American philosopher Henry David Thoreau summed up many of our problems with time when he said, “It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is—what are we busy with?” Without priorities, we risk being busy but not productive.
This overview of 7 prioritization strategies can help you organize your time and streamline your task list for maximum value.
1. Keep a single task list
To keep a clear view of all your tasks, create a list that includes every task you want to or need to complete, both large and small. Experts recommend mixing work and personal tasks on a master list instead of trying to juggle multiple lists.
2. Prioritize what’s important
Once you’ve compiled a master task list, you can prioritize it according to urgency, reward, and other factors of your choosing. Urgency is an important consideration, but it’s also essential to consider long-term goals. Prioritize tasks that further your progress toward your goals.
3. Use a standard prioritization method
There are several popular strategies for prioritizing tasks. With the Relative Priority method, you assign each task a priority ranking and complete them with the highest rank. The Most Important Tasks (MITs) method focuses on just a few of your most important tasks each day. Try these and other methods until you find one that works for you.
4. Assign a time estimate to each task
A long list of tasks can quickly become unmanageable, especially when you don’t know how long they’ll take to complete. When you add a task to the list, add a time estimate. If you have tasks that require a minimum amount of time and effort, complete them quickly to reduce the size of your list. Coming up with time estimates can also help you break complex tasks into smaller subtasks that have more chance of being completed.
5. Give yourself deadlines
Besides making time estimates for tasks, be sure to assign task deadlines. These can be artificial if a task doesn’t have an actual deadline, but make sure every deadline is realistic and doesn’t set you up for failure. If your deadlines are too far away, you may be subject to Parkinson’s Law, which says work expands to fill the time allotted for completion.
6. Use digital tools to maintain your task list
Once you have a single, prioritized task list, you’ll want to keep it in a convenient location that’s easy to access. You’ll want to add new tasks, delete completed tasks and change your priorities with minimum effort. According to a Timewatch 2022 survey, 88 percent of people use a calendar or their email inbox for time management instead of dedicated time management software. Less than half said they have things under control five days a week.
Time and task management software tools offer the best solution for keeping a task list that reflects your current priorities. When you’ve prioritized correctly, you can complete tasks that will give you a feeling of working towards your goals instead of keeping busy but staying in the same place.
7. Make time management a dynamic process
Implementing these time management strategies can increase productivity and improve your quality of life. No matter how much effort you spend prioritizing time, interruptions and emergencies send you off course. Don’t hesitate to re-evaluate your priorities. Be prepared for changes that require you to change priorities. Flexibility and realism are important components of time management.
CoAmplifi workplace management software lets you streamline your task list and prioritize time to meet future goals. Contact us today to find out how coAmplifi can work for you and your team.