By Carol Halsey
Prioritizing is a very important function of being organized.
It is another method that puts you in control of your work
responsibilities. In order to effectively prioritize, learn to
recognize the difference between the important, the urgent and
the unnecessary. It may seem that everything is urgent, and must
be acted on first. This is not necessarily so. With good
planning and prioritizing, urgent situations will become less
and less frequent.
Your first step to prioritizing is to select those tasks you
need to take action on tomorrow. These will come from your
master list, along with new tasks generated during the day,
which most likely are a result of phone calls, new assignments
and mail. This list will be your daily "to do" list.
I suggest taking 15 minutes at the end of each day to prepare a
"to do" list for the next day. There is no better time to be
aware of what to accomplish tomorrow. Evaluate each item on your
list as to its importance and urgency, and eliminate the unnecessary.
Next, prioritize your daily "to do" list. Select the top three
most important tasks which must be completed, no matter what
else happens that day. Number them 1, 2 and 3. It is essential
to identify them in order of importance. During the day, an
unexpected crises may erupt, or any number of things can happen
that you did not plan on that will take time you hadn't counted
on. But you will know that those top three tasks must be taken
care of no matter what!
After identifying the top three, select, in order of importance,
the second three most important tasks and number them 4, 5, and 6. However, these three may not be acted on until the top three
are completed. This is because you have already determined they
are not as high a priority. Following this process puts you in
control of your "to do" list.
Keep your "to do list" small - no more than eight items. After
all, it is a daily "to do" list. As you tick off completed tasks,
you will have the feeling of accomplishment.
Accept the fact that you cannot do everything in one day. What
may not be on the top of today's priority list, may very well be
#1 on tomorrow's list. If you accomplish five or six items on
your "to do" list each day, consider it a very productive day.
This, I have found to be a pretty comfortable standard, because
so many other events take place each day that cannot be planned
for, but take time. And remember, 5 or 6 a day adds up to 25
to 30 tasks completed each week.
By prioritizing, you will know, every day, the top three most
important tasks to be tackled before hitting your desk in the