Prioritize for Efficiency
In the last episode of BrojidStepUp, I explained that one of the first things you have to do when you have plenty tasks at hand within limited time is first of all calm down and not panic. I explained that when you panic, you lose hope of being able to finish the task, lose concentration and make avoidable mistakes. However, in your state of calm, you can see clearly what you have to do, find out how to do it and approach each of them in the right frame of mind. If you missed it, you can read it here or listen to it here.
Having done that, the next step is to maximize the time you have with your calm state of mind to work towards tackling the multitude of tasks in your hand and that’s why I want to share with you today.
You see, sometimes we think that there are too many things to do and get overwhelmed by them when in reality they can be started and concluded on time only if we bother to take a close look at them and plan their execution well.
First, make a list of the things you have to do. If they are very many, you can group them under subheadings using a pen and paper.Don’t limit your list to the most important tasks; detail everything that you have to do no matter how insignificant. Everything you have to do takes your time, consumes physical and emotional energy and that’s why I believe you should do your best to have a look at all the task at hand at a glance and estimate what it will take you to get them done.
One good thing about making a list of what you have to do is that you are able to see clearly what is at stake, determine how long it will take and how to go about doing them. Another thing you gain by making a list of the things you have to do is that you can see what should be delegated, outsourced or deleted entirely from your to-do-list so as to free yourself to attend to real issues.
Now take a close look at your list and find out the most important and urgent to attend to. Create a second list of all the tasks you have to do based on the most important and urgent. In life, there are certain tasks that make all the difference in our lives or work. They are the tasks which when not attended to, things will most certainly go wrong. They are the really important tasks and should be put into consideration; they should constitute the urgent and important tasks.
I don’t really know you enough or your situation now to determine your most important task but you should be able to decipher that when you think through all the tasks in your hand. Why you need to decide all these is that they help you prioritize – see clearly what should be attended to now or wait. Prioritizing helps you finish the real and urgent tasks on time while attending to lesser matter later.
You see, no matter how pressing or urgent the less important tasks seem, be careful to ensure you don’t fall for the temptation to attend to them first. If you attend to them first, you have yielded to distractions. This is where you should acquire the capacity to say no to situations and people that want you to attend to them when there are higher priorities to attend to.
Aside prioritizing your tasks, you can also use the list to decide the tasks that you can multi task to save time; that is, two tasks that can be done simultaneously without either of them suffering. For instance, you can listen to a sermon or podcast while washing your clothes or ironing. The good thing about multitasking is that it saves you time and it’s about my most powerful time saving skills. I mean, I listen to messages while on transit or arranging my house and I can also read some pages of a book from my phone while standing on a queue in bank or inside keke.
While multitasking, don’t slip into doing too many things at a time. I mean the rule is stilldo one thing per time. It’s better and more effective. There are things you can’t multitask and you shouldn’t border multitasking them. For instance, I can’t be listening to a talk and be writing. The talk will distract me and if I insist on focusing on my writing I won’t listen to what the speaker will be saying. In fact, his voice will constitute noise. I can enjoy good music while I write.
In fact, as I write this, Hillsong’s Mighty to Save has been on repeat in my ears. In addition, while I design a client’s website, do graphic design or just surf the net I can listen to messages. In fact, within these activities, I have soaked plenty messages. Don’t get the impression that I don’t give my client’s work adequate attention, I have found that the attention it requires is not so much that I can’t listen to sermons.
A good way to find out two tasks that can’t go together is that one is a distraction to another and once you find that out, you have to do them differently. I have found from experience that if you multitask two things that don’t go together, you reduce your effectiveness and may spend even more time doing both of them than you would have spent if you handled them differently.
When you have plenty tasks to execute within limited time, you should make a list of them so that you can clearly see what is at stake, determine how and when to do them and what it will require to do them. When you make these decisions, especially as regards when to do them, be careful not to allow distractions keep you from following the plan strictly. You can also multitask to save time, while ensuring you don’t multitask entirely different tasks that will be a distraction to each other.
PS: We are not done with this subject matter; so, join me tomorrow as I share with you another insight on managing plenty tasks within limited time. Meanwhile you can listen to our 10-minutes podcast on this subject HERE.