Are you spending your time on what you believe is important? On what you want to be doing?

Allocating priorities to your activities and tasks can be a really useful techniques to help you identify what you want to be doing and how much time you want to invest.

Prioritising your activities and tasks is useful if you
• Find yourself under pressure to get a number of tasks completed
• Want to achieve some key tasks in a set time-frame
• Find yourself spending more time in some areas of your life when you would rather be doing so in other areas (e.g. work commitments taking over your time with family or your social life)
• Are juggling a whole lot of things
• Have other people’s expectations included in your own targets and goals

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar to you?

So, what are some ways to put priorities on your list of activities? Here’s a method I use all the time that certainly works for me and takes the frustration out of feeling like I never really achieve anything as I want to, when I want to…….

1. First, it can really help to create a list of all the things you are involved in trying to complete and your ‘want to do list’.

In fact, split these lists into two separate ones, to make this task of prioritizing more manageable; so that you end up with a “Task List” and a “Wants List”.

2. Deal with one list at a time, then be prepared to look at both of them to see how you need to organize your achievement of each item on each list.

For example, your Task List may have very work related items (work = paid, voluntary or home) while your Wants List may include more personal items – just as important in your life but with a different emphasis and focus to your Task List.

3. For each list, read through the items and decide which are urgent and important – that is, those items that really need to be done now or very soon. Highlight these items.

4. Now, take those highlighted items and rank them, again in order of urgency and importance.

One of my typical daily lists at work would look like this:
• Check e-mails 4 10mins
• Reply to e-mails 5 30mins
• Coffee! 1 10mins
• Check calendar for fixed commitments (meetings) 2 5mins
• Write article 6 1hour
• Review goals 7 15mins
• Create coaching plan for new client 3 1hour

As you can see, the list isn’t in any particular order. The important part is the ranking I give to each item and then the time-frame I allocate to complete each. This enables me to plan where, when and how I will focus and use my time to complete the tasks listed.

5. If you don’t feel this is like doubling-up, what I do now (and therefore suggest you do) is make a ‘clean’ list with these highlighted, ranked activities and that list is what I keep in front of me for the rest of the day.

It gives me a sense of planning and being organized rather than reacting to whatever comes up during the day

You see, if you know what you want to achieve and how you intend to do this (the rankings you allocate from 1 to whatever), if you get interrupted, for example, you can decide how to manage this.

That is, if you are asked to do something that is not on your list, you can let the person know whether you are able to help them today or whether you need to schedule a time to help them the next day or later in the week – when you know you will have completed your planned task/activity.

So, get started on your own lists – your Task List and your Wants List – and allocate some priorities to each item you list, on each, so that you can begin to feel more in control, more organized and certainly feel as though you are achieving and making headway with your goals and aspirations.

Author's Bio: 

Lesley has worked and taught in the personal development field for over 20 years. Her website Positively You™ offers you plenty more information, ideas and advice on strategies for identifying your priorities, acting on your values and belief system, how to create a positive, fulfilling life for yourself and much more. Positively You™ is a website about people and for people who want to improve their life and find solutions for their personal and professional lives.