Know your critical tasks and get them done

  • Wednesday, February 5, 2014 2:18pm

What’s a critical task? Aren’t ALL of our projects critical tasks? Not really. Some of our tasks may be important, some of our tasks may be busy work that has to be done, but not all of our tasks qualify as critical.

A critical task is a task that absolutely must be done if we want to stay in business. It’s not a task that can be pushed off until tomorrow. You can spot a critical task a mile away if it has a due date or deadline, will have a significant impact on your business or will have a financial impact on your business.

Make sure that you get your critical tasks done on time, every time by embracing these six strategies.

1. Schedule your task.

Don’t leave it up to chance to get your critical tasks done. Give these tasks the time and attention they deserve. Schedule dedicated time into your planner so you know exactly when you are going to get them done. This will prevent pushing projects off until they become a last-minute emergency.

2. Plan properly.

According to personal development expert, Brian Tracy, the first 10 percent of time that you spend planning and organizing your work before you begin will save you as much as 90 percent of the time getting the job done. Planning goes a long way to improve your focus, reduce wasted time and work more efficiently.

3. Create goals.

Goal making and proper planning go hand-in-hand. Before you plunge ahead with a project or task, make sure you map out what your goals and desired outcomes are along with the steps that need to be in place to get there. What if you feel overwhelmed by a large project? Remember how you eat an elephant, one bite at a time. Break your project down into small pieces so you will feel in control as you make progress on smaller tasks.

4. Create accountability.

Set a date for your completing your task and then take it a step further by working with an accountability partner. Let someone that you trust know what you are setting out to accomplish. Ask them to check in with you to see how things are progressing. A supportive accountability partner will keep you honest, provide feedback and cheer you on.

5. Set a timer.

According to Parkinson’s Law, “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” If you give yourself all day to get something done, it will probably take all day. Set a timer to start a fire under yourself and beat the clock. Make sure you give yourself a reasonable amount of time to accomplish what you need to. Two great timers that you may find useful are the Time Timer at and

6. Eliminate interruptions.

I know that interruptions happen, often all day long.

But, you must protect your time while you are working on your critical tasks. This is the time that you should turn off email notifications, close your door, let the phone go to voicemail and turn off text tones. If you can work interruption-free for 90 minutes each day, you will see your productivity soar.

Knock out those critical tasks so you feel accomplished every day and you will reduce your stress levels to boot.

Monika Kristofferson is a professional organizer, productivity consultant and trainer who owns Efficient Organization in Lake Stevens. Reach her at 425-220-8905 or