Benjamin Franklin was notorious for being organized. He followed a set daily routine and created a 13-week long plan for self-improvement which he carefully tracked. The man was efficiency personified.
The point is that being organized matters. Every day we are inundated with information and forced to make hundreds of decisions. Many of these daily choices about what to eat, what to wear, etc. are made on autopilot. They might not be the best, but they’ll do. The dilemma we face when autopilot sets in at work is that your brain still tries to take those same shortcuts. And where complicated problems arise and consequences for decisions are long reaching, the results for mental shortcuts can often be less than stellar. So, how do we prioritize efficiently to make the best decisions possible? Here are four helpful suggestions.
- 90-10 Rule – “Devote 10% of your time to 90% of the decisions. The more effectively you do this, the more mental resources you can devote to important matters,” says Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic. Efficiently dealing with the little things allows you to save mental resources needed to solve complex work situations.
- Make a List – It’s simple and effective. Writing a great to-do list can make the difference between accomplishing important tasks at the beginning of your workday and looking at pile of half-finished paperwork and missed deadlines at 5pm. Be concise, realistic, and strategic with your list, and your productivity will streamline.
- Tackle the Big Things First – Figure out what your most difficult, pressing task is, and do it first. Don’t let yourself procrastinate on starting and don’t get sidetracked with easier, less taxing projects until it’s done.
- Be Realistic – Don’t set yourself up for failure. As we already know, our brain has only so much bandwidth. Set goals that you can reasonably meet and accomplish with your full attention.