9 Excellent Methods to Prioritize Your Work
There’s an ‘everything is important paradox’ when you’re prioritizing your work. Here’s a failsafe step-by-step guide to achieving max productivity in no time!
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The ‘prioritize your work’ agenda often comes with its fair share of roadblocks. As a result, you may find a hard time juggling several important tasks at the same time. This, in turn, often becomes a recipe for disaster.
Nowadays, you can try to be productive in your personal life by using any productivity app available on your mobile device. Alternatively, you can also use a project management application like nTask to prioritize and manage your work aspect.
The question is: What are the key methods that you can use to prioritize your work to remain unaffected?
In this post, we are going to discuss exactly that.
Here are 9 of the most effective methods to get started toward any work prioritization agenda.
9 Effective Methods to Prioritize Your Work
Here are the effective methods that we are going to talk about today:
- Use the Eisenhower Matrix to separate the important from the urgent tasks.
- Use the ABCDE method to differentiate between tasks having similar priorities.
- Use Warren Buffet’s 2-list strategy to weed out the 'good enough' goals and cut them out of your schedule.
- Use the strategy of Time Multiplying to get the most out of your daily hours.
- Create a List of things you have to do and then break all of them into goals that you have to achieve on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
- Use the Ivy Lee Method to Rank the priority of your daily tasks.
- Improve productivity by using the Eating the Frog method.
- Retain a flexible mindset to drop priorities if you need to and focus on the more important tasks.
- Find out about the most productive hours of your day and prioritize your important tasks around those hours.
Let’s take a look at all of them in detail.
1. Use the Eisenhower Matrix to Separate Important Tasks from the Urgent Tasks
When you think about work prioritization, you need to have a Master List. This list contains all of the tasks and processes that you have to perform, and also helps you to understand how you can prioritize those tasks.
This list is amazing, but you also need a definitive system that will help you to understand which tasks are important and have to be performed as soon as possible.
This is where the Eisenhower Matrix comes in. Developed by American President Dwight Eisenhower, the matrix contains four quadrants that help you differentiate between the severity of the tasks you are trying to perform. These four quadrants are labeled as follows:
- Urgent and Important: In this quadrant, you are going to place those tasks that are the most critical for your project, and have to be performed at the earliest.
- Neither Urgent nor Important: In this quadrant, you are going to place the tasks that have the lowest importance to your project, and which will be performed at the very end.
- Urgent, but not Important: In this quadrant, you are going to place the urgent tasks, but they are not that important to the project.
- Important, but not Urgent: In this quadrant, you are going to place the tasks that are important to the project, but they don’t have to be urgently performed.
2. Use the ABCDE Method to Differentiate Between Tasks Having Similar Priorities
You can have your priorities highlighted but what will you do when many of the tasks that you have to perform have the same priority? How will you differentiate between them?
Here’s where the ABCDE method comes into its own. Developed by Brian Tracy, this method is incredible in differentiating between different tasks that have the same priority.
Here’s how you can use it to your advantage.
- The first step is to go through your list of tasks and assign an alphabet to the task from A to E (A will have the highest priority and E being the lowest).
- The second step is to assign a number to those tasks to further differentiate them on the order in which you are going to perform them.
- Repeat the upper two steps until all of the tasks have numbers and letters associated with them.
3. Use Warren Buffet’s 2-list Strategy to Weed Out the 'Good Enough' Goals and Cut Them Out of Your Schedule
If you want to figure out your most important goals in your personal and work life, you can use Warren Buffet’s 2-list strategy.
What you have to do using this strategy is that you need to write down 25 of the most important goals that you have in your mind. When you have those goals narrowed down, you need to encircle 5 of the most important goals that are important.
When you have those goals encircled, you can cut all of the remaining goals out of your schedule and into the 'avoid at all costs' list.
4. Use Time Multiplication Strategy to Prioritize Your Work
Time Multiplying is an incredible strategy to save time if you want to manage your precious hours around the numerous tasks and processes that you have to perform on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
Using this strategy, all you have to do is to work on the right tasks at the right time. Just remember that you have to pace yourself and think carefully because the right tasks can give you more time to work on your tasks but if your selection is not wise, you are going to have even less time than before.
This strategy can be applied with small strategies that can help you multiply the time on hand, and you can even use time management applications to make sure that you have enough time to work on your most important work processes.
5. Create a List of Things You 'Need' to Do. Break Them Into Goals That You Have to Achieve on a Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Basis
One of the best things that you can do is to make sure that you have all of your goals compiled in-front of you as a list. When you have that compilation ready, all you need to do is to break them all into little chunks.
These little chunks are workable tasks that can be easily achieved. You can divide these tasks into daily, weekly, and monthly tasks so that you are not overwhelmed and easily perform them to achieve success.
6. Use the Ivy Lee Method to Rank the Priority of Your Daily Tasks
However short you want your list of things to be, you can never quite get it down to the number you had in mind. That means that you always get a massive list of things with varying urgencies and importance.
In this case, you need a system that will help you to dig deeper and find out the true importance of the tasks. That system is called Ivy Lee Method, which was developed over 100 years ago but still can help you rank your daily tasks according to their urgency and importance.
Here are the steps that make up the Ivy Lee Method.
- The first thing you have to do is to make sure that at the end of each workday, write down the six most important things you need to work on the next day.
- Do not write down more than six tasks because you don’t want to be overwhelmed.
- Prioritize those six items in order of their true importance so that they can be differentiated easily later.
- When you start working, concentrate only on the first task.
- Work until the first task is completed before starting the next one.
- Work on the rest of your list in the same fashion.
- The next step is to move the incomplete items to a new list of six tasks for the following work-day.
- Repeat this process daily.
7. Improve Productivity by Using the 'Eat the Frog' Method
'Eating the frog' is a strategy that wants you to work on the most important and difficult tasks at the start of the day.
This helps you to have your day be more productive because when you get those difficult tasks completed at the start of the day, you gain momentum and get a boost of energy to tackle the rest of the easy tasks effortlessly.
8. Retain a Flexible Mindset to Drop Priorities if You Need to and Focus on the More Important Tasks
One thing that you need to make sure that you have in your personal and work life, is a flexible mindset. What we mean by that is the flexibility to change your mind according to the need and requirement of the tasks at hand.
Most of the time in our professional lives or even in our personal lives, we get entangled in such a way that even if we see that something can be done in a new and easy way, we tend to do it in the tedious way that we have always used.
This needs to change and for that, you need to have a flexible mindset, to incorporate any type of change that might come your way.
9. Find out about the Most Productive Hours of Your Day and Prioritize Your Important Tasks around Those Hours
Every professional knows about the specific hours of the day that they work very productively. These hours can be at the start of the day or even in the late hours of their work-day.
When you have those hours figured out, you have to make sure that you prioritize those important tasks that you have on your schedule, around those highly productive hours. This will help you be more efficient and productive daily.
Admittedly, when it’s about being more productive, it is an art. Don’t expect to master the brush strokes during the first few attempts. To that end, eating a couple of frogs first thing in the morning isn’t such a bad start.
Give it a shot and see where it goes.
Best of luck and Happy nTasking!
Published at DZone with permission of Fred Wilson, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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