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How to prioritize your work when everything is important

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In any business, when you have projects to work on, and in particular large, complex projects, it is important that you set clear priorities with them. We know, we know, this is definitely easier said than done, however, it is extremely important that you know what work is the most essential and how to prioritize this effectively.

No matter how carefully a project is planned out, you can always guarantee that there will be changes that need to be made that will set you back and will mean that you have to re-prioritize your workload. While you can never be fully prepared for these surprises, knowing at least to expect them is half the battle. Not knowing how to effectively prioritize your work will have a direct effect on the success of your project and it will also have an effect on how engaged your team is and how good you are a team leader.

As a team leader, one of the biggest challenges that many project managers will face is prioritizing the workloads that are the most important on that given day. It can be hard to not make every project the number one priority and so you have to be diligent about it and ensure you have a good hand on it to ensure everyone is working towards the same goal.

If how to prioritize tasks is something that you tend to struggle with, then check out below out steps to help you prioritize projects and manage your team’s workload so you are always hitting your deadlines.

Make a list of outstanding work

When you are starting to try and prioritize your tasks, it is important that you make a list of all the outstanding work that you have so that you can visualize exactly what you have to do. Make a list of all the tasks that you have outstanding and then make another list of tasks that would be viable to get done in a day. While you could use a pen and paper while prioritizing tasks, many people now use Kanban tasks instead.

This is a digital way to organize your projects, have them visually laid out in front of you, and you will be able to set deadlines on them and see where exactly you and your team are in the process towards completing them. Everyone will have access to the Kanban boards and so you will easily be able to assign tasks to employees to ensure that everyone is working towards completing one project on time and to a high standard.

Urgent or important?

After you have listed all of your outstanding work on a Kanban board, it is the time to turn your hand to any tasks on the list that require immediate attention. However, it is important that you distinguish between work that is simply important against work that really is urgent. With urgent work, this will be when tasks are not completed they then have a very serious, negative consequence such as missing a deadline. Take a look at your list to see which tasks are the high priority and that rely on your finishing them now.

Project value

Once you have the urgent work taken care of and out of the way, you should then be taking a look at your important work and identifying what carriers the highest value to your business and organization. This essentially means deciding which work and which clients are going to have top priority over others.

What tasks will take longest to complete?

If you have tasks that really are both just as important as each other then we would recommend that you start the project that you think will take the most time and effort to complete. Taking on the more challenging projects first will mean a weight has been lifted from your shoulders and will then give you the motivation and drive to tackle the smaller projects on your Kanban boards.

Be flexible

With any project, the chances of it running entirely smoothly from start to finish are small and so you need to try and be as flexible as you possibly can when priorities change. This can happen when it is least expected to, but you will want to try and stay on focused on the tasked that you have already committed to finishing.

What can be taken off your daily list?

When prioritizing tasks, it is important that you make your daily task list realistic. So, this does mean that some tasks may not make the cut for that day. Focus on the priorities that need to be done and that you know you will be able to complete that day, then you can move the rest for the following day.

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