Discover the steps you must follow to prioritize tasks and 9 tools to be more productive!
How are you doing with your ability to prioritize tasks? You just must answer a few quick questions to find out.
Do you feel that you are not managing to manage one or more aspects of your life? Would you like your day to have more than 24 hours? Do you go to sleep at night with the feeling that you left a lot of things to do?
If you answered yes to these questions, it is a red flag: you may be failing to prioritize your responsibilities.
Therefore, read this carefully and we will give you to organize your routine! Take advantage and learn to use some tools that will help you a lot to prioritize tasks.
How to prioritize tasks?
Prioritizing tasks is nothing to write home about. The first step, although it seems obvious, is to prioritize them. You cannot manage all the activities of the day without a priority principle.
Performing tasks out of order, as we remember them, is horrible for results – a toxic habit for productivity. Some situations, such as the following, can cause this behavior:
It may be that you miss the deadlines for the most urgent tasks because you started doing others first.
You can lose a lot of energy with some more complex activity at times when you are not very productive and, consequently, lose motivation to do others.
It could be that you end up dedicating a large part of your day to tasks that could be delegated.
With all of this in mind: prioritizing is essential. Here are some tips to help you get there!
You must have heard of brainstorming by now, right? This word means “brainstorming” and is a widely used method of stimulating creativity. It is equally useful to help you prioritize tasks, as it is used to organize information.
You can do the following: preferably on Sunday, grab a piece of paper and write down all the responsibilities for the week. Use reminders of commitments, comments on projects that you must continue, etc.
You can organize your brainstorming about your weekly planning in various mind maps – diagrams in which you arrange a central theme and its consequences in a logical and instinctual way.
2. Make sifters and separate tasks by category
With all the ideas written down on a piece of paper and organized on the maps, it is time to separate them by type. This is a crucial point to prioritize tasks. To help you, you can make a Matrix and assign values to each activity.
Another important tip is to lean proposed by Dr. Stephen R. Covey in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” – a book on management, worth keeping at the head.
The operation of this management tool is very simple: you must fit each of the central themes of your maps into one of the following 4 categories:
Crisis (tasks that are urgent and important)
They should have top priority as they have a limited time frame and are also highly relevant. Normally, they are activities that were already important but due to some time management failure became urgent.
Plans (tasks that are significant, but not urgent)
Here come the activities that demand attention and for which we have a good time. Therefore, think about a strategic distribution for your routine, at each stage of completion, so that you complete your tasks with good quality and on time.
Intermissions (tasks that are vital, but not important)
Interruptions are activities that need quick resolution but are not that important to your results. For example:
monitor mail excessively.
unplanned meetings etc.
One word of advice: Most interruptions can be delegated or avoided with little planning or by automating processes.
Competitions (tasks that are neither significant nor urgent)
Responding to WhatsApp messages, watching a new trailer, or immediately reading the news that appeared on the cell phone screen: everyone knows that these distractions hamper productivity since they fall within the empire of procrastination.
But to be honest, we would not get to spend a whole day without doing them, would we? And it is normal. Therefore, the best way to avoid this is to also put them in task management. This way they will not compromise your programming since you will have adequate time to carry them out.
Do not forget that, as they are less of a priority, they should take a reduced time from your routine and be the last on your list.
3. Make a schedule with deadlines and schedules.
After cataloging your activities according to the Matrix filters, it’s time to plan your week.
When creating your schedule, consider the complications of each mind map. Hence, you will be able to have a view of the time that you should dedicate to each activity.
Another tip we give you is that no matter how much you shop to prioritize urgent and important tasks, do a self-assessment of your productivity during the day. Have you already noticed that some people feel like they have more energy in the morning, while others are more ready at night?
Each one works in a way and you must take it into account. Putting a very stressful activity at a time when you know that you are not working 100% is synonymous with failure. You will hardly be able to do it in the best way, you will become unmotivated, and you will lose the thread of the rest of the schedule.
4. Don’t overload your routine
With all the above in mind, another very important tip is to be realistic when prioritizing tasks. There is no use in programming more things than you can do. This will only serve to increase your levels of anxiety and stress.
Therefore, see how much you can produce daily. A balanced schedule can include, for example, solving 1 crisis, performing 3 strategic tasks, and spending some time dealing with interruptions and distractions. it is also worth delegating what you can.
Nobody can multitask and still deliver excellent results. So don’t blame yourself if you need to share your obligations and responsibilities.
How can technology help you prioritize tasks?
If you are one of those who start an agenda every year and never go beyond the first month, we have good news for you: some digital tools and applications for productivity are very practical when it comes to prioritizing tasks.
They help anyone who has a hard time organizing on paper. Look at our selection with 9 very interesting options!
Trello cannot be missing from this list, as it is one of the most popular tasks and project management tools today.
All its interface and its functionalities are based on Kanban – one of the main approaches of the agile methodology. From this tool you can expect:
layout organized in tables (the boards).
cards and labels for easy organization.
instinctive lists and colored markers.
possibility of integration of multimedia files, etc.
Wunderlist is another very useful app for planning activities. You can activate notifications to remember the activities scheduled for the week.
Also, you can mark what you have concluded. Scheduled activities that were not marked as completed are marked in red — a universal language to remind you of what is urgent!
this allows you to organize your tasks more systematically. Instead of just putting a reminder, you can know all the steps you have to follow to finish each activity.
Just click on a note to see, next to it, a column with all the information on the subject.
With a fairly “clean” interface, you can also organize tasks in boxes and move each card according to the priorities of the day.
If you have a lot of team activities at work, Asana is a great option. It is also oriented to the management of tasks, but with the difference that it facilitates the interaction between several users.
Among its functionalities are:
the creation of charts and lists of activities.
the delegation of tasks among the invited members.
a collaborative chat and discussion forum.
integration with email accounts, among other resources.
If your problem is a lack of motivation how about transforming the obligation to prioritize tasks into a game? With Hebetic, you can turn your responsibilities into fun!
Tasks are placed in the app as if they were goals. As you complete them, you see your character earning points and climbing levels. This is an excellent tool for those who are more competitive.
6. Ever note
Evernote is well known – and rightly so, as it is very useful for organizing activities. Using it, you can create notes, separate them by projects and integrate them with multimedia files.
Furthermore, this tool can be edited online and offline. That’s a great feature when you need to make an important annotation and your connection isn’t helping.
7. To do list
This option is also quite popular. A To-do list has a bit of everything to prioritize tasks: lists, files in the cloud, notifications, etc.
To help prioritize responsibilities, the app also has colored markers. Another very nice feature is that you can see your progress in talks with the help of graphs.
8. Any. do
Any.do stands out for its very spontaneous interface. Syncing across devices helps keep you in the habit of constantly checking your planning.
You can prepare the tasks of the day, use colored labels, create lists, trigger alarms, and mark each note with the filters: today, later, done, and exclude.
Finally, if you use Gmail and have it open for a good part of the day, you can use the “Tasks” function. That way, all your scheduled tasks will be noted next to the inbox.
This tool is on the right, in the same column of Google Calendar. You can create lists, post reminders, edit details, as well as schedule deadlines.
Do you already know how to prioritize your tasks? If you didn’t know how to prioritize your tasks, we hope you have learned some ways to do it after reading our post. The best thing is that you have excellent tools, such as that we mention here, to help you achieve it.
Did you know that prioritizing tasks is a great step to optimize your time? Read our other post also and learn more about time management and ways to enhance your routine!