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Prioritize Work

This lesson is a part of an audio course Organize and Prioritize Your Life by Austin Churchill

In our previous lesson, you learned that organizing work in a single system is critical for setting your foundation. Now, let's talk about how to prioritize the work you have organized in your source system. Let's think about this as the "when" you need to do it.

Your first step is to assess your priorities and shift tasks around in order. This is not simply moving tasks around in the order that is easiest or the order you prefer. There are several considerations that need to be addressed when weighing your priorities.

For each task, consider the following:

  • Identify your goals: It is critical to know what goals you are trying to achieve. These can be weekly, monthly, quarterly, or even yearly. The timeframe of these goals is dependent on your personal situation. Goals are essential for setting true priorities.

  • Identify the value: Knowing the value that your tasks bring can help you understand if the task is worth doing. A task with high value to you might not be as valuable to a task that brings value to your team.

  • Identify urgency and importance: By understanding the urgency and importance, it helps you to know when the task needs to be completed relative to your other tasks.

After you have an initial priority order set, make sure that you are re-evaluating on an ongoing basis. Again, the cadence for re-evaluating your list is dependent on your situation. Some might need to shift priorities daily, where others can do so monthly. Choose a schedule that works for you and put it on the calendar on a recurring basis. Prioritizing is not a one-time activity, for it to work, you need to keep adding to your list and shuffle around your tasks based on the considerations outlined previously.

This might appear to be a large task. That is because it is. If you have never gone through a proper prioritization exercise, it will definitely be a large task. But since you are committing to re-evaluating your tasks on an ongoing basis, you won't have to take on this large task again. Your time will shift to evaluating new tasks and how they fit alongside your other tasks.

There is a tendency to think, these lessons are meant for work tasks. But this isn't only useful thinking for work! Make sure you're spending your personal time wisely and doing things that are worthwhile to you outside of work. Prioritizing your life alongside your work can lead to a happier, healthier life. When we prioritize our life outside of work, all aspects of our life improve, including work.

Let's check back in with Employee A and see how they have been progressing through this lesson. Employee A came to the realization that they couldn't get everything done today that they wanted to get done. But now they feel confident the work they did complete was their highest-value work. They feel confident in their output and can explain why the lesser value work was not completed.

Your Task: Use the considerations talked about in this lesson on your organized list of tasks. Take a first pass at prioritizing your list. Remember, our goal is to always work on our highest value work.

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Written by

Austin Churchill