I’ve previously shared 7 Ways To Prioritize Your Tasks And Get Stuff Done and I hope you’ve found that helpful. That dealt with the question of How but I never addressed the Why. And although I didn’t follow Simon Sinek’s advice and start with why, I do want to answer the Why, why is it important, why should you care about prioritizing your tasks.
The short answer is that prioritizing your tasks gives you control over your life. When we make choices and have control we are better able to accept the bad with the good.
If we don’t prioritize our tasks, whether directly or indirectly, we can find ourselves constantly “putting out fires” handling things that seem urgent (or that other people have deemed urgent). Everyone has days like this, but if that is your normal way of operating time will pass without getting a lot accomplished. You may be always busy, but busy does not equal productive.
When I say directly or indirectly prioritizing your tasks I am referring to whether you directly list out your tasks and assign priorities to each one, or if based on your goals (you have set goals right?) you mentally assign priorities to get things done. I’ve been doing this for a while and am very comfortable using an indirect method of prioritization. When you are just starting out you may find it easier or more reassuring to directly list your priorities out. The indirect method however can be detrimental to team or group projects. Those situations are better served with direct methods. When dealing with your own priorities you can be more flexible.
By knowing what your goals are and having prioritized tasks to achieve your goals you are gaining more control over your life and outcomes. Now when someone needs to add something to your list you know where it fits in with your existing priorities. Maybe the new thing needs to move to the top of the list, but maybe not. If you didn’t know your priorities the new thing might get done before something that should have been done first.