We’ve all been there: you walk into the office, take one look at your inbox or to-do list, and immediately feel the urge to run away. You’ve got a million things on your plate and they’re all important — where do you even start?
The more requests come flying in at you from all sides, the less time and brainpower you have to discern which are actually worth your time. So you end up scrambling to do them all, perpetuating the cycle of eternal busy-ness.
Stop. Take a deep breath and use a few of these prioritization tips from entrepreneur Lauren Perkins, NY Times bestselling author Greg McKeown, and Wrike’s own productivity coach Errette Dunn to organize your day, get the most significant work done, and still have time for your own high-priority tasks.
First hit ‘play’ on the short video below to learn the most important prioritization tip Wrike’s Errette Dunn picked up from productivity pro David Allen, then keep reading for more expert advice:
Tip 1: Define your deadlines.
Tip 2: Get some space.
At least once a quarter, get out of the office for a day to clear your head and re-focus on the big picture. Where do you want to be in a year? Three years? Reminding yourself of where you ultimately want to go will help you gain perspective and identify the projects and tasks that are instrumental in getting you there.
Tip 3: Pretend you have half the time you actually do.
Cut your work hours in half when you sit down to plot out your day. It’ll force you to be extremely picky when it comes to the tasks you agree to take on or contribute to. Bonus: it’ll give you time to make sure these high-priorities actually get done on time — and done well — and you’ll have time to tackle your own important to-dos, instead of just helping out with everyone else’s.
Tip 4: Keep priority singular.
When the word “priority” first appeared in the English language, it was singular, as in the one most important thing — and it stayed that way for close to 500 years. Only in the last century did we start identifying multiple priorities. So take back the word’s original meaning, and choose one priority for each day. It’s likely you’ll always have several important things going on, but if you don’t have a hierarchy with one single priority at the top, you’ll always feel unfocused and pulled in too many directions at once.
Tip 5: Learn to let go.
Let go of perfectionism and the inclination to micromanage. If you always get caught up in perfecting every tiny detail of the project you’re working on, you’re only making more work for yourself and eating up more of your time. Learn to delegate tasks that don’t absolutely need your input, and give yourself limits on the work that does so you don’t start down the rabbit hole of nit-picking.
How do you prioritize your daily workload? Share your favorite strategies in the comments below to add your ideas to our list!