HR teams have a laundry list of tasks and projects on the go at any one time. Deciding where to focus efforts can be challenging with limited time and energy, as well as resources.
Distractions, competing priorities, and unclear expectations can all impact our ability to develop an effective priority list to separate the most urgent tasks from the unimportant tasks. Yet there are plenty of techniques that can restate these challenges, set realistic expectations, and boost your organisation’s efficiency. In this article, we’ll cover a few of the most impactful ones.
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The Importance of Prioritisation
Prioritisation involves deciding which important tasks and projects you should complete first, allowing you to work smarter, not harder. By focusing on the most critical tasks, rather than all the tasks at once, you can avoid wasting time on low-value and non-value activities that offer little value to your company. Studies have shown that active prioritisation and time management can free up an average of 20% of an individual’s workday, giving you more time to focus on the work that matters most.
Strategies for Prioritising Tasks and Projects
According to a global survey of 1,500 executives, only 9% of workers are “very satisfied” with their current time allocation, and over one-third are “actively dissatisfied.” That leaves considerable room for improvement and indicates the widespread need for time management strategies and clear deadlines.
Implementing these and prioritising effectively can also significantly impact your company’s bottom line. Organisations incorporating a strategy that promotes effective prioritisation and planning are 1.7 times more likely to achieve positive organisational results, improve overall team performance and maintain those gains over time. Here are a few tried and tested approaches to send you off in the right direction.
The Prioritisation Matrix
The Prioritisation Matrix, also known as the Eisenhower method, is a popular and effective tool for prioritising tasks and projects. This approach involves categorising tasks into four quadrants based on their level of importance and urgency. These quadrants are:
- Urgent and important: These tasks must be done immediately and cannot be postponed.
- Important but not urgent: These tasks are important for long-term success and should be scheduled accordingly.
- Urgent but unimportant: These tasks may seem pressing, but they do not contribute to long-term success and can often be delegated or postponed.
- Not urgent and not important: These tasks can be eliminated or scheduled later.
Using the Prioritisation Matrix, HR professionals can make better decisions when allocating their time and resources, focusing on the most critical tasks first according to importance.
The MoSCoW Method
The MoSCoW method is another effective way of prioritising urgent and important tasks, particularly in a project management context. This strategy involves categorising tasks into four distinct categories:
- Must have: Tasks that are urgent to the project’s success and must be completed.
- Should have: Tasks that are important but not critical to the project’s success.
- Could have: Tasks that would support a project but are not essential to the project’s success.
- Won’t have: Tasks that are not necessary for the success of the project and can be eliminated.
The MoSCoW Method allows you to prioritise tasks based on their importance to the overall success of a project, ensuring that critical tasks are finished on time and within budget.
The Ivy Lee Method
This method is a simple but effective approach for prioritising tasks based on importance and urgency, and is made up of six steps:
- At the end of each day, write down the six most important tasks to be completed the following day.
- Prioritise the tasks in order of importance.
- The next day, start working on the first task and work on it until it is completed.
- Move on to the next task and repeat the process until all tasks are completed.
- If there’s anything left, add it to the list and complete those unfinished tasks the following day.
- Repeat the process each day.
This method can be helpful if you struggle with procrastination or staying focused on one task at a time. Research shows that 52% of team members face distractions from others when trying to focus, with 42% deploying makeshift solutions to handle these distractions. The Ivy Lee Method can help to combat this by adding a method to the madness of your to-do list and creating a framework for your day.
The ABCDE Method
This method involves categorising all the tasks into five categories based on their level of importance. It shares similarities with the Eisenhower method, with its five hierarchical categories being:
- A items: Tasks that require immediate attention and must be completed.
- B items: Tasks you should do that have mild consequences if unfinished.
- C items: Tasks that would be nice to do, but not doing them wouldn’t lead to any negative consequences.
- D items: Tasks you can delegate to someone else.
- E items: Tasks you can eliminate from your to-do list.
The ABCDE method is a powerful tool for people to focus on the most impactful activities on their to-do lists and achieve their goals more efficiently.
Prioritise Your Tasks With Factorial
Prioritisation isn’t just about managing your workload; it’s about ensuring you focus on the key tasks on your to-do list. By doing so, you’ll achieve your goals, save time, and be better equipped to handle unexpected challenges as they arise.
Factorial offers an intuitive task management system that lets you easily create, delegate and track tasks. You can set due dates, priorities, and reminders and collaborate with your team through our cloud-based platform. You can also use our HR management software to automate routine HR tasks like onboarding, time tracking and holiday management, freeing up more time for jobs with more significant business impact.
✅Try Factorial for free with our 14-day trial and start prioritising more effectively.