Prioritization is one of the most important elements of a good time management system. Time is a zero-sum game. And our productivity is not about doing more things; it’s about doing the right things. So, we should always think of the opportunity cost when we are planning our tasks. For every task that is scheduled earlier, some other task has to wait for later. That is why it’s very important to be conscious of our selection of tasks for scheduling. This is the purpose of the prioritization tool and we’re going to see how best you can use it.
Using Time Bound Plans to Prioritize
As explained earlier, you can plan your tasks within a specific timeframe (time-bound) or you can plan them as flexible. If your motivation for using time-bound plans (e.g. today, tomorrow, this week) is to ensure your task is scheduled earlier, you should re-consider using time-bound plans and use flexible instead. In other words, the best way to prioritize a task is to use the board as you will see. Consider limiting the use of time-bound plans to situations where there is an external deadline or time commitment.
Flexible Plans And Priority
A task with a flexible plan does NOT mean a low priority task. In fact, your highest priority task can be a flexible task. We still call it flexible because if there are some lower priority but urgent time-bound tasks that must be done, we can push back our flexible task to accommodate the urgent tasks.
The following example shows different scenarios of how flexible and time-bound tasks get scheduled. SkedPal tries to schedule high priority tasks as early as possible unless urgent tasks do not let that happen:
Task A is a high priority flexible task. Task B is planned to complete by end of today (time-bound) but it has a lower priority compared to A. SkedPal schedules A first and then B.
Take the above situation except that you only have time to do one task today. Should SkedPal schedule task A, or task B?
Since A is flexible and B must be done today, SkedPal schedules task B today and schedules task A for tomorrow.
Unlike many task management apps that offer absolute priority levels to tasks, in SkedPal, a task’s priority is set relative to other task priorities. You will see on the board that is a set of priority levels. You can call them anything like
- A, B, C, D or
- High Med, Low, or
- ASAP, NEXT, NORM
Then, under the A column, you can have many tasks with priorities relative to each other. If you move task X above task Y under the A column, you’re prioritizing X over Y.
You will see a much more detailed explanation of this in the board details.