If you differentiate and separate tasks that are important, urgent and unimportant, then you can improve your productivity.
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When you prioritize tasks, you spend your time doing tasks that are most important, so that even if you do not find the time to complete all tasks, you will have completed the ones that matter the most. Prioritizing also helps you to categorize tasks according to their level of importance and urgency, so that you know how much resources you must spend on each.
What is Important?
Important tasks are those that carry importance to you, your boss or your company. Personally, if you have been wanting to be more computer savvy for five years, then it is important to you. Even though this goal is not urgent, if you spend half an hour everyday to fulfill this goal, you will complete it.
As an executive assistant, the tasks that your boss or company considers important are also important to you. These tasks are easy to categorize. If you are unsure of the importance of a task and are not provided with a deadline, then you may either judge its importance or ask. It is best to be clear than to make a guess.
What is Urgent?
A task that requires your attention immediately is urgent. This does not mean that the task is important. It might be as ordinary as making a phone call, writing an email or putting up a notice on the board. The tasks that need to be done urgently must be done before the important tasks. If you have little time to complete both the important and the urgent tasks, then you need to inform your boss about which tasks he or she would want completed first.
Creating a To-Do List
Any task that is both unimportant and trivial professionally and personally needs to be eliminated. If you prioritize tasks according to their level of importance and urgency, then the tasks that do not get listed are the ones that need to be removed.
You can simply create two lists of tasks that are important and urgent, and divide your time accordingly. Cut out the tasks that you have completed. It will give you more clarity on how many tasks remain to be done and which ones have been completed.
You can also categorize tasks according to the time frame in which you expect to complete them. Some of the goals may take years to materialize, such as becoming an expert in your field. On the other hand, some other tasks may take only a few days, such as creating a PowerPoint presentation for a project. The goals that will take years (considering they are not urgent) may be given a little time each day so that they get completed over time. Shorter goals can be given more time, especially if they are time sensitive.
Providing the right amount of time, effort and resources to your tasks will help you to complete all tasks, whether they are important, urgent or long-term, without stress, chaos or waste.
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