Prioritization of Tasks
Who has a to-do list that seems like it’s never ending? As an EA, we are working on different projects all the time and understanding what a priority is, can be the biggest challenge of all.
I would like to share some Executive Assistant tools, I have used over my years as a high performing Executive Assistant, to prioritize my tasks and support my executives.
This is a technique a mentor taught me early on in my career and I have carried with me ever since. At the end of a work day, I create a top 3 list of tasks I need to complete the next day. It helps me wind down for the day and set my intention for the next day. The 3 tasks become the focus of the day and I do everything in my power to complete those that day. Sometimes, it’s not possible, but for the most part it's an attainable goal.
Another technique I use is color-coding to help me keep track of what is a priority. I use a three color system to keep tasks in order. One color task is a list for anything that needs to be done within the next 72 hours. The second color task is for anything within the next two weeks. The third color task is for completion within the next month. While these are timelines, I have assigned to my task, the methodology is what is important. Being able to see that not everything needs to be done right now and getting the most urgent tasks done first is the priority.
The final technique is time blocking. I have time on my calendar every day to complete tasks, depending on what needs to be completed will dictate the time of day. There are some tasks I need to do first thing in the morning, when my brain is fresh; while others I can work on later in the day. To make the most of my time, I will incorporate the Top 3 and the color-coded lists. I will usually do 60 minute blocks and then assess what, if any need to be completed after that block. The important part of time blocking is to only do what is on your list during this time, turn off your messaging apps and phone to minimize distractions.
I’ve been using these techniques for years and have been able to seamlessly integrate them into Cabinet and it’s features. I am constantly using the “To-Do List” to create new lists and move them around. I use the calendar feature for time blocking and assigning it to my executives as well.