As entrepreneurs, we understand and recognize that time is money. With time and resource constraints, attempting to finish daily tasks can feel overwhelming. You may have used a simple task-based list to help organize your time and priorities, and if this worked for you–great! If you didn’t benefit from a task-based list, however, you’re not alone.
Many entrepreneurs find themselves continually adding tasks to their list, and things don’t get done, or they don’t get done punctually. The truth is, you would never be able to finish all the tasks on that list and you’ll end up feeling even worse.
So, how do you manage your time and assign priority effectively? There are many methods out there, and if you find one that works well for you, stick to it.
Mastering The Art Of Priorities
The ABC System
Here’s how it works. Tasks are prioritized as A, B or C, as follows:
Priority A: Critical Tasks. Anything that has to be done right away (or has a close deadline).
Priority B: Regular Tasks (Business as usual). The tasks that have to be completed in order to meet your short- and long-term goals.
Priority C: Everything Else. Organizing, wants (as opposed to needs).
Using this simple system, all the critical work always gets done in a punctual manner, and second/third-priority work can get done in your spare time.
The Eisenhower Matrix
Developed by former US president Dwight Eisenhower, the “Eisenhower matrix” is simply a four-quadrant box that helps you in separating “urgent” tasks from “important” ones.
Urgent tasks are things that need to be handled as soon as possible, like emails, phone calls, texts, or contact from potential clients. Important tasks are ones that affect your long-term/short-term goals.
When categorizing tasks, ask which of the quadrants they best fit in.
- Urgent and Important: Do these tasks as soon as you can
- Important, but not urgent: Decide when you’ll do these tasks and schedule them
- Urgent, but not important: Delegate these tasks to another member of your team
- Neither urgent nor important: Drop these from your schedule as soon as possible or delegate them (if you really want to get them done)
Tackle the Biggest Task
This method involves prioritizing and completing the biggest tasks first and getting them out of the way. The idea is that by dealing with the biggest, scariest tasks first, you deal with the pressure and anxiety that builds up when you would normally procrastinate.
If you find that you’re more productive at certain times than others, you can always schedule that big task for a time in the day that you know you’ll be at your best.
The thing with prioritization is that knowing when to do what task depends entirely on your personality and the way you work the most productively. Some people need to get small work done in order to feel accomplished and find the motivation to complete their bigger tasks.
Some work best after dealing with the big tasks, so they have less anxiety, and in turn, less procrastination. Find the method that’s best for you and get working!