How to Effectively Prioritize Work
Prioritizing work seems like the easiest thing in the world. Our jobs depend on it—so why do so few of us actually do it?
Research shows that as many as 20 percent of adults could be called “chronic procrastinators.” We’re willing to bet the real number is even higher, particularly in the context of the workplace.
Get More Done In Less Time
The challenge of staying productive at work is knowing which tasks are most important. This is trickier than it sounds. Different tasks add value in different ways, and when you’re strapped for time, it’s easy to reach for the low-hanging fruit and put off doing those less-than-desirable jobs.
Nevertheless, they need to get done, and nobody will do them for you.
Start With Planning
You can get a grip on this by thinking critically about your work and what kind of productivity goals you want to achieve. Are you trying to get more done each day? Reduce the time you waste on nonessential tasks? Streamline communication so you spend less time on email?
Set aside some time to plan. Make a list of all the tasks weighing you down, and don’t worry about organizing (yet). Just get it all out on paper and see what you’re working with.
Assess the Value of Each Task
You should already have some idea of which tasks add the most value to your company. Review your list and split your duties into buckets based on how urgent they are, and how much value they’ll add.
As a quick rule of thumb, the more people your task influences, the more important it is to get it done quickly.
Create an Action Plan
Starting with your most urgent tasks, look at your lists and start outlining the action steps needed to get them done. Some tasks, like replying to those pesky emails, can be knocked out in minutes. Others will take more time, and will require a step-by-step plan with lots of small milestones. Jot down a brief list of these steps for your most pressing items.
Build a Timetable
With a step-by-step plan in hand, you can turn to the calendar and map out your steps. Which steps can you do today? Which can you do this week? Which can be done by the end of the month?
The idea here is to identify your most objectively pressing tasks, detail actionable steps needed to complete it, and determine how long it’ll take to see it through. It’s simple enough in theory, but just try it for yourself. You might be surprised at how much easier it is to stay on task.
Need tips on how to keep your employees productive? Give Urgenci a call to discuss strategy.