If you’ve ever had a job, then you know it’s true: a day only has 24 hours, and there’s only so much time, effort, and energy you can devote to responsibilities. That’s why learning how to prioritize responsibilities in your job is key, allowing you to make the most of those precious 24 hours and emerge feeling accomplished and successful.
It’s not easy, but with a framework for understanding priorities, you can figure out which tasks, duties, and deadlines you need to tackle first and which ones can wait. Here are five tips for prioritizing responsibilities in your job so you can gain control of your work life and lessen stress.
1. Define Controlled Vs. Emergent Responsibilities
The first step in strategizing priorities is to understand the difference between controlled and emergent responsibilities. The Eisenhower Matrix is an extremely helpful tool at this step that distinguishes between the two.
These are the responsibilities that require your planned input, such as scheduling calls and completing specific tasks. Before you start your week or your day, use the Eisenhower Matrix to organize controlled responsibilities so that urgency and importance become distinct criteria and you can easily enter tasks into your calendar.
These are the responsibilities that require your reactive input, such as responding to emails and reacting to sudden changes. Emergent responsibilities that arise during the day or week can be delegated to a team member or handled once your planned responsibilities are taken care of.
2. Determine Priority Levels
Once you’ve classified your tasks into controlled and emergent responsibilities, it’s time to establish four distinct priority levels. The goal here is to differentiate which tasks require immediate attention and which ones can wait for a later time. These priority levels are:
These tasks must be completed first, as their consequences affect both the company and your own professional reputation.
2. High Priority:
These tasks must be completed as soon as possible, though there might not be dire consequences if you don’t.
3. Medium Priority:
These are important, but may have some room for flexibility when scheduling.
4. Low Priority:
These tasks should be completed if there is time, but they don’t need immediate attention.
3. Streamline Your Tasks
Once you’ve identified and categorized your responsibilities, it’s time to streamline. This can be done by breaking large tasks into smaller tasks and delegating whenever possible. Streamlining your tasks can help turn the unmanageable into the manageable, plus it allows you to assign tasks to people best equipped to handle them.
If you don’t have the right people or resources to delegate to, consider reaching out to an outsourcing or consulting company. These companies specialize in helping businesses manage their tasks and administrative responsibilities, providing access to staff, resources, and technology to make the job easier.
4. Automate And Eliminate
At this point, you should have prioritized and streamlines your responsibilities. Now, it’s time to automate and eliminate. Automating your tasks is a great way to make sure that you never miss something important and ensure that you’re getting the most out of your day.
Elimination is also important. Can any of your existing responsibilities be removed completely? Going through your list and eliminating any unimportant tasks can give you back more time in your day and help you focus on activities that are more in line with your immediate goals.
5. Reassess Regularly
Finally, it’s important to reassess your priorities regularly. Make sure you’re revisiting your schedule and adjusting your priorities if necessary. Be aware of any changes to your responsibilities, such as additional tasks or projects. Being flexible with your tasks and adjusting as needed helps you stay organized, on track, and aware of any potential time crunches.
Prioritizing responsibilities in your job sounds tedious and time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. Implement the five tips outlined above and you’ll have a foolproof system for maintaining control over your job, improving productivity, and, most importantly, giving yourself some much needed time back.
Everything you do in your job – from responding to emails to conducting weekly meetings – all adds up. Learning how to prioritize responsibilities is key, allowing you to make the most of your precious 24 hours and properly manage your work life. With this framework and the tips outlined above, you can master how to prioritize your job and get more done with less stress.