How to Prioritize Work: 7 Practical Methods for When "Everything is Important"
...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 from your time management to work life balance.
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Capture everything on a Master List and then break it down by monthly, weekly, and daily goals.
The matrix is a simple four-quadrant box that answers that helps you separate “urgent” tasks from “important” ones:
Rank your work by its true priority with the Ivy Lee Method:
Instead of keeping all tasks on a single level of priority, this method offers two or more levels for each task:
How you start the day sets the tone for the rest of it. And often, getting a large, hairy, yet important task out of the way first thing gives you momentum, inspiration, and energy to keep moving.
But the reality is that no matter what you spend your time doing, you can never get that time back. And any time spent continuing to work towards the wrong priority is just wasted time.
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It means deciding not to do things you'd really like to do. It also means deciding what's the most important task even when everything on your list feels crucial.
But if you can prioritize...
To-dos arrive from a variety of sources. Your boss sends you an email, you get a Slack message from IT, a bill arrives in the mail, or a coworker asks for a favor in the hallway.
In order to prioritize your task list efficiently, you need a master to-do list that contains all of the tasks you need to prioritize and complete from all of those sources.
Go through your list, review each task, and decide what you want to do with it. You have 4 options:
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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:
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:
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We usually give priority to unimportant tasks when there is a sense of urgency around them.
We’re actually psychologically wired to put aside important tasks in favor of ta...
A few explanations as to why it’s so hard to reject urgent tasks:
The problem is that we’re continually bombarded with urgent work: emails, meetings, calls, and instead of being in control of our time and attention, we respond and act on someone else’s priorities.
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