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Manage multiple priorities by revamping your ‘to do’ list

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in Small Business Tax

Have you reached the point where your “to do” list is so long that you can’t decide which task to tackle first? Learning to manage competing priorities is a critical skill for small business owners. Use this four-step process to tackle tasks more effectively.

Step 1: Make a complete list of tasks on your plate. Don’t worry about order or importance yet. Leave space beside each item for notes.

Step 2: Rate each activity according to importance, using the following scale. To help narrow your focus, ask yourself what would happen if you didn’t do that task.

A – Very important (critical to essential goals)
B – Important (should be done)
C – Discretionary (not essential)
D – Unimportant (could be left undone)

Step 3: Rate each activity according to its urgency. Urgency relates to how long you can delay a task without causing problems or missing opportunities.

1 – Very urgent (must be done now)
2 – Urgent (must be done soon)
3 – Not urgent (long range)
4 – Time isn’t a factor

Step 4: Prioritize your activities. Rearrange your list in alphanumeric order: A1, A2, B1, B2, A3, etc. Prioritize letters first, because important items should be addressed before less important—but more urgent—tasks. Some tasks may have the same letter-number designation. That’s OK. Simply evaluate those items again to determine their respective priorities. Review which of the less-important and less-urgent tasks you can delegate.

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