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5 Hacks For Prioritizing Complex Tasks

5 Hacks For Prioritizing Complex Tasks

The objective of prioritization is to help you achieve results with as little effort as possible. Here are some hacks for prioritizing tasks with no pain.

1.  Use a Whiteboard to List Out All the Tasks You Need to Do

If you prefer to do your own task management, you might find that a whiteboard can be a very effective tool. Place it in an open area so that everyone can see it. It will become embarrassing for you to leave tasks incomplete and acts as a motivating factor to complete the tasks that you list.

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    2. Use Asana

    It is a simple and easy-to-use web-based project management tool. It can provide a macro view of the whole project and allow you to delegate tasks that can be completed by other people. Alternatives to Asana include AgileZen.com, which is a shared task list tool for teams, or Huddle, a comprehensive platform for collaborating on content in the cloud. There are many more task management choices on the web to check out as well, but give these a look.

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      3. Delegation

      You need not finish everything on your own. The fact is that it may only cost you five dollars an hour to complete a task you have been procrastinating on, so why not give that a try? There are many websites such as Upwork, Fiverr.com, and ODesk.com for you to find freelancers of all skills — including designers, web developers, mobile programmers, writers, translators, and more.

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        4. Write Down Three of Your Daily Important Tasks on a Post-it Note

        Place the note somewhere you’re always looking at, such as the edge of your monitor, inside your wallet, or even on your smartphone screen. By doing this, you won’t miss or forget any important tasks.

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          5.  Identify which task is the most important

          It is essential to set a goal before you work on prioritizing tasks. The book Eat That Flog! provides you with 21 effective methods for conquering procrastination and accomplishing more. If you don’t know what to prioritize, you can go through this book to get some ideas of how to get things straight in that area.

            Featured photo credit:  Portrait of nervous female college student with textbooks via Shutterstock

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            Brian Lee

            Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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            Last Updated on December 17, 2018

            Read this and stop feeling overwhelmed…for good!

            Read this and stop feeling overwhelmed…for good!

            We live in a time of productivity overload.

            Everywhere you turn are articles and books about how to be more productive, how to squeeze 27 hours of work out of every 24, how to double your work pace, how to do more and more all in the name of someday getting out of the rat race. Well this is about the side effects of those ideas. If we aren’t multitasking, we feel lazy. If we aren’t doing everything, we feel like we’re slacking. We compare ourselves to others who we think are doing more, having more, getting more and achieving more, and it’s driving us crazy. We feel overwhelmed when we think we have too much to do, too much is expected of us, or that a stressor is too much for us to handle. And we respond by lashing out with emotions of anger, irritability, anxiety, doubt and helplessness.

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            This season especially is the most stressful time of year. Between the holidays, final exams, family gatherings and general feelings of guilt that it’s the end of the year, it’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking of all the things you still need to get done. But if you use these tips, not only will you get the important stuff done, you’ll keep your sanity while doing it!

              Is this you?

              Change your thought pattern-stop thinking negatively

              When you feel overwhelmed, the first thing you do is start thinking negatively or begin to resent why it’s your responsibility in the first place! The first thing you have to do is to stop! Stop thinking negatively immediately. Instead, focus on the positive. If you’re stuck in traffic, think of how great it is to have some time to yourself. If you’re rushing trying to get things done by a deadline, think how lucky you are to have a purpose and to be working towards it. If you’re stressing about a final exam, think of how fortunate you are to be given the opportunity of higher education. After you’ve changed your thought patterns, you must then say to yourself “I can do this.” Keep saying it until you believe it and you’re more than halfway to ending feeling overwhelmed.

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              Take a deep breath/change your body posture

              When you’re stressed certain things happen to your body. You start to breath shallowly, you hunch over, you immediately tense up and all that tension drives your feelings of stress even more. Relax! Straighten your posture and take at least ten deep, cleansing, breaths. Force yourself to smile and do something to change your state. It could be as simple as giving yourself a hug or as silly as clapping your hands three times, throwing them up in the air and shouting “I GOT THIS!” Think to yourself, how would I sit/stand if I had perfect confidence and control of the situation?

              Focus on right now

              Now that you are in a better state of mind and are no longer thinking negatively, you need to focus on the here and now. Ask yourself this question: What is the most important thing I have control of and can act on right now? Keep asking yourself this until you have a concrete next step.

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              Take Action

              Now that you know what’s most important and what to do about it, do it! Start with the first step and focus on getting that done. Don’t worry about anything else right now, just on what your first step is and how to get it done. Once that’s done with, determine the next most important step and get that done.

              Let go of what you can’t control (the gambler’s theory)

              Seasoned gamblers understand the importance of due diligence and knowing when to let go. The Gambler’s Theory is that once your bet is placed there is nothing you can do, so you might as well relax and enjoy the process. The time to worry is when you’re figuring out the best odds and making the decision of what to bet when you can actually take action. I used this one a lot in college. After an exam, there is absolutely no point in stressing about it. There’s nothing you can do. And the same goes for feeling overwhelmed. If you can do something about your situation, do it, focus and take action. But if you’ve done what you could and now are just waiting, or if you’re worried about something you have no control over, realize that there’s no point. You might as well relax and enjoy the moment.

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                Relax and enjoy the moment

                Stop feeling guilty

                Finally, stop comparing yourself to others. If you are at your wits end trying to keep up with what you think you should be doing, you aren’t being fair to yourself. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t strive for improvement, just don’t go overboard because you feel like you have to. Only you know what’s really important to you, and your personal success journey so focus on what your top priorities are, not someone else’s.

                Everyone feels overwhelmed sometimes. The important thing is to realize it’s normal and that you can do something about it by taking focused and deliberate action. Happy Holidays!

                Featured photo credit: Stress Therapy via flickr.com

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