Prioritising your workload
An important aspect of time management is dependent on how we prioritise our time. To enable us to make the most of the time we have available, we need to find ways to help us to work more productively and efficiently.
Here are my top tips to effectively prioritise your workload.
Planning your workload is important. Not only will it help you to stay on top of deadlines, but will ensure you stay on track to meet your goals and objectives. Spend time regularly planning and reviewing what needs to be done.
Block Time Out
As part of planning your time, it is useful to physically block the time out in your diary. It ensures you give dedicated time to the task or project, and enables you to work around other meetings and appointments.
Allow time for Interruptions
Interruptions happen. Whether we get distracted by something or an urgent task comes in, they happen and we need to minimise the impact they can have. When planning your time, add in some buffer time either side of your project. This means that if something urgent comes in, you are more likely to be able to get the task, or the majority of it, done within the original time you allocated.
Use a To Do List
Whether you prefer a physical to do list or an electronic version, like Asana or Todoist, it is an effective way to keep on top of your tasks and ensure nothing gets missed. It is also good from a motivation perspective where you can physically see what you need to do, and the satisfaction of ticking something off the list!
Deadlines are important in prioritising what needs to be done. If you are working on a task or project that doesn’t have a deadline, set yourself one. It allows you to decide on what needs to be completed and when by, meaning that other work or projects coming in can be planned into your day.
Urgent versus Important
Planning and setting deadlines will also allow you to decide what is urgent and what is important.
So what’s the difference?
Something that is urgent needs to be done now, whereas something important needs to be planned in.
Using the Eisenhower’s Urgent Important Matrix will help you to decide how and what you should prioritise.
The quadrants of the matrix will help you to categorise what is:
- high in urgency and importance – do now
- low in urgency but high in importance – schedule time in to complete
- low in importance but high in urgency – can you delegate, push back or outsource to get it done?
- low in urgency and importance – do you really need to be doing this?
This method is an effective way to highlight tasks and projects that need immediate attention, but also ensure that other items are still planned in and completed.
Multi-tasking is not an efficient way to use your time and can often make the job take longer to complete. Trying to juggle multiple tasks at a time will cause you to spend more time fluttering between tasks and trying to remember where you were up to than actually getting on the task done. Work on one task at a time until you have finished and can move on.
Don’t let your inbox drive your time
In a world where emails have taken over our working day, it is very easy to become distracted with our incoming mail. This leads us to respond to things that aren’t necessarily urgent or important. Allocate time into your day to review your emails and don’t look at them in between. If you are concerned of something urgent coming in and missing it, set an automatic response when you are focusing on a project asking for the sender to call you if they have an urgent request.
If you have identified tasks that would be more effective and would save you time by outsourcing, give me a call on 07538 543421 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you could create more time.