One of the best ways to improve your productivity is to prioritize your work. But if you’re new to goal setting and time management, it can be tough to know how to do this. Read on for tips on how to prioritize your work and get the most out of your time.
Brainstorm. The first thing you should do is make a list of everything that needs to get done. This includes tasks for clients, tasks for yourself, and other tasks that need to get done to further your work. Exhaust every piece of work you think you need to do.
Determine Time-Sensitivity. Some tasks need to be done urgently while other tasks aren’t as time-sensitive. Take the list you brainstormed and divide the tasks into two categories – urgent vs. not urgent. Urgent things are those that are related to deadlines.
Determine Importance. In addition to knowing what’s important time-wise, it’s also important to look at the importance of each task. A task is important if it supports the overall vision of your business and supports bigger goals and priorities.
Some tasks are not as important, but need to get done. And you may even find there are tasks that aren’t really that important at all and can be deleted from the list. Rank both the urgent and not urgent lists by importance.
Know Your Limits. You can become overwhelmed if you give yourself an unrealistic number of tasks to complete. Be realistic about what you can accomplish in a given amount of time. Overloading your to do list can cause you to become paralyzed and get less done.
Set Time Limits for Tasks. If you tend to spend too much time on a task seeking perfection, you need to give yourself time limits so that you won’t focus on one thing for too long while neglecting other tasks. That may mean throwing some of your perfectionism out the window.
Set Deadlines. When you feel like you have all the time in the world to complete a project, you’re less likely to get it done in a reasonable amount of time. Set deadlines so that you can be motivated to finish in less time and get more done.
Allow Time for Personal Projects. Sometimes you’ll find there are things you want to do for your business that aren’t necessarily critical at the time. Don’t forget to give yourself the time to work on projects you enjoy. When you feel fulfilled and happy you’ll be more productive.
When you learn how to prioritize your work you’ll know which tasks need to be done right away and which ones can wait. In the end you’ll get more done and you’ll feel better about the work that you do.
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Mike Gardner is The time Doctor