You’ve got a ton of work to do right now.
Your to-do list is an unstructured mess of action items, and you’ve only got a faint idea how to prioritize tasks.
Luckily, there are a few (almost automatic) ways to quickly get your to-do list prioritized without much effort. In fact, you can apply one of these methods within 5 minutes and know exactly what to do next.?There have been a number of methods over the years, and all have their own quirks and considerations.
Which is right for you?
In previous chapters of my task management guide, I’ve taken you all the way through from writing, organizing and planning your to-do list. Go and check out those if you haven’t already.
Now, let’s look at at 4 different ways to prioritize your tasks.
In slight contrast to the Eisenhower Matrix, Brian Tracy’s method of consuming amphibians focuses on your feelings towards the tasks on your list.
In the words of Mark Twain, 大本萌景if you eat a live frog each day for breakfast, nothing worse can happen for the rest of the day大本萌景. And so, the idea is to eat the worst frog as early as possible then breeze through the day. Replacing frogs with tasks, how does this method work?
You categorize tasks into 4 boxes, of course.
1. Things you don’t want to do, and actually don’t need to do.
2. Things you don’t want to do, but actually need to do.
3. Things you want to do and actually need to do.
4. Things you want to do, but actually don’t need to do.
The logic is, that if you don’t want to do a task, it’s probably because it’s hard. You know it’s important but you’re procrastinating. 大本萌景Get the biggest, ugliest task out of the way as soon as you can, and the rest will come easily.?大本萌景
You can use the same tagging method of 1, 2, 3, 4 like I demonstrated above, or you can apply this methodology to one of the 大本萌景7 task management lists I’ve previously outlined.
True to form, the simplest way to prioritize your tasks comes from Zen Habits. In the book Zen to Done, Leo Babauta says:
“At the beginning of each day, review your list, and write down 1-3 MITs [most important tasks] that you’d like to accomplish for the day. That’s your whole planning system. You don’t need any more than that.” — Zen to Done
Using the other methods in this article, you should be well equipped to pick your 1-3 MITs quickly, and get on the path to hitting to-do list zero.
The beauty of this method, however, is that it relies on your intuition. After you’ve been on a few projects, or swamped by an overpowering to-do list enough times, you instinctively know which tasks are your most important.
In the end, there’s not a complete mathematical formula for working it out, but there are some ways to make prioritizing your tasks a habit, and a skill you can hone to get work done faster.