How to Prioritize Tasks and Work in Workplace, Plan Your Work and Meet Deadlines

Picture this: You’ve got a number of tasks on your plate and your to-do list is all messed up — just like your work life.

Isn’t it something we all can relate to?

There comes a phase when we feel stuck in a routine which has no structure, no planning, and things start to fall apart slowly and gradually. This is what happens when you don’t know how to prioritize tasks and manage projects at work.

It won’t be wrong to say that we’ve all been there in such a situation and seen many others as well. If we really want to grow professionally and want to keep our sanity intact, then we must learn how to prioritize tasks and work in the workplace. It might seem a little overwhelming but definitely not impossible.

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ProofHub presents you some techniques to plan your work and meet your deadlines in the most efficient way:

1. Ranking tasks on a To-do list

Let’s start with the basics. Ranking your tasks on a scale of 1–10 is perhaps one of the oldest ways and simplest ways to prioritize tasks on your list. Grab a pen and paper and list down the number of tasks that need to be done for the day.

You can either give a number to every task or write them down in terms of their preference as well. For example, number 1 means the most important task of them all and so on. This technique works best to develop more accountability towards one’s work.

2. Grouping

As the name suggests, in this method you can group tasks or other requirements in a group representing different priority levels. Each group acts as a certain part or stage that stakeholders can relate to. There are different ways to form groups. One of the ways is to define each group with critical, moderate, and optional priority levels so that you can group elements on their basis of priority.

Make sure each group is distinctly categorized so that there is no confusion or overlapping of priorities. However, in reality, not many people use this technique due to its complex approach. However, feel free to try it out and be your own judge.

3. ABCDE method

If you have too many tasks, then ABCDE method is definitely going to help you in a big way. It was created by Brian Tracy — a bestseller author and famous public speaker. The technique takes into account that different items on your checklist can take the same priority level. In this method, you can do the following steps to prioritize tasks:

  1. Assign every task a letter from A to E where A stands for the highest priority
  2. Give a number to every task that has a letter (A,B,C,D,E) in it. It will decide their order in a way they are supposed to be done. For example, A1, A2, and so on.
  3. Repeat until done.

Note: Do not start tasks of B unless you’ve ticked off every task assigned to A.

4. Eisenhower Matrix

Eisenhower Matrix is a great productivity trick that helps you to make important decisions in figuring out what’s important and what’s urgent. If you have a ton of work and don’t have any idea where to start from, Eisenhower Matrix seems like a good option.

Named after the former U.S President Dwight D. Eisenhower, it is a 4-box system that helps you prioritize your tasks based on their urgency and importance. This way you can identify which tasks need to be done, delegated, or left undone. Also known as the Urgent-Important matrix, it is a quick way to get everything in order and save your day.

5. Bubble Sort technique

To prioritize requirements using bubble Sort technique, you take two requirements and compare them with one another. Following steps would help you understand Bubble Sort technique:

  1. Outline the requirements in a vertical column.
  2. Compare the top two requirements with each other to find out which one should have more priority over the other.
  3. If the lower set is more important than the one on the top, you can swap their positions.
  4. Repeat this comparison and keep swapping one over the other to determine which is the most important requirement until the very last requirement is sorted.

6. The Frog analogy by Brian Tracy

Mark Twain gave birth to this analogy between frogs and tasks. In his words, if you eat a live frog each day for breakfast, nothing worse can happen for the rest of the day. If you think how does this method work, then the idea is to eat the big and fat frogs (important tasks) as the first thing in the morning.

It helps you to beat the habit of procrastination at work. The technique suggests that if you’re not doing a specific task, that’s because it’s hard. Probably that’s why it suggests you to accomplish bigger tasks in the morning so that you have enough time to focus on other stuff at the end of the day.

7. MoScoW technique

Image credits to Modernanalyst

The MoSCoW method is a prioritization technique used in management, business analysis, project management, and software development to reach a common understanding with stakeholders on the importance of each requirement.

In this prioritization technique, there are four priority groups: MUST have, SHOULD have, COULD have, and WON’T have that enable stakeholders to prioritize requirements in the most collaborative form. The acronym stands for:

  • MUST (Mandatory)
  • SHOULD (High priority)
  • COULD (Preferred but not necessary)
  • WOULD (Can be postponed for future)

MoSCoW is often used with timeboxing, where a deadline is fixed so that the focus must be on the most important requirements, and as such, the technique is commonly used in agile software development approaches.

8. The Hundred Dollar Method

Image Credits to David Guo

The Hundred Dollar Method is prioritization technique that can be used to prioritize items in a group or in case of multiple stakeholders. In this activity, each person within a group is given 100 dollars (assumption) and is asked to distribute it across the available items. They can distribute dollars equally or in a weighted distribution where they can give higher priority to a certain task than others.

Imagine that a group has to prioritize 5 items. If a person thinks each task has an equal importance, he can assign 20 dollars to each item. Or, he can distribute 40 to one task and 10 to the other, until all dollars are allocated. In the end, you can count the accumulated dollars for each item which would eventually be the most prioritized task.

Conclusion

So, what do you think which of the above techniques is best to prioritize work? Make sure to look for a technique that fits your needs the most and helps you get it all done in the least amount of time. To tell us how you prioritize your work, drop a comment below.

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