Are you feeling overwhelmed with too many things on your plate right now?

Not sure what to work on next?

Whenever I feel like that (which is more often than I care to admit!), I use this simple worksheet to get everything swirling around in my mind down on paper.

Here are the steps:

(1) Brainstorm the entire list of every assignment or commitment you’re feeling anxious about.

(2) For each item, write down the specific deadline (if there is one).

(3) For each item, estimate how much time it may take to complete. This could be expressed in hours or days.¬† (When I’m trying to sort out priorities for the coming month, I generally use days.)

(4) Decide on the 3 to 5 criteria you’ll use to determine priorities. For example: Client Requests, New Revenue, Service Enhancements, Employee Engagement,¬†Professional Development. Write your 3 to 5 criteria as the column headings in the sequence of importance.

(5) For each item, put a check mark or an “X” in each column that applies to that item. For example, a project could be a client request, a service enhancement AND bring in new revenue. You’d put a mark in all 3 columns.

(6) Write a priority sequence number in front of each item based on how fully the item meets the criteria. For example, if an item is a client request, a service enhancement AND brings in new revenue, it might be your #1 priority. Conversely, if an item does not meet any of your 3 to 5 criteria, it might fall to the bottom of your list.

(7) When you have a specific due date for any item, you’ll take that into consideration when assigning the priority sequence numbers.

(8) Use the “Time Required” information to block time off on your calendar for each item. For example, if your #1 priority will take 2.0 days worth of work to complete, and the deadline is three weeks from now, select the exact days and times when you’ll devote yourself to that priority. Block the time off so it doesn’t get reassigned to less important work.