Prioritisation is key to getting anything done. You may not necessarily agree straight away as maybe you feel you don’t prioritise or you prioritise poorly, but every moment of every day you are making subconscious decisions as to what the next prioritised task is; this doesn’t necessarily mean you are making the right decisions, though.
Sometimes it can be best to learn how to do something effectively by learning why it isn’t working in the first place. Read further on to and see which areas you connect with, and highlight what areas you can start to improve on.
No thought is placed on prioritisation
Do you actually think about prioritising, or just do it subconsciously? If you don’t actually think about something, how can you focus on becoming better at it?
In order to become better at something, you need to actively focus on it; whether this is through conscious thought, thorough planning, or even just a daily to-do list or action plan.
Once you’ve put some thought on what is important, you can start to make incremental changes to your activities, without this, you’ll continue to prioritise poorly.
You don’t know what to prioritise
Go back to the above… if you’ve not put any thought into prioritisation, how can you even know what you should be prioritising. If you were to have employees, do you think they will be able to work effectively if they weren’t told what they should be working on? Admittedly it is easy to them as they just follow instructions and don’t have any decision responsibility.
The question here, though, can you apply the same logic to yourself? If you aren’t aware of the priorities, how can you ever prioritise? All work that you do will be ineffective to any desired result, which of course you won’t know of as you haven’t made a decision.
You are not fully aware of everything you need to do
This connects even further with the previous two points.
You can easily decide these are the things you’ve got to do and move forward, but it is likely you will find that you keep getting pulled away to some other task that you didn’t expect or was prioritised poorly, often with a higher urgency but not necessarily a greater importance.
Even when you feel you’ve prioritised as above, if you haven’t considered absolutely everything then you will be oblivious to the opportunity cost and other things will fall to the side. What happens next? You drop everything and focus on what has become urgent or in a crisis state, rather than managing tasks effectively through effective and consistent prioritisation.
Everything has equal perceived importance
You might be aware of everything that you do, or have to do but you are not able to move forward with the right task or project. Unless you are able to delegate, you have to choose which one thing you are going to focus on and give full attention to. This, of course, means that other tasks will have to be moved to the side and delayed, or dropped completely.
How do you choose which one thing you do? How do you prioritise the most important task? If this was an easy thing to answer, you likely won’t be reading this currently.
Ultimately, something will have a higher importance to you, and potentially a higher urgency than other tasks – what you choose though is likely to be based on what causes the most pain if you don’t do it, or the most benefit if you do it.
Think about what you have now and what you have been struggling to filter through. With the thoughts triggering in your head now, can you pick the most important task you need to prioritise now?
You’ve delegated to people with different priorities
Whether this is on a small scale or a large scale (the issues discussed shortly can be much much larger and hidden on a larger scale), if once you’ve decided what your highest priorities are, it is possible that you’ve called in some extra help through delegation to get these tasks done and would hopefully be seeing progress.
This isn’t always necessarily the case, though. Once a task is delegated, it is essentially disconnected from yourself (the person with the original vision and understanding of importance and urgency) to somebody who may likely not share the same understanding as you do.
On singular tasks, this may not be a problem, but when considering multiple tasks, their local and personal priorities need to then be considered as factors which may effect successful prioritisation.
What task will they choose first? What will they leave to the side? Why are they doing this? What motivates them?
This delegated person is disconnected from the original reason for the delegation when you prioritised, and if not carefully selected, could be a large factor in this area contributing to poor prioritisation.
Where are you prioritising poorly?
Moving from absolutely no prioritisation through to full delegation, there are potential reasons why your prioritisation is ineffective. Whether you can make changes internally or externally, prioritisation is key to growth, success, and scalability.
Which areas are you sticking with? Reread the area again quickly and see what you can do to move forward.