One of the biggest challenges for project managers and leaders is learning to accuratelywork that matters the most. Not only that, they need to do so on a daily basis. In your professional development path, consider how you master your tasks each day. Do you think that what you are doing will get you promoted if you continue down this path? You do not want to fall into the cycle of deeming every other project, “top priority," do you? That sounds exhausting, unnecessary, and as if it will ultimately be a waste of your precious time and energy.
Two Tips to Prioritize Work that Deserves it
"Look at your important work and identify what carries the highest value to your business and organization," Sussex says. "For example, focus on: client projects before internal work; setting up the new CEO’s computer before re-configuring the database; answering support tickets before writing training materials, and so on. Another way to assess value is to look at how many people are impacted by your work. In general, the more people involved or impacted, the higher the stakes."
It may be tempting to prioritize work in a way that makes everything on your to-do list equally important. However, you are actually brushing off the more important tasks. If the higher-ups in your company see that you can't assess which tasks are more important than others, they won't trust your judgement. And f they can't trust your judgement, you probably won't get promoted. You especially won't be promoted to a position where you would be managing others. And forget about a role where you will assign tasks to others. So, show the higher ups that you are good at identifying value in your tasks are are given or were self-assigned. When you complete tasks in their actual order of importance, you will be making not only your job, but the jobs of everyone around you, flow more smoothly.
Be Flexible and Adaptable
"Uncertainty and change is a given. Know that your priorities will change, and often when you least expect them to. But — and here’s the trick — you also want to stay focused on the tasks you’re committed to completing."
It takes practice to effectively prioritize work from the most important tasks to those that can be put off. So you need to keep doing it. Keep practicing it every day. When you start prioritizing tasks, projects and deadlines for each day, it will become a habit that easily translates into long-term prioritization. You will also notice that you are automatically doing it for the week, the month, the quarter or maybe even the year. After that being able to prioritize work will come easily to you.