Knowing how to prioritize your work is incredibly important…but it’s also something that many of us really struggle with! As a business owner, you have a ton on your plate, from client work to emails and growing your own business. That’s why prioritizing is essential to being productive and achieving your goals.
But knowing exactly how to prioritize doesn’t come naturally to most of us. If you can learn how to prioritize, you’re going to manage your time more easily, be more productive, and experience better work-life balance and boundaries. Especially if you’ve been feeling overwhelmed or stressed out while working in your business, prioritizing correctly will alleviate stress and help you focus.
And honestly? Once you start really learning how to prioritize, you’ll realize that lots of tasks aren’t as urgent as they seem.
How To Prioritize Your Work Efficiently As An Entrepreneur
If you’re ready to learn how to prioritize your work, there are lots of strategies that can help. There’s no one set strategy that works for everyone. Instead, you should experiment with different strategies and see what works best for YOU and your unique needs.
Here are some of the best ways to learn how to prioritize and start managing your time better.
Start Off By Writing A Master To-Do List
If you’ve been running your business with just tasks in your head, it’s time to step things up. You need to write out your tasks in order to start prioritizing!
But don’t worry about feeling overwhelmed by the thought of ranking your tasks. To get started, just sit down and create a master list of tasks that need to be completed. You can do this on paper, in a planner, or even online with a task management tool like Asana, Trello, or ClickUp.
When you’re writing this master to-do list, think of it like a brain dump! Anything that comes to mind that you know needs to be done should be written out.
One benefit of using a project management tool for this list is that you can easily make changes, organize things, set deadlines, and update your list as needed.
Once you create your big master list, you’ll probably start to see tasks that are super important, tasks that are less significant, and some that are more “wants” than “needs.” This is the foundation of how to prioritize!
What needs to be done now, like today? What should be done at some point this week or by the end of the month? Which tasks are long-term goals that need to be broken down, and which tasks are small and recurring (and could be delegated to others)?
These types of questions will help you start prioritizing. From there, you can at least create more manageable task lists for each day, week, and month, each pulling from your big list.
Just remember—the goal here is to work on what matters, not what’s easy or quick.
Think About How To Prioritize That List By Reflecting On Each Task
The next step in learning how to prioritize is to consider the weight of a task. You need to concentrate on the activities and tasks that generate the most results for your business first!
That’s right—when you’re prioritizing, you have to separate what’s urgent from what’s important. Urgent tasks feel like they need to be done now, like responding to emails or phone calls. But important tasks help you achieve your long-term goals in your business.
With this in mind, here are four categories of tasks to help you prioritize effectively:
- Urgent and Important: Do these first!
- Important, but not urgent: Schedule a time to do these soon.
- Urgent, but not important: Try to delegate these to someone else.
- Not urgent and not important: Eliminate these tasks from your schedule ASAP!
If you’ve never delegated tasks before, that’s okay—and once you start, it’s going to totally skyrocket your ability to grow your business. Freeing up your time as a business owner means you can focus on what generates revenue and moves the needle forward.
Create Daily Priority Lists Each Day
Let’s say you’ve created the lists we already mentioned and started thinking about how to prioritize those tasks. Sometimes, we still have way too much on our plates. After all, running a business is hard!
Every day, when you’ve finished working, create a list of the six most important tasks for the following day—that’s right, just six tasks. Focus on one of those tasks at a time, and only move onto the next when one is completed.
This helps you avoid overwhelm while getting done what’s most important. If you’re struggling with a never-ending priority list, try using this method every day. And if something doesn’t get done, just add it to the next day’s list as the first item.
Cut Out Distractions
Distractions kill productivity. If you’re struggling with how to prioritize, do some self-reflection and see if there are times when you become distracted throughout the day.
Instead, make time for breaks! Being strategic and planning your breaks helps you stay on track with your priorities.
Avoid checking social media, opening emails, and worrying about the rest of your list. Devote time to those things separately so that you can focus on what matters first.
If You’re Struggling With How To Prioritize, Use Your Metrics
This tip might sound a little unconventional, but tracking your metrics is so important in learning how to prioritize. There are actually key performance indicators (KPIs) that reflect productivity and efficiency.
Even better, you can use your metrics to evaluate what’s truly impactful in helping your business grow. From there, you can strategically prioritize your tasks to maximize your time and generate more income.
Know That It’s Okay To Say No
Many entrepreneurs and business owners struggle to say no. But without learning this essential skill, you’ll never learn how to prioritize your tasks effectively.
A huge part of being a business owner is managing tons of projects and goals at once. But as tasks that are less important, growth-related, or urgent come up, learn to say no. That way, you’ll be able to manage your workload better and prioritize in a meaningful way.
Start Being More Flexible
Know that it’s okay to move things around and give yourself flexibility. Sometimes, opportunities come up and we panic because we already had our priorities and tasks planned. It’s okay to change things!
As you build out your tasks and deadlines, try to think about giving yourself wiggle room in case of emergencies or opportunities. And remember that delegating is super helpful in making sure you have the space you need to be flexible.
Learning how to prioritize changes the game for how you run your business. Try out some of these tips and strategies now to start seeing incredible results!
Remember that tracking your metrics will help you be more productive and learn how to prioritize. Our Traffic Insights Dashboard tells you what’s working in your business and driving traffic to your website so that you can be strategic in taking the right actions.
Interested in creating efficiency with metrics? Check out these blog posts:
How To Switch Your Focus From Income To Views
7 Possible Reasons Your Website Search Rankings Have Dropped
How To Choose The Perfect KPI Metrics For Your Business
The 5 most Important Metrics to Measure Your Website’s Success