This post was last updated on November 22nd, 2020 at 07:59 pm
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With working from home becoming the norm with the COVID-19 pandemic, being organized with your workload and prioritize your to-do list is more important than ever.
Sometimes everything seems like a top priority. When you are constantly rushing to finish your work, it could be difficult to choose what to do at a particular time and what to do later.
To keep my sanity and ensure that I met deadlines, I learned a few useful prioritizing tips and productivity tips.
Mastering time management can be difficult to do with an overflowing to-do list and constantly moving targets. By improving time management through trial and error, you can comfortably manage your workflow efficiently and complete more work.
And when you are accomplishing your daily, weekly, monthly tasks effectively, it gives you personal satisfaction, peace of mind, and improves your reliability and credibility in the workplace.
Ways To Prioritize Your To-Do List
Create A Daily To-Do List
The first natural step before beginning to prioritize your to-do list is to list down all the specific tasks that you have and want to do. This will give you a big picture overview of your workload from day-to-day.
- On your planner, write down all the daily tasks that you hope to complete.
- In addition, list down both short-term and long-term activities that you need to complete. These can include tasks to be done within the next week, month, year, or more than one year.
Simple to-do list consists of: tasks numbers, due dates or deadlines and priority levels.Remember, it’s important to maintain an up to date to-do list and also to keep an electronic back-up of your to-do list. Click To Tweet
A better practice is before closing my day, I usually check my planner. I checked my completed tasks and update the daily to-do list for tomorrow which give me a preview of that the following day’s schedule would look like.
If you are not able to update your to-do list in the evening, the best option is to do it first thing in the morning when you get to work.
Prioritizing Your To-Do List
It can be overwhelming trying to finish everything on your to-do list in s single day.
After preparing your do-list, prioritize your tasks by selecting what should be done first and why it should be done. Prioritizing helps you to visually see the highest to the lowest priority tasks.
An easy method for prioritizing tasks is ranking using simple 123 priority levels:
- Priority 1 (do it now-completed immediately)
- Priority 2 (do it soon-can wait but should be done soon)
- Priority 3 (do at leisure-can be done when you have downtime)
Two simple ways of managing your priorities are firstly to add the rank next to tasks on your to-do list. Then you can sort your list by priority level. Next, after you have ranked tasks on your list, you can extract the high priority tasks every day and put them on a small list for the tasks that you will work on within a particular day.
Constantly checking out on the deadlines of each task – some work needs to be started well in advance of a deadline to complete it.
Do the Little Things In The First Hour Of The Day
I start working around 9 a.m. and I know what first thing I have to do after turning on my laptop.
The morning hours are the best time to concentrate for 2 hours on quick and easy priority tasks.
- Administrative tasks
- Checking and responding to personal emails
- Managing email list management
- Reply comments, messages, or mentions on social media
If you have a big task or project to do, it is a good idea to break up large projects into more manageable parts then start working on one small step after another.
Time Blocking – Being Realistic On What You Can Do In A Day
Whether you use a digital or physical calendar for a daily to-do list with time blocks, take the time to break up the day according to your tasks.
Actually I’m not a fan of time blocking before, but I give it a try and it works for me!
Estimate your time will help in organizing your priorities and allows you to have a realistic plan regarding what you can possibly tackle in one day.
It can cause frustration over time when your list priorities are too long and frequently not completed. When you trying to do too much at once, it could have resulted in the opposite effect in terms of missing deadlines, declining productivity, being anxious, and experiencing burnout.
Ideally, planning for daily prioritize will show how much you can do within the available time taking into account your normal working pace or speed.
Here some tips to plan and execute your priorities:
- Schedule time to do work on your calendar
- Visualize what the final outcome will look like for each task you do
- Do one thing well at a time
- Build momentum by moving from one completed task to a new one seamlessly
- Start work on your priorities early enough to avoiding rushing at the last minute to meet deadlines
- Take small breaks to get rejuvenated
- Commit to completing your tasks
- Reflect on tasks accomplished
When given a project to complete, the deadline help in managing priorities and give a roadmap on how much time you have to complete a specific task. This will help you to adjust your effort and speed accordingly.
