How to Prioritize Work Tasks: The Ultimate Guide to Priority Management - Deepstash

deepstash

Beta

Deepstash brings you key ideas from the most inspiring articles like this one:

Read more efficiently

Save what inspires you

Remember anything

How to Prioritize Work Tasks: The Ultimate Guide to Priority Management

https://taylorpearson.me/how-to-prioritize/

taylorpearson.me

How to Prioritize Work Tasks: The Ultimate Guide to Priority Management
"Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable." Dwight Eisenhower One of the primary frameworks I use in my work is something I call the business production function. It's a diagnostic tool that lets me quickly look at the four big categories of business and asks: which one of these is the current limit?

11

Key Ideas

Save all ideas

Personal Operations Category

  • Task management. This one is most commonly taught and includes systems like Getting Things Done.
  • Knowledge management. This is embodied in systems like productivity educator Tiago Forte's Building a Second Brain.
  • Priority management. Without this category, the first two will fail. You need to have your tasks and resources organized, but also know how to prioritize them.

1.95k SAVES

4.78k READS

VIEW

What's on your plate

Prioritizing tasks at work involves getting all your tasks and commitments in one place.  Take a piece of paper and make a list of everything you need to get done. Questions to help you:

  • Do you have commitments to others like your boss, partner, kids, or clients?
  • Do you have anything you need to submit? 
  • Do you have any financial tasks that need to get done? 
  • Do you have any planning that needs to get done? 
  • Do you have any administrative tasks? Legal, insurance, staffing, or training?
  • Do you have any professional development tasks that need to get done? Training, areas to research, skills to develop, books to read or study, or classes to take?

1.93k SAVES

3.20k READS

Brainstorm your goals

Find your goals. Without them, it is impossible to prioritize your tasks. Try to set 90-day goals, which is long enough to make meaningful progress. Questions to prompt goals:

  • What’s the one thing you could do that makes everything else easier or unnecessary?
  • If you were giving advice to someone else in your position, what 1-3 things would you tell them to focus on?
  • What do you want to have accomplished over the next five years?

2.00k SAVES

3.18k READS

Your Top 1-3 Goals

Prioritize your list of possible goals using and expected value (EV) calculation. Expected Value = Resources Required x Return on Investment x Probability of Success

Take the list of everything you could potentially work on over the next 90 days and then rank them by these criteria.

  • Resources required: This is your time and cash required.
  • Probability of success: How likely it is to work and how excited you are about it.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): Your 1 Year and 5 Year ROI. Some projects have quick payback periods, and others have long term ones. Try and keep a balance by having one long and one short term ROI.

1.93k SAVES

2.74k READS

The ABCDE Method

The ABCDE Method

This method consists of ranking your tasks into five categories.

  • A – Very important, must be done at all costs.
  • B – Pretty important, but the consequences aren’t as serious if it’s not completed.
  • C – It would be nice to have done, but with no consequences for not doing it.
  • D – Delegate this to someone else as it's not worth your time.
  • E – Eliminate. Not worth doing, delete it. 

2.35k SAVES

4.40k READS

Eisenhower Priority Matrix

The priority matrix allows you to look through your to-do list and categorize based on their urgency and importance.

  • Quadrant 1 - Urgent and important. This is anything due soon or overdue. See what can be automated or delegated.
  • Quadrant 2 - Not urgent and important. This contains tasks that are beneficial to your career or business in the long run.
  • Quadrant 3 - Urgent, not important. 
  • Quadrant 4 - Not urgent, not important. Everything else goes here.

1.91k SAVES

2.64k READS

The Marshall Matrix

Categorize your tasks by how much value they generate for you or your company. Tasks can be assigned as either $10/hour, $100/hour, $1,000/hour or $10,000/hour.

We might think of the value of the tasks as linear, where some tasks are more important than others. But the difference in value can be huge. For example, one new product could dramatically grow the business while the minor website update might make a negligent difference.

