Easier said than done.
You can count on technical projects, no matter how well-planned, to involve change orders, re-prioritization and the regular appearance of surprises. But still. Knowing how to prioritize work affects the success of your project, the engagement of your team, and your role as a leader.
When you have two frogs to eat, eat the ugliest one first
One of the biggest challenges for project managers and leaders is accurately prioritizing the work that matters on a daily basis. It takes a lot of practice to get this right. Pull together everything you could possibly consider getting done in a day.
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- How to Prioritize Work When Everything Is #1 - LiquidPlanner.
- Deadly Games (The Emperors Edge Book 3);
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- Opera Indigene: Re/presenting First Nations and Indigenous Cultures (Ashgate Interdisciplinary Studies in Opera).
The next step is to see if you have any tasks that need immediate attention. Check to see if there are any high-priority dependencies that rely on you finishing up a piece of work now. Next, look at your important work and identify what carries the highest value to your business and organization.
As a general practice, you want to recognize exactly which types of tasks have top priority over the others. Another way to assess value is to look at how many people are impacted by your work. In general, the more people involved or impacted, the higher the stakes.
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If you have tasks that seem to tie for priority standing, check their estimates , and start on whichever one you think will take the most effort to complete. Productivity experts suggest the tactic of starting the lengthier task first. It can be motivating to check a small task off the list before diving into deeper waters. Uncertainty and change are given. Know that your priorities will change, and often when you least expect them to. Then take a deep breath, dive in and be ready for anything.
The so-called Ivy Lee Method is a ridiculously easy way to force prioritization of your daily work. Limiting yourself to six tasks or less each day creates a constraint that forces you to prioritize properly and then stay focused by single-tasking your way through your list.
How to Prioritize Work When Everything Is #1
Instead of keeping all tasks on a single level of priority, this method offers two or more levels for each task. Again, this is a deceptively simple prioritization strategy. How you start the day sets the tone for the rest of it. And often, getting a large, hairy, yet important task out of the way first thing gives you momentum, inspiration, and energy to keep moving. Or, as Mark Twain famously wrote:. As the story goes, Buffett ran his personal pilot through this process to help him prioritize his career goals. The first step is to write down your top 25 goals.
This could be life goals, career goals, education goals, or anything else you want to spend your time on. Rather than intersperse working on these goals when you have time, you should actively avoid them. These are the tasks that are seemingly important enough to deserve your attention.
No one knows the future, and prioritizing and planning is really just guessing. Sometimes you might prioritize a task only to have expectations or deliverables change on you. But the reality is that no matter what you spend your time doing, you can never get that time back. And any time spent continuing to work towards the wrong priority is just wasted time. Tasks take longer than expected.
Interruptions come up. And our days get filled with meetings and chats.
What works best for you? Let us know how you prioritize your work in the comments below or on Twitter. Want to learn more about spending your time well and doing more meaningful work?
Prioritise your work using the Eisenhower matrix · Exist
Get our latest blog posts in your inbox every week. Jory MacKay is a writer, content marketer, and editor of the RescueTime blog. Great article! I definitely agree that downtime is an important part of making any decision and having good work life balance in general. One of my favorite resources for this is the book Rest by Alex Pang.
Read More From Time Management. Skip to content One of the biggest struggles in the modern workplace is knowing how to prioritize work. RescueTime tells you exactly how you spend your digital time every day.