How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work Faster 1. Set aside 10 minutes for planning
When it comes to tackling productivity issues, it makes sense to plan before taking action. However, don’t become so involved in planning that you become trapped in it and never move beyond first base.
My recommendation is to give yourself a specific time period for planning – but keep it short. Ideally, 10 or 15 minutes. This should be adequate to think about your plan.
2. Align your tasks with your goal
This is the core component that makes the Scales Method effective. Take a look at all the tasks you’re doing, and review the importance of each of them. Specifically, measure a task’s importance by its cost and benefit.
By cost, I am referring to the effort needed per task (including time, money and other resources). The benefit is how closely the task can contribute to your goal.
To make this easier for you, I’ve listed below four combinations that will enable you to quickly and easily determine the priority of each of your tasks:
Low cost + High benefit: Do these tasks first because they’re the simple ones to complete, yet help you get closer to your goal.
High cost + High benefit: Break the high-cost task down into smaller ones. In other words, break the big task into mini ones that take less than an hour to complete. And then re-evaluate these small tasks and set their correct priority level.
Low cost + Low benefit: This combination should be your lowest priority. Either give yourself 10-15 minutes to handle this task or put this kind of tasks in between valuable tasks as a useful break.
High cost + Low benefit: Review if these tasks are really necessary. Think of ways to reduce the cost if you decide that the completion of the task is required.
3. Tackling tasks with deadlines
Once you’ve evaluated your tasks, you’ll know the importance of each of them. This will immediately give you a crystal-clear picture on which tasks would help you to achieve more (in terms of achieving your goals). Sometimes, however, you won’t be able to decide every task’s priority because there’ll be deadlines set by external parties such as managers and agencies.
What to do in these cases?
Well, I suggest that after considering the importance and values of your current tasks, align the list with the deadlines and adjust the priorities accordingly.