Benefits of prioritising workloadby Jake Smolarek
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Everyone is busy. Whether you're running your own business, starting a new company, or managing a new project at your job, we all end up with a list of things to do that's a mile long. And everything feels important.
For some people, having a list of things to do can be very motivating. For others, it can be paralysing. How can you pick which task to start when you've got another six things to think about? Do you start one and stick with it until the end, or should you do a bit of everything? Should you do the fast tasks first or leave them until the end?
This is where being able to prioritise becomes an essential skill. Prioritising and managing your time is incredibly important and can significantly impact your productivity, stress levels, and more.
Here's what you need to know about prioritisation and some tips on how to prioritise.
The Benefits of Prioritising your work
In an ideal world, we'd all have the support in place to never feel overwhelmed. But the reality is that most of us have long to-do lists and are being pulled in a thousand different directions.
Often, working out what needs your attention and what can wait is a difficult task.
When you feel like you're juggling too many balls, you need to work out what can be set down, what will bounce back, and what cannot be dropped. In other words, you need to know which balls are glass, which are plastic, and which balls can be given to someone else.
Prioritising your workload has a considerable number of benefits to your mental health as well as tangible benefits for your business or career. If you've never thought about prioritising your tasks, read on for a few reasons why you should!
Meet Important Deadlines
Prioritising your work can help ensure you always meet important deadlines. Organising your to-do list and prioritising things that need to be done soon means you won't let things slip through the cracks. Knowing which tasks need to be completed immediately and what can wait increases the chance you'll meet deadlines.
When you've got lots to do and you're being pulled in several different directions, it's easy to feel overwhelmed, stressed and anxious. Not knowing where to start or worrying that you might let an important task slip past definitely adds to your stress. So, arranging your tasks by order of importance can help you keep track of everything and help you relax, knowing that you'll get the essential things done.
Prioritising your tasks can reduce stress by giving you a feeling of control. When you know what you've got to focus on and what needs to be done by when you can be confident that you are in control and worry less.
When you prioritise your workload, you identify which tasks will add the most value and which need to be completed urgently. Ensuring that the tasks you are working on support your overall aims means you will find your productivity and output increase.
You can focus on the highest priority tasks and ensure that you are working efficiently and productively towards your goals. Prioritising means you won't waste time on tasks that aren't productive and can focus your attention on things that are.
For many people, when you've got lots to do, it can be hard to get started, leading to procrastination. The reason we end up procrastinating is that starting one task can feel like you are neglecting another job. To avoid this, we don't start anything, so nothing gets neglected. But this vicious circle means everything gets neglected.
By organising the order in which you will complete tasks, you can confidently get started knowing that you'll get to the other tasks soon. Nothing is going to be neglected, and procrastination is minimised.
More free time
Maintaining a work-life balance is increasingly difficult. When you've got a list of things to do a mile long, taking a break and relaxing can lead you to feel guilty like you should be working. So, you take fewer breaks, have no free time, or when you aren't working, you're thinking of work.
Prioritising your workload means recognising that some things don't need to be done yet; they can wait. This means you can take more free time and have a life without feeling guilty or worried that you've forgotten something important.
Not to mention, with less procrastination, less stress, and increased productivity, you might be able to get more free time because you're finishing your tasks!
How to prioritise your workload
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With so many benefits to setting clear priorities, you should get started prioritising your own work. But it's often more complicated than you think. Suddenly, everything is urgent, everything adds value, and everything needs to be done, and you're juggling everything at once and finding it hard to prioritise.
So, how can you effectively prioritise your work?
The first step is to make a to-do list. You can't begin to prioritise your workload if you don't know what needs to be done. This can feel overwhelming as it means looking at a very long list of things you need to do. However, it's an essential first step.
The next step is to rank or arrange each task according to its level of importance. And this is where most people find it hard to choose. Here are a few things to consider when deciding what is a priority and what can wait:
- Is there a firm deadline? Is someone else waiting on you?
- If the task isn't finished today, will it have a significant impact?
- Can it be delegated? Do you have to do it, or can someone else help out?
- Can it be finished within 20 minutes? If it can be done quickly, get it out of the way
- Does this task add significant value, and does this value decrease the longer the task isn't completed?
Struggling to prioritise?
The ability to prioritise your workload, identify important tasks, and ensure you are organising your tasks isn't always easy. But for people looking to make the most of their time, work efficiently and meet goals, prioritising is crucial.
If you are still struggling to prioritise or want support working out what to prioritise in your life, get in touch today. A coach can help you find motivation, identify important tasks, and help hold you accountable.