Time Management & The Art Of Prioritisation
Life-work balance. It’s something that most professionals continually find themselves striving towards but the key to getting it right lies in prioritisation.
So what is prioritisation?
It’s the art of ranking tasks and activities in their order of importance. And while there may be the odd occasion that it warrants a judgment call, it’s primarily a simple cognitive task.
The problem comes in when, once we’ve prioritised, we start to consider everything on the to-do list as “important”. We tell ourselves that we’ll get to the less important tasks “later” but, as you probably know, later never comes around.
Remembering that your time and attention span are limited resources and, while it may be tough to admit, there is a point at which you will not be able to address all the demands that are made of you.
Prioritisation is necessary but it may not be able to get all those things done. What you need is triage. If you were a medical practitioner in a medical emergency you would be left with making the decision of who needs help immediately, who doesn’t and who’s beyond being saved.
So how do you cope?
Change the way you think about your never-ending to-do list. Your inbox is always going to be full, your phone will continue to ring and your personal commitments will continue to demand from you. Working longer hours is unlikely to change that.
Start Using The Right Tools
Task management tools like Cosapien enable you to prioritise to-do lists, to make critical decisions that affect productivity. Use Cosapien to help you with triage; to determine where that cut-off point is for you.
The Art Of Saying No
Declining unproductive tasks and explicitly saying “no” to people requires some emotional toughness. You may not have realised it, but when you are confronted by unreasonable demands you start to feel upset, anxious, scared. The thing is, when you are in a stressed state, you are less likely to even notice them.
The good news is that you can manage your emotional state and reactions with some simple changes:
1. Update your mental model to make allowance for the importance of emotions and the way they affect your thoughts and ability to make decisions. Your beliefs shape your experiences.
2. Take care of your physical self by getting enough sleep and regular exercise. Just making these changes can improve your ability to understand and regulate your emotions.
3. Practice the art of mindfulness. Choose a reflective process like meditation or keeping a journal so you can better direct your thoughts and gain new perspectives on your daily experiences.
4. Expand your emotional repertoire. By giving yourself access to a wider variety of words that describe how you feel, you’ll communicate more effectively with other people, and start to understand yourself better.
Prioritisation can help you to cope with the demands of work and life to a point. In order to feel more fulfilled, you need to practice three other key skills:
- Reframe the way you understand the demands of work and life. Realise that there is no end-point when it comes to your to-do list.
- Use better tools like Cosapien to help you with prioritisation and triage. Automating processes like prioritisation frees up your mental resources so they can be used on more important tasks.
- Get used to saying no. Agreeing to everything that gets thrown your way is impractical and has emotional repercussions that will underpin your thoughts and behaviour.
Improve Your Emotional Resilience By:
- Updating your mental models to make space for emotions.
- Looking after your physical body by getting enough rest and regular exercise.
- Practising mindfulness through medication, journaling or other self-reflexive activities.
- Broaden your vocabulary so that you have more words available that describe how you feel. It will not only benefit the people you communicate with, but the way you understand and behave yourself.
Get your invite to Cosapien below. It will help you automate your task list and make your decision-making process more manageable day to day.