We hear the word prioritization in our daily lives so much, and yet many people have no idea how to achieve that or how to prioritize effectively. The truth is, mastering this skill will change the game for you, and I believe it’s one of those things that you absolutely need both in your personal life and in your career. So today I’m sharing with you why prioritizing effectively will boost your productivity, and a few tips on how to prioritize your tasks.
What does prioritization mean?
According to the Cambridge dictionary, to prioritize means, “to decide which of a group of things are the most important so that you can deal with them first”.
This is absolutely true, whether you have to manage your to-do list at work or the long list of things that you need to do at home/in your personal life. As you know, I’m here to teach you how you can manage your life and your biz, because you can have both things (without having a breakdown!) if you’re strategic enough with the way you plan everything.
Well, my friend, improving your prioritization skills will definitely help you to get everything done without losing your mind in the process.
What is the purpose of prioritization?
From my personal perspective, the purpose of prioritization is to make sure that you can meet your deadlines, and get things done, but in a way where you’re working smarter not harder.
Prioritizing should help you to identify what is truly important in your life/biz, instead of being distracted by all the noise that’s out there. Because the thing is, this world is noisy, and everything will try to get your attention and you’ll start thinking that everything is important and everything needs to get done asap.
But that’s not entirely true, and once you understand that and learn to think in a more strategic and minimalistic way, you’ll understand why prioritizing is so important and what its purpose is.
By the way, if you’re thinking of diving into the topic of minimalism and thinking more like an “essentialist”, I highly recommend that you check out this incredible book called Essentialism, it’s completely changed the way I think and operate in my personal life and biz!
How do you prioritize tasks/jobs when everything is a priority?
I know what you’re thinking, “But Benny, I get that prioritizing means you do the most important things first, but how do you prioritize tasks when everything is a priority?”
Fear not, I have some tips for you coming very soon, and if you struggle with taking the first step, which is to write a to-do list, I recommend you check out this post where I share with you how to write an effective to-do list.
Now, without taking this any longer, let’s look at 3 simple ways that can help you to prioritize effectively and improve your prioritization skills.
What are three ways you can prioritize effectively?
1. Determine the deadlines
This is probably the most obvious and most important step. If you’re starting from scratch, you probably have a long list of things to do and you’re sitting there, overwhelmed, wondering where on earth you should start.
So the first thing I recommend you do is to look at each item and categorize it in order of urgency. What is due first? When do these things need to be done? Once you’ve put a deadline next to each item, it’s time to rearrange them in order of deadline, because let’s be real, visuals also play their role in this and seeing things in order instead of all mixed up, will help you to find more clarity.
2. Know how much energy each task requires
The next step is to understand how to prioritize tasks that have the same deadline (I’m answering the question you probably had in your head up to this point).
My best tip for this is to determine how much energy each of those tasks require, so you can start from those ones first. What do I mean by energy? It’s no woo-woo thing don’t worry, by energy I literally mean the physical and mental energy (aka focus) required to complete those tasks.
For example, on the same day, I might need to film all my Reels for Instagram and then schedule all my posts on my scheduling platform (my favorite one is Later, I’ve written a blog post about my favorite online marketing tools here).
I know for a fact that filming takes A LOT of energy from me, because I’m not the biggest fan of video content, and also there’s a lot that comes into play; I need to do my hair, makeup, pick my outfit, look a certain way to film the videos, edit the Reels, it’s a lot!
Because I know that, I always schedule filming to be first thing in the morning, when my energy levels are at the top, I haven’t done any other work yet so I can fully focus on that, and let’s be real, the natural light is also a great addition.
After I’m done with that, I can spend the rest of the time scheduling all my posts because it doesn’t require a lot of energy from me, so even though I may be tired, I’ll still get it done and it will still be a good quality.
I could choose to do it the other way around and not really listen to my body or check how my brain is feeling, but I already know that those Reels probably wouldn’t turn out to be that good, I’d likely get tired a lot more easily and also slightly frustrated with the process.
So my recommendation for you is that you do the most draining tasks when you have the highest levels of energy.
3. Know how much time it takes
My final tip on how to improve your prioritization skills is to learn how long each task will require, and then classify them as long time, high energy, short time, low energy.
That’s because when you have several tasks and a few of them are high energy and take a long time, and a few others are low energy and take a short time, you need to be able to identify what needs to be done first. Or you could have a mix of both, in which case it’s totally up to you to decide what gets tackled first.
Remember, I will always say that there is no cookie-cutter method when it comes to achieving high levels of productivity because we’re all unique and we all function differently, so these are just tips and guidelines, and you’ll then need to test it in your life to see what works best for you.
Let me give you some practical examples so you can understand better. This is just a list of a few things that I may need to do on a particular day for work, and I’ll show you how I prioritize them based on time and energy levels.
- Filming Reels: high energy levels, long time
- Scheduling content: low energy levels, long time
- Replying to emails: low energy levels, short time
- Going live on IG: high energy levels, short time
Based on this list, how would you prioritize this?
If you’re still trying to figure it out, let me tell you how I’d put them in order: filming reels, going live on IG, scheduling content, replying to emails.
As you can see, I’ve decided to place the two tasks that require the most energy first, because I know that if I do anything else before them, I won’t perform at my best for them. Then after that, I put something that requires low energy but a long time, and finally something that requires low energy and a short time.
You could decide to put the emails before scheduling content, as I said, this is completely up to you, but at least now you can see the process behind it and try and practice it in your own life & biz.
Conclusion on the importance of prioritizing tasks effectively to boost productivity
Okay friend, now that you’ve read up this point, I hope that you have more clarity around the topic of prioritization. It’s not as daunting as many people make it to be, you just have to be a bit strategic and find a method that works for you. Just to recap, here are 3 tips that I shared with you in this blog post to help you improve your prioritization skills: determine the deadlines, know how much energy each task requires, know how much time each task requires. Alright, I’m confident that your life & biz are about to get a lot more productive and that prioritizing will become second nature to you and you’ll be able to smash your lists! 🙂