Do you typically have exactly eight hours of work to do in a day? Or are your days more like long lists of to-dos and you squeeze in as much as you can before it’s time to leave? Most likely it’s the second answer. But how do you know what is a priority and what can wait?

Ranking your work goals can be tough. Meeting deadlines is challenging, and work without deadlines can be even more confusing.

1. Individual vs Company Goals

  • Keep a notebook and list top priorities near the top and lower priorities near the bottom each day.

You probably have goals that you know will improve your workflow and further the company in addition to lots of responsibilities to other people in your organization. For example, a personal goal may be to completely clean out your inbox, which you know will help you be more productive, but one new project after another means you can never get to it. What should you do? What can you do?

Your daily list will not only keep you organized—it will also give you an idea of when you may have time to do those personal tasks you want to get done.

2. Big vs Small Picture

  • Find out what others think is important now, and what can wait.

When running a business there are always small and big goals that you’re working towards. Big goals contribute to the company’s mission, culture, revenues, and initiatives. Small goals might include getting new computers, adopting technologies that might reduce costs—such as our time clock app—or conflict resolution. However, how do you stay on track with both the big and smalls goals?

Because it’s hard to make the call on your own, talking with your staff or a co-owner and getting their input can help you rank goals in order of importance. Reassessing big and small goals regularly will help you understand the big and small picture more accurately.

3. Tracking Projects Without Deadlines

  • Schedule monthly or quarterly “maintenance” meetings.

Deadlines can be hard to prioritize—let alone goals and projects without deadlines. How do you know when it’s the correct time to finally review your internal processes? When is it the right time to update the content on the “about us” page of your website?

Setting a quarterly meeting—or a “maintenance week”—for these types of tasks may be a good way of not only reminding everyone of the bigger picture, but it may also provide quicker solutions to the tasks at hand.

Keeping track of your work progress can be hard, but not impossible. Holding regular meetings, keeping a notebook with priorities, and talking with employees can help bring light to each priority.