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When you’ve got a million things on your To-Do list, it can be hard to know where to start. Learning how to prioritise will help you to stay focussed, motivated and productive. A ‘priority matrix’ is one tool that can help you to figure out your priorities and start kicking goals. Give it a shot below.


1. Make sure it’s manageable

  • Write down a list of things you need to get done and a realistic timeframe for achieving them.
  • Try to limit the list to around 10 tasks so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
  • Break down big tasks (like cleaning your sharehouse) into smaller, more manageable projects (like collecting all the empty mugs that have been stranded in different rooms).

2. Grid it up

Draw up a grid. Mark the horizontal line ‘effort’ and the vertical line ‘value.’ Orrr use this one we prepared earlier.

How to Prioritise matrix grid


3. Map it out

  • Think about how valuable each task is and how much effort it’ll take. Then, go ahead and plot it on the grid.
  • Consider the value the task will add to your life, as well as the impact not doing the task will have. Also consider how it’ll affect other people.
  • Be ruthless, it won’t be helpful if you score everything as equal. Perfecting the ultimate study playlist isn’t quiiiite as important as finally doing your part of the group assignment, though it’s a bit more effort.

How to Prioritise matrix tasks


4. Start ticking boxes

You’ve now divided your To-Do list into 4 levels of priority:

Box 1: This is the stuff that requires planning and strategy. Get cracking on them straight away.
Box 2: These are your quick wins. Low effort, high reward. Yassss.
Box 3: The thankless tasks. Necessary but annoying jobs that no one wants to do.
Box 4: The time-fillers. These are the very last things you should do - right before you give up on being productive and start bingeing on a new show.

How to Prioritise matrix numbered grid


We know it’s not as easy as simply deciding you need to get s**** done and then *VOILA* it’s sorted. But, learning how to prioritise is an important first step to tackling your goals. If this tool wasn’t for you, check out these 10 tips for getting stuff done and learn how to improve your motivation. If you’re still finding it hard to get stuff done, it might mean there’s something more serious going on. Check in with a GP or talk to someone you trust.

What can I do now?

  • Find out our top tips for setting goals like a boss.
  • If competing demands are stressing you out, it's a good idea to take some time to chill. Try practising mindfulness or doing something that makes you happy.
  • Head to our forums to find out how other young people work out their priorities and get stuff done.