I hope all of you are in good health and spirits. May Allah keep all of us safe and healthy during this horrible situation of rapidly spreading coronavirus (COVID19). Please stay home and stay safe.
Let’s come to main agenda of this post that is how to prioritize effectively. Everyone of us has to do different tasks, small or big, at home or at work, personal or professional, individually or in group or in team, daily. I am using some proved and effective techniques to prioritize my day-to-day tasks, that’s why I wanted to share these with you as well.
If we don’t know what we are doing or need to accomplish, it become a little difficult to remain productive. That’s why creating a To-Do list is very important. Just note down all tasks or things, that you want or need to finish, don’t worry about order at start, we will cover this in next step.
There are many different online and mobile apps available that help you quickly create and manage tasks list. My personal favorite is ‘Any.do’. I have been using this app from almost five or six years now. It has really helped me both personally and professionally. Recently they have introduced a Grocery List feature, which I always use and setup before going out for having grocery or for shopping.
Next step is to order or arrange that list based upon importance and urgency of each. There are some very important items that should be handled first, but there are also some, not so very important items, that we should finish first or we will miss that opportunity window or that item completely.
So arrange or order tasks accordingly. You can number those items if you are writing on note book, or you can create a new list using your initial To-Do list. And definitely you can just reorder each items by dragging up or down, if you are using a website or mobile app. Again my personal favorite is ‘Any.do’ and ‘Microsoft Note’. Both apps are great and easy to use.
Most of the time you already know, how much time a task will take before we can mark it as completed. If you don’t have any idea about effort or time required, you should estimate it first or put it on end of list if it is not important nor urgent. Because, we should know time, that an item is going to take, before start. Otherwise, we might get stuck in something and it will affect our productivity. Also we should schedule our tasks in a way that tasks with most importance or value, but less time should be taken care of at start. As this will give us a sense of accomplishment right at the start and help us remain productive.
So put date and time in front of each item to schedule it. You can again use your mobile phone and computer for this. Another mobile application that you can use is ‘Evernote’ if you don’t want to use ‘Any.do’ or ‘Microsoft Note’. It will help you set reminders and schedule your tasks.
No I am not going to ask you to eat a real frog. But, this is a term used in world of productivity and highly successful people. Eat the Frog First mean to accomplish the most important, most valued and less time consuming thing first. As we have already schedule our items as per our last step. So we just need to refer to that list and finish number one item or task in our list before moving on to the other ones.
And don’t forget to mark your finished task as done or completed before moving on to next one.
If we can plan our daily tasks ahead, may be a night before, this will help us gaining more control and increasing our productivity. This technique is very effective because if you plan before going to sleep. Your unconscious mind will help you to visualize and sometime solve that problem in sleep. And believe me, because, I have actually solved many programming problems while sleeping. And also it will help our mind and body to get ready for work and you will be both mentally and physically prepared to face reality or workload.
For this I would like to share a snippet from one of Steve Jobs speech at Stanford University.
For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something … almost everything —all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure —these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.Steve Jobs
So to remain focus and accomplish more, we need to identify what’s really matter and important for us. There is also another famous saying or rule, I don’t really know who said this, but it goes something like this.
5 by 5 rule: If it’s not gonna matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes being upset about it.
I hope these tips and tricks will help you to stay productive and accomplish more.
Take good care of yourself and your loved ones.