Remaining in control of your time is important when working on a project or any other effort. Managing your time well ensures you complete tasks in the right order and makes it more likely you can finish everything on your list or meet deadlines. That means being smart about how you prioritize your to-do list and other elements of a project or work effort.
You may need to prioritize based on deadlines or on what tasks require the most time. You may need to set priorities based on other people’s availability or even on the priorities of your supervisor or project manager. Having the right prioritization tools on hand to help you stay organized and manage time well can make an enormous difference in how you accomplish your responsibilities — and how you feel about them.
Learn more about the importance of prioritization tools in this article. We’ll also touch on how monday.com helps you prioritize and manage to-do lists, projects, and entire businesses.
What are prioritization tools?
Prioritization tools help you gather and understand the data you need to make smart decisions. While it can feel good to make an important decision based on a gut feeling, it’s not a method you can rely on, especially when your whole team must work with the results.
By employing prioritization techniques and tools, you can reduce hidden biases that might inadvertently color decision-making process. You can also avoid the paralysis that sometimes comes when the stakes are high because the tools help you move to the next step.The right tools help you meet deadlines and support transparency that keeps the whole team informed.
Types of prioritization tools
Different types of prioritization frameworks can help you with various aspects of projects and decision-making.
- The Eisenhower matrix lets you categorize tasks as important vs. urgent
- The RICE tool asks you to assess each task according to its reach, impact, confidence, and effort
- Product roadmaps help you value and prioritize products under development
- An action priority matrix weighs the effort involved in each task against its ultimate impact, asking you to categorize each task as a quick win, major project, fill-in, or thankless task
- The Moscow method helps stakeholders agree on priorities by categorizing task requirements as must-have, should-have, could-have, and won’t have
While prioritization helps you decide where to start on a project and what order you should complete various tasks, prioritization tools work hand-in-hand with other productivity tools and processes. Your prioritization process overlaps with task management and time management to ensure you’re being as productive as possible. By focusing on prioritizing as you start a project, you can enjoy a number of benefits.
Why is it important to prioritize tasks?
It’s common to want to start with the task that seems most interesting or urgent. However, creating proper priorities can be crucial for many reasons.
It helps you create timelines and mandatory dependencies
When you have a lot of tasks to complete, starting with a prioritization process helps ensure you’re getting the most crucial tasks done. It also lets you figure out the order in which tasks must be done. For example, if you’re baking bread, you need to mix ingredients together before you can let the dough rise, and you need to let the dough rise before you put the bread in the oven. These step-by-step priorities, sometimes known as mandatory dependencies, are a good starting place for establishing a to-do list.
It helps you allot time for tasks
Prioritization also helps you make sure you have allotted enough time for the tasks on your plate. When you prioritize before you start, you spend more of your time on the tasks that matter most for the successful outcome of your effort.
It lets you make the best use of your energy and focus
Prioritization of time dovetails with your use of energy and attention. By prioritizing tasks, you can put your best energy toward the most important needs you need to meet.
Sometimes priorities shift toward what is urgent rather than what has long-range importance — and a good prioritization process helps you understand the difference so you spend time on high-impact tasks rather than tasks that come with a false sense of urgency in the moment.
It reduces stress
Prioritizing tasks before you launch into them also helps reduce your stress levels. If you run into a time crunch despite your best efforts and planning, at least you know that the most important tasks have been accomplished.
It helps you work effectively
Prioritization also helps focus your attention. You don’t get swamped by low-value tasks and are able to get the kind of quick wins that keep team spirits high. As a result, you become more effective and deliver better results.
It helps with time management
Because you’ve prioritized your workflow, you are more in control of your time. That opens up the possibility for you to step into new opportunities that may lie before you.
It battles procrastination
If you have a tendency to procrastinate, prioritization can it. Having a list that tells you what’s important to complete and what step comes next pushes you forward.
Speaking of steps that push you forward, you can even create a series of steps to guide you in prioritizing. We’ve offered one below you can start with.
8 steps to prioritization for better productivity
Following this guide can help you boost productivity by establishing smart priorities. Using prioritization tools to help you stay on track is a smart move at any stage of the process.
- Create a master list: Start by listing every task to be done as well as each subtask that makes up your main list of tasks. Add all the resources you need to accomplish each task.
- Categorize tasks as important or urgent, where applicable: Urgent tasks have to be done right now, under a deadline. Important tasks may not have a deadline, but you can’t reach your goal without completing them.
- Assign a value to each task: Some tasks are simply more important. If you assign each task a value based on a scale of 1 to 5, you can easily see which tasks matter more.
- Break bigger tasks into smaller tasks: This step helps you figure out how to schedule tasks and assign them to teams. It also helps your overall goal feel more achievable.
- Create a timeline that starts with the most important tasks: If you go over this timeline daily, rearranging it as needed, you can align critical tasks with times of the day where you work best.
- Review your timeline daily: Note which tasks require the most effort, and prioritize them for earliest completion.
- Reprioritize based on the return on investment of each task: When you or your team feels that the energy and effort put into a task are rewarded with a positive outcome, it’s easier to keep working. When possible, spread high-return work out between low-return work to provide motivational milestones.
- Cut tasks as needed. Once you know which tasks are most important to complete and which will require the most effort, you’re in better shape to know what to jettison or postpone when time starts to run short.
As you can see, prioritizing your work well relies on a lot of data and thought. You need a way to organize all that information and communicate it to others.
How monday.com works as a prioritization tool
monday.com delivers powerful project management tools that let you prioritize tasks and create workflows easily so your teams are all on the same page. Hundreds of templates are available to help you organize projects, tasks, and timelines, and you can view them from all sorts of perspectives to help you manage data smartly. Choose from Kanban boards, timelines, Gantt charts, or mind maps —or customize a board to work as a prioritization matrix — to help your team focus on the right tasks.
Specific templates walk you through the prioritization process. Use the Eisenhower matrix template to categorize tasks according to their urgency and importance, or opt for a weekly to-do list template to manage your time with a valuable checklist. Robust customization options help you meet your team’s specific needs and boost overall productivity.
Boost productivity and efficiency with prioritization tools
When you know what matters most, you position your team for success. The prioritization tools from monday.com help you plan timelines and workflows intentionally for greater purpose. Flexibility and customization options are key to helping your whole team stay on top of each project and build a record of high achievement.