In today’s fast-paced society, the key to a stress-free, successful career lies in learning how to prioritise your workload, and manage your workflow effectively. Tackle that to-do list head on in three easy steps… By Katie Martlew
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Three simple ways to manage and prioritise your workflow…
1. Prioritise your to-do list
Prioritising your to-do list (and sticking to it) is one of the most effective ways to manage your workflow effectively. Lack of organisation leaves us feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, and leaves much room for omission and error.
Action plan: Start by recording all tasks you’re assigned to do for the week. Figure out which ones are most urgent/important, and list them first. It’s often tempting to take care of the more trivial, enjoyable or easy tasks first, as it provides us with an instant ‘feel-good-buzz’ when we tick something off the to-do list. Do not do this! Approach the to-do list with a methodical triage mentality. If you find there are some things on your to-do list that aren’t important, or isn’t likely to ever get done, remove it. Your time is far too important to waste on trivial things.
2. Time management 101
Determining how long it takes for you to complete tasks (sans procrastination) is a great way to help get on top of your workload.
Action Plan: Time yourself on how long it takes to complete common tasks, and record this information in your to-do list. Some of us are perfectionists, and spend longer than others refining our work. Check with a co-worker, or manager, how long (realistically) they believe it should take to complete a particular task so you have a reference point. You may find you’ve been spending far too long perfecting something that isn’t so important.
3. Take on difficult tasks first
Now you’ve determined which tasks are most important and urgent, tackle them first. Putting them off in favour of shrinking your overall to-do list first will only lead to last-minute disasters. Chances are, you’ll only end up running out of time (and brain stamina) and rushing the most important projects. Not to mention, the stress associated with an impending difficult task is always best avoided to keep the mind clear, calm and focussed.
Action plan: Think of your to-do list as gospel. Stick to it. Working out of order only wastes time and creates roadblocks, and task traffic pile-ups. Break down larger projects into a series of small, manageable steps instead of one large whole. It’s important we don’t stem our workflow by trying to avoid or put off an unpleasant task.
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