As an entrepreneur, the job of prioritizing your tasks may be one of the most challenging tasks of your day. Your daily to-do list seems to mount minute by minute.
Perhaps the hardest step in prioritizing your business tasks is just starting. You have to start somewhere.
For some people that sounds easy – organizing and prioritizing tasks comes naturally. For others, not so much. For many of us, as our workloads grow, so do our stress levels. And, when stress comes in, you may find yourself frozen without a clue as to where to start.
If you find yourself on the side of overwhelmed and immobile and are looking for steps on how to prioritize business tasks, this article is for you. Even if it comes naturally to you, read on because you might pick up a new tip or two.
Let’s talk about how to prioritize your business tasks, eliminate stress and help you work more efficiently.
Make a List of All the Work to be Done
We already mentioned that to move forward, you have to start somewhere. So to begin to prioritize your tasks, you must make a list.
According to Fast Company, organized people start their day with a clear plan of their MITs—their most important things. To do this, you have to have a list.
As you start your day, without worrying about the order, write down everything you need to accomplish. Once it’s all written down, then you can separate each item into one of two columns: urgent or non-urgent.
It’s important to list everything here – big or small. You might think you’ve got a great memory, but making a list ensures you won’t forget it.
A simple free tool like Trello will help you organize your tasks as you jot them down.
Review the List of Tasks
Everything on your list should be a one-step process. For example, if you need to implement a marketing plan, but you don’t have one, and you have to meet with four staff members first, and then write the plan, and then implement the plan, this isn’t a one-step process. You want to write down each component of the “single” task so your list of tasks would look something like this:
- Schedule staff meeting
- Meet with staff members to discuss marketing plan
- Write marketing plan
- Staff review of plan
- Implement plan (This is trickier because it involves delegation, which we’ll get to next week.)
You’ll want to be able to cross each item off your list separately.
Set Attainable Goals
This is where your urgent vs. non-urgent list comes into play. Be realistic about your time frame. Assess each item’s value. Is it integral to your success, or is it paperwork that can wait?
Label Your Tasks
You are now ready to label your tasks.
- Priority 1 tasks go at the top of your list – these must be done today.
- Priority 2 tasks are ones you can get to if you have time, but the penalty for non-completion isn’t significant.
- Priority 3 tasks have no penalty if not completed today.
- Priority 4 tasks are ones that don’t require you. Delegate these.
If you are a perfectionist, and many entrepreneurs are, it can be hard to let go of one task and move on to another. Be careful here. Don’t get too caught up in the minute details that really aren’t that important. If you get bogged down in your first Priority 1 task, you’ll never get to your second Priority 1 task.
Get Ready to Work
You’ve got your list. Now it’s time to use it. Whether you have two Priority 1 tasks on your list or ten, be diligent about crossing them off when completed. You’ll relish the successful feeling of accomplishing something.
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
Go through this process every day. Even though the task may seem daunting as you read this, once you get in the habit, it will get easier.
Prioritizing your business tasks increases your efficiency and makes you a better owner and/or manager.
One Last Tip
While it may seem easy to do the inconsequential tasks on your list first because they are smaller or easier, this is not an effective way to work.
Take on the most important, deadline-driven tasks first. You can always get to the smaller, easier, less important ones later.
Prioritizing your tasks is all about managing your time. Make it a habit and watch your business soar.
In the next post, we’ll discuss five tips to determine what tasks to work on and what to delegate.
With MastermindJam, you connect with the right people to help you start and/or take your business to the next level. You meet people who’ve learned how to prioritize their business tasks for maximum profitability. You learn how they conquered their to-do lists to get to the side of success. Interested in learning more? Visit our website to get started.