How to prioritize what has to be done?
About prioritizing tasks have been written tons of comments and different meanings, laws and opinions.
Prioritizing tasks is the most controversial activity within time management. Fixing dates in a calendar there is not much discussion of how and why.
I want to add other points of view, so far I have nowhere seen in
literature or in the Internet, but stem from long year practical
What is prioritizing?
Prioritizing tasks is the core activity when managing time. It is rather task management.
Priorities preferably should focus on the bottlenecks on your way to a goal.
Alternatively, inversely define your next step, or your next priority by estimating, which task is hindering you most even in this moment to make a step towards your goals? (only applicable if most of your tasks are steps toward your goal)
You cannot uncouple setting priorities from time.
How to prioritize and get rid of that, when using a calendar and a to do list?
There is not many perfect solutions as I suggest. Therefore, from a time view of sequence your important telephone call is ranked AFTER all tasks you have to perform before 11:00, so where remains priority? The solution can be not to be rules-bound too much.
This example show, that you have to split priorities among to do
list and calendar scheduler. Therefore, within conventional to do lists
it is not advisable to note dates. The same applies for tasks, that
should not be placed into a scheduler.
Handling your to do list
Allow one question: if you have carefully checked which tasks have top priority, and which are less important and you have rearranged within your pda or time management software –
Having done the top priority, naturally having observed the ABC stuff and urgent/important subtleties and maybe other time consuming advice you maybe do a little rearrangement again, because you found that another task now should be top priority.
Scientific research documents, that we are not really able to focus on one line only within a text or even structured list, but that we are reading or watching more than one point. This is clear from another point of view:
If you have to concentrate on a specific point, you first have to
search within the list, even if it is the top point. Your eyes catch
more than you believe. Therefore, rearranging and even prioritizing in
this way is questionable. There exist other concepts.
Why set priorities?
Some people question determining priorities, but with priorities we define our lives. All we have done in the past determine who we are, what we do today determine who we will be in the future. What we accomplish, in any way involves a priority decision.
Therefore, it is good advice to be conscious about our
choices.(Although there exist interesting discussions about our
choices. See Tor Norretranders´ remarkable book “The User Illusion”)