Three steps to prioritise your workday

By Eleanor O'Neill, Professional Development

7 February 2017

For many people, the key to being more efficient and productive at work is learning how to prioritise tasks effectively.

This can be a tall order, particularly if you consistently find yourself with a high volume of tasks that don't appear to fall in line with your own career goals and development.

Here is our guide to prioritising your work in three simple daily steps.

1. Categorise

While some crossover is expected, there are three main groups into which you can sort your workload:

  • work that contributes highly to your organisation
  • work that you are passionate about doing
  • and everything else.

High priority should be afforded to the work that will have the biggest impact for your business. The things that you enjoy within the context of the overall business plan should also be ranked near the top as it helps engage you with your workload (and we don't mean hanging out in the photocopier room!). 

Other tasks that have no discernible or immediate purpose are of a lower priority.

Thinking strategically in terms of your organisation can advance both your career and your business. If you have sight of the organisation’s business plan, this will help you understand where your work fits into the wider picture and will be of most use.

2. Delegate

Recognising that work may be completed more efficiently by reassignment is another facet of time management. If a task is more suited to the talents or experience of another member of your team, it can be a good opportunity to trade work, where acceptable.

Developing as a successful manager and leader involves playing to your team's strengths as well as your own.

3. Schedule

Tasks you have marked as high priority should be tackled in the morning and then distributed throughout the day by order of importance.

Meeting requests and other appointments should receive the same treatment as miscellaneous tasks. Is this presentation important and relevant to you? Can you receive a list of actions after the meeting and use the extra time for higher priorities?

Perhaps another member of your team could benefit from the experience and interaction with colleagues? It’s a good idea to ‘think smart’ about your priorities and set about achieving them in a way that will enhance the organisation’s reputation and standard of work.

Take a moment to think about how long a similar task took you, and what the best route / method was for accomplishing it; you can reduce everyday tasks to quick, routine activities and conserve time for more pressing, high-priority goals.  

Remember that it is also important to make time for your professional development and for progressing your career goals. Whether you choose online or face to face activities, they can boost your career in ways you might never have thought of and give you the edge over the external competition. 

ICAS has an extensive and varied offering of professional development options. Make planning ahead a priority.

What is the first thing on your to-do list at the office? Tell us in the comments below.


  • Development of the profession
  • Leadership and management

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