Whether it’s your quarterly plan, weekly tasks or your daily priorities, sometimes the hardest part of any day is deciding where to begin! It’s very easy to start feeling out of control or overwhelmed as your to-do list creeps up and deadlines approach.

Our solution? Prioritise! While there are a number of apps to help do this, there’s also a very simple, very visual solution that requires nothing more than a notepad and a list! Start with everything you need to achieve by a certain deadline, we recommend a month, in a long list. Next create a grid, just like the one below, with four boxes representing tasks that are ‘high impact / low effort, high impact / high effort, low impact / minimum effort and finally, low impact / high effort’.

Now spend 10 minutes (no more – this should be an instinctive exercise) and add each task to one of the boxes. Some may be harder to choose than others but go with your gut. Once you’ve finished, you should now have your tasks ordered into four effective categories, making priorities easier to establish.

 

The big reveal!

To help you focus, this exercise encourages you to think of every task in terms of impact and effort, but actually each of the boxes can be renamed and ordered to give you a workable priority list that is going to deliver the best results and keep you feeling in control. 

  • Do now
  • Make a task
  • Make a project
  • Forget for now

Forget me not?

It’s worth spending some time looking at the ‘forget for now’ section. There are tasks that creep into every business that either offer little gain, that are part of a longer strategy, or even that we can wind up doing without really understanding why. It could be a report that never gets a second glance, generic research or upcoming tasks for a project where deadlines have yet to be finalised.

Rather than clogging up to-do lists, these tasks need to be put to one side while questions are asked about the about their purpose and whether they need to be repositioned, or indeed scrapped all together.

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Task v project

It’s important to note that all projects consist of tasks but not all tasks become fully-fledged projects. Tackling the one-off tasks first leaves you free to then focus more efforts into longer term projects, and all of the various mini tasks they comprise of. 

Aside from the additional head space that can be achieved by decluttering your list of one-off tasks, clearing these first can also help you to manage deadlines as projects tend to have longer lead times.

Work, complete, repeat!

Using this simple method to prioritise your work should help your day, week and month to run much smoother. Far from a one-off exercise, this technique can be reused on a regular basis to ensure you’re always working on the most up-to-date tasks, delivering the most impact for your business.

Interested in learning how this technique fits into the wider problem-solving strategy of Lightning Decision Jams (LDJ)? Get in touch with our Sales and Partnership Manager, Anthony, to arrange a free chat and LDJ session.

 

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