How do you prioritize?
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It’s a daily struggle for many of us. What do I focus on first?
Is it the squeaky wheel who keeps asking for an unimportant email? Is it my boss’ project?
- QI – Important and Urgent
- QII – Important but Not Urgent
- QIII – Not Important but Urgent
- QIV – Not Important and Not Urgent
It’s great (and will help your task management) if you stay in the QI and QII quadrants. If you find you have a lot of QIII and QIV tasks, it’s a symptom of a few things: poor delegation, struggling time management, boredom, clear understanding of priorities–to name a few.
While that doesn’t help you with task management, I hope the following will.
Try an experiment for me. For the next week, set aside the first 10 minutes of your day for a task prioritization exercise.
Break your tasks into three (3) priority categories:
- A = vital to get to today (or high)
- B = important to get to today (or medium)
- C = nice to get to today, but can wait until tomorrow (or low)
Once you label all of your tasks with A, B or C, then assign a priority number (1 through 5–no more than 5!) to each of them. For example, A1 would be the most important thing that needs to get done that day and should be done first. C5 would be the lowest priority and may not get completed until the following day.
Most people tend to select the easiest or fastest tasks to complete in a day, which causes a backup of the more time intensive or difficult tasks. We all do this inherently and this process forces out of those habits.
The work model most of us subscribe to: work as many hours as it takes to get a whole bunch of things done. Not efficient.
- Ongoing daily tasks (1 hour)
- HOLD time to complete tasks (2 to 3 hours)
- Update and prioritize your task list (10 to 15 minutes)