ProductivityProject Management

How to Prioritize When Everything Is Important

It is easy to prioritize a few tasks, but what do you do when everything is “important?” In an article for Lifehacker, Alan Henry uncovers the tactics to decipher what in actuality is important and how to effectively prioritize tasks.

Tactics to Employ

When it comes to deciding what is really important, there are a few tactics to take to truly unveil the tasks of urgency. Begin by grilling the boss. Part of a manager’s job is to understand what is important and how they can help guide the river of priorities. If a manager is unavailable, it may be just as helpful to ask around and get a feel about others’ perspectives. This is especially pertinent when the tasks involve working with other people. Look at the due dates and see what needs attention first, and prioritize by working backwards. The final tactic is to put your plan of action into writing and share it with everyone. Setting expectations of when you will complete the work will allow little room for discrepancy.

In order to execute any plan, it is important to be organized. There should be some sort of system in which you can hold yourself accountable for what you get done. A system can help to decipher what you need to do next, which eliminates wasted time deciding what to do. It also allows you to see everything you are working on at once, helping you to keep on top of juggling everything.

Managing the Classic Triangle

Project management can be divided amongst an equilateral triangle. The three sides represent time, cost, and the scope of the project. One side of the triangle cannot be adjusted without adjustment to the other two sides; this helps to decide which aspect of the project needs managed pertinently. The time side can be utilized to work backwards from the deadlines and select the tasks of immediate importance. Cost meanwhile is not limited to money. Cost can refer to the people whose help you may need. In your scope, you should not be afraid of compromises, because sometimes time is too limited or you cannot get people to help.

Doing everything by yourself can be overwhelming and absolutely impossible. It is important to understand when to delegate authority for the greater good of the project. Remember to be assertive and not an aggressive monster that deters people from wanting to work. Prove that you need the help and do not be upset if people are unable to help you.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a step back and look at what needs particular attention. Do not allow yourself to become so overwhelmed that you drown in a sea of tasks.

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