How to prioritise when everything is a priority – 5 steps that will (hopefully) change your life
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There are days when you need a priority list for your…priority list. Everything seems important and it just doesn’t seem right to give one thing all your attention when you have one or two other items on your to-do list that have equal importance.
There is no magic cure to this, so don’t get disappointed if this article doesn’t tell you to ditch your annual returns in exchange for something else, for example. but here are five tips you can consider when you really do need to get on top of your to-do list:
1. Go through your to-do list again
Yes, you’ve looked through your list already and you know that you have A LOT to do…but take a deep breath and talk through the list as though you were speaking with your junior. Explain why one task is more important than the other, and what you can do to bump something else lower down the list.
If you can ask for an extension anywhere, then do. Sometimes, the stress we give ourselves to meet a deadline really is self created, and if you just spoke to someone about it you would get a little breathing room.
2. Check your list as you go through the day
It’s so easy to get absorbed in one priority and them forget that you still had another couple of things to get done today, too. The best remedy for this is to keep checking your list as you go through your tasks, and tick them off. The very act alone just reminds you about other tasks you need to complete.
3. Set a time limit
Give your self a timed deadline if you really do need to get several things out of the door or inbox in one day. Split the time to have to work on them so that all equal priorities are given the same amount go time, if possible, and then agree (mentally) to wrap it up when the timer goes off so you can move onto the next one.
4. Take stock of your day
At the end of the day, look back on all those achievements on your to-do list and make a new list for the next day. You’ll give yourself a heads up on what tomorrow looks like, and you’ll be save time when you actually sit down to start working.
5. Put a contingency plan in place
If you often find yourself in a position where your priority list puts too much pressure on you, could it be that you are agreeing to do too many things at the same time? You might find our guide on how to say “no” useful.
Have you considered employing someone, or using the services of a freelancer to help you out with the more time-consuming activities that are not too sensitive to give someone else to do? It might be worth looking into this if you are constantly overloaded with work. It will free up your time to look into your business growth. If you are working for an employer, have you considered mentioning your workload to your boss?
Founder and editor of www.motherswhowork.co.uk, a mother of two wonderful children, wife, entrepreneur (check out www.geekschool.co.uk) and journalist.