I’ll be completely honest… The past few months have been extremely overwhelming and frustrating with work. I’ve felt stuck in my career and like I can barely keep my head above water. In April, I sat down to figure out how to prioritize work tasks and wrote out a list with all the work projects on my plate. There were 8 major projects that I’m trying to pursue. I’d never done a brain dump like that to see it all laid out. It felt good to actually see it all as a BIG picture. However, it made me realize I need help. Just writing this post and thinking about everything on that list gives me anxiety. Now that I’m basically done with my summer travels it’s time to get things in gear. But where do I even start?
Breaking It Down
The first step is prioritizing these projects and tasks associated with each project. Next, I know I need to stick to my daily work schedule, so I don’t find myself trying to do too many things at once. That’s the easiest way to get off track and find yourself even more stressed at the end of the day.
So How to Prioritize Work Tasks?
Schedule Time for a Braindump
The number one tip for how to prioritize work tasks is scheduling a braindump. If you don’t put this on your calendar it’s never going to get done. Whether you have to do this on a weekend or get up an hour early for work just do it. When I finally took the time to sit down and write out everything in my head it felt so good. The longer you keep putting this time off the longer it’s going to take to reach your long-term goals.
Do a Braindump (Get Everything on Paper)
A brain dump is literally writing everything you’re thinking about out on paper (not your phone or computer!). When you visually see everything out on paper like this it can make things seem less stressful and more manageable. When it’s all stuck in your head how can you possibly remember to do it all? Believe me you can’t. Something will get overlooked or forgotten. I literally have to create a “reminder” in my phone for almost everything now.
Organize Your Braindump
My favorite thing about going back-to-school as a kid was buying a new planner and pens/highlighters! I’ve always loved being overly organized and a planner. My life was a lot simpler back then, haha. So, get out your highlighters for this next step. Pick a color and start highlighting things in order of top priority. Start with things first that will literally get you fired (or won’t get you paid in my case) if they aren’t done ASAP.
*Try to limit to 3 colors.
Write Your Priorities List
Now that you have everything written down and highlighted it’s time to make a priorities list. Depending on your life/career you may want to make 3 separate priorities lists: YEAR, MONTH, and WEEK. I recommend this because it will help you see the big picture and long-term v. short-term goals. Sometimes I will re-write these lists each month or each week as things shift.
Once you have your priorities list made then I suggest making a “Daily Top 3” list. My therapist gave me this advice a few years ago and it’s been such a huge help keeping me on track. Once you complete a task on your “Daily Top 3” list then you can add another task to the list. I promise you’ll be shocked how much more you accomplish in a day with this method.
Find Someone to Help You Stay on Track
Let’s be real… Even though you may do this process that doesn’t mean you’ll stick to it. I’m sure we’ve all found ourselves saying, “oh it’s okay I’ll do that later”. No. Share your priorities list with a co-worker, friend, parent, or anyone you trust to help you stay on track and achieve your goals.
Who knows, they might even have ideas to help you accomplish these tasks in a better way! Or, they may know someone who could help you take some of these tasks off your plate.
Sometimes I really wish I had an office to go into… Working from home is great, but I swear the days I get up and put myself together I get so much more accomplished. I’ve only had one real “office job” where I had to wear work professional clothes. I wasn’t ever a fan of actually wearing pencil skirts or work pants, but I loved shopping for them! One of my favorite places to shop for cute work-appropriate clothes was at White House Black Market. Mainly because my mother absolutely loved the store so I was very familiar with the brand. Every time she comes down to visit we always make a stop into White House Black Market.
I don’t know why I ever stopped shopping there because I wear a ton of black! And even though I’m not one to wear a pencil skirt very often anymore I loved this plaid skirt. My favorite thing I found recently were these gorgeous burgundy sandals. Aren’t they so pretty?! Perfect for transitioning your wardrobe into fall. Plus, they work with a dress or skirt and with a pair of jeans!
*Thanks White House Black Market for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.