time management, prioritise

How to Prioritise Your Workload


One of the BIG issues I see people dealing with in managing their time and getting more done is the lack of assigning any priority to tasks.

In one case I noted someone who went religiously through their task list getting things done, which was great, but there was no order or system involved. As a result, many of the items she was working on were useful but rarely would she be hitting her big tasks and projects. Her method was to simply brainstorm a list of what she had to do, then start doing it. As something would crop up it would go to the bottom of the list.

If you really want to achieve more of the important things in life, you have to plan for them.

This video takes you through the prioritisation method using the Urgent/Important matrix. With this matrix at hand, in seconds you can make an assessment of whether what is on your list or occurring at any time is what you need to be doing now. Is it urgent? Is it important? Is it both? Is it neither?


Do it if it has immediate consequences and high risk from inaction. If it is urgent for someone else but not for you, it might be an option to suggest alternate solutions for them or to train them to handle such things themselves.


This is usually something with a longer deadline or a goal or project that needs to be attended to over time. Chunk it down and start actioning small tasks each week to make progress – before it becomes urgent or a lost cause.


No choice – just get it done and that might mean putting other tasks aside. This would happen regularly for example when I was in the public service and the Minister needed information prepared before Parliament sat or reporters turned up for a sound bite.


Why are you doing it??? Bored? Stressed and needing to chill out? Spare time on your hands? Things in this category might be browsing the internet, finessing a presentation to make it look prettier, We can usually justify spending time in this quadrant, but if we were really honest with ourselves, it’s not value time spent. Work on something else.