Managing our workload, family demands or which personal goals to pursue can sometimes require the skills of a juggler, and it can be slightly overwhelming at times trying to make the right decision with limited time and resources.

The following are six tools from the simple to technical, and personal to workplace/ business tools that can help us make better decisions, manage our time, and prioritise more effectively.

1. Clearly stated vision and goals
Prioritising starts with having a clear vision or picture of ‘what’ we want, ‘where’ we want to go, and ‘why’ it is important to us. As well as ensuring our goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic & Time-framed). This helps to keep us focused on what is important at any given point in time.

Take for instance, if faced with a decision on whether to accept a job offer to move to another team that may offer more money, but the move takes you farther away from home and increases your commute time; by having our vision and goals clearly stated where spending more time with family is important, it becomes easier to make a decision on if to make the move or not.

2. Pareto Principle and Analysis
This is about getting more bang for our buck. This principle – also known as the 80:20 Rule – suggests that by focusing on our topmost (20%) important items, we are able to gain the most benefits or results (80%). A simple approach to applying this principle is: List all items that need to be done, prioritise in order of what is most critical and important, and focus your effort on the top 20% or more of your list. For more info on info on  Business Application   or Personal/Business Application

3. Action Priority Matrix
This one has always stuck in my mind – not everything that is urgent is important, and not everything that is important is urgent. And that is why prioritisation is important. Both individuals and organisations are able to use this tool to quickly spot critical items, quick wins or low priority items to help best plan and allocate their time. For more information on Business Application or for Personal/Business Application

4. Decision Matrix Analysis
This can be used in a variety of ways to make decisions on what tasks to focus on or decision to make. With this tool, we can prioritise a list of tasks that need to be completed while at the same time taking a variety of factors i.e. cost and time into consideration. This may be more applicabl ein the business and workplace context, get more Information.

5. Ansoff Matrix and the Boston Matrices
This is mainly a marketing and management tool to help prioritise the right business service, product or market to focus on. And can also be used to make career type of decisions. Both are extremely similar in nature and lead to similar types of result. It can help:

a. Evaluate and prioritise opportunities based on level of risk

b. Prioritise opportunities based on the attractiveness of any particular market and how likely you’ll be able to take advantage of it
For more information: Business Application or Personal/Business Application

6. Your Trusted Calendar and Task List
This can either be a physical paper calendar/task list or smartphone function that provides a physical reminder of what we need to focus on a daily basis. Smartphones come with a task list app such as ‘Reminders’ that can help us manage and schedule our activities. Some of the popular apps today include: OneNote, Evernote, Any.Do, and Remember the Milk.

Which of these tools have you used, or which ones do you use that have not been listed? Would love to learn about more productivity tools out there.

 

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Yvonne Ruke Akpoveta

Author, Inspirational Speaker, Change Consultant, and John Maxwell Leadership Coach & Teacher at OliveBlue Inc

I work with entrepreneurs, leaders and organisations to transition through change, drive results and achieve their goals. Author of the book “The Change You Want! Change Your Mindset, and Change Your Life”, as well as two other guide and workbooks on business and professional development.

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