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How To Prioritize Your Tasks At Work

Last updated August 17, 2023

How To Prioritize Your Tasks At Work

The difference between a good and bad decision at work often comes down to how well you're able to organize priorities. Spending too much time on tasks that don't matter much (low priorities) can detract from your efforts at completing tasks that matter a great deal (top priorities). But how do you identify what top priorities at work are? And how can you reliably distinguish them from low priorities? Give this method a try!

Make a list of all your work responsibilities

man with a long list

Don’t worry about the order, or how long the list is—just write down everything that, at this moment, you know you need to get done.

Go through your list and mark every responsibility that needs to be finished SOON

For this step, you’re just checking to see if you have any work that needs to be done right now - for example, if your manager asked you to re-stock merchandise or count cash at the register. Urgent tasks that can’t be blown off or postponed without major consequences are, in general, top priorities.

Once you've taken care of urgent deadlines, put your remaining tasks in order by how long you think it will take you to finish them

man checking the time

Some people work best by tackling work that takes the most time to complete first, others prefer to take care of the easy work before moving on to their lengthier duties. Whichever system works for you, use this final, narrowed down list to guide how you spend your time.

Make sure to write down any unplanned tasks throughout the day

Random, unplanned tasks or problems that need to be solved will happen in any work environment. With an organized to-do list, even if problems pop up (and they will), you're less likely to forget tasks and drop the ball at work. Keeping your priorities organized, in writing, will keep your ship steady.

Not every day at work will be easy, but with practice, you'll get better at knowing what to prioritize and get things done! Want more tips for success at work? Text#Jobs to 33-55-77 to chat with one of our advisors. If you're using a mobile device, click here to have the text message set up for you!

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