5 CEO Tips on How to Prioritise

How highly would you rate your own ability to prioritise? 1 being terrible, 5 being excellent?

From our experience, it is not unusual to be anywhere between okay and pretty damn awful when it comes to really understanding how to do manage and prioritise workloads.

It’s not too dissimilar to time management, another topic we cover on this post here.

Prioritised tasks tend to be a mixture of crisis management and things that fall into the category of “stuff I like to do” – which to be honest, is not a great criteria. Certainly not one to preach anyway.

So, what lessons can we learn from top performing CEOs when it comes to effective prioritisation?

When it comes to weighing up the importance and urgency of tasks, top CEOs ask themselves these 5 questions:

Is this on my dashboard of 5/6 key drivers of the business?
Do I add value to this task?
Am I the one who should be dealing with it?
Is now the right time to deal with it?
Do I have all the information I need to deal with it?

If the answer is “No” to any one of these questions, then it quite simply never makes it onto their priority list.

So, let’s dig a bit deeper.

Dashboard of 5/6 key drivers

There are usually 5 or 6 main factors in any organisation, regardless of size or structure, that, if you pay close attention to them, will decide your company’s success. The best CEOs really excel at this. Top CEOs cannot focus on everything – they are all but one human – so they simply just focus on what matters.

Do they add value?

If CEOs cannot see how they will add value to a task – value that no one else in the current organisation will bring, then they simply will not engage. After all, why should they?

Should I be dealing with it?

High performing leaders are skilled at recognising if they are the best person to deal with an issue, or establishing whether it is best suited to somebody else’s job. This also thwarts the inclination to get involved in your “pet” areas. Something that can be a real danger to you and your people.

Is this the right time?

Or as otherwise put – is it the most effective use of my time right now? Am I running my own agenda or am I responding to someone else’s? Should this issue be dealt with now, or left until later? These are really important questions to answer when prioritising workloads.

Do I have all the information I need?

If you are aware that you are lacking the necessary knowledge or information to adequately perform a task, there is little point in starting it. If there isn’t a compelling reason to start right now, it’s best to wait until you have all the necessary facts because you won’t be able to complete it to a level that you are satisfied with.

In order to rate yourself 5 out of 5, or excellent at workload prioritisation, continuously ask yourself these 5 questions. It will above all help you to remain focused on the tasks that require your attention and on the issues that are deserving of both your time and skillset.

Being clear about these items reduces stress, prevents you from being overwhelmed and keeps you focused on what matters most to drive your business forwards.