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  • Writer's pictureMaria Stefanidi


Updated: Feb 16, 2022

Let’s begin with an explanation of what prioritization entails. Prioritization is all about focusing on the tasks that are truly critical to achieving your goals, such as finishing your dissertation. Basically, it’s deciding what is most important thing to you right now.

However, in order to do so, you first choose what is most important to your success in life. I am guessing the majority of you are reading this blog article answered, “finishing my dissertation” while others responded, “finishing my dissertation and moving on with my life already!”. Both responses are excellent!

After you have identified your priorities, you will need to focus on one task in particular. On a single task that will move you closer to the end of your dissertation journey.

You will be pulled in a variety of directions as you work on your dissertation. You will have your studying, and possibly a part-time or a full-time job, and you may be a parent or have friends to go out with, or extracurricular activities to devote time to, among other things.

Please understand that prioritization doesn’t imply that you should abandon all other activities in your life. You simply prioritize your dissertation over practically anything else. You must be completely focused on achieving it.

I suppose it all comes down to how badly you want it. How much do you really want to finish your dissertation? Are you willing to pay the price? Because I know a lot of students that aren’t.

Your dissertation must a top priority for you. Your absolute main priority. Ask yourself: “Why are you not prioritizing your dissertation?” Your primary goals are your top priority. Prioritizing can be a game changer because instead of completing random tasks, you focus on the tasks that are your priority.

Now let’s take a closer look at how you should prioritize your everyday tasks.

The Action Priority Matrix

The Action Priority Matrix is a useful tool for organizing or deciding which tasks need to be done immediately and which need to be pushed back. Keep in mind that it is okay to defer some tasks, but it is critical not to postpone or procrastinate on the ones that really matter.

There are two axes in the Action Priority Matrix:

The x-axis, represents the effort required to complete a task

The y-axis depicts the impact of an activity on your dissertation. How significant is that task?

1. “MAJOR PROJECTS” [High impact, high effort]: These tasks provide good returns, take a little longer to complete. It’s important that you do it well and you put up a lot of effort.

2. “FILL INS” [Low impact, low effort]: Do these if you have spare time but drop them if something better comes up. These could involve helping friends with their homework. If you have some free time, go ahead and help them. It won’t take long and it won’t require much effort. However, if you are short on time and have looming deadlines, prioritize the most important tasks first.

3. “THANKLESS TASKS [Low impact, high effort]: Try to avoid at all costs. These are tasks that give you little return and take up a lot of your time. It’s not effective, for example, to keep reading the same journal over and over again without fully processing in your mind. There are far better ways to study.

4. “QUICK WINS” [High impact, low effort]: Quick wins are the most appealing tasks since they provide a high return for a relatively small amount of effort.

But how does the Action Priority Matrix work?

1. Make a list of all your tasks

2. Score the tasks based on their impact and the amount of effort required to complete them. You can use a scale of 1 to 10.

3. Arrange the tasks on your Action Priority Matrix according to their scores.

4. Prioritize your tasks: Give quick wins top priority, then focus on major projects with the remaining time. Do the fill in tasks if you have the capacity. Otherwise, delegate them. Finally, get rid of thankless tasks.

You should always be reviewing a task and asking yourself: “Is what I’m doing actually going to affect my dissertation?”

What you really need is to spend your time wisely and productively. You don’t have to study for 12 hours a day every day. It isn’t necessary as long as you prioritize the important tasks and avoid those that aren’t.

No matter how enjoyable it may be, don’t try to come up with ways to cross more tasks off the list. You must first determine which task is the most important and then focus solely on completing that task while ignoring everything else. Don’t make a to-do list; instead make a priority list with only the most important tasks at the top of the list and a deadline for completing them. That way, you will not feel overwhelmed; instead you will know what your priorities are and what you need to do on a daily basis to bring you closer to get closer to them.

Click here to download the Dissertation Action Priority Matrix I have created for you.

If you want to find out more about my Dissertation Coaching Programs, I encourage you to schedule a Discovery Call with me by clicking here.

#dissertation #dissertationcoach #prioritizing #takeaction

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