5 Great Time and Priority Management Tips

Effective time and priority management can make a huge difference in our effectiveness and ability to achieve critical goals. Taking on too many tasks or not having clearly outlined goals can make it difficult to actually be productive. Identifying your goals and limiting your daily to do list can help you get things done in a more focused, effective way. Deciding which tasks can be delegated or postponed helps ensure that you’re spending the bulk of your time on the things you need to do today.

Time management is all about how to work smarter rather than harder. It’s how to be busy for the right reasons so that you can rest and relax at the end of the day. Priority management means deciding which tasks are the most urgent & important and require your specific abilities versus which things can wait or be delegated to another team member. Having a good understanding of both techniques will help you reach your goals and achieve the work-play balance we’re all looking for.

Here are 5 great tips to boost your time and priority management skills today.

1. Identify Your Goals

If you don’t know where you’re headed, you’ll probably never get there, right? No matter what industry you’re in, your company and your team should have quantifiable goals written down and communicated to all team members. When you understand how your role fits into the company’s goals, you’ll know how to be most effective at your position within the organization.

2. Set Reasonable Limits on Your Daily Tasks by Picking Your Frogs!

How many tasks can you reasonably accomplish in a day? A lot of this depends on the kind of job you have and your ability to manage interruptions. If you don’t already, write a to-do list for yourself each morning with a few (no more than 5) tasks on it that you want to get done in a day. At KCC, we call these your “frogs”.

Do a little bit of analysis. On average, how many tasks do you finish in a single day? Are there certain days you consistently get more or fewer tasks done? Maybe Mondays are meeting-heavy, so you usually only get to 1 or 2 other things, but you notice that Wednesdays tend to be your most productive days when you get 4 or 5 things done.

Adjust your limits according to your own data. If you rarely, if ever, check more than 4 items off your to-do list in a day, set a new limit for yourself of only committing to 4 tasks per day. This will help reduce your stress level and help you set realistic goals and deadlines for yourself and your team.

3. Tackle Most Urgent and Important Tasks First

As you look at your goals and assigned tasks for the month, week, and day, sort them by which tasks are the most to least urgent and most to least important. There are lots of ways to do this. One simple method that takes just a few minutes is called the Eisenhower Matrix, which helps you sort and prioritize according to urgency and importance. This method also helps you identify which tasks to schedule for later and which to delegate or to eliminate.

4. Delegate, Refer, Eliminate, and Schedule

As you look at your goals and tasks for the day, keep an eye toward things that can be scheduled for later (write these down on a weekly or monthly calendar so you don’t forget about them!) and things that can be referred to someone else or eliminated.

How do you decide? Generally, if a task is important but not urgent, it’s something you can schedule for later on. Look for tasks on your list that are urgent but not important, especially tasks that don’t require your own specific expertise in order to handle. If you can, delegate or refer these tasks to someone else so you can focus on the high priority tasks that only you can handle. Remember the 20/80 principle. 20% of what we do contributes to 80% of our results…

5. Prioritize Your Growth

As you explore ways to improve your time and priority management, add our Time and Priority Management training to your task list! This session gives you the opportunity to review your current habits and your personal style and offers up-to-date, simple, and practical solutions that will save you precious hours. Check out our training on Time and Priority Management and get best practices and tips to make your work time effective and productive so you can achieve your goals and embrace a work-play balance.

Ingrid Kelada

Owner of KCC Positive Business Psychology & Happiness Expert