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How to Prioritize Tasks Effectively at Work

The Flow TeamLast Updated: December 10, 2020

Task management and project management are inextricable. As a project manager overseeing the workflow of your entire team, prioritizing tasks, delegating them accordingly, tracking their progress, identifying the bottlenecks, and making sure that your team is not overwhelmed with the workload is just an average day. 

In addition to all of this, you need to set reminders for yourself so your work stays on track, too! Whether it’s planning for meetings or other ad hoc and repetitive tasks that do not directly fit into a project, keeping track of these is nevertheless essential to your workflow. Learning how to prioritize tasks while keeping track of a long list of to-dos is often one of the key challenges project managers face. Ever-changing priorities in an interdependent team structure can be stressful and create confusion, affecting the productivity of the team. This is why you need just the right tool to categorize and prioritize tasks.

Ways of Prioritizing Tasks Effectively at Work

Effective task management is organizing and delegating tasks while simultaneously keeping an eye on the bigger picture. So, it’s important to bring everyone associated with the project onboard to easily share information on progress and priorities, discuss the roadblocks, and  jump in to help where needed. 

There are two general approaches to prioritizing tasks: conventional and agile. The more conventional approach often involves planning and organizing the tasks in advance based on their assumed urgency, and setting deadlines accordingly. Though this task management approach helps outline the overall timeline of a project, it is not always effective as priorities change or deadlines get extended for certain tasks. A more agile approach involves creating a pipeline of tasks and subtasks based on current priorities and updating the entire team on them. 

Whichever approach you take, there are different tools and methods to support your efforts. A few that you might consider for your team are:      

Managing by Post-Its

Post-its are meant for the most urgent or important tasks. This is a great method for visually sharpening individual team members’ perceptions about what needs to be done immediately to get things out the door, but it doesn’t always enable a broader view of the overall project timeline.

Managing by Lists

Linear lists or task to-do lists are great for jotting down the tasks or subtasks needed for completing a project. Lists can help you prioritize tasks and strike them out as they get accomplished. However, a long to-do list can quickly turn a bit messy, as dates and times are not assigned according to the task priority. 

Managing by Calendar

In a traditional calendar view, tasks assigned for particular dates can be easily highlighted. Rather than scrolling up and down a task list to check the deadlines and the associated urgency, a calendar view helps you get the bigger picture—organizing tasks across days, weeks, or even months in advance and planning the team’s schedule accordingly.     

Managing by Priority Quadrant

A 2×2 priority quadrant, also known as an Eisenhower Matrix, is often preferred by team managers. The matrix focuses on time and priority of tasks to categorize them. The self-explanatory “critical” and “immediate” quadrants help gain visibility of prioritized tasks at a single glance and make it easier for managers to keep track.     

Managing by Kanban Board

Following Toyota’s model of work efficiency and prioritizing tasks, Kanban boards have gained popularity across organizations. With the three basic elements—board, list, and card—tasks can be listed down across a board and shared with the team, with individual cards assigning tasks to team members. 

Though each of these methods has its advantages in prioritizing tasks, every team will have different needs. A task management tool that offers the flexibility to choose between any of these methods to prioritize work is ideal for customizing a workflow for your unique group.

How to Prioritize Tasks Using an All-in-Platform 

An all-in-one task management software can offer you and your team the features and tools that can streamline workflow, but they are not all created equal. Be sure to look out for these key task prioritization features:

  • Due date settings: Setting start dates and due dates will be the core of your task management. Adding a visual cue in the form of color codes can help team members see and sort upcoming, due, and overdue tasks more clearly. For a more granular prioritization, due times can be included along with due dates.  
  • Tagging: Customizable tags such as “Ready for client” or “Feedback requested” help group similar tasks under the same category or priority level. Tags can also be used to filter the prioritized tasks.  
  • Bookmarking: Important and urgent tasks can be bookmarked to stay organized and let others know of the urgency of the tasks.   
  • Priority setting: Setting priority levels—low, medium, high, or urgent—for each task helps clarify what needs to be done first while keeping the entire team in the loop.   
  • Different task views: Setting a task view that works best for you—lists, kanban or calendar view—keeps track of all tasks and helps avoid anything slipping through the cracks.
  • Private tasks: Create personalized to-do lists and assign due dates or delegate them to others. 
  • Notifications: Real-time updates on the status of tasks increases transparency of the workflow and helps teammates work together while keeping deadlines in sight.

With features like these, prioritizing tasks can be both effective and productive for the team. An intuitive project management app will help everyone visualize their end goals and work towards accomplishing them through the assigned tasks. A modern, easy-to-use, and visually-appealing interface can further motivate team members to collaborate better and successfully hit project milestones.

With Flow, you can empower your team with an all-in-one collaborative platform that offers robust task management features. Checking tasks off the priority list has never been so satisfying! Sign up for a free trial today.