Day 28 of our 30 Day Stress Reduction and Relaxation Challenge
The skill of prioritizing is a key tool in your ability to manage stress. It allows you to look at a set of tasks and determine which are the most important so that you can put your focus into completing those first. You can then give your time and energy to the most important parts of your day at the expense of activities lower on the list.
Prioritising: A Key Stress Reduction Technique
There isn’t a matrix schedule or computer in the world that can do this for you and improve your day. Technology won’t help you work faster or boost your productivity or help you use your time more wisely. It isn’t about working smarter, it’s about dedicating your time to the correct tasks.
When you have a list of things to do you know that you won’t have the energy or the time to get through them all. So, a lot of it will get left undone and you will be left feeling guilty about what you couldn’t get to. This will lead to stress and anxiety!
Of course, when you take the time to prioritise them correctly you can ditch the guilt and work more efficiently, reducing stress and anxiety. It seems as though there’s an 80/20 rule in every aspect of life and prioritising is no different. In this case, the rule states that 80% of your activities contribute under 20% of your value of work.
If you focus on completing 20% of your tasks, the most important ones, obviously then you will achieve more overall. This should make your working life run a bit more smoothly and allow you to spend more quality time with your family, or yourself!
The Trick To Prioritisation
There isn’t really a trick, actually, it’s all about choosing what you should be doing and what you shouldn’t be doing. High priority tasks should be taken care of first – and you’ll likely have more energy to do them at the start of your day anyway. To achieve this, though, you need to be able to see what tasks or projects are of greatest importance. These jobs will help you achieve long-term goals, or have a consequence for not completing.
You might be sitting here thinking but everything on my list is important – they are all urgent. You’re wrong, and if you look closer then you’ll quickly realise that many of the activities you consider urgent aren’t that important in the big picture. The things that you might think are the most important probably aren’t that urgent.
With efficient prioritising, you can complete the most urgent/important tasks early in the day and that allows you to shift your focus to the non-priority tasks. These are more than likely the jobs you find most rewarding. It’s human nature to put off tasks that aren’t enjoyable and instead indulge your enjoyable tasks. This is where you get caught up in being unable to differentiate between urgent and non-urgent.
When you are organising your list of planned activities, you can put them in order of importance to keep yourself on track or categorise them. The choice is yours and you should choose whichever method would serve you best. You can have a list of A tasks, B tasks, and C tasks. Obviously, anything in the A category should be completed first and then you can move onto the Bs and then the Cs.
While you create your list constantly, question yourself about tasks that can be delegated or removed from the list entirely.
Wrenches In The Mix
What about unplanned activities? They can throw a wrench into the works and these types of tasks crop up all the time and often throw your day entirely out of whack. These are more challenging because when they do come to you, you often don’t have an adequate amount of time to analyse the entire situation and understand what priority rating it should have.
You have to rely on your instinct in these situations and when you are adept at prioritising, you will be more confident in making the judgment calls. Just remember, consider your goals and determine how best to fit in unplanned activities. How effectively you handle these situations will entirely depend on how clear you are on your goals.
Day 28’s Stress-busting Mantra
Day 28’s Stress-busting Mantra is “Wake up with determination, go to bed with satisfaction”
Don’t forget to stop by the Facebook group to chat.
In case you missed one of our posts, here is what we’ve shared so far:
Day 1 – The Dangers of Stress
Day 3 – Quick Stress Buster: Take A Nap
Day 10 – Work Hard and Play Hard
Day 11 – Quick Stress Buster: Plant Something
Day 12 – The Value of Doing Nothing At All
Day 14 – Your Stuff May Be Stressing You Out
Day 16 – Are You Getting Enough Sleep?
Day 17 – Quick Stress Buster: Laugh Out Loud
Day 19 – Quick Stress Buster: Phone a Friend
Day 22 – Time To Find and Cut Out Stressors
Day 23 – Quick Stress Buster: Hit the GymShare