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Setting Priorities 101: Master the Art of Goal Setting - Toggl Blog

The 80/20 Rule

Another way to prioritize tasks is by using the 80/20 rule. This rule states that 20% of your work will account for 80% of your results. 

To use the 80/20 rule when setting priorities, analyze the items on your to-do list. Which of them will have the greatest impact on your current project, career, and life? These are the tasks you should focus on. 

Everything else can be delegated, dropped, or accomplished after you’ve completed the most important assignments.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Objectives and Key Results (OKR)
Objectives and Key Results (OKR)

The Objective is qualitative, and the KR’s (most often three) are quantitative.

They are used to focus a group or individual around a bold goal. The objective sets a goal for a set per...

Objectives

Your objective defined in a single sentence should be:

  • Qualitative and inspirational. The objective is designed to get people jumping out of bed in the morning with excitement.
  • Time-bound. You want it to be a clear sprint toward a goal, doable in a month or a quarter.
  • Actionable by the team independently. Your Objective has to be truly yours, and you can’t have the excuse of “marketing didn’t market it.”
Key Results

Key results take all that inspirational language and quantifies it.

You create them by asking a simple question “how would we know if we met our objective?”

The "frog"

It is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don't do something about it.

It is also the one task that can have the greatest positiv...

Brian Tracy
Brian Tracy

"One of the very worst uses of time is to do something very well that need not be done at all".

The ABCDE prioritization approach
  • A items : Things you must do, which will have a serious positive or negative consequence.
  • B items : Things you should do, that have minor consequences.
  • C items : Things that are nice to do but don’t have any real consequences when they’re done.
  • D items : Things to delegate so you can free up more time to do A tasks.
  • E items : Things to eliminate. Generally stuff you do out of habit.
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 educa...
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?
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?