Do you struggle with prioritization? You may create to-do lists, only to find that you’re overwhelmed by the number of things you need to get done. A great way to increase your productivity is to prioritize the items on your to-do list. While this approach may seem easier said than put into practice, if your goal is to work consistently, prioritization should be your primary focus. Of course, you can always turn to handy aids such as Commit30 Planner to more effortlessly organize your tasks.
Creating Your To-Do List
How do you go about prioritizing your tasks? First, determine a system by which you will rank them. Assign each task a level of importance, ranging from Level 1, or “most important,” to Level 4, or “least important.” Remember to account for the routine disruptions that will displace the amount of time you may have to accomplish each task. Subdivide your list as follows:
While it may seem counterintuitive, it is always a best practice to begin by listing your least essential duties first and assign them a Level 4 rating. The idea behind this method is first to consider what does not need to get done. That allows you to determine how much time will be freed up to perform your most important tasks. Level 4 chores are those that would not impact you in any way if left undone today. They could have a completion date so far into the future that there is no point in worrying about them in the present. Once you have mentally disregarded these tasks or calendared them for a later date, do not preoccupy yourself with them. That will ensure that they don’t take up so much of your mental space.
Next, identify your Level 1 tasks. These are your most important ones, those that cannot be put off until the next day. People tend to lose self-control as time goes on and they expend their available amount of energy. Therefore, you should tackle the most demanding jobs first, keeping in mind that completion will give you the confidence you need to work productively throughout the day.
Then, sort out the rest of your tasks into Level 2. These will only have a minor consequence if you don’t get around to completing them within one day. Afterward, identify your Level 3 tasks, which you can put off to the next day; Level 4 is for the chores that you can delegate to others.
Now that you have devised a system for categorizing your tasks, you can take it one step further and sub-rank them. Determine the chronological order in which you will complete your tasks by identifying them as Level 1-A, 1-B, 1-C, and so forth. This technique will offer you a clear roadmap for your day. Plan to cross each item off your list as you go.
There may be times when you’re not sure if one task is more important than another. If you run into difficulty along the way, organize similar chores into pairs, and then compare them side by side. This method can help you determine which task is more important than another, which will help you rank them in order from Level 1 to Level 4. Remember that starting with more demanding jobs is usually the way to go because, as your day progresses, you have less time available to address your responsibilities.