In the last post, I wrote about how to manage your time. I said there that “In the process of prioritization, identifying the best time for the most important thing can cause a headache because everything might seem very important” One question that is still asked is: what if everything is important? Well in this post, I will share with you how to prioritize when everything is very important but must be done.

This post will be broken into two. I will first be sharing the first two (2) ways to prioritize when everything is important, then in the second post, I will be sharing the 3 other ways for a better comprehension of the key points.

Before I delve into it, let me assure you that though you sometimes have that sinking feeling when there’s too much on your plate or when you try to tackle your tasks by priority and it feels like everything’s important. You don’t have to get overwhelmed, it’s a problem everyone faces at some point or another, and while it’s difficult to skillfully juggle multiple priorities and competing responsibilities, it’s not impossible. 

Prioritization and How to Prioritize


Here’s How to Prioritize When Everything is Important

First, Answer the Question: Is Everything Really Important?

Even if everything on your plate is supposed to be equally important, you still need a way to break down which ones you spend your time on, and how you slice up your time. The first question you have to get past is whether or not everything really is of equal importance. 

Here are a couple of tips to help you cut through the fog and get a feel for how important your responsibilities and projects really are.

  • Grill The Boss:

At work, you have a manager. At home, you’re your own boss. One of the primary responsibilities of any manager is to help you understand what’s important, what’s not, and what you should be working on. You may have a manager at the office who does this (or needs your help doing it well), but everywhere else, you’re in charge of your own work, and no one’s going to tell you that backing up your data is more important right now than painting the house. It’s easy to give up and think “it’s all-important,” but at work, you can lean in and tell your boss that you really need their help. At home, sometimes you just have to pick something from your to­-do list and get started to build some momentum.

  • Ask Around:

If you’re prioritizing tasks that involve other people, like your family, friends, and coworkers, talk to them. Find out from them when they need your help, how much work is backed up behind the things you’re working with them on, and if they can lend a hand. If they don’t need you for another week and someone else needs you tomorrow, or if they aren’t as busy as you are, you know what to do.

  • Work Backwards:

We’ll get into this a little more later, but you probably have an idea of when each of your tasks is due—or at least when you’d like them done by—and how much time is required to work on each item. Start with the due dates, take into account how much effort you need to put into each one and how much input you need from others, and work backwards to find out what you should be working on right now (or what you should have already started, in some cases).

  • Cover Yourself:

Finally, once you’ve taken some time to determine what’s really important and arranged them based on what you think you should tackle first, it’s time to put it in writing and share it with everyone involved. Set expectations with others for when you’ll get your work done for them, and set expectations with yourself for when you’ll have time to work on your own projects. This is more important in a work setting, but involving others in your non­work to­-dos can also keep you and others accountable.

Prioritize When Everything is Important

Get Organized

In order for your priorities to even matter, you need to have some sort of a personal productivity system in place to which you hold yourself accountable and in which your priorities will actually matter. The goal of your system, whichever you select, is to take away the need for you to waste time deciding what to work on next, even when you have a lot on your plate. 

David Allen’s GTD framework is one of the most effective methods, mostly because it focuses on what you should do now and what your next actions should be, and it emphasizes getting your to­-dos out of your head and into some system that’s tried and trusted.

You can search online for various to-do tools to help you keep your projects organized.

Whichever tool and productivity method you choose, dump your to­dos and projects into it as quickly as possible. Make sure it’s something you’ll actually return to and use frequently, and something that’s easy to fit into your workflow, and you’ll be successful. In the end, you want something easy to refer to, easy to enter tasks into, and that gives you a great view of all of the balls you have in the air at any time.

I would not want you to miss out on the continuation of this post in the next post as you’ll learn more ways to judge which projects are more important or ones that need the most attention and also how to delegate. 


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