In my experience, one of the things people in the business world find most challenging is how to prioritise.
Theoretically, it should be easy. In reality, it often ends up in confusion, unnecessary complication, and, worst of all, delays in getting things done.
So how can you prioritise you ‘to-do’ list easily?
Here’s a simple method:
- make a list of your ‘to-dos’
- number the list, in numerical order, top to bottom
- decide on one prioritising question. e.g.: which needs doing first?
- compare all of the items on the list with all of the others, see below
- best of all, it takes justa couple of minutes!
How to compare every item on the list with each other
Let’s say there are 5 items on the list.
Start with item 1, and compare it with item 2, asking (e.g.) ‘which needs doing first, 1 or 2?’. Put a tick against whichever item ‘wins’.
Do the same again, comparing 1 with 3. Then 1 with 4. Then 1 with 5. Each time, put one tick against which item ‘wins’.
You have now compared item 1 with each of the others.
Now move to item 2, and compare it with item 3 (you do not not need to compare it with item 1 as you have already done so above), and add the relevant tick. then compare 2 with 4, then with 5.
Now move to item 3, and compare it with item 4 (you do not not need to compare it with items 1 or 2 as you have already done so above), and add the relevant tick. then compare 3 with 5.
Then compare 4 with 5.
You now have a list of 5 items, and the number of ticks against each quickly and easily shows you the priority – the more ticks, the higher the priority.
It’s then easy to rearrange the list in order of priority.
TIP: you may end up with one or more items on your list with no ticks at all. So, these are obviously of a lower priority when compared with the other items on your list. However, it may also be a sign that they might not have any priority for you at all (double-chek by adding them to a list of different items, or by using a different prioritising question).
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© Adrian Malpass 2017. All rights reserved.