How to prioritize & be more productive
Assessing your priorities is a process that is a lot like organizing. It involves cutting the clutter and mentally mapping out your responsibilities in an orderly and logical fashion before getting started. While it may come as second nature to some, others without a talent for administration may have trouble figuring out how to divide their limited time and resources amongst a dozen (or more!) projects coming due. If you're someone who has always struggled with finding the best way to devote your efforts both efficiently and productively, read on for three separate methods to assist you in prioritizing your next list of to-dos.
Organizing tasks by deadline is a conventional, common-sense method of prioritizing. It's objective, straightforward and leaves no room for interpretation. You simply lay out all the things you need to get done and start on what's due first. This technique is best used when you have a healthy bracket of time before each item needs to be completed, and your due dates are somewhat spread out. This is because organizing by deadline only takes urgency into account, and not importance. That being said, if you like to spend more time getting things done and less on trying to figure out what you do first, working by deadline is an easy approach that doesn't require overthinking.
By business value
If you're down to the wire without the time to complete everything, sorting your work by business value is a better way to triage your assignments. This method involves prioritizing whatever has the most significant impact, whether it be financial, relational or another element that's vital to your business. This criteria is somewhat subjective and depends heavily on your specific situation. However, to a certain extent, it should be fairly intuitive to decide which tasks have the highest business values. In some cases, it may mean tackling the project with the highest economic value. In another, it may mean focusing on one where your failure to deliver will negatively impact your relationship with an important stakeholder.
If you're the type of person that's motivated by progress, prioritizing by effort involved may be the best method for you. You start with the work that involves the least effort to complete, and move on in this manner, leaving the project that requires the most substantial investment of time and resources. This technique is ideal if you have many small items that need to be taken care of, and a healthy timeline before you need to deliver results on your larger projects. This way, you remove the distraction of having the smaller items cluttering up your focus, giving you more bandwidth to zero in on larger tasks. You also get the satisfaction of being able to cross a bunch of things off your list in a short time.
If you're looking to create order on your desk as well as your to-do list, Minima Basics has a selection of chic acrylic desk organizers to help you cut the chaos. Our range of products includes a slanted pen organizer, stackable storage drawers, and a three-slot file holder. Designed in clear acrylic to match any decor and help you quickly locate what you're looking for, your desk will be clean, stylish, and optimized for your work priorities.