Top Strategies for Prioritization and Time Management at Work

To be a top performer at work, you need to have high productivity. And to be productive, you need focus. However, it’s so easy to get distracted nowadays. Just take your mobile phone for example. 

This is why, now more than ever, prioritization and time management strategies are crucial. To help you with this, I’m going to list the most effective strategies for prioritization and time management in the workplace. So let’s get to it!

Read More: 20 Proven Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder (with Real-life Examples)

Prioritization Strategies

First up, let’s focus on prioritization strategies. Without this, your time management strategies can become disorganized. Here’s what Candice Landau from says:

 Many of the best time management strategies fall short in one way—they do not help you prioritize your work. And, a time management strategy is only effective if it helps you get the most important work off your plate. For this reason, we find it helpful to combine a task prioritization strategy with a time management strategy.

OK, to prioritize your tasks and become more productive, create a to-do list of the workload you need to accomplish in a day, week, or month. List down everything you need to do. Don’t worry about which tasks you should do first. This is just your general list that you’ll refer back to.  

Once you have everything written down, it’s time to prioritize tasks. Now, there are certain prioritization strategies you can use to create your task list. These are:

  • Due date or deadline
  • From worst to best
  • Most Important Tasks Methodology (MIT)
  • The Eisenhower Decision Matrix
  • The 1-3-5 Rule
  • The ABCDE Method

Due date or deadline 

Probably the most common prioritization strategy is to tackle tasks with earlier due dates first. This way, you won’t have to miss deadlines. For this, you put the tasks with shorter deadlines on top of your list, and the other tasks with further deadlines at the bottom. 

From worst to best 

Another way you can organize your task list is to do the worst things first, then the best ones after. Remember, it’s often the things we hate doing that we procrastinate the most. But if you do it first, you’ll still have lots of energy – and you can do it well. As Mark Twain put it:

Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.

Most Important Tasks Methodology (MIT)

If you don’t want to be overwhelmed, you can pick 1 to 3 most important tasks (or more if you can handle it) per day. A study by Forbes showed that 44% of people with a short to-do list of essential priorities feel like they have enough time to complete it all. On the other hand, a staggering 86% of people feel like they can’t complete lengthy lists

Josh Kauffman, the #1 best-selling business author, gives us this advice:

A ‘Most Important Task’ (MIT) is a critical task that will create the most significant results you’re looking to achieve. Everything on your plate is not critically important, so don’t treat everything on your task list equally. By taking a few minutes to identify a few tasks as particularly important, you’ll make it easier to focus on achieving them first.

The Eisenhower Decision Matrix

What if you don’t know what tasks are important? If you’re using the Eisenhower matrix, formed by President Dwight Eisenhower, you can identify the urgent-important matrix. For this, start by drawing a cross and labeling it with four headings: do first, schedule, delegate, and don’t do. 

The first quadrant, labeled “do first,” contains tasks that must be completed today or tomorrow. The second quadrant, termed the “schedule” sector, holds tasks that are important but less urgent. List these items for scheduling in your calendar.

Moving to the third quadrant, the “delegate” sector contains tasks that can be delegated, as they are important but not urgent. However, always keep track of delegated tasks to monitor progress.

Lastly, the fourth quadrant is the “don’t do” sector, designed to help eliminate unnecessary tasks. Examples include excessive social media use or aimless web browsing. These tasks often hinder dealing with items in more crucial quadrants. 

The 1-3-5 Rule

For this prioritization strategy, create a to-do list that includes 1 hard task, 3 medium tasks, and 5 easy tasks. This way, you can get more things done. If you try to do all the hard tasks in one day, you might not be very productive (just make sure that you don’t skip deadlines). 

Of course, you can tweak the “rule” whether you can do more or less. You can go for 1-2-3 or 2-3-4. Whatever suits you, your tasks, and your schedule. 

The ABCDE Method

The ABCDE Method is another one of the ways to prioritize the tasks on your list. Here, you associate the tasks you need to complete with the alphabet. 

So “A” tasks are crucial, with significant consequences or rewards if you don’t/do them. If there is more than one A task, write it down like ‘A-1’, ‘A-2’, etc… Just remember to keep the “A” list concise. Around one or two items.

“B” tasks are important but not urgent. You should tackle them after completing “A” tasks. “C” tasks are optional and lack consequences. Be cautious, as these tasks may distract you.

Delegate “D” tasks to others, freeing up time for “A” priorities. “E” tasks, unrelated to other categories, should be removed from your list. 

Time Management Strategies

OK, so you now have a complete tasks list, from urgent tasks to unnecessary tasks. However, you’ll never be able to finish the tasks if you can’t manage your time. This is why prioritization and time management go hand in hand. 

Well, to spend your time doing what needs to be done, you must incorporate time management strategies. You can choose the best fit for you among these strategies:

  • Schedule
  • Time Blocking
  • Pomodoro Technique
  • Time Tracking
  • 20% Focus


One simple time management and task prioritization strategy is to make a schedule. You should allocate your time to a specific task. So, for example, put in your schedule “I will finish the important and urgent tasks by 11 a.m.”, “I will complete all my remaining tasks by 4 p.m.”, etc…

Of course, when you make a schedule, it’s crucial that you set realistic times. You can also use calendars, spreadsheets, or project management tools to monitor your projects and tasks.

Time Blocking

Another one of the strategies to help you improve your time management and task prioritization skills is to use time blocking. This is when you divide your day into specific time blocks.

For one time block, you focus on one task at a time. This is especially helpful if you have many tasks with both importance and urgency. You can choose 5-minute blocks, 1-hour blocks, or whatever will work more efficiently for you. 

Now, for each block, you focus on a different task, like responding to emails. You dedicate 5 minutes to responding to your emails. In the next 5 minutes, you dedicate it to other tasks from your list. 

Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is one I use. This will help you not overload yourself and have some time for breaks. It goes like this. 25 minutes work and 5 minutes rest. Once you’ve done that for 4 rounds, you take a long 30-minute break… then go again. You’ll find that this will help you to focus for a short burst of time, and then rest your mind before you go again. 

Time Tracking

Time tracking is a task management strategy that involves timing yourself. Time how long it takes to do your tasks. From there, try to think about how to improve time. Were there wasting time activities that you did while focusing on your task? Did checking your phone remove from your time to focus? If so, then avoid doing that during your daily work. 

20% Focus

To manage your time and prioritize tasks, you can set aside 20% of your day for important tasks. Here’s how the editorial team at Indeed puts it:

Block out 20% of every day to focus on your highest-priority tasks. Even if you aren’t able to focus on those high-priority tasks throughout the remainder of your day, you’ll still have spent 90 minutes on your top priorities.

Final Words

Prioritization and time management skills are so important if you want to become a top performer at work. This is why you should check out all the strategies that I listed here and use the ones that work best for YOU. This will make you significantly more effective, efficient, and productive. 

About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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