How to Make a List of Priorities

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Want to learn more about how to prioritize but do not know where to start? A priority list can take many shapes and forms; no one size fits all. You can use a variety of tools including old-fashioned pen and paper, calendar, day planner, the Internet, a computer, software, word processor, cell phone or the device of your choice. There may be some ideas you have never thought of and are quite easy to implement. Read on to find out more.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Magnetic list (for fridge or file cabinet)
  • Computer
  • Notebook
  • Calendar
  • Word processor
  • Software
  • Sticky notes
  • Highlighter
  • Decide what you would like to use to keep track of your priorities. It is helpful to use something you already are using. For example, if you use Outlook or Outlook Express email at work, continue to do so to create a list. Or, Microsoft Office has a planner built into it. If you use a certain calendar on the Internet, such as Yahoo, use that to create your "to do" list. Then delete the tasks when completed. You can also use your cell phone to set reminders and mark days on the calendar. There are several websites that will send email birthday and anniversary reminders.

  • Once you have decided what you will use, you can begin to create your list. Ask yourself or your supervisor, if applicable, what tasks are most crucial and place those at the top of the list. Also, place the ones you like to do the least towards the top and reward yourself by placing the more fun ones underneath those. You can also reward yourself with a treat when you complete a difficult or tedious task. Highlight the critical tasks and place deadlines in plain site. You could use a sticky note for this as well.

  • If you are using a computerized or device-driven list, be sure to keep up with it, otherwise you will forget items. If you are using a paper list, be sure to tuck it in your purse, backpack, wallet or briefcase.

  • Create a master list of all tasks you perform, whether at home or work. If you are a chart person, you could create a flowchart with a master task and all those related underneath and across.

  • Print out or post your list in a central place on your desk or refrigerator. It is helpful if team or family members can see what you will need to do for the day. It helps take the stress out of having to explain. It is difficult to argue with a list in plain site. If your family members are in activities, have the schedules and lists coincide with each other so transportation can be arranged and conflicts avoided.

  • Place personal tasks on the list or planner before or after business hours.

  • If you are using a paper day planner, keep a master list in the back. You could write it on a blank page or cut and paste into it. You could also do this on the computer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Start small--you do not need to list everything at once.
  • For your master list, record tasks as you think of them or they arise.
  • Go over your lists periodically to update them.

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