Finding a work life-balance can feel like an eternal struggle. Throw being a work from home freelancer into the mix, and it can seem completely overwhelming managing urgent and important tasks that never seem to stop. When does the workday end?! If you’re not sure where to begin with prioritization, work your way through these checklist items to prioritize your tasks and increase efficiency.
Make a list
Open your preferred productivity software or grab pen and paper and get started on your task list. Write down everything that’s floating around your mind - quick emails, deadlines, long term goals, everything. Making a master list will free up your brain space and help you focus on getting the important work done. The less you are worried about remembering everything you need to do, the easier it will be to prioritize your work.
Prioritize your tasks
With so many prioritization techniques out there, it can be hard to choose one that works best. If you struggle with time management, you may want to try time blocking. If you struggle with prioritizing the importance of your tasks, try the Eisenhower Method. The Eisenhower Method requires creating a priority list using a matrix format and rating tasks as urgent and important, urgent and not important, not urgent and important or not urgent and not important. Start with the urgent and important tasks, then review the not urgent but important tasks and make a plan of when you are going to complete them. These tend to be tasks like exercise or working on your own business plans that are important but get pushed to the wayside after a long day. These are the projects that should be scheduled into your calendar so that you cannot avoid pushing them off.
Creating a daily routine is critical to success when prioritizing tasks. Time blocking is the method of setting a certain amount of time to dedicate solely to each item on your task list. Set a list of daily tasks, carving out time early in the day for all the tasks that will take less than five or ten minutes to complete such as answering emails or posting on social media. Creating a schedule and blocking out hours to work on one task at a time will help you put uninterrupted time into the projects that need to be completed.
It can be easy to hop around from task to task, checking email while writing blog posts, scrolling through social media while taking a break from completing projects, straying from what you are working on and instead working on something else. Do your best to keep your attention on your top priority tasks, moving down the list of higher priority tasks, taking breaks in between to avoid multitasking or burnout.
Schedule in time for yourself
When stress levels get too high - think burnout or overwhelm with work - productivity levels go way down. Work-life balance is not just a suggestion, it’s a requirement for a healthy life. Prioritize your wellbeing, both mental health and physical health. Go for a walk, socialize with friends, journal, spend time on hobbies or creative projects, take time to do something you enjoy. It’s important to make time for activities that help you relax and will help you be productive during working hours.
Remember that each day is a new day
If you find that some days are less productive than others or that you were too consumed by something that should not have been a priority, remember to cut yourself slack. Tomorrow is a new day where you can reprioritize your work and what needs to be completed. Humans cannot be productive every second of every day. It’s okay to take breaks and go easy on yourself when needed.