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How to Prioritize When Everything Seems Important


Answeringthe question posed in the title of this article relies on recognizing a particular part of it – the word “seems”. Indeed, tasks that often seem of equal importance are not actually, but the difference in their importance becomes obvious once you start to break down the task.

Next Level Daily, a company out of California that specializes in task management advice and the creation of luxury notebooks and daily planners, say that such planners often work on the principle of breaking down the larger tasks into smaller ones.This is simply because the most significant large tasks cannot be completed in only one day.

Rather, effective planning is all about working incrementally towards the big goals by scheduling a series of small tasks on a daily basis. When this is done effectively, it often becomes apparent which tasks will require more time.

This, at any rate, is the principle behind effective task management. Sometimes though, this is easier said than done. How should you break down your larger tasks? How do you effectively ascertain the time needed for each one? And, ultimately, how do you prioritize when everything seems important?

A Question of Method

Naturally, you should not ignore deadlines – a task which has to be completed by Tuesday needs to be done that day if the day is Tuesday! This sounds obvious, but it’s where you begin.Get the most time sensitive tasks out of the way first; there’s no sense in starting these tasks later when time is of the essence.

You should categorize tasks according to a predetermined series of steps. After getting the most urgent tasks out of the way, your next move might be to consider where you need to be in order to complete your tasks. Let’s look at an example.

Say you are a part-time remote worker, going into the office, say, three times a week. One time-sensitive task might be a meeting with your boss and coworkers.This is a task that has a predetermined time and place.

So, if you’re going to be in the office anyway, it makes sense to complete other tasks that require you to be there. Location is as important as time in your scheduling.

Further Tips

A good way to understand how to prioritize properly is to look at a few more fundamental planning tips:

Write Everything Down in One Place

This might take the form of a simple list with all your outstanding tasks on it. When laid out in one place, the more urgent and time-sensitive tasks will likely jump out. So too will their importance. Then you can begin to schedule effectively.

Avoid Competing Priorities

Planning is at once a matter of scheduling your tasks, but also a way toschedule free time and your ability to take on new tasks. At this stage of the planning process, you can take care to avoid committing yourself to tasks that are clearly in conflict. Maybe they are equally urgent and equally time sensitive.Perhaps you simply won’t have enough time to complete both effectively? No amount of planning will help you if you’re simply biting off more than you can chew.

Consider Effort

It might take half an hour to make 100 hundred hard copies of a document for a presentation. It might take the same amount of time to write the document. But let’s be honest, the writing takes more effort than waiting for the printer! Required effort should be a factor, as you will give yourself more time for harder tasks.

Ultimately, prioritizing when everything seems important is a matter of looking at everything more closelyand considering more factors than just time and urgency.


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