Running a small business can take a toll on your mental health, especially when you are inundated with countless tasks that all need to take top priority.
If you can relate to this, you’re not alone. More than 85 per cent of small business owners struggle with workload management and often end up working after-hours at home.
If you are looking to learn how to prioritise tasks more efficiently, a to-do list can be an extremely helpful tool. While it may seem obvious, a few tweaks to the good old to-do list can make a world of difference, resulting in a more productive, less stressful work life.
Here’s a quick step-by-step method you can follow to prioritise tasks efficiently, with a handy to-do list. Let’s get started.
Step 1: List all of your tasks
Start with a brain dump. List down everything – big and small – you need to get done but don’t worry about the order. Whether you do this on the computer, your phone, or with a pen and paper is up to you.
Step 2: Identify urgent tasks
Look at your list. Are there any tasks that require immediate attention? Are you facing any activities that you need to complete by the end of the day, or you’ll face serious negative consequences, such as a missed client deadline? Mark these tasks.
Step 3: Evaluate the value of your remaining tasks
This can be a little tricky but try and determine which tasks carry the highest value to your business. Which tasks will have the most significant impact on your organisation as a whole?
Here are some examples of prioritising tasks with greater value:
- Answer customer support tickets before writing up your next blog post
- Get a client project finished before starting internal work
- Schedule your daily social media posts before updating your computer’s software
As a general rule, the more people impacted by an activity, the more value it has. Use this rule to guide your evaluation process.
Step 4: Note high-effort tasks
While it may be tempting to start your workday off with the quick and easy tasks on your to-do list, this usually isn’t the wisest choice. Instead, make a note of which jobs require the most effort and, if possible, push them to the top of your to-do list.
Step 5: Be flexible
How many times have you got stuck into a project only to be hit with an unexpected task that requires urgent attention? For most of us, change and uncertainty are a given in the workplace.
Instead of throwing your to-do list out the door when hit with a new task, leave room for change. Complete the urgent task and then get right back to your list.
Step 6: Accept what can’t be done
When it comes to effective workload management, it’s crucial to accept what can’t be done. There are only so many hours in a day, and you can only work so fast before compromising on quality.
Once you have prioritised your tasks according to their urgency, value, and required effort, it’s time to cut out the activities that can wait.