Note: this post is part of a series on Becom­ing a Mas­ter Plan­ner of Your Time.

How do you prioritize tasks on your To Do List?

For many people, prioritizing consists of taking the next task on the list and completing it. The good news in this approach is that you will eventually get through your task list.

The bad news is that deadlines can be missed because you were busy taking care of low priority tasks when you should have been focusing on higher priority ones.

Several years ago I was certified by Franklin Covey to teach their What Matters Most course for planning your investment of time. It was then that I learned this simple, yet profound, method for prioritizing daily tasks.

Here are three steps that can make prioritizing daily tasks simple for you:

  1. List your tasks in your daily planner. (I know this sounds simple but most people don’t do it.)
  2. Assign letters to each task as follows:
    • A = High Priority and must be done today
    • B = Important (It would be good to get this done today but it’s not critical.)
    • C = Less Important (This is more of a someday list.)
  3. Assign numbers, in order of importance, to each letter (ex. A1, A2, B1, B2, B3, C1, C2). This is the numerical order you will follow. A’s are done first starting with A1. If time is left after the A’s are done, start on the B’s, followed by the C’s.

By following this method of prioritization, you will be able to work smarter during your quest for a more productive day.

There are many great planners on the market today, some paper based and some electronic. It doesn’t matter which you use. It only matters that you use one. In terms of a paper planner, it is my opinion that the Franklin Covey system is the absolute best.

What planning system do you use?

Note: You may also want to consider Stephen Covey’s landmark book: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Needless to say, it was an honor that he wrote the Foreword for The CHILD Game Plan which I wrote with NFL Agent Bruce Tollner.