Prioritization, or arranging all your tasks in a hierarchy of importance, is one of the fundamentals of planning. By extension, it is one of the fundamental skills for any kind of business management, event planning, or even planning out your day. Sometimes though, there are several tasks of equal importance in your daily schedule. And the obvious question then arises when you are met with this situation – what now?
Yet, it stands to reason that this situation must be very common. Next Level Daily, a company creating daily planners for ADHD sufferers, say that the main thing their planners help with is precisely the matter of prioritization, which is something ADHD sufferers can struggle with. The result of this, of course, is that you simply don’t know where to begin. And this is something that, while exacerbated in those with ADHD, is probably not too unfamiliar to anyone who has struggled with tasks of equal importance all due at the same time.
What Does Important Mean?
It is absolutely essential to define precisely what important means. If you are struggling to prioritize five tasks at work all with the same level of urgency, then it’s pretty clear what important means. However, what about when you put off having that break in the park in order to finish a task, or when you miss a day off with your family precisely because there were too many similarly urgent tasks that day. Sometimes, this might well be necessary; at other times you may need a redefinition of important.
Especially when it comes to planning over longer timescales, you could be neglectingthe truly important tasks for the ones which are simply urgent. This is something that needs to be balanced; and balanced only after the various definitions of important have been considered.
How to Prioritize Properly
Luckily, if this is all seeming a little daunting, there are many tips and a wealth of advice out there to help you out. To prioritize at all though, you need to have a plan into which your overall priorities and long-term goals have been factored. Once you have your plan, you can follow some of the following tips to help you prioritize the tasks.
See the Full Scope of Your Commitments
If tasks are categorized differently, or maybe involve other people, then you might group them accordingly. Nevertheless, the best thing is for you to see the full scope of your tasks in one list, then you can order them by importance. This might not solve the problem outright, but you could realize that working on that report with Sean at 12pm on Monday needs to happen on Monday – because that’s when Sean is available!
So, create a list and see if all your tasks really are of the exact same level of importance.
Highlight What’s Urgent
Even if certain tasks do not have strict deadlines, it’s worth giving them one anyway – and do so with its relative importance in mind. The reason you could find equally important tasks falling on the same day could be because you could have done some of them earlier.
Prioritize in More Detail
Tasks aren’t just “urgent”. They could also be “urgent and important” or “very time sensitive”. All these terms denote relative importance, and you should use them when looking at your list of tasks. Again, you might find that they’re not allthe same level of importance.
Beyond these tips, a final piece of wisdom might be to avoid getting into this situation in the first place. And to avoid the problem – just as to solve the problem – it is all about planning.