Prioritizing Your Tasks, It Can Be Learned!

Last updated by Katie M.

My desk is full of post-its, I get overwhelmed, and I’m often right on schedule! I know that prioritizing is the key to being organized at work, but how do you do that when you feel that all your tasks are important? There are different ways to do this, but the most important thing to remember is that you can learn to prioritize. Here’s how!

Contents: 

How to prioritize when everything is important?

Yes, it’s hard to tell ourselves that one task takes priority over another when everything seems important to us! The key to understanding what needs to be done urgently is to take a step back so as not to feel overwhelmed and on your way to a burn-out. To have this objective view, you need to:

  • be observant;
  • take stock of the situation;
  • clarify;
  • commit.

To achieve this and to learn to prioritize your tasks, you need to force yourself to slow down, just like in the Kaizen method 🧘‍♀️. This time allows us to put things into perspective and see what’s urgent from another angle.

Urgency and importance

When we’re in a constant state of urgency, we can make more mistakes, and it becomes an inefficient rush. Learning to balance and be methodical will become our best allies when it comes to prioritizing our tasks. For this, we should know that there are 4 essential types of tasks according to the Eisenhower matrix:

  • Urgent 🔥
  • Important ⚠️
  • Not urgent ➡️
  • Not important ⏸️

➜ This matrix allows us to classify the tasks to be able to prioritize them better. The second step is of course to understand each type of task.

>>> Discover the 4 main causes of unhappiness at work

Methods of prioritizing tasks at work

When we know how to prioritize tasks, we know how to assess the urgency of tasks, but that’s not all. The distribution of our time, the amount of time it takes to do something, and flexibility are no longer a secret for us 🤓. So here are the methods that teach us how to do all this.

1. The “to-do list”

Yes, the famous to-do list! To understand what we have to do, you need to write it all down, including the little things that seem trivial 🤔. And you can also note your personal tasks. Everything can be grouped together!

➜ For example, we may have to pick up a parcel at the post office, which is right next to our next client meeting!

Once you’ve written everything down, prioritization is usually done according to urgency, importance, length of time, and the consequences of each task.

2. Identify your goals clearly

If we need to organize our tasks, it’s to achieve a longer-term goal. It’s therefore important to identify them to always keep them in mind 🔍. As such, it will be easier for us to know what needs to be done as a priority, what is urgent or important.

3. Break down your goals

Once we’ve established our main objectives, we’ll have to break them down into sub-categories to achieve our final goal. This will allow us to break them down annually, monthly, and even weekly. From there, we can plan deadlines 📅.

4. Organize tasks in terms of time

This is when we know whether a task is urgent, i.e., a priority or not. As we have to fix deadlines, we can set precise times. The MIT method (Most Important Tasks) gives us the possibility to set 3 tasks that must be completed before the end of the day ✅.

➜ To choose them, we need to ask ourselves which ones will have the greatest impact on the final goal? What can we finish during the day?

5. Avoid competing priorities

To avoid getting caught up writing an unexpected email or with various other distractions, it’s important to respect the time limit. It’s important to take regular breaks to be efficient. By taking them into account, we will be less distracted. Just as, we must also think about parallel priorities, such as dealing with emails. By dedicating time to them every day, we can integrate them smoothly into our schedule.

6. Know your rhythm

When you look at your “to-do” list and schedule, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with stress at work. To avoid this happening, it’s important to trust yourself 🤗. Knowing yourself well and having an idea of how long it takes to do a task is what makes it happen. For this, it’s necessary to take your rhythm into account, as well as breaks.

7. Constantly re-evaluate

The key to continuous improvement and knowing how to prioritize is to systematically take a step back. By doing this, we can control the urgency of tasks, including new ones that are added on top.

And to have the time to put these methods in place, why not make the most of the summer in the office to do this? Just saying 😄!

Editor’s note: prioritize for less stress

When you don’t know how to prioritize, you want to do everything right away, and then stress sets in. Especially since by wanting to be everywhere, you end up nowhere… Prioritizing, therefore, allows you to work calmly and efficiently, but it’s not always easy, especially if you have an anxious temperament or if you suffer from good pupil syndrome! We advise you to seek help from a coach in order to better manage your emotions and your professional life.

🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy... It’s here and now!
#BornToBeMe

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