We all have the same number of hours in a given week. Why is it that some people make the most of those hours while others struggle to get focused? Increasing your productivity at work isn't rocket science; it just requires being more intentional around prioritizing and managing your time.
Being in control of your time directly correlates to being in control of your goals. When you stay focused on the larger goals and work more efficiently, you can increase revenue, reduce costs, and grow your business. It helps speed decision-making and gives you more control.
In this post, we'll outline a simple process you can implement right now to manage your time better, starting with identifying and prioritizing your tasks.
Creating a Priority Management Process
When talking about time management, you must also talk about priority management. It's not just about getting more done in less time. You want to get the right things done in less time. To create a priority management process, you need to give yourself time to plan. Pull out your long-term vision and follow these six steps:
- Identify the goal
Start by planning out each week in advance. At the end of each week, sit down with a list of objectives you need to accomplish for the year. Identify the big rock items you must achieve by the end of this quarter or this month to hit your year-end goals. Those goals will act as guidelines to keep you on track week by week.
This is a good place to outline your top 3 year-end goals with crucial KPIs such as revenue, expenses, profits, etc. From there, break them down into monthly, weekly, and daily goals. For example, if you have a goal of $1,200,000 in revenue for the year, you might have a monthly goal of $100,000, which can be broken into a weekly goal of $25,000.
- Create a list of tasks
Write down everything you need to accomplish this week.
- Prioritize all of your tasks
Now that you have your list of tasks, it's time to identify how those tasks align with your goals.
Consider how each task ranks in terms of urgency and importance. Urgency is how fast a task needs to be completed, and Importance is how much impact the task has on the end goal. Using this scale, tasks can fall into four buckets: Urgent & Important, Not Urgent but Important, Urgent but Not Important, or Not Urgent & Not Important. Figuring out how each of your tasks ranks can help you prioritize and eliminate some of those unimportant tasks.
To do this, assign a letter to everything on your list:
A – Urgent & Important (do first)
B – Not Urgent but Important (do later)
C – Urgent but Not Important (delegate)
D – Not Urgent & Not Important (eliminate)
For a step-by-step guide on how to manage priorities, download our Priority Management tool.
- Assign a time to each task
Estimate how long each item will take.
- Schedule it
The best way to hold yourself accountable to your goals is by creating a work schedule. Start with your A priorities, then your B's, and then, your C's. If you have a D priority task figure out to delegate it.
A simple trick to increase your productivity when scheduling your tasks is to use block scheduling to group similar tasks into one batch throughout the week. By grouping similar tasks together, you can develop a groove and work faster and more efficiently.
The tricky part is understanding how you work to schedule tasks based on when you will be most productive. Remember to be mindful of deadlines. Try to schedule time-sensitive items early on in the week.
- Track & review
Once you've set a schedule, you can track how long each batch of tasks is completed. Did you stay on track? Do you need more or less time to complete your tasks? Once you've got a good understanding of your working habits, use that to keep yourself accountable and productive.
In this video, Cultivate CEO and Co-founder Casey Clark breaks down this process in detail.
Once you evaluate your tasks, you'll have a crystal clear idea of what will help you accomplish your goals and where you should focus your energy. Remember, persistence is key. By continuing to plan, prioritize, and review, you will begin to see the difference.
If productivity isn't your strong suit, and you don't know where to start, you don't have to go at it alone. Schedule a free two-hour session to dig into your business and develop a plan.
Build an Effective, Productive Workplace
The success of your business depends on the success and productivity of your team. While it’s important to lead by example by increasing your own efficiency, it’s just as important to get your team aligned on the right priorities to boost your profit, and hit those long-term goals.
This isn’t an easy task, so we’ve developed a Free Team Productivity Guide to help you empower your team to prioritize and work faster to get results.