When you’re faced with a mountain of tasks that you desperately need to get done and a to-do list that is continuing to grow longer by the minute, learning to prioritise your tasks is important not only to ensure your time is spent more profitably, but to also guard against overwhelm and burnout.
With prioritising tasks according to urgency and importance not always being clear or easy with every task, I thought I would share an alternate way to prioritise your to-do list to ensure your time is spent as profitably and effectively as possible.
So here are the four groups I allocate my own tasks into, and the priority I assign to each group.
Priority #1 – Work that will have consequences if not done today
Your first priority should always be the work that will have consequences if you don’t finish it today. It could be client work that must be completed so they don’t miss their deadline and you don’t lose their business, paperwork that must be completed to avoid a fine or fee, or acting on a valuable business opportunity that is time sensitive.
Priority #2 – Work that will generate short-term income
Your second priority should be to the work that will generate you income in the short-term. It could be qualified sales calls and meetings, upselling existing clients, developing marketing strategies and promotional campaigns to increase sales, sending out invoices, liaising with alliances and key referrers, networking and responding to promotional opportunities.
Priority #3 – Work that ensures business runs as usual
Your third priority should be tasks that will help you carry on business as usual. Tasks like client relations, communications, administration, accounts, appointments, posting orders, running errands, phone calls and emails, dealing with enquiries, data entry and so on.
Priority #4 – Business development and work that will generate medium-term to long-term income
Your last priority of the day (if you have time) should be to those tasks that will benefit your medium to long-term business and marketing strategy. It could be tasks like business planning, working on systems and procedures, developing future marketing campaigns and developing more products and services. Ideally, these tasks should be scheduled for a specific business development day every week or fortnight.
Prioritising your tasks this way allows you to identify what group your tasks fall into and easily seperate urgent and important tasks from those that only seem urgent and important. Do you have a set way you prioritise tasks that helps you work more effectively?