Those who know me know that I love to plan. Scrap that, I’m obsessed with planning! I’m often asked how to prioritise your To Do list to be the most productive and efficient so I thought I’d share my top tips here.
For me, planning is all about staying calm and in control of everything that needs doing. I’m a busy, working Mum of two small children so it’s often a challenge!
So that list doesn’t become overwhelming, I’ve found ways to work out how to set priorities.
How to Prioritise your To Do List
1. List every task
As mentioned earlier, I write down every single task that I need to complete. On a Sunday morning, I spend some time writing down all of my Family, Personal and Work plans for the week ahead.
Don’t assume that you will remember certain things, even if they are regular tasks. I find it best to write down absolutely everything from taking out the bins to invoicing for a completed project.
List each task to break it down in terms of importance and urgency – it’s all laid out in front of you to see.
You can download my free Weekly Planner by clicking here or on the image below:
2. Don’t cherry pick
It’s all too easy to pick out the tasks you love doing or the quick fixes first and tick them off. Whilst you’ll get a great sense of achievement in ticking them, this isn’t going to help to prioritise your To Do list.
Highlight the tasks that are going to be the hardest or take the longest to complete. If they are also the most urgent ones to get done, then tackle them first.
You’ll feel so much better in placing a small tick against a large, boring or challenging task than many ticks against the easy stuff.
3. Try not to multi-task
Multi-tasking can work well for many but not for all. It’s much better to do a job well than to do many jobs poorly.
The same applies for your To Do list.
There is no benefit in starting a few tasks and never finishing them if you can tackle each on in turn and complete them well. Stop getting distracted!
This can be especially tough if you are juggling many commitments and especially if you have the same deadline for multiple jobs. It’s much better to allocate time for each one separately and so much more efficient for you to do so as well.
4. Be flexible
Now this is going to slightly contradict my advice on starting one task and finishing it before you move on to the next one. Bear with me.
There will be times when your priorities or deadlines change and one job becomes much more urgent suddenly. Be flexible and open to reshuffling your To Do list to reflect this change.
Throughout the day, take a few minutes to have another glance at your To Do list for that day.
Are your priorities still the same?
Do you need to reshuffle anything?
As well as giving you the opportunity to reassess your priorities, it’s also a positive way to see how much you’ve already accomplished by counting up those ticks!
At the end of your day, have another glance over your To Do list and tick off everything that you’ve done.
For the tasks you did not yet complete, pop them into your planner for the next day, or later in the week when you will have time to do them.
By doing this, you’ve reflected on everything you have achieved that day and at the same time, you’ve already started the prioritising process for the next day.
The result of this means your mind can be clear and relaxed and you can go to bed knowing what needs to be done the next day and having a plan to do it!
What is your advice on how to prioritise your To Do list?
Does any of the above work for you?