Mastering the skill of prioritizing is essential for success at school, and even in your social life away from it. Without developing this ability, you will very quickly become overwhelmed and drown in chaos. Luckily, there are some simple steps that you can integrate into your routine for completing daily tasks that make the entire process far simpler. In this article, we will present you with tips on how to develop your prioritizing skills, with a view to ensuring that you are able to complete critical tasks, meet tight deadlines, and realize your full academic potential.
What is prioritizing?
Prioritizing is a process in which you rank the tasks at hand in a logical order. How you curate your priority list is completely up to you. For example, you can put your most urgent task at the top of your priority list, or you could start with your most difficult task.
The aim of prioritizing is to make your day easier. When you know exactly what you have to do, and in what order, it provides you with a structure. This is essential for school because you have an array of complex tasks to complete every single day. From homework to daily classes, to extracurricular activities, you need to develop prioritization strategies that work for you, so that you are able to handle everything on your plate.
Why is prioritizing important?
Prioritizing is important because it ensures that students don’t feel overwhelmed with school work. Prioritization skills allow students to improve their time management and productivity.
Statistics indicate that a majority of students experience high levels of workload-related stress and anxiety. A recent study found that 69% of students report feeling overwhelming anxiety and 52% experience severe depression. This problem can be countered by teaching students how to identify high- and low-priority tasks.
5 tips for prioritizing tasks at school
To help students learn how to prioritize, we have collated some expert tips to exemplify the prioritization methods that students can use to make school work more manageable.
1. Be realistic
If students try to get every little task completed, they will become overwhelmed with the amount of work on their plates. It is, therefore, important to understand and accept that there are a finite number of hours in a day, and that you can only get so much done. Once students accept this, they will recognize the need to prioritize which will help reduce their stress.
2. Identify important and unimportant tasks
At the core of prioritizing is the ability to distinguish between important and unimportant tasks. The best way to do this is by creating a comprehensive list of tasks and ranking them from most to least important. Bear in mind that labeling something as unimportant doesn’t mean that it will never get done. It simply means that it can wait.
Our top tip for ranking tasks is to try and visualize the outcome, if it is not done right away. For example, if there is a choice between finishing homework that is due tomorrow, and going to the store to buy a new hockey stick for practice this weekend, it is clear which one should take precedence. Being unable to do your homework will have more dire consequences than turning up to practice without a new stick.
3. Think about deadlines
Deadlines play an important role in determining the urgency of a task. Using a calendar is one of the greatest time management strategies available, as it allows you to keep track of when your tasks need to be completed. If you are struggling to determine whether a task is important or not, simply look at your calendar to see its deadline. Using a digital calendar will ensure that you know what is due when. This will allow you to prioritize your tasks more easily.
4. Break down your week
Many students take a day-to-day approach to prioritizing. However, this is a surefire way to become overwhelmed, as you will try to fit every single task into a single day. When you take a step back and break down your week, as opposed to individual days, you will realize that you actually have more time than you think to get everything done.
Once you have an overview of your week, you can prioritize your tasks by simply assigning them an individual day. Instead of telling yourself that you have to do your math homework at 4 pm today, your dry cleaning at 5 pm, your science project at 6 pm, catch up with friends at 7 pm, and finally write your English essay at 9 pm, you can create daily priorities.
5. Leave yourself some free time
It can be easy to only prioritize school work. However, you need to remember that setting aside time for yourself is just as important. Something as simple as taking an hour or two, out of your schedule, to watch your favorite show or read a book will do wonders for your mental health. If you become overwhelmed, you will be unable to perform the most basic of tasks and all your priority planning will amount to nothing.
Smart prioritization with Studyo
With the help of a student planner, you can visualize your tasks and deadlines and stay organized. At Studyo, we recognize how integral planners are to student success and have developed one that is both comprehensive and easy to use.
Our planner has an array of features that make it easier than ever for students to stay on top of their work. For example, Studyo's planner automatically syncs to Google Classroom. As a result, all lessons and homework assignments are automatically uploaded to it, thereby ensuring students never miss a deadline. What’s more, since our planners are fully customizable, they can be personalized to individual schools and students can track their task progress throughout the year.