Current DateNovember 5, 2022

1 simple question to prioritize to-do-list more effectively

An image showing a to-do-list in the courtyard built on bamboos

A few days back I had shared about how to increase the effectiveness of our to-do-list by Time-Boxing it. My team members & a few people got back to me asking a few questions as a follow up to that. Some of them also come from another article of mine on helping our team members managing their day.

A common question has been on the prioritization of to-do-list task. And how to decide what should actually be on the list and what shouldn’t. As in the article above, we tend to bulldoze through our list for the sake of completing the tasks. What we need to keep in our mind is that not every task is urgent. And not each of the task has the same importance. Another point you need to consider is that you do not have to complete everything yourself. As a manager, it’s very easy for to get too much too soon on our plates clean. We can still get things done the right way. Whenever I get that overwhelming feeling, and believe me, it happens with me a lot. It tends to recognize my tasks by answering a series of questions that help me determine the individual value of each task.

My method of prioritizing my to-do-list

My method involves asking myself “Why the task is important?” If the answer is in definite terms, it stays. Next is to determine if the timeline needs it done immediately as if it doesn’t, it goes down the priority. I bump it up to my high priority list if the answer comes with a timeline in it.

There are always things that I can remove from my to-do-list. Like there are many which doesn’t need my personal attention. There are always things that my team members can also deliver. I simply re-assign the task to the particular team members. Also, what usually happens is that we tend to take the burden of certain tasks for wrong reasons. Like trying to impress someone, or simply because we couldn’t say “NO”. Let such tasks go, because if you agreed to do such a task for such reasons, you definitely are not the correct person to finish the task. 

Once I am able to answer the above queries, it helps me a lot to prioritize my to-do-list in order. It is streamlined with that of the larger goals. I would recommend creating your own list of questions on similar lines. To prioritize your tasks or hand them over to others if you feel overworked. They can be based on the answers to those questions.

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