When you are planning to meet your objectives you must set priorities within your established goals. When you are prioritising the steps you must beware of:
- doing the most interesting work first;
- doing the easiest work first; or,
- doing things ‘in order’ - ie first in, first out.
Instead, evaluate each task in light of how important its completion is in moving you closer to your goals, as well as how urgent the completion of the task is with regard to your deadlines.
It might help to use a scoring system to evaluate tasks. Make a list of your tasks and classify each as high (H), medium (M) or low (L) importance and urgency. Score the classification as follows:
Have a look at the example below:
Comparing the scores of the tasks makes it easy for you to put them into priority order, although if two or more items seem the same you will either have to re-evaluate them or else make a decision as to which takes precedence.
Remember to re-evaluate the classification of unfinished tasks every week (or every day, if you need to). Something that is quite important but not at all urgent when you add it to the list might remain important but become extremely urgent if it is put off for a fortnight.