Master Prioritization - Deepstash

Master Prioritization

  • Set deadlines to prioritize tasks with upcoming deadlines.
  • Focus on 20% of the tasks that bring 80% of results. 
  • Separate urgent from important. Urgent tasks require immediate action, whereas important tasks have more significant and long-term consequences. Prioritize tasks that are both urgent and important.
  • Learn to say “no”. Don’t hesitate to politely refuse tasks and activities that are irrelevant to your goals.

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MORE IDEAS FROM Master These Three Skills to Improve Time Management

  • Estimate your activities for future productivity analysis.
  • Include buffer time for unexpected circumstances.
  • Use time tracking software. Upload your tasks and time estimates, record time and review your performance.
  • Calculate your fudge ratio. Build a list of tasks, estimate each item and track time. Add up your total time spent, divide it by the total estimated time and multiply the result by 100%.
  • Ask a neutral party for feedback to reduce estimation errors. 

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  • Know your tools. Learn keyboard shortcuts, labeling systems and other tiny features of your apps and tools that can save hours of work time monthly.
  • Document guidelines, meetings, procedures to unload your mind, refer to and share them with others in a few clicks.
  • Store passwords, login data, usernames and other credentials in password managers (like Clipperz).
  • Backup important data. Have a copy of important docs on your cloud or external storage.

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  • Get some perspective. Develop a vision of what and where you want to be in a few years. 
  • Develop an action plan. Break down you vision into manageable steps that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.
  • Take action. Use time management software to upload your plan and record your time.
  • Reflect on your progress. Review your performance regularly to to get new insights.
  • Ask for feedback. Turn to your boss and ask for their feedback. Be ready to take criticism.

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  • Create a routine. Use calendar apps to block time for planned activities and add new items immediately as soon as they are planned. 
  • Schedule protected time. Identify your peak performance time and ensure that you dedicate this time to the most demanding and important projects.
  • Schedule me time. Include fixed commitments (meals, commute, sleep), self-care activities (exercise, meditation), guilt-free time (socializing, hobbies) in your calendar.

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  • Identify unproductive activities. Review your performance in your time tracking app to identify tasks that don’t contribute to the project’s success and that you can eliminate with little or no damage to the outcome.
  • Evaluate task importance. Even when you are in the middle of the task and you notice that it takes too much time already, step back and evaluate its importance and outcome.

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  • Create contingency plans. When planning your next task or project, consider worst-case scenarios.
  • Identify your stressors. Practice journaling for a few weeks to identify sources of stress and look into ways to manage them effectively.
  • Pursue hobbies. People who regularly engage in hobbies perform 15% to 30% better. Schedule at least one block of time every week for your hobby.

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  • Use productivity apps - time trackers, checklist apps - to measure your performance, keep track of your progress and identify opportunities for growth.
  • Work in focused time intervals. When overwhelmed, use short bursts of effort to avoid procrastination.
  • Reduce time wasters. Use do-not-disturb time blocks and block distractions during peak performance and critical work time.
  • Establish boundaries. Stick to your working hours and leave work at work. 

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  • Never lose sight of your vision. Reflect on how your daily tasks contribute to your goals. Adjust your vision if necessary.
  • Use peak performance time. Break your day into 3-8 time slots and assess your energy and productivity levels for a week. Rank-order the slots, find your peak time and use it for the most demanding tasks.
  • Get comfortable with imperfection. Remember that 20% of input produce 80% of results.
  • Practice self-care. Exercise regularly, develop a healthy diet, take breaks, meditate.

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  • Manage your attention. Recognize when your mind starts wandering and redirect your focus when it slips up.
  • Block time for emails. Turn off email notifications and schedule two or three time blocks daily for checking emails.
  • Declutter. Messy desks make us feel anxious, stressed and overwhelmed. Spend a few minutes daily to declutter space around you.

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  • Integrate apps and automate your routines with online calendars, scheduling apps, time trackers, project management systems and other tools.
  • Delegate some tasks to focus on more important tasks and teach your team members new skills. Next time you feel overloaded, you’ll have a trained employee who can back you up.
  • Outsource tasks that take too much of your time and put your focus where it's needed most.  

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  • Create to-do lists and cross off items as you complete them. When you write down your tasks, you take them off your mind, leaving mind space for focus and concentration.
  • Take notes to document ideas, key points of conversations to unload your mind and consult these notes any time.
  • Create running lists: Skills to improve, books to read, courses to take, you name it. 

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RELATED IDEA

Time is our precious resource. It is perishable, it is irreplaceable, and it cannot be saved. It can only be reallocated from activities of lower value to activities of higher value.

Time management refers to how you schedule and organize your time for different activities.

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The Planning Fallacy

We all have busy schedules, but we are incorrectly planning our day around the time we have, not around priorities.

Our estimates on how long certain tasks will take are almost always not realistic.

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Trying to apply time management tools without having prerequisite time management skills is unlikely to work effectively. The prerequisites are:

  • Awareness about time being a limited resource.
  • Arrangement and designing of goals, plans, schedules, and tasks for maximum time-efficiency.
  • Adaptation in your use of time, including adjustments and improvisation.

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