Shirley's Articles / Personal Effectiveness

Have You Got Your Priorities Right?

Do you sometimes feel that you’re being pulled in a million directions? Do you feel like there’s just never enough time, and does your to-do list seem never-ending? Don’t worry. You’re not alone! With so much to do, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and shut down entirely. This is where a little prioritising can go a long way.

I often find that when there’s a task I would rather do, sometimes the task I need to do gets put off. Proper prioritising helps you leave the emotions out of it, so that you can get through all your tasks effectively, with the minimum effort and maximum efficiency. Here are four steps I take to manage my priorities. Hopefully they will work for you too:

  1. Differentiate home tasks on a different list than work tasks. This way, the list does not seem so long, and personal interests stay separate from work.
  2. The first step to prioritising on the right task is writing down what you need to do in order of importance and with regard to deadlines. I find this keeps me focused, especially if I follow a schedule.
  3. The next step is knowing when a task is complete. Even if you are a perfectionist, sometimes you just have to let go of one task and move on to the next. It is important to know what is worthy of more of your time and what just needs to get done fast.
  4. Finally, resist moving onto a new project until the first task is complete, no matter how tempting it may be. It’s been proven that multitasking is ineffective and time-wasting. To maximise your personal effectiveness, commit yourself to one task at a time.
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Shirley is an international bestselling author. She has established herself as a leading authority in email and business writing skills. Her international bestseller Model Business Letters, Emails & Other Business Documents 7th edition sold over half a million copies worldwide and has been translated into 17 languages. Her book Email Essentials reached #2 in the USA for publishers Marshall Cavendish International. Find out more about Shirley at

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