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7 ideas how to prioritize when everything seems important

how to prioritize

How to prioritize when everything seems important. You will never have enough time and resources to realize all your plans. You always have to give up something. But what if all the things on your list seem super important, and you can’t decide what to do first. In this case, prioritization techniques will help you. They provide a formal method for assessing the importance of each case.

So you can unload your brain to direct its resources to work. In this article, we give 7 techniques from the field of time management : try them and choose the most suitable one.

7 ideas how to prioritize when everything seems important

Priority Matrix

In this method, you write out tasks in a matrix of four blocks. The X axis represents one value, and the Y axis represents another. Each square thus indicates priority based on specific criteria.

Eisenhower matrix

A popular example is the Eisenhower matrix , which uses importance as the value of the Y axis and urgency as the value of the X axis. You evaluate tasks according to the criteria of urgency and importance, and then put each of them in the correct square based on your assessment:

Important and not urgentImportant and urgent
Not important and not urgentNot important and urgent
  • Important and urgent tasks are your top priorities.
  • Important, but non-urgent tasks have lower priorities – you should plan them for later.
  • Urgent but not important tasks are good candidates for delegation.
  • Not urgent and not important tasks – this is what you probably should not do.

By putting each task in your list in the square of the Eisenhower matrix, you can determine what you need to work on now, what you will leave for later, what should be delegated and what can be removed from the list.

7 ideas how to prioritize when everything seems important

Influence Effort Matrix

In the effort-influence matrix, you evaluate tasks based on how much effort they will require and what impact their implementation will have:

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Great effort and low impactGreat effort and high impact
Low effort and low impactLow effort and high impact

The tasks in the two right quadrants are your priorities. “Low efforts, high returns” – these tasks are probably your highest priorities, because they are quick victories , but you can safely delete points from the lower left corner.

how to prioritize

The Most Important Task

Most Important Task (MIT) is an extremely simple prioritization method without any shamanism. Don’t try to prioritize your entire to-do list, start each morning with a selection of the 1-3 Most Important Tasks (MITs) you need to do that day.

At least one of the Most Important Tasks of the day should be related to your main goals, to make sure that you do something daily to achieve them . You will probably be able to complete more in a day than just your MITs. But choosing MITs in the morning and setting a deadline ensures that you devote time every day to working on important, high-priority tasks.

Ivy Lee Method

The history of the Ivy Lee method very clearly shows its effectiveness. Entrepreneur Charles M. Schwab once hired an Ivy Lee productivity consultant to boost the productivity of his steel corporation. Lee did not ask for an advance payment for the consultation. Instead, he asked Schwab to wait three months, and then pay him any amount that he considered suitable, based on the results. Three months later, Schwab wrote Lee a check for 25 thousand dollars (at that time it was a lot of money).

The Ivy Lee method is simple (and similar to the MIT method):

  1. At the end of each work day, select the six most important tasks on your list to work on them tomorrow.
  2. Then arrange these six tasks in terms of priority.
  3. When you start work the next day, work on task number one until it is completed.
  4. Then work on task number two, number three, etc.

Continue until all six tasks are completed, and repeat the process every day.

7 ideas how to prioritize when everything seems important

Two lists

This method was advised by the famous investor Warren Buffett. It is based on the Pareto principle , when you undertake to perform only 20% of the most important things that will bring 80% of the result:

  1. Write a list of 25 things you want to do.
  2. Choose from them the five most important priorities – this is your new to-do list.
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Perform only these five cases, and cross off or delegate the remaining ones – they will not have a special impact on your life. Take on the remaining 20 only if you have time after completing the most important tasks.

7 ideas how to prioritize when everything seems important

MoSCoW Method

In this technique, you relate each case to one of 4 categories:

  1. M (Must Do) – tasks that you must complete.
  2. S (Should Do) is what you should do, but they have lower priority than M tasks.
  3. C (Could Do) – these tasks could be done, but if you do not complete them, then nothing bad will happen.
  4. W (Won’t Do) – these tasks can be omitted altogether.

If you always work on your list from top to bottom, you will make sure that you spend time only on the highest priority cases.

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ABCDE Technique

The MoSCoW method does not take into account one thing – these are tasks that you need to entrust to someone else. MoSCoW is suitable if you do not have anyone to whom you can delegate . If you have subordinates, arm yourself with ABCDE equipment.

As in the previous case, the ABCDE method begins by placing each task in your list in a category:

  1. A is what you should do first (just like M tasks in MoSCoW).
  2. B is what you should do secondarily (just like S tasks in MoSCoW).
  3. C is something that can, but does not have to be, done (just like C tasks in MoSCoW).
  4. D are tasks that you must delegate (or automate).
  5. E – affairs that you can eliminate (just like W tasks in MoSCoW).

The process for ABCDE is the same as for MoSCoW: look at each task in your list, assign it a letter based on its priority, and sort it. Delegate tasks D and delete tasks E so that you have only A, B and C left, and then work from top to bottom to make sure you are always focused on your most important goals.

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7 ideas how to prioritize when everything seems important

Scrum Prioritization

Scrum prioritization is based on ordering. If you have 20 to-do items on the list, you assign each number from 1 to 20 based on priority and sequence. Scrum prioritization works very well when you need to consider consistency.

Say your top priority is to paint the bathroom floor. However, you know that you also need to change the pipes in the bathroom, and for this you will have to cut the floor. Launching new pipes may be a lower priority, but since it will affect your most important task of re-lining the floor, the secondary business needs to be completed first.

In this method, you evaluate each task in your list using three criteria:

  1. How important is this task?
  2. How important is this compared to other tasks on this list?
  3. Does any other task depend on this task?

Then, using the answers to these questions, you assign each number 1-n (where n is the total number of tasks on your list). You cannot have two tasks that are # 1. You must make one # 1 and one # 2. Each case receives a unique number.

Scrum prioritization works fine on its own, but it also works well with other methods like MoSCoW and ABCDE. After classifying tasks by priority (like M, C and W or A, B and C), you can begin to organize tasks in the order in which you plan to perform them using the Scrum method.

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People burn a lot of precious time for doing unnecessary things, without achieving their goals. Prioritization techniques help solve this problem by highlighting the most important and productive tasks. There are a lot of these methods and not all of them work equally effectively for different people. Try all of them, choose the most suitable and share your experience in the comments. #7 ideas how to prioritize when everything seems important

And the 4brain team wishes you a productive day and the achievement of all your goals!

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