In today’s fast-paced working environment it is essential to have a way of prioritising your workload so that you are productive and efficient. It is easy to become overloaded and disorganised because of the sheer volume of tasks you have to complete or because you are being pulled in different directions because of conflicting tasks.
Prioritising your tasks helps you stay in control of your time, maintain an efficient flow of work and have a much more positive impact on your wellbeing. Here are some top tips for prioritising your work:
Write things down
First thing in the morning or at the beginning of the week, write down everything that needs to get done. Once you have everything down, separate the items into urgent vs. non-urgent to determine the top priorities for that day or week.
Set Realistic deadlines
Look at your to-do list and estimate the time each task needs to be completed but don’t be overoptimistic. Be honest about what you can achieve in a working day or week so that you don’t feel overwhelmed from the start.
Set Milestone Deadlines
For large or complex tasks break the task down into a series of smaller parts and assign each part with a deadline to hit a certain milestone that will allow you to move on to the next step. This way rather than just seeing the final deadline, which may seem like it is far off into the future, you’ll have a clear understanding of the smaller steps involved in the project and what you need to do now in order to stay on pace.
Allow time for interruptions
If you need to finish a certain task at a certain time, only deal with urgent queries during this time. You can then quickly pick up again where you left off.
Starting a number of jobs simultaneously means most of them won’t get your undivided attention. Think of multitasking as dealing with more than one task during a day, not at the same time. That way you focus on the project in hand.
Review your workload regularly
Is there one task that always ends up at the bottom of the pile? If you find you’re avoiding it, can somebody else do it? Consider delegating whole projects that you don’t need to be involved in or allocate a specific time when you only do your admin, for example.
Consider the Consequences
Most likely there will be times where you’re not sure how you’re going to be able to get everything done. If you have several different things that are pressing for your attention and you’re not sure how to prioritize, consider the consequences of not getting the work done or not meeting the deadline. Chances are, there will be many different consequences from one task to the next.