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3 Tips for Prioritizing Tasks: Don't Throw the Baby Out With the Bathwater

By Lyndsay Swinton

Before I explain the 3 tips for prioritizing tasks better, let’s take a brief trip back in time…..

In the days before modern plumbing, families put their battered tin bath in front of the fire, filled it with hot water, and took turns to wash away the weeks grime. As baby always went in last, a tired mum was at risk of throwing the baby out with the dirty bathwater, as she couldnt see the good from the bad.

Prioritising Work Tip #1

A tired, emotional brain is not best placed to make decisions – this is when the baby gets thrown out with the bathwater. Good decisions are made by alert, objective minds, so make an effort to keep your energy levels up and your stress levels down.

Prioritising Work Tip #2

Know what’s important – learn to distinguish the baby from the bathwater. Ask yourself what’s important, and what’s urgent - (explained further here). Take pressure off and make good prioritising decisions by creating a list of questions to ask yourself when deciding what you should be doing and when - (explained further here).

Prioritising Work Tip #3

If you’re still struggling to separate the baby and the bathwater, maybe you need help. Help can come from anywhere – from your manager, your peers, your partner (or optician!). Someone with clearer sight or more experience may provide you with the insight and objectivity you were lacking. It’s okay to ask!.

Learn from history how to prioritize tasks better and don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!

By Lyndsay Swinton
Owner, Management for the Rest of Us

3 Tips for Prioritizing Tasks pdf Download '3 Tips For Prioritizing Tasks: Don't Throw The Baby Out With The Bathwater' in pdf format

Citation Information: Swinton, Lyndsay. "3 Tips for Prioritizing Tasks: Don't Throw the Baby Out With the Bathwater." 13 September 2005. < >.

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"Having read your article on the Baby and the Bathwater I found inspiration to go on to facilitate a group activity literally writing on flip charts with two prepared baby and tin bath templates!"
Jan Godfrey, Trainer, UK

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