There are numerous strategies a person can use to prioritize their day and their work tasks. What is most important is that you find a strategy that works for YOU and you use it CONSISTENTLY. Most of us have heard that it takes 21 days to create a new habit – this means 21 days of consistently using any strategy you find that works for you. Below is one quick and easy strategy I have found extremely helpful.
Step 1: Create a list of your tasks. Do this before you leave work or first thing when you arrive at work.
Step 2: Identify each task as Critical, Valuable, or Enjoyable.
Critical tasks have consequences for not completing them on time. Consequences could include a reprimand by your boss, loss of a customer, damaged relationship with a co-worker etc.
Valuable tasks help to complete your goals, but do not necessarily equate to monetary rewards. These types of tasks could be reading a journal article with the latest information on your industry, creating a template for documents you use frequently, having lunch with a member of your professional network etc.
Enjoyable tasks are neither critical nor valuable. The challenge with enjoyable tasks is that they become distractions – surfing the Internet, Facebook, long chats with co-workers etc.
Step 3: Complete your Critical tasks first.
Step 4: Complete Valuable tasks second.
Step 5: Use Enjoyable tasks to refocus, refuel, or reward yourself.
*SPECIAL NOTE: I realize this is pointing out the obvious, but if you do what you have always done, you will get what you always got. In other words, if you are frustrated with your ability to get things done, the answer is changing how you do it. Will you commit for 21 days?