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How to prioritize your tasks

Learning to prioritize your tasks is crucial and it’s so important because otherwise, you’ll end up in a place where deadlines are the only things you know. You sleep working towards deadlines and you wake up thinking of your deadlines.

Speaking of deadlines, when’s the last time you felt so stressed you wanted to quit your job because you felt like your manager or boss is putting too much pressure on you with finishing the work faster?

Or, if you are a freelancer, when’s the last time you felt so stressed because you couldn’t deliver your work on time to your clients?

It happens to everyone, either at the job or after the job, from being a friend or a parent to being an employee or an entrepreneur. We all get stressed when we can’t manage our activities and the more activities we have to manage, the higher the chances to feel stressed.

How to prioritize your tasks

How often do you feel stressed?

When was the last time you felt stressed because you didn’t know how to prioritize? Is it this year? Is it in the last three months?

Stress is bad. Really bad. It affects health and productivity. There’s a study conducted by Mental Health Foundation, in 2018, and one of the things that really got my attention is this: In the past year, 74% of people have felt so stressed they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope. This is the largest known study of stress levels in the UK.

Read more here:

The study had a sample size of 4619 respondents and that percent (74%) is way higher than I expected. But somehow, it reflects the world we’re living in – a world where dealing with stress is hard, and preventing stress is even harder.

More than that, being stressed (especially for longer periods) will affect your mental health. Just remember the last time you felt stressed for at least 3 to 5 days in a row. Do you feel like you ate too much in that period?

While eating too much as a coping mechanism for stress is something most people have, there are a lot of people who have suicidal thoughts and harm themselves when the stress level is high.

If we take a good look at periods like COVID-19, we can see how the stress level gets even higher.

Another study, conducted by the American Psychological Association from April 24 to May 4 2020, included 3013 adults (age 18+) who reside in the United States, and concluded with the following:

“The average reported stress level over the past month related to the coronavirus pandemic for parents of children under 18 is 6.7, compared with 5.5 for adults without children, with nearly half of parents (46%) saying their stress level is high (between 8 and 10 on a 10-point scale where 1 means “little or no stress” and 10 means “a great deal of stress”), compared with 28% of adults without children who say the same.”

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This shows one thing, which has great importance. Your stress levels are affected by all the roles you’re playing: friend, employee, parent, etc. The better you learn to handle your day-to-day activities, the easier it will become for you to manage your life and, therefore, reduce your stress levels.

While this can be a lot to handle, the trick is (and it applies to anything that seems complex) to take it step by step and be consistent. After all, the only way to eat an elephant is with small bites.

This tool will help you

  • Prioritize your tasks and activities by defining the importance of whatever you’re doing.
  • Understand how to say NO, the power of the word NO, and why it’s built in our core to say YES instead of NO.
  • Understand the four categories of tasks behind urgency (manage, focus, avoid and limit) and learn how to handle them so you can better manage your life in critical situations.
  • Define your needs and wants so you can have clarity over what’s important to have in your life.
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