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Posted on: June 24, 2020

How to Prioritize When Everything is a Priority


Everything seems equally important and time-sensitive. So how can you prioritize when everything is a priority?

All small business owners know the importance of setting goals and reaching them. But between the constant stream of incoming emails, unexpected issues that arise daily and 20 tasks that need to be done, well, yesterday, it can be hard to know where to start. And the worst part? Everything seems equally important and time-sensitive. So how can you prioritize when everything is a priority?

While you may not be able to cross everything off your to-do list in a day, there are definite things you can be doing to help make sense of your workload and develop a plan of attack. Here are five tips for prioritizing when everything feels urgent.

  1. Write it all down. In order to tackle your to-do list, you need just that: a to-do list. Pull out a pen and paper and write down everything you have to do, even if it’s not in order. This will help you visualize your workload and allow you to rank each task in order of importance.
  2. Apply the Eisenhower Matrix. The Eisenhower Matrix is a grid system that allows you to organize your tasks into four categories: important/urgent, important/not urgent, not important/urgent, and not important/not urgent. Here’s how these four quadrants should be organized:
  • Important/urgent tasks are done immediately and personally.
  • Important/not urgent tasks are given a realistic deadline and are done personally.
  • Not important/urgent tasks are delegated.
  • Not important/not urgent tasks are dropped or done last.
  1. Eat the frog. You know that phone call you’ve been putting off or report you don’t want to write? Do the hardest task first and the rest will feel like a breeze.
  2. Delegate tasks. Allocating responsibilities to others is essential to maintaining a high level of productivity, both on a personal and an organizational level. Your coworkers may have some extra time on your hands, or your new hire may be eager to learn about a new aspect of your business. You’ll also have more time to intentionally complete tasks instead of rushing through them.
  3. Be realistic. There’s a good chance you may not be able to finish everything within the expected time frame, so give yourself a grace period to manage anything that comes up unexpectedly. Stay flexible, and be realistic about what you can actually do in a day.

At the Don Ryan Center for Innovation, we know the challenges that come with launching, growing and running a business – and understand the importance of prioritizing tasks in order to maximize productivity.  We’re here to provide you with the support you need to succeed, from our STARTUP program for entrepreneurs and early stage businesses to our business growth programs for established businesses.  Call us today at 843-540-0405 to learn how we can help you prioritize your business needs at every stage of your company’s growth to meet – and surpass – your goals.

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