task
This is the best way to prioritise tasks, it is necessary to bear in mind that this is what the prioritisation of tasks is all about, handling your most important task first at your highest energy level. It’s important to pay attention to your energy level at all times.”Manage your energy as much as you manage your time.
Knowing how to prioritise work in the workplace is not so much a big deal as long as you can identify the most important tasks on the list. The most important task on the list must take topmost priority, this is how to prioritise your work.
With these, you can be sure to always have a fulfilling day without feeling overwhelmed because the most important goals would have been ticked off the list.
Assign time frames to every task
Whether the tasks are listed on your mobile device or your productivity journal, you must assign a time frame to every task. This way it’s difficult for you to be swayed away by unimportant tasks since you know what you should be doing each time.
To make your task easier to achieve you can make it attractive and lively. You can use coloured pens to differentiate between important and urgent tasks.
You can highlight completed tasks and uncompleted tasks with a different kind of highlighter. You can make use of sticky notes to motivate you. According to a colour psychology research, colours have an effect on our brains and the way we perceive the task.
Outsource some tasks
If you are skeptical about the person not doing the job to your satisfaction, it is still reasonable to teach the person how to do it as well as supervise it.
Let’s imagine it takes you 30 minutes to do a designated work. You can allocate 200 minutes to teach a particular person.
Once you teach that person you can be sure you don’t have to do the task again. Imagine the number of hours you will save in the long run by allocating 200 minutes to teaching the person.
As a business owner, you must be ready to pay for the professional services. No doubt, investing in such a strategy will be a total worth. However, you must strike the balance between your income and expenditure for you to do smart delegation.
Fix the right amount of time frame
According to Parkinson’s Law, the amount of work expands to fill the time available for its completion—means that if you give yourself a week to complete a two-hour task, then (psychologically speaking) the complexity of the task will increase and it will be more difficult to complete. It may not even fill the extra time with more work, but only stress and tension about having to get it done.
Even for important tasks, the right amount of time must be fixed. This is important to make sure that you are not using too much time on it. This goes with effort and time.
Work which requires less effort, requires more time, and work that requires more time requires less effort. Perform the most important tasks at your highest energy level: One of the most important things to conserve is your energy, not your time. Energy management is important if we want to be productive. This way you will feel motivated and confident.
Many times we see people work up themselves with urgent tasks which they can’t perform the important ones. At higher energy levels, perform the most important task while at low energy levels, the most urgent task.
Be flexible and realistic
One thing that we must know when learning how to prioritise projects is flexibility. Sometimes we deceive ourselves by trying to do the entire task on our to-do list. Setting priorities at work must give allowance for flexibility.
Not being realistic gives you a false delusion of not doing enough when ideally sometimes some distraction may be inexcusable. Setting unrealistic goals makes you feel like you are not doing enough even when you have expended all of your energy doing the task.
It’s important to bear in mind that the major purpose of prioritisation is to do important jobs first, jobs that have relevance in the long run.
If you want to know how to organise plans and prioritise work then you must take prioritisation strategies seriously as they are important.
You must master the act of setting boundaries if you want to do well with setting priorities and managing priorities at work. You can do this by setting your email to away messages so people can know when you are free and able to respond to messages. It is okay to put your phone away if it is a major source of distraction.
This gives you time to build a strong employee relationship among other members of staff as well as a strong relationship between employees and employers.
Use technology to your advantage
How do you prioritise your work with the help of technology? It’s simple. With the advent of technology, it has become easy to know how to prioritise and schedule projects. All over the internet, there are many productivity tools available that can help you know how to prioritise tasks at work.
You can download a time tracker which helps you evaluate how much time you spend on less important goals. This will also help your know-how effective you are in managing priorities.
Google Calendar is also an important tool for task prioritisation. With the help of this tool, you can get notifications on when to perform a particular task. This helps you break your task well into affordable bits and a reminder is sent for every task that should be performed.
Another tool which can be resourceful in helping you manage your tasks in an organised manner is Google Task. Through Docs, you can access and manage your tasks on Google Tasks.
Prioritise one thing at a time
The whole rhythm around work prioritisation is to organise the cluster of work which is before you. Now, to be able to achieve the benefits of prioritisation, it is important to take the tasks one step at a time.
Just as we have earlier discussed with examples, some tasks are urgent and important, some important and not urgent, and so on. You need to categorise these tasks into these categories and do them in their order of priority.
Pick the urgent and important tasks first; after completion, you can move to the next categories.
Efficiency is guaranteed when you pick one task at a time. You are more able to focus on one task and finish it effectively before moving on to the next.
Multi tasking would easily stress and overwork you and, at the same time, may not yield the best results. However, when you are focused on one task at a time, your productivity and the quality of work are improved!
2021 Statistics according to science direct time management show that 88% of people who don’t set goals fail to see a better outcome. On the flip side, two out of every ten people who set goals noticed an improvement.
In summary, the key to prioritising tasks is to know important tasks and treat them as priorities. Set goals and follow all these tips and you will gain mastery about how to prioritise work.
About the Author
David is a Project Management expert. He has been published in Jeffbullas.com, Hr.com, and eLearningIndustry. As a project planning and execution expert at ProProfs Project, he has offered a unique outlook on improving workflows and team efficiency.