A Guide To Prioritizing By Needs: Tasks You Need To Do
Now we finally come to the top of the needs prioritizing mountain. As I mentioned previously, prioritizing by needs is where tasks are prioritized by whether you need, should, or just want to do them. In basic terms a task becomes a “need” when putting it off any longer would result in drastic consequences. If you don’t pay your bill you will get your electricity cut off. If you don’t hand in your college work before the deadline you will fail the course. If you don’t prepare meeting notes for your boss he will discipline you.
When does a task graduate from something you should do to something you need to do? A lot of it is down to commonsense. Most people will naturally pick up a feel of how long they can put something off before it seems fitting to start it. If you know the task is going to be a chore you start it earlier. If it’s simple with minimal risk of failure you can leave it later. Note that this doesn’t mean leaving stuff to the last minute. It involves giving yourself enough time to do something comfortably, yet knowing that if you weren’t to then start it you would fail to hit a deadline, suffer consequences of simply not get the task done.
Remember that prioritising by needs is all about managing your workflow. Because items you need to do are those you can no longer put off, it’s critical that you don’t become overwhelmed by them. If you are being bombarded by these sorts of tasks you need to catch them when they are merely stuff you should do. Be sure to refer to my previous post in the series for details on this. Ideally you want to have a trickle of “needs” intersperced with “shoulds” to stop that trickle becoming a flood.