Top 7 Ways Successful People Prioritize Their Time
One of the biggest struggles we face as adults is learning how to prioritize our time; especially when everything seems to be important. Realistically, some things are going to have to wait; but deciding exactly what comes first is where some of us fall short.
Spending time on tasks that aren’t as important as others may lead to trouble in your workplace and because you lose confidence in yourself. There is nothing worse than your boss asking if you’ve finished an assignment; but you haven’t because you’ve prioritized your tasks wrong. So, while you might have been diligently working on several things, all that hard work falls to the wayside because that isn’t what should have been done first.
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Top 7 Ways Successful People Prioritize Their Time
1. Get an early start – You will never catch a successful person sleeping while the rest of the world is working. They find time to get all the things that need to get done, done! Whether it be at 4 or am, the earlier the better!
2. Eisenhower matrix – Named after Dwight Eisenhower, the matrix consists of a list of daily priorities and they are mapped out as in 4 large squares with the top two boxes being labeled “urgent” and “non-urgent” and the sides (y-axis), are labeled “important” and “not important”. Then you prioritize your tasks by following the criteria below
– Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
– Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
– Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
– Neither urgent or important (tasks that you will eliminate).
By writing down everything that needs to be done in this format, you are sure to manage your time like a pro in no time!
3. One at a time – Once you’ve got your priorities mapped out and delegated out (if possible), tackle one thing at a time and make sure it’s done in its entirety before moving on to something else. If you start something, but don’t finish, you’re only creating more work for yourself later on.
4. Rank your priorities – We’ve taught you to rank your priorities, but you probably need a bit of help figuring out what is important and what can wait. Urgent tasks as things that will cause a negative result if you don’t finish them today, like meeting work deadlines, closing a client deal, answering important emails, returning phone calls, etc., should go into the urgent/important box. If there is anything that can be delegated to someone else, you can rank that in the Urgent but not important box. Things like schedule a doctor appointment, drop a package off at the post office, can go here. Tasks that won’t cause a negative effect on your day, like watching television or chat on the phone with a friend, can go in the non-urgent/not important box.
5. Plan for the unknown – In other words, set aside time for distractions, because they will happen. Anything from a phone call from your mom, an unplanned work meeting, a distraught friend; simply put, events that require us to stop what we are doing and direct our attention elsewhere all take up lots of time in our day. So, don’t plan your day with one task after another, leaving no time in between for these sudden, unplanned events.
6. It’s okay to say “no” – In order to manage your time successfully, you’re going to have to learn when to say “no.” And that is anytime you have more than you can handle on your plate. Understandably, you can’t say no to just anyone. You probably don’t want to say it to your boss, this could lead to a not so ideal outcome. But it is okay to let your friends, family, coworkers, even your kids know that you are bogged down with your own priorities and you just don’t have time. They will appreciate your honesty and you’ll have one less task to worry about.
7. Communicate – It is imperative that you communicate with the people around you. There is nothing wrong with a brief conversation to follow up on tasks you’ve delegated out or even to catch your employer up on tasks delegated to you! Also, if you’re assigned several tasks at work, it is okay for you to talk to your boss and present them with a list of your current responsibilities, along with your new assignment and ask that they prioritize it for you according to what they want done first. It will let your boss know that you are aware of what has been asked of you and that you’re managing your time according to their preference.
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