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How to Prioritize When All Your Tasks Are Important

by: Tanta Noramon
How to Prioritize When All Your Tasks Are Important

The ability to prioritize tasks is essential for successfully managing multiple projects. Project prioritization is the process that results in finding and cutting waste while keeping the schedules and deadlines on track.

What is Project prioritization?

Project prioritization is the process of knowing the allocation of resources, where to assign them and when to start a task.

Project prioritization is the process through which you:

  • Make sure your initiatives are in line with your overall plan.
  • Balance the amount of work you take on with your ability to complete those tasks by quantifying which projects provide value and those that don’t.
  • Concentrate the efforts of the whole project delivery team on business advantages.

In layman’s terms, prioritizing is the process by which you figure out which initiatives are the most essential to concentrate your efforts on.  Then, successfully completing those projects that offer the most value to your organization.

Poor prioritizing of tasks results in project failure and the team’s inability to achieve business goals. Effective project prioritizing will help you strategically align your resource allocation decisions while delivering more successful projects if done correctly.

What are the benefits of proper project prioritization?

Prioritization is one of the most important things you can do. It’s important to move fast and get things done, but without proper prioritization, you’ll have no idea where you’re going. It’s kind of like deciding to run really fast with your eyes closed. You’ll get somewhere fast, but you’ll have no idea where that is, and worst-case scenario, you could end up wiping out. 

Here’s the benefits of proper project prioritization: 

Higher project success rate

One of the benefits of proper project prioritization is that a specific project will have a higher success rate. According to the Project Management Institute, projects that are properly linked with strategy have a 57 percent higher chance of success. Prioritization ensures that your initiatives align and that fewer projects fail. This is partly due to getting known by the public as a company that does strategically aligned project tasks and partly due to more smart resource deployment.

Increased return in investment

Projects connected to company goals will automatically add greater value to the organization.

Improved project request quality

When managers understand your organization’s strategic goals, they connect their initiatives with those goals.  They also develop methods to improve performance against those strategic goals, resulting in seeking higher-quality projects.

Trigger the removal of an outdated project task

Proper project management will also trigger the removal of unneeded project tasks. A systematic project prioritizing approach will guarantee authorizing only well-aligned initiatives and finding any outdated projects. Managers often discover that between 10% and 40% of a portfolio do not align with the strategy.  Thus, they cut these or mark them as something that does not need attention anymore.

Better team coordination

Transparent, value-based prioritizing ensures that project teams understand the significance of their work. According to a Stanford University study, this increases trust in the portfolio and encourages individuals to commit more fully to project completion.

Proper resource allocation

When a company commits to too many initiatives, it guarantees project failure. Strained resources, or resources transferred from one project to another, leads to teams that become inefficient and make mistakes. Having a clearly prioritized list of projects implies that you allocate resources more efficiently throughout implementation.

Aids in making decisions

Project teams can make better judgments when they understand the project’s goals and drivers, which a competent project prioritization approach will provide.

How to prioritize projects?

Here are the steps on how to prioritize projects when all tasks are important.

1. Make a list of all your tasks

First, gather everything a member could do within a working day. This step does not concern the order or the amount of goods just yet. Making a list of all your tasks will help in figuring out how and when to manage your time properly.

2. Differentiate between urgent and important tasks.

Next, figure out whether you have any tasks requiring urgent attention. This refers to tasks that may have major drawbacks if not done by the end of the day or within the next few hours, such as a missed client deadline, missed publication, etc.

Prioritizing according to urgency also relieves some tension associated with approaching a tight deadline or high-pressure job expectations. Check whether there are any high-priority dependencies to complete a piece of work right now. Contact any team members who can aid in completing any dependencies earlier in the day.

3. Determine the worth of your tasks.

Examine key jobs and decide what is most valuable to your company or group. Managers identify which tasks are vital and should take precedence over others.

Focus on customer tasks before internal work. Another method to evaluate value is to consider how your tasks affect others. In general, the greater the number of individuals involved or affected, the higher the stakes.

4. How to determine the worth and significance of your job?

  • Critical priorities are time-sensitive and have significant monetary worth. Tasks such as coping with emergencies or meeting demanding client deadlines fall within this category.
  • High-value tasks that are not time-sensitive. These are jobs that need thought, strategy, and coordination.
  • Medium priority jobs may be time-sensitive yet low in value. This area includes meetings, email interactions, and project management.
  • Low priority projects and tasks are not time-critical and do not have significant monetary worth. Push these tasks to the end of the week or drop entirely.

5. What is their projected effort

If you have jobs that tie for priority, examine their estimates and begin with the one that will require the longest time or effort to complete. Productivity experts recommend starting the longer work first. However, if you feel like you won’t be able to focus on these heavily tasked assignments until you do the shorter activity, go with your gut and do it. Checking a little job off the list is motivational before moving on to heavier workloads.

6. Be adaptive and flexible

In prioritizing tasks, one should also be adaptive and flexible. There is uncertainty and change. Know that priorities have the possibility to shift. So be prepared for the unexpected. But here’s the trick: you also need to keep focused on the duties you’ve agreed to complete. While working on such activities, try to foresee added project requirements that will come after your priority so you may be better prepared for what comes next.

7. Recognize time limitations on when to stop

Be honest with how much you can do within the day, as there is a probability that you won’t be able to complete everything on the to-do list. Reduce the remaining things on your list and concentrate on the priorities that you know you must and can complete for the day. Focus on the important items that will give you a sense of accomplishment for the day as you pare down your priority list.

Conclusion

Knowing how to prioritize tasks when all are important can make a project run smoothly. By following the six steps on how to prioritize projects, you can also cut waste and keep schedules and deadlines on track  This results in an increased return in investment, improved project request quality, removal of outdated tasks, better team coordination, proper resource allocation and helps in making decisions.

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