Work can sometimes seem like an endless string of tasks that are never-ending. It’s pretty easy to become demoralised when more and more tasks are added to your to-do list. However, prioritising workloads can make your work life more streamlined and more rewarding.
Prioritising workloads is one of the oldest workplace struggles. We all have some form of time management.
training or booklet when we first start a new job, but how many of us really take on board these tips? If you’re encountering non-stop emails, higher expectations and endless tasks, then you may start to feel overwhelmed. This is not an ideal way of working and can increase stress, reduce productivity and damage your work-life balance.
Our guide will help you learn how to prioritise work and why it’s important. Prioritising workloads will help you stop wasting time and procrastinating at work. We want to help you become more successful and relaxed at work to restore your work-life balance, so you can finally enjoy the evenings without having to worry about that gigantic list of tasks waiting for you in the morning.
Why is it Important to Prioritise Tasks?
Maybe you’re happy to work through a list without considering task importance. Maybe you have a large project where every task appears to be the number one priority. Or maybe you have so much work on your plate that the thought of another to-do list is unbearable.
So why is it important to prioritise tasks? Prioritising work is the process of determining the urgency of a task and its level of importance. Having the ability to prioritise will make you work more efficiently, limit your distractions and demonstrate your skills as a leader. Reducing your energy on being ‘busy’ will allow you to have a clearer mind and enhance your creativity as you begin to think of new ways of working. Furthermore, you will have a feeling of accomplishment as you start to tick off items on your task prioritisation list. That sense of success will help you rebuild your work-life balance.
Without prioritising workloads, you may risk burnout or becoming unmotivated in your work. This could spell disaster, not just for you, but your clients or colleagues that may have to help reduce your workload. Don’t worry though, our simple guide will ensure you have the correct tools to help you learn how to prioritise work and feel confident once more.
There are numerous ways to prioritise tasks, some take a great deal of planning and organisation, some can be completed in five minutes. However you prefer to work, we have a list of three strategies on prioritising workloads.
1. Make a list
It seems obvious, but do you actually know what you need to get completed by today? Tomorrow? This week? When we’re at work, it’s easy just to focus on the day ahead. However, if you sat down and compiled a list of everything that needs to be completed by certain parameters, then you can start evaluating which tasks are urgent and which could be left until Friday afternoon when you’re a little bit more relaxed. At the beginning of each day or week, create a to-do list that reflects what you or your team intend to complete and set realistic expectations. If you prefer a digital to-do, then Virtual Cabinet’s work management software has a to-do feature that allows you to keep track of tasks. You can set up reminders and alerts that will nudge people, mark tasks that are a priority and hide others until they’re ready to be completed.
2. Eisenhower Method
If writing everything down would be too overwhelming, then scale it back. Prioritising workloads can be enjoyable once you have found the right method for you. The Eisenhower method helps you make the best of your time by optimising it. Draw four boxes with each of these headings:
- Critical and urgent
- Critical, but not urgent
- Not critical, but urgent
- Neither critical, nor urgent
Then decide which tasks go in each of these boxes. This is a great method for large projects that expand over a longer period of time. Prioritising tasks using this method will ensure that you are accountable for each of your assignments and will ensure that no deadlines are missed or forgotten about. If you’re spending more time filing documents, then why not take a look at our document management software that will help you speed up your office workflow?
3. Pareto Principle
Prioritising workloads using the Pareto Principle is based on effort and impact, rather than time sensitivities. Also known as the 80/20 rule, it states that “80% of the results come from 20% of the action”. Therefore, you need to decide where to focus your efforts and choose the 20% of tasks that will give you the highest return on the investment of your time. Then you will dedicate 80% of your effort throughout the day on these to completion. Of course, you can alter the percentages as you see fit, but the Pareto Principle makes you understand where you need to focus your efforts, rather than spreading yourself too thinly trying to complete everything and risking burnout.
Improve your Ability to Prioritise Workload
We have listed our favourite three ways of prioritising workloads, however it may take time to find your perfect way of prioritising tasks. When completing work, there are many things that will factor into how productive you are: how you learn, how many distractions there are, how you feel in yourself and the pressures at work. Experiment with different approaches to being more productive.
To improve your ability to prioritise workload you need to be creative, adaptable and flexible. Take regular breaks from work as this will help to keep you fresher for longer. Cut unnecessary tasks from your list or delegate them to someone else who may have more time. If you’re endlessly sending emails or reading group chats to organise tasks, then why not take a look at our work management software to help you improve communication.
That’s the end to our guide to prioritising workloads. We hope it has been helpful and if you’d like to simplify your work all in one place then browse our range of software that will transform your business. See something you like? Book a free demo and try it out for yourself.