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29 May

Beware of the temptation to prioritize

Date: 2013-05-29 09:55 Comments: 0 st

As we reach a certain level of structure in our work and we use a to-do-list in some form in order to remember what we have to do and to easily obtain an overview of all the tasks, there is a trap we need to beware of.

When we are making note of a new task in our digital to-do-list-tool, it is tempting to tag it as having a “high” (or “1”) priority if the task is important.

This is where we need to be careful.

High today – low tomorrow

You see, the tasks of greater importance and high priority tends to vary over time. What might have a high priority today can have a relatively lower priority tomorrow if new, more urgent and important tasks have been added to the list.

The consequence of setting the priority too soon is that you end up with a list arranged by priority, but perhaps not accurately prioritized. Then you will have to see past the prior priorities you set (meaning that you undo the priorities you set) or spend time changing priorities to what is more accurate today. If you make changes according to how today’s priorities appears and then do not complete all the tasks, then the list will probably not be arranged according to the right priorities tomorrow and you will have to spend more time adjusting it.

Don’t do this

Hence, do not give a task high priority as you add it to the to-do-list, but rather leave it as a “normally prioritized” task.

Not until you choose what tasks you really need to complete today should you give a task a “high priority”. Count on that you will have to reprioritize as the day progresses since new things, situations and tasks most likely will appear which will rearrange your schedule and change your plans.

Therefore, do not set tasks as prioritized except for when you are setting your priorities for the next little while to come and wish to sort today’s tasks according to importance and thereby make it easier to work with the list.

What is your way?

How do you quickly and easily determine which tasks have a higher priority than others? How do you reprioritize easily and efficiently? Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts.

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