Time Management Tips – Identify Daily Priorities for Maximum Productivity

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In your daily planner, calendar, or time management program, you should have a list of things to do today, and all of the things on it seem equally important. However, since you have no idea what interruptions and distractions will keep you from meeting your goals for the day, what do you do first?

Effective time management says, “Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize!” Move the tasks that will hurt the most if they are not done today to the top of the list. This automatically pushes the less demanding ones lower on the list. Also, move the most demanding to the top of the list so you do them while you are fresh, Then get to work. Start at the top and work keep moving. Now, if you there are a few tasks left at the end of the day, move them to the next day… but at least the important tasks have been completed and you can move on with a clear mind.

Evaluate to Prioritize

What’s the best way to prioritize? Sometimes, that can be tough. So for each task on the list, ask:

  • What’s in it for me? If there’s no business benefit, don’t do it
  • Does it get me closer to my goals?
  • Does it help me build relationships?
  • Who is depending on this getting done?
  • How much income does it create – either directly or indirectly?

Answers to these questions help to show what should be at the top of the list, and which ones can be saved for later. The clearer benefits the higher the priorities.

Prioritizing 101

Here’s a simple way to effectively and realistically prioritize your tasks. Ask yourself, “If other distractions take all my time so I only get one thing done today, what one thing is a must?” Got that one selected? Move on to the next. “If I can only get two things done today, what must be done? Rinse and repeat… your list will be prioritized in no time.

Want an easier way to break down your list? Try these categories:

  • Critical for today or I lose a client!
  • Won’t lose my client, but I really should get it done today
  • No clients involved, but it would REALLY help if I get this done today
  • Not facing this tomorrow would be great
  • I really could do it tomorrow, but…

Say it how you want. The important thing is to actually do the exercise and prioritize. That way, you can assure yourself that you really will important things finished and crossed off the list.

If you get to the end of the day with a few, low priority tasks left undone, take a few minutes and move them to tomorrow – but definitely put them in proper priority for that day. You could even reschedule them for several days from now… but make sure you don’t just keep pushing them off ‘til they never get done – that defeats the whole purpose of creating a properly prioritized “To Do List.”

Look at it Another Way and it’s a Done List

Looking at an uncompleted To Do List can be depressing. How about creating a, “Done List.” This lets you focus on what you have accomplished… and that’s LOTS more fun!

Be Flexible

A daily to-do list, in something like the Franklin Planner, or Outlook’s Time and Task Manager (which I use), is a great guide to keeping you on track for the day… but keep yourself flexible. Priorities change from hour to hour and day to day. Your prioritized To Do list is a great guide to use so you don’t get overwhelmed as you navigate your day… don’t think, just do (remember what the great philosopher Yoda said: “Do or do not. There is no try!” Don’t be afraid adjust priorities if needed. In addition, of course, these same methods work for prioritizing weekly, monthly, yearly, and even long-term tasks and goals as well.

And don’t forget, as a companion to this time management series, for those using a physical planner, Franklin Planner is offering 20% Off the Franklin Planner Basics, their beautiful Binders and Bags, through the month of January.

Click this link, and use promo code 22530 when you check out:

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One Response to “Time Management Tips – Identify Daily Priorities for Maximum Productivity”

  1. […] If you have prioritized well, the ones you miss will be ones that can be put off for tomorrow. As I said before, create categories. Things that must be done, things that should be done, and things that might […]

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