Time Management 101: Prioritising

When it comes down to effectively managing your time you’ll find that there are dozens of resources offering tips for how to save time. Most of these resources tell you that you should prioritise your tasks but they don’t really tell you how to prioritise. How do you choose which tasks are more important than others?

A method I’ve found to work very well is to take every task and place it in one of four categories. Each category has a level of importance and it will make it easier for you to determine which ones should take priority over the rest. Here are the four categories:

  • #1 – Important and Urgent – These are critical items that must be taken care of before anything else.
  • #2 – Important but not urgent – These are the tasks you really want to complete in a given time frame but don’t find as pressing as those you placed in the first category.
  • #3 – Urgent and not very important – You may find something to be urgent but at the same time not very important to the success of your day. Don’t let someone make you feel like you need to complete something faster than it deserves to be completed. If it’s not important, how urgent can it really be?
  • #4 – Neither urgent or very important – You’d like to complete these tasks but not doing so won’t have an impact on your day either way.

Can you look at your calendar for the day and place each of the items on your to-do list into one of these categories? If so, you’re well on your way to effectively prioritising your day. Good luck!

Thanks again,


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

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Originally published: 24 December, 2009

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