Is there anyone in business today who says, “I’d like to get less done?” Of course not. There are so many things to get done in a day but there are limits to time and energy. Being productive, or the amount of work produced compared to the effort expended is greatly influenced by prioritizing that work—making some things more important than others. Prioritizing work produces the most important output. As German writer and statesman, Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe said, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”

How to Prioritize Work

In order to be more productive—to accomplish the things that will be most meaningful to your company and to yourself, use these prioritizing tips:

  • Assemble a list of all your tasks (this will need to be done repeatedly.) A master list can be compiled using a to-do list app, Slack, a paper notebook, or a memo app on your laptop, phone, or another digital device. 
  • Analyze all the tasks to determine what is most important. Stephen R. Covey created a four-quadrant priority matrix in his best-selling book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” More productive efforts will result from focusing on the important tasks in quadrants I and II and spending much less time in the other two quadrants:  
    • Quadrant I: Urgent & Important 
    • Quadrant II: Not Urgent & Important 
    • Quadrant III: Urgent & Not Important 
    • Quadrant IV: Not Urgent & Not Important  
  • Drill down further into the task matrix. Ask what tasks can be delegated, deleted, or deferred? Also, identify the single task that will produce the absolute most important results. 
  • Make a daily task list and focus on the most important tasks.  

What Else Can I Do to Become More Productive?

To become more productive:

  • Stop multi-tasking. 
  • Eliminate Distractions. 
  • Clean-up your workspace.  

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