Start by analyzing the work required and resources to successfully complete the task. Set reminders for deadlines and regularly update the list.
Handle The Interruptions
Interruptions are an inevitable part of your life and workday. Interruptions can take a toll on your productivity and eat up your valuable time.
When you work from home, typical interruptions can be calls, messages, app notifications, someone talking loudly, your kids need you, your dogs need your attention, and constant traffic from others.
When you get interrupted, you lose your momentum – your focus and it takes time to get back to a steady working pace or rhythm. When you are regularly starting and stopping a task because of interruptions, it can increase the amount of time needed to complete a task.
Identify what kind of interruptions you face frequently and come up with solutions to keep the interruptions under control as best as you can.
Here are a few ways of dealing with constant interruptions:
- Turn off notifications for emails, apps, messages, etc.
- When interrupted by someone, quickly listen to what the request is to determine the urgency.
- If a request will take time to process, request to talk later and actually follow through.
- If you can quickly address the request, give your answer, and get back to your priorities.
- Let your family know when you are working on a time-sensitive deadline to give you some space.
- Wear headphones.
- Check and respond to emails at specific intervals.
Managing Perfectionism and Procrastination
Well, perfectionism is the desire and practice to keep making something better and better.
The desire for perfectionism can likewise slow you down and spending too much time on a simple task, not knowing to stop working on something and getting caught up in polishing details and over-processing.
To manage perfectionism, you can do these steps:
- Giving a task your best effort then let it go
- Learning what the standards are for completed work and using this as a guide to strive for
- Being flexible
These are good enough then move on to the next task.
Procrastination can cause a to-do list to have a specific set of tasks that are ever-present and keep rolling over from one to-do list to another constantly weighing you down from the knowledge that you have so much pending work which has to be tackled at some point.
Procrastination can happen through the habit of continuously putting off tasks that you dislike doing and doing things at the last minute – where you not motivated enough and are simply avoiding tasks until you have no choice but to do them because the tasks won’t go away on your to-do list.
Procrastination can likewise be caused by perfectionism, where you put off work because it will take too much time to complete it to your desired standards.
To be honest, one of the blogging tasks that sometimes I avoid are manually uploading fresh pins on Pinterest. Since the Pinterest algorithm constantly up and down, it affects my mood and I’m not motivated enough to do it. But, still, this task will be there on my to-do list!
Get rid of the misery brought about by procrastination by analyzing why you don’t enjoy doing them, break them down into smaller parts and push yourself to attack each piece within a specific timeframe and keep repeating this process until the large activity is completed.
There is a sense of relief in completing tasks that we have procrastinated on. Let this sense of satisfaction spur you onward to complete all pending tasks on your priority list.
Using Handy Productivity Tools
I can’t get organized without my planner or some handy productivity tools. While you love using a paper organizer or notebook to write down your priorities, if you’re going paperless try these out:
- Trello – a free popular task list platform you can use both on your phone and desktop. I love this one! It provides you with space to add details and reminders. The free version is good enough for individuals to keep organized and on-track for your blogging tasks or work-life.
- Todoist – one of my favorite online app that helps you list your tasks and keep track of all your activities. It comes in a free simple version and an affordable premium version that provides you amazing features.
Aside from a great to-do list, to speed up your daily work, editing and proofreading your work can be a time suck. Since I’m not a native English speaker, this is why I love Grammarly.
It helps me quickly make edits to my spelling and grammar mistakes. You can use this on your phone by downloading the app, on your desktop when you write emails, documents, etc. by installing the extension.
For bloggers, it’s really a great tool to speed up your writing and content creation process.
You can use the free version of Grammarly, but the premium version helps you become a better writer.
I hope these productivity tips help you get yourself organized and ready to conquer the day!
Photo credit: Estée Janssens