Knowing how to set priorities is a superpower. Not everyone can effectively do it. Think of the most efficient and productive person you know. Chances are, you could think of just one or two people off the top of your head. And if you know them personally, you’ll find that they are the kind of people who make to-do lists or jot down their affairs in a scheduler or planner. This is the power of priorities.
Aside from being highly productive, the power of priorities can result in the following:
More Focus, Less Stress
Knowing what to do and what not to do (yet) will help you focus on the task at hand. If you know your priorities, you can also estimate the time it takes to complete them. You’ll be less stressed as you don’t have to rush or squeeze in errands to finish everything within the day. In other words, you don’t have to go about your tasks in a disorganized manner.
Not knowing your priorities can lead you to become a “yes man.” If you fail to plan and prioritize huge responsibilities and projects, you could end up biting off more than you can chew.
Setting priorities will help you see the bigger picture in terms of your schedule and capacity. When you know you’ll be occupied with an important project for several days, you would be prudent enough to refuse more assignments.
If your manager nudges you to pick up extra work, it is important to show them your current task list to let them know that you’re prioritizing the important tasks first, and then assure them that you will be able to take on more work after the prioritized tasks are completed.
Establish A Credible Reputation
Your reputation and credibility as a professional may not be everything, but they could help you get far. If you have mastered the art of setting priorities and have become productive and efficient because of it, people in your industry will know that you are someone they can trust.
Make Realistic Career Or Business Projections
When you know your priorities, you also know what your ultimate goals are. With the help of your priority list, you can estimate the trajectory of your career or business and hit some milestones that you have set for yourself.
Learn How To Set Your Priorities
Setting priorities is an art. And it doesn’t mean that the most difficult, expensive, or big projects should be placed on top of your to-do list. Often, you have to classify your activities depending on their time and location.
For example, your major task for the day is to finish drafting a partnership contract for a client, but you also have minor tasks such as going grocery shopping or taking your dog to the groomer. In this case, it’s easy to see that drafting the partnership contract will most likely take up much of your time and brainpower. And just because that task is more time-consuming and tedious, it doesn’t mean that it should be on top of your priority list.
In that scenario, it’s best to drop off your dog at the groomer first since you can leave them there for hours. After that, spend the rest of the day drafting your partnership contract. Then in the afternoon, go out and grab some groceries, then go back to the groomer to finally pick up your dog.
The Bottom Line
Without knowing how to prioritize your tasks, you might see yourself taking long breaks just to cross off minor tasks on your list. This will only cause interruptions in your workflow. Worse, you might end up taking more time to finish your major tasks. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, consult a personal Action Coach who can teach you the art of setting priorities. Call 402-587-6329 to get started with a free consultation.