The most difficult part in managing your time effectively is prioritizing your work. Most of the people think that working long hours and being busy all the time will lead them towards success. Well, this is completely a misconception, because most of the time they end up spending their time on non-priority things which have done no value addition to their work.
The key to effectively manage your time is dividing your tasks (to-do list) into priority and non-priority tasks and then ranking them based on their priority.
But, how do you prioritize your work when everything seems to be important and need to be completed quickly. Here, one should understand that, whatever effort you put in, you may not be able to complete all the work in one day. Some work may be left undone.
Prioritization works on the 80/20 rule. If you analyze your day, you will find that 80% of your activities may just add 20% value to your work. So, if you concentrate on the remaining 20% activities first, they will add more value to your work. Hence, if you can identify those top activities and prioritize them to be completed first, it will give a lot of value to the output for the day. The remaining ones can be taken later, and even if you are not able to complete them on a day, there will be no effect on your deadlines.
Another important aspect of prioritization is understanding the difference between urgent and important. When people request/assign different tasks to you, they always categorize them as urgent and expect you to do their work first. But practically, you cannot complete all the tasks at the same time. Here, you need to understand the importance of the tasks. Some tasks may be urgent, but they may not be important and vice versa.
In such situations, analyze the tasks, and prioritize those which are important as well as urgent. For eg., tasks related to client are always important as compared to internal work, similarly, any production issue if not resolved quickly can affect the work of everyone; such tasks are important as well as urgent.
Some key points to be remembered while prioritizing the work:
- You should identify your own priorities. Every person has different goals. For some, managing internal work efficiently is a priority, while for some keeping the client happy is a priority.
- Based on your goals, identify the tasks which are important to achieve that goal.
- Once you know the important tasks, check which of them are more urgent.
- Analyze the urgency of the work yourself, do not rely on the others. Everyone will have different urgency scale as per their own goals.
- Prioritize all the important and urgent tasks first.
- Analyze the time that will be consumed in completing the tasks.
- If some important tasks may take short time to complete, go ahead and complete them first, instead of waiting for the more time consuming task to complete.
- In your to-do list, there may be some tasks, that may not be urgent and could be completed in just few seconds. As an exception, go ahead and complete them quickly and cross it from your to-do list. This will lessen your list of activities and give a satisfaction of completing the tasks from the to-do list.
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