How To Prioritize When You Have So Many Tasks

Everyone alive today has more to do than time to do it in. So how to ensure that what needs to be done is, in fact, completed? And how to prioritize tasks to increase the odds that you’re working on what matters most?

I recommend using a Productivity System to determine which tasks take priority.  Productivity Systems are practices and methodologies that help us get things done more efficiently and effectively. The best productivity systems are structured yet flexible, not overly complex, and easy to implement.  Using a productivity system can lead to better prioritization and make it easier to meet your most important goals. 

Below are 3 Productivity Systems that can help enable better task prioritization.

The 4D System

Originally proposed in the book The Power of Focus, written by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Les Hewitt, The 4D System distinguishes highly important tasks from those that are less vital.

The 4 D System consists of four categories: Do, Defer/Delay, Delegate, and Delete. Place tasks or projects into one of these categories based on importance and go from there.

The 4-Quadrant Matrix

Created by Steven Covey, this matrix helps prioritize tasks for optimal efficiency.

Tasks are divided into four quadrants: Important & Urgent, Important & Not Urgent, Not Important & Urgent, and Not Important & Not Urgent. The goal with this matrix is to spend most of our efforts on Important tasks and leave the unimportant tasks to others, or delete them entirely.  In an ideal world, we’d spend most of our time on Important but not Urgent tasks (Quadrant 2) and as little time as possible in Quadrant 4 (Neither Important nor Urgent). The remaining ~20-25% of our time might be spent in Quadrants 1 (Important & Urgent) & 3 (Not Important & Urgent.)

Created by Steven Covey

The Eisenhower Matrix

This is one of my favorite time management tools. The Eisenhower Matrix was established by Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States. Eisenhower was a time management guru before the field existed. The Eisenhower Matrix prioritizes Important tasks over Unimportant tasks. The Eisenhower Matrix can serve as a guide in determining what to work on when there are just too many things to do.

Established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Although there are many similarities among these three prioritization systems, there are also differences. Consider experimenting with these systems and then choosing the one that works best for you.

If you would like to learn more about productivity, click here to get your free ebook, “Nine Common Efficiency Mistakes and How to Fix Them.” Or, contact Lisa Mark, C.P.O. to find out if she is a good fit for your organizing and productivity needs.

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