When everything is important, how do you prioritise?
Use these easy five tips to handle prioritising tasks better:
- Get in early. This may sound like the last thing you want to do, but even an uninterrupted fifteen minutes can be a godsend. When I worked in an agency, the Creative Director would always arrive 30 minutes before everyone else, go straight to his desk and find his “me time” before the onslaught of the day began. We know not everyone’s schedules allow for this (there are kids to drop off at school, early morning meetings, colleagues wanting your time...) however – the key is having a block of time where you can just focus on what needs to be done. Find a time that seems to work best, and block out your calendar. Tell people not to book over this time, and stick to it religiously – if you’re taking it seriously, so will others.
- Categorize your tasks from high-low priority items. Depending on how precise you want to be, you could organise your to-dos by setting A, B and C priorities. You can find out more in this book: Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time. Always start with a high priority ‘A’ task, even if you can only accomplish a small part of it and leave the low-value administrative tasks for later. These are things you could probably accomplish in between meetings, during lunch, while you’re taking a quick coffee break. Caffeine does seem to help everything.
- Use an app to help you manage your tasks better. In WorkflowMax for example, every job is comprised of several tasks. You can use the task manager to achieve a complete overview of all the tasks across all jobs that each staff member should currently be working on. At WorkflowMax, we also use Trello to stay on top of our individual tasks. If you need something even simpler, I recommend Wunderlist or TeuxDeux by the amazing Swiss Miss.
- Create some artificial deadlines. Let’s face it, without deadlines, there is no incentive to kick our butts into gear. You might find yourself ploughing through a list without actually ticking anything off at all. So set some. Even if they are personal, hour-based, before lunchtime you plan to get X done. Better yet, tell someone. And then hold yourself accountable.
- Review regularly. An approach you used last year may not be right this year. Has your workload increased significantly? You may need to add another type of categorization. Maybe the time of day you set for “me-time” is a weekly sales call with the rest of the team from different regions. Adjust accordingly.