1.75k SAVES

2.32k READS

The Not-To-Do List

Some examples of things that often waste time:

  • Checking business stats (traffic, sales) every day if there is nothing actionable to be done with them.
  • Going back and forth in an email thread more than once in a day
  • Meetings before noon or without a clear agenda
  • Errands that can be outsourced
  • Social Media and Email on Phone
  • Responding to Emails more than twice a day
  • Micromanaging people instead of managing by KPIs and results

1.86k SAVES

2.76k READS

Prioritize by Energy Level

  • Maker Time: Maker work requires long amounts of uninterrupted time, like coding, designing or writing.  The peak energy part of your day is most suited for this.
  • Manager Work: This work needs to be done, but does not drive things forward, like meetings, email, or filling out tax forms. It is best to "chunk" this time too and do it after your Maker work.
  • Admin Work: This is work you can do when you feel otherwise brain dead, like organizing your office or data entry.

1.90k SAVES

2.60k READS

The Beginning of Each Week

Update all the tasks on your list and prioritize them. Then put them on your calendar based around your energy levels. Ask "Given my current energy level, what's the most valuable task I can do now?

  • First put your rest in your schedule, because it is the easiest to neglect.
  • Then add your exercise times. It's so easy to skimp on if not scheduled in.
  • Next, add the high priority work (Maker work or $1,000 - $10,000/hour work.)
  • Then add your learning.
  • Finally, add the manager and admin or $10 - $100 work.

1.85k SAVES

2.42k READS

Schedule Your Day

Schedule Your Day

At the start of each day, look over your calendar and task list for that day, and quickly write down three things you are grateful for your priorities of the day.

Writing on paper makes it less likely to keep adding as the day progresses. Crossing the tasks off as you complete them feels very satisfying.

1.75k SAVES

2.73k READS

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Learning how to prioritize...

...means getting more out of the limited time you have each day. It’s one of the cornerstones of productivity and once you know how to properly prioritize, it can help with everything fro...

Master lists

Capture everything on a Master List and then break it down by monthly, weekly, and daily goals.

  1. Start by making a master list—a document, app, or piece of paper where every current and future task will be stored. 
  2. Once you have all your tasks together, break them down into monthly, weekly, and daily goals.
  3. When setting your priorities, try not to get too “task oriented” - you want to make sure you’re prioritizing the more effective work.

Eisenhower Matrix

The matrix is a simple four-quadrant box that answers that helps you separate “urgent” tasks from “important” ones:

  • Urgent and Important: Do these tasks as soon as possible
  • Important, but not urgent: Decide when you’ll do these and schedule it
  • Urgent, but not important: Delegate these tasks to someone else
  • Neither urgent nor important: Drop these from your schedule as soon as possible.

5 more ideas

Accepting that you can't do everything

Accepting that you can't do everything

The antidote to chronic overwhelm is accepting that you cannot do it all.

Prioritizing means embracing the limits of your time and your energy, and taking back control of y...

Things worth prioritizing in life

There are some general areas that all of us should prioritize in order to function well and generally make life worthwhile. These areas are:

  • Health and fitness. Bad health and fitness habits add up over time and have a knock-on effect in other areas of our lives.
  • Sleep and rest. Inadequate sleep leads to unstable emotions, impaired learning, imbalanced hormones and a compromised cardiovascular system.
  • Friends, family, and relationships. It's hard to mend relationships once they've been frayed. Be proactive about being the connector and decide beforehand what you won't miss out on.
  • Productive work. Instead of working harder, we should work smarter (more strategically.)

Things to deprioritize

Intentionally take your focus away from distracting areas in your life.

  • Social media and entertainment. While they can add fun to our days, it's worth reducing how much time we spend on apps.
  • Busy work. These are tasks we do regularly but that fail to move us forward. These tasks should be delegated, automated, limited, or deleted.
  • Negativity. When we focus on the negative, we are prevented from seeing reality clearly. It is then important to be aware of your inner thoughts. Maintain a running record of positive things people say about you.

Denying you have a problem

Stop saying that you don't have enough time to complete your commitments.

Admit that you need to get better at managing your time and start searching and trying techniques that will help you ...

Not planning your day

It's important to have an idea of what your daily priorities are and tasks you need to complete, preferably the night before. 

Also, make sure you prepare in the evening the outfit you're going to wear and the meals for the following day. Doing this will save time in the morning, and reduce decision fatigue.

"Urgent" vs "Important"

Take all of your tasks and place them into four quadrants:

  • To do first: the most important responsibilities that need to be done today or tomorrow.
  • Schedule: important tasks that are not urgent.
  • Delegate: essential items that are not important.
  • Don't do: tasks that aren't important or urgent.