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When you manage a large team or an ongoing project, tasks inevitably build up in time. Larger tasks will often have to be broken down into smaller tasks, and small tasks themselves can beget other unanticipated tasks, and so on, in an endless cycle. If you have many things to do, you’ll have a lot of tasks on your hand no matter how careful you are not to create additional tasks. The real problem here is not a big list of tasks, but how effectively you sort and manage your tasks. Here’s how you can handle many tasks at once.

Identify the Tasks That Are Both Urgent and Important

Important tasks are the ones that you really have to do, like fixing a bug on your website, sorting out an order with a supplier, or recruiting a new sales team expert. Urgent tasks, on the other hand, have to be done fast even if they’re not as important – replying to a proposal a supplier made or removing a seasonal sales banner from your site at the end of summer.

Rising above all these tasks are the very few that are both urgent and important – meeting a deadline for a major client or launching a new marketing campaign to promote a new product. These are the tasks that you want to do first thing in the morning.

Don’t Just Do All Urgent Tasks

There’s a catch to urgent tasks. Not all of them are important. Not all of them need to be taken care of. Take replying to a proposal a supplier made. If you’re not interested in the offer, you don’t have to reply right away. You can leave writing that email to some other time.

It’s crucial to understand that not all urgent tasks are important. Often, the importance of an urgent task is given by the context in which it appears. Consider that before tackling an urgent task and see whether you can’t downgrade it to an average task or delete it altogether.

Do Important Tasks Fast, But Only If They’re Urgent

Just as urgent tasks aren’t always important, so important tasks aren’t always urgent. Important tasks have to be done without exception, whether they have an internal or external focus. But they don’t necessarily have to be done today. Completing important tasks brings a level of satisfaction – because of this task managers usually focus on them. But think twice before using resources on non-important tasks. Sometimes, leaving to tomorrow what you don’t have to do today is the most effective way to achieve your goals fast.