"I have so much to get done. What do I do first?"
"I keep putting things off. How do I prioritize so I can get stuff done?"
"I really need help to find a way to prioritize things I need to do. What do you suggest?"
"How can I be better at prioritizing this huge list in front of me?"
Learning to prioritize is one of the biggest challenges today and is a skill that often takes practice before you can truly master it.
A lack of prioritization may leave you feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and unhappy throughout the day.
When you've got a long list of things that need to be done, figuring out which ones take precedence can be difficult to say the least!
Here are 5 simple steps to becoming a whiz at prioritization:
Plan your day ahead of time.
It's impossible to prioritize when you have no clear idea of what needs to be done.
Get into the habit of making a detailed list of everything you want to get done each day. You can make your list the night before or first thing in the morning, but be sure to set a routine and stick to it so you don't forget. On this list you'll place the big activities and chores, but also the smaller tasks and obligations.
What's your plan for the day ahead?
Pare down your list.
If you're like most people, your list is probably several hundred miles long. It could probably even circle the globe at least once, right?
However, if you look at the items on your list, probably a large chunk of them don't have to be done immediately. Instead, focus on the main activities that really DO have to be done today (or tomorrow, depending on when you are making your list). Transfer all of the other non-essential items to another list. You can do them once you've completed the items on your main list.
What's on your list(s)?
Allot a specific amount of time for each item on your list.
Look closely at each task and activity on your main list.
How long do they usually take to complete?
This will be a general estimate, since it can be difficult to say exactly ”“ especially when interruptions and delays can throw your timeline off. Be sure to allow a few extra minutes for each task, just in case they take longer than you expect. If you end up finishing a task in less time, you've got that much more time that can be applied to other items.
Which of the items on the list is MOST crucial to complete?
One good way to figure this out is to consider the consequences of NOT doing each thing on the list.
What would happen if you didn't complete your work project on time or bring your child to a doctor appointment?
Any item that would create negative consequences if not completed should be given very high priority. You can use a letter or numbering system to label each item on your list, if it helps. Use the number 1 or the letter A for very high priority items; then the number 2 or letter B would be for items that are important but not as crucial as the highest priority items.
I wish I could tell you to do the highest priority items first, and then work your way down the list, but unfortunately events won't always comply with that type of structure. For example, you may have a high-priority item that can't be completed until later in the day for whatever reason, so you'll have no choice but to complete some other, less important activities in the meantime. That's okay, but just be sure to keep checking your list and focusing on what needs to be done in the timeframe it needs to be done.
More on this in the next step.
Review your list and stay focused.
If you are not accustomed to working in such an organized manner, you may find yourself forgetting to check your list throughout the day, or you may even find yourself getting distracted and losing track of time.
When this happens, simply redouble your efforts to get back on track. Keep your list in a prominent area so you'll see it frequently, and do your best to stick to the plan you've set for yourself.
If you manage to complete all of your most important items from the list, immediately switch to your other list of non-essential items! Even if you can only complete one or two of them, you'll feel the glow of accomplishment from going the extra mile.
Learning how to prioritize will take time to fully master, especially if you're used to dealing with a lot of distraction and chaos in your daily activities. It may seem like an impossible dream to get it all together and flowing smoothly, but YOU CAN DO IT!
Each and every day that you stick to your priorities, you'll find the process getting easier and easier.
Before long you'll have no problem addressing the most crucial items first, and everything else will quickly and easily fall into place.
Prioritize your day and solve your problem, click here.