When your team comes together for their work day, whether virtually or in person, the goal is always to be productive and accomplish individual tasks to reach big goals. You all want to move the needle forward in your business, department, project, etc. Learning how to prioritize tasks and meet deadlines is what will keep your team on track.
We’ve broken down prioritizing tasks into 5 steps:
1. Start with the end in mind.
2. Use project management software to create tasks.
3. Organize and prioritize tasks.
4. Add due dates and view your tasks in a calendar and/or timeline (Gantt).
5. Communicate with collaborators.
We’ll dive into each step, but first, let’s talk about why it’s so important to hone in on this skill.
Why is it Important to Prioritize Tasks?
Much of the advice given on how to prioritize tasks focuses on the individual, but the reality is, most jobs are done in a collaborative setting. This makes it even more important to formulate an effective system in order to meet deadlines as a team. Many companies and teams use Kanban boards or any type of task management software to accomplish this. Next to that, Efficient teamwork is the key, and prioritization is how you’ll achieve it.
How to Prioritize Tasks in 5 Steps
We’re going to walk through 5 steps on how to prioritize tasks. And although we’re using the example of a team working together on a goal, you can certainly take these steps and use them for your individual projects as well.
Start with the end in mind.
In order to figure out how to prioritize your tasks you must know where you want to end up. This first step is especially important when you’re working with a team. If team members all have a different idea of what the end goal looks like, the steps taken will likely also be different. Start with your goal and break it down into smaller actionable steps for each team member involved.
Create a project in your project management app and use the overview section to write out the objectives and goals of the project. Make sure to invite all of the necessary stakeholders so that everyone gets on the same page from the beginning.
Create tasks in your project management software.
When you’re working on an individual project or goal, it’s easy to write out a task list in your calendar or in your notebook. But when you’re working with others, entering your tasks into a project management system is a must. You’ve got your project, and you’ve added your team members. Now it’s time to create your tasks (and be sure to capture every single task)!
This is where prioritization comes into play
Organize and prioritize tasks.
As you’re creating individual tasks and subtasks in your project management software,
Here are things to consider when plugging in your tasks from your first step to your last:
● The urgency of the task.
● The time it will take to accomplish it (set a due date).
● Any contingencies that a particular task has (i.e. a certain task must be complete before said task can be done).
● Who the task belongs to.
● Are there any subtasks to this task?
● Make sure you track the status of the task at all time. Is the task in progress, in review or already completed.
You have your well thought out “master list” from the previous step, so you know there aren’t any tasks left out. Now it’s simply time to place them in order, assign a member, and don’t forget about a due date.
Add due dates and view your tasks in a calendar.
What if your team members are working on multiple projects and objectives at the same time? We all know this is very likely. When it comes to task management, Hello Ivy is all about simplicity. The moment you add a due date to a task they are automatically added to your calendar view.
And the calendar has your tasks for all projects in one place so you can have a wide view of what your priorities are for the day and what’s coming up in the upcoming days.
Communicate with collaborators.
It’s so important to keep each other in the loop! Teams count on each other to reach the end goal collectively. Communicate with each other so that you don’t just start off on the same page but you continue to turn the pages and finish the book at the same time.
3 Time Management Bonus Tips
We’ve gone over 5 steps to prioritizing tasks, but we didn’t want to go without giving some other time management bonus tips!
Say “no” to multitasking.
Jumping around from a project, to checking email, then back to the project, then checking a notification is a productivity killer. Allow yourself time to get into a flow state for a certain task. Complete that task before moving on to the next.
A great way to avoid multitasking is to try time blocking (and using Hello Ivy to increase focus when managing projects).
Try time blocking.
Time blocking is all about dividing up your day into specific blocks of time dedicated to specific tasks. An example of this would be to block 30 minutes in the morning to check and answer your emails. Then you have 2 hours dedicated to working on Project A. The next hour may be assigned to doing other mundane housekeeping tasks. 1 hour for lunch. 2 hours for Project B. And so on.
This is a method that many people find helpful in staying on task and being productive.
Account for roadblocks.
Our last bonus tip is to give yourself a buffer when giving your tasks an allotted amount of time. As much as you can proactively avoid multitasking and distractions, some things are out of your control. Rather than being discouraged by not completing an assignment in the designated time, account for roadblocks ahead of time.
Prioritizing Tasks Takes Practice
It’s a good thing that prioritizing is a learned skill. And it’s even better that we have tools at our fingertips, like project management software, to help us stay on task to reach our end goal. Hello Ivy aims to simplify project management so that your team can focus on the success and impact of the organization.