How to Prioritize Work Tasks (when everything needs to get done!)

This week on Episode 106 of Productivity Paradox we’re talking all about how to find what you want in life (your passion!) and how to make time for your priorities at any stage in your life.

But what happens when the problem doesn’t necessarily lie in your passions or your priorities outside of the workplace, but at work itself?

For so many of us, finding the time necessary to get all of our work tasks taken care of by the end of the week, month, or year can be such a challenge. And this is especially true given the current climate that we find our working world in.

We are always expected to be on the go and to be tackling whatever life throws our way, that it can be incredibly challenging to properly prioritize our work tasks… especially when every single task on our list needs to get done. Sound familiar?

But what if I told you that there is a way that you can make time for all of your tasks at work while ensuring that everything gets done by your deadline? It’s true!

Keeping that in mind, let’s now take a look at the 4 Steps that you can take to prioritize your work tasks so that nothing on your list falls to the wayside.


4 Steps to Prioritize Your Work Tasks


Step 1 – Make a Task List

This might seem like a no-brainer but believe it or not… one of the biggest issues that many of us run into is that we lack a physical, handwritten (or typed!) list of each and every task that requires our attention at work.

Instead of juggling a general idea of what you need to get done inside of your brain, I encourage you to start each week at work by writing down a master task list that you can refer to whenever you find your mind struggling to focus on the present.

Doing so will not only help to keep you accountable of everything that you have on your plate, but it is a great way to prepare yourself and to get a handle on your time for the week ahead at work!


Step 2 – Identify Urgent vs. Important

Now that you’ve created your master task list, the second step is to take a look at each task on your list and to identify the tasks that are considered Urgent versus those that are considered Important.

You might be asking… How do I figure out what’s urgent from what’s important when everything seems urgent to me?

A great rule of thumb to keep in mind is to look at the word Urgent as being those tasks that require your immediate attention—tasks that must be completed by the end of the day, within the next several hours (and so on), and that will have serious negative consequences if they aren’t taken care of.

Important tasks are those that might not have a specific deadline, but still need to get done within a certain timeframe. They may require your attention (at some point), but they fall a little further down than those that you mark as Urgent.


Step 3 – Determine Value

Next, take a look at your tasks by urgency and importance and try to identify which tasks carry the highest value to your job, your business, or your organization.

The more you practice this step (and trust me, it will become easier the more that you do it!), the easier it will be to recognize which types of tasks have top priority over the others.

Still stuck on how to determine value? Another great way to look at identifying task value if to look at how many people are impacted by the work that you do. The more people you have relying on you to get something done, the higher the value!


Step 4 – Arrange Tasks by Estimated Effort

Chances are, you might run into a couple tasks each week that seem to tie for priority standing. If this rings true, then the next step is to estimate how much time it will take you to complete those tasks.

Is there one that might take a little bit more effort or a little bit more of your time to complete? Try knocking out whichever tasks you feel you’re able to get done effectively with the time you have before moving onto any others.

Taking that one step further, if you’re able to batch similar tasks together so that it takes you less time to complete them overall, then chances are you’ll experience a major boost in your productivity by the end of the week!



What are some of the ways that you have prioritized your tasks at work? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below… and be sure to tune into Episode 106 of the podcast this week to learn all about how to find what you want in life and how to find time for the things you’re most passionate about!


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Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton