Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.
There must've been a time in your life where you had to make a decision to do something or go somewhere in lieu of something else. In that case, you had to prioritize your goals and desires, didn't you? This happens in the business world as well. In prioritizing, businesses must reconcile the various goals and tasks vying for their attention but only use so much time for each goal and task. That's why it's important to prioritize one's goals at work.
Importance of Prioritization
So why bother prioritizing your goals at work? Well, one of the best reasons boils down to something known as the 80/20 rule. Basically, the rule states that 80% of your success and results will be produced by 20% of your effort. This means it would be silly to focus your time equally among all of your tasks if only 20% of them will produce the vast majority of your success. You should focus your time on the most productive tasks.
Besides better managing your time, stress is the other important factor in prioritizing your goals. If you're all over the place, you don't have a clear target in mind and you'll be more easily stressed out about whether or not what you're doing is worth the effort. On the other hand, if you've got your goals prioritized, you'll know exactly what you should be working towards, when, and how. You'll have a clear target, and that's a lot less stressful than performing potentially aimless work for nothing. Who has time for that?
So, in sum, by prioritizing your goals you can minimize stress, boost productivity, and save time for the most important things.
Goal Prioritization Steps
So how can you prioritize your goals? Well, there are six key steps we can follow.
1. To-Do List
First, make a to-do list. This to-do list should include the following:
- Routine tasks you have on a daily and/or weekly basis
- Longer term projects you need to work on, those that have been assigned to you
- Your personal short- and long-term goals that have nothing to do with tasks others have given you
Next, organize your time spans. In other words, take the list from the first step and then divide that list into three time spans:
- Long-term goals you have that span at least five or more years.
- Short-term professional goals that span over the next few months to two years.
- Steps you must take on a daily or weekly basis in order to finish the work assigned to you by others.
Each goal should have actionable steps (targets) you can take and reach in order to advance each goal.
Third, rank your objectives. You should split the ranking into three main categories:
- What you really want to do. If there's a goal that's super important to you, then rank it higher.
- What you know you're good at. If you know that you're really good at accomplishing something, rank this objective higher as well.
- What others need from you. As in, what does your company need the most from you?
Next, you should prioritize your targets. Figure out which targets enable you to complete your objectives and which are assigned to you by others. After that, place the targets in the appropriate category and rank them from most to least important.
5. Estimate Your Time
After you've completed the prior steps, you need to figure out whether or not your current schedule matches your objectives and targets. In other words, based on your current schedule, are you spending enough time reaching those high priority targets and goals?
Reconciliation of Time Mismatches
It may be that you are spending a lot of time on low ranking priorities. In this case, you should schedule more time for your high priority targets and goals during the week and less time for low priority tasks. You must do this ahead of time, however. Don't just assume you'll find or make time for them later, because you may get bogged down by low priority tasks in the meantime.
Instead, make a schedule that focuses your time on high priority topics. You should, of course, allow for a little bit of flexibility for the odd curveball here or there. Schedule pockets of space throughout that allow you to move things around without sacrificing time for your high priority objectives.
Prioritizing your goals will minimize stress, save time, and boost productivity. To help achieve this, follow these six steps:
- Make a to-do list with everything from routine tasks to important goals.
- Organize your time spans. For example, what are your long-term goals?
- Rank your objectives. What do you really want to do? What are you really good at? What do others need from you?
- Prioritize your targets. Which actionable steps will help you achieve what you really want?
- Estimate your time. Does your current schedule match up to your high priority targets and goals?
- Reconcile your schedule. Make sure you are spending more time during the week on high priority tasks.
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