Drowning in work? Here is how to set priorities!

When you are working with strict deadlines, you have no idea how you will be able to get all the things done. In your clouded state of panic and anxiety, every task seems equally important and time-pressing. Finding yourself in such a situation, without any prior experience or a planned approach, makes it extremely difficult to effectively prioritize your work. In this modern world of hustle and bustle, everything needs to be done quickly with proper time management. It can be really challenging figuring out where you should get started when your schedule is fully stuffed.

While an overwhelming to-do list is usually enough to hijack your brain’s capability to deal with everything efficiently, there are a few logical questions you can ask yourself to manage your workload and develop a strategic plan.

Significance Of Time Management

Time is a finite resource and it is completely up to you to make the most of it. While we cannot add additional hours to our day, we can manage our time efficiently to maximize the time we do have. Time management is significant for every one of us due to its impact on our personal and professional lives. Excellent time management allows you to create a healthy workflow.

Knowing how to manage your time means that you will be able to accomplish more in shorter periods of time with less effort. Prioritizing and matching tasks to blocks of available time allows you to accomplish more with less effort. A feeling of accomplishment by completing your tasks helps you to stay motivated. Moreover, there is nothing more frustrating than spending an entirely unproductive day. By being conscious of how you use your time, you will have more of it to spend on the things that matter the most.

When you are not constantly racing to meet a deadline, you can put more effort and thought into your task which enables you to produce better work. Also, without understanding the importance of time management and prioritizing your work, your goals sit on the shelf indefinitely. In order to achieve them faster, prioritize all your tasks and apply useful time managing techniques on your schedule.

Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix is an ideal solution for anyone who wants to put an end to time and task management problems. It is named after Dwight David Eisenhower, an American army general who served as the 34th US President. He served as a 5-star general and Supreme Commander during World War II. Throughout his two terms, he greatly contributed to the advancement of US by founding NASA, developing nuclear weapons during the Cold War, and much more.

Due to his busy routine, he had to make tough decision continuously about which of the many tasks he should focus on each day. This led him to the invention of Eisenhower Matrix which helped him to prioritize his work by urgency and importance. Through these principles of planning, prioritizing, and scheduling, you can arrange your workload in a specific order to achieve your goals and be more productive. The Eisenhower Matrix is an exceptionally helpful method to determine the value of each task in your schedule.

Important Tasks

Important tasks are those which align with your values and help you achieve your goals. They are often focused on the long-term objectives and may not have immediate results. This inclines us towards neglecting them in the short term due to more urgent activities.

Urgent Tasks

Urgent tasks are time sensitive and require your immediate attention. Sometimes we put off important tasks long enough that they then become urgent, causing stress and anxiety as we rush to finish on time. Urgent tasks must be dealt with immediately by responding as quickly as you can.

The Underlying Principle

Eisenhower’s strategy for organizing your tasks is simple. Using a decision matrix, you have to classify these tasks based on four possibilities.

  • Urgent & Important
  • Important, Not Urgent
  • Urgent, Not Important
  • Neither Urgent Nor Important

Urgent & Important

This is the top-left quadrant in your Eisenhower Matrix. It will contain the tasks that have both high importance and urgency. In order to finish everything on time, you will have to focus on finishing these first. The tasks you put in this quadrant are critical for your life or career and must be finished right away. In order to avoid negative consequences, you must get these done as soon as possible.

Important, Not Urgent

The tasks that are important but not urgent lie in the top-right quadrant of your matrix. These are valued errands without any strict or immediate deadline associated with them. These tasks help you achieve your goals and complete important work, but due to their non-urgency, they are often neglected. In order to avoid procrastination, you have to decide when you will tackle these tasks. Set clear deadlines and incorporate these activities into your schedule.

Urgent, Not Important

It is vital to learn and remember how to reconsider the worth of certain tasks. The tasks that do not directly benefit you or get you closer to achieving your goals are classified into the bottom-left quadrant. Such tasks are nothing but an outside source of distraction. They may seem urgent at the time, but these little interruptions in your schedule hinder you from moving towards your key goal.

Neither Urgent, Not Important

The lowest priority tasks are put into the bottom-right quadrant. These tasks do not have any significant importance or urgency. Anything left for this quadrant is just a distraction. The best way to handle them is to eliminate them from your priorities altogether. If you are able to identify and eliminate all such tasks, you will free up much-needed time to invest in other important endeavors.

Conclusion

Many people are unable to prioritize their work and face a dip in their productivity. Prioritization skills become a handy tool in such cases and allow professionals to give a definite shape to their schedules. A broad categorization of all tasks is essential to have a productive workflow. Being able to distinguish between urgent and important tasks is one of the best-known ways of dealing with time pressure and strict deadlines.

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