It is of course possible to write down your tasks to be accomplished as a priority on a piece of paper if you feel able to do them all in the space of an afternoon.
However, when you have a lot of to-do items happening all over you at once, many of them often get put off until the next day, if not the next month. Thanks to the Excel spreadsheet that we suggest you create in this article, your priorities will be managed automatically by Excel according to the upcoming deadlines and the order of the tasks to be accomplished will then be reorganized in order to allow you to postpone these tasks on less possible.
Follow this guide and in 20 minutes you will have a very effective way to manage your priorities on your computer.
Note: according to international versions of Excel, the comma separation in the formulas can be replaced by the semicolon.
Step 1. Create an "Office" or "Home" tabOpen a new Excel spreadsheet. Right click on the "Sheet1" tab at the bottom of the screen and click "Rename". Enter "Home" or "Office" instead.
Step 2. Rename "Sheet2" to "Model" and "Sheet3" to "Points" by following the same procedure as in the first step
Step 3. Create the table of importanceIn the "Points" tab, fill in columns A, B and C as follows:
Step 4. Define the name "Importance"Select cells A2 through C7. With Excel 2007 or newer, click on "Formulas" then "Define a name". With Excel 2004 or earlier, click "Insert"> "Define"> "Name".
When Excel asks you to define the name, enter "Importance" and click "OK"
Step 5. Create the effort tableRepeat steps 3, 4 and 5 in order to create the table of forces in columns E, F, G. Select cells E2 to G6 and define them with the name "Force".
Step 6. Create an emergency tableRepeat steps 3, 4 and 5 to create the table of emergencies in columns I, J and K. Define these cells with the name "Emergency".
Step 7. Enter the headers in the "Home" or "Office" tab, as desired
We will assume here that you have chosen to name this tab "Home". Click on it and insert the following headers in row 1:
- A - Priority; We will enter here the priority formula, 1 for the most important tasks. But that number can go up to over 100.
- B - Task; the name of the task to be performed
- C - Importance; it will be noted using the letters A, B, C, D, E or F from the table.
- D - Effort, A mark between 1 and 5, take from the table "Effort".
- E - Emergency; A formula based on the deadline to complete the task
F - Deadline; The date by which the task must be completed at the latest. Deadlines are not always to be strictly observed. Thus, "Acceleration" indicates to you the date on which you could start to carry out this task and "Extension" gives you the date until which the task to be carried out can be postponed. For example, one could give a 5-Day Speed-Up and a 4-Day Extension to the task "Go to the hairdresser" - indeed, it would not make sense to go to the hairdresser two weeks in advance and people would start to notice that you need to go to the hairdresser if you are more than 4 days late.
- G - Acceleration - Number of days before the cut-off date from which you could already (start) to perform the task in question.
- H - Extension; automatic extension of the deadline
- I - Days remaining; this is a formula calculating the number of days before the deadline. The formula will return a negative number of days if the deadline has passed.
- D - End date; date the task was completed.
- K - Comments; all the details about the task to be performed
Step 8. Enter your to-do listNote that the "Priority", "Urgency" and "Days left" columns have been left blank. We will complete them later using formulas. Below are some examples of household chores you might have to do.
Step 9. Enter the formulas for "Remaining Days", "Urgency" and "Priority"
These formulas must be entered in the second line of each of the columns mentioned in the preceding sentence.
- In column I (Days left) = F2-IF (ISBLANK (D2), TODAY (), D2)
- In column E (Emergency) = SI (I2> G2, 5, SI (I2> 0, 4, SI (I2 = 0, 3, SI (I2 + H2> 0, 2, 1))))
- In column A (Priority) = VLOOKUP (C2, Importance, 2, FALSE) + VLOOKUP (D2, Effort, 2, FALSE) + VLOOKUP (E2, Urgency, 2, FALSE)
Step 10. Switch the format of cell I2 to "Number"Right click on the cell, select “Format Cells” and click “Number”. In addition, put "0" in the "Number of decimal places" box. Click on "OK".
Step 11. Copy the formulas from the "Priority", "Urgency" and "Remaining Days" columns and extend them to the remaining empty boxes in each of these columns
First click on "E2" and simultaneously press the "CTRL" and "C" keys then select cells E3 through E10 and simultaneously press the "CTRL" and "V" keys. Do the same to extend the formula for I2 in boxes I3 to I10. Finally repeat this procedure one more time to extend the formula of A2 in cells A3 to A10. Pay no attention to the odd values returned by cells on rows where no task is listed.
Step 12. Sort the rows in order of prioritySelect cells A1 through K1 and expand this selection to include all rows containing a task. Then click "Data"> "Filter".
Step 13. Save your spreadsheet, including the date so you know when the file was last opened
Step 14. Fill in the tasks performed
When you finish a task, enter it in the "End date" column. Remember this tip: when you simultaneously press "CTRL" + ";" (the Control key and the; key), the current date automatically appears in the selected cell.
Step 15. Watch the order of your priorities change every dayHere are the priorities for the days to come. On July 13, all of the work to be done is before the so-called "ramp-up" period. On July 20, the highest priorities (those with the fewest numbers) group together four tasks and among them, mowing the lawn (which has reached its deadline). On July 21, the priority to mow the lawn is even higher (we have entered the "extension" period) and on July 23 this priority has been further increased, because the "extension" period has been exceeded.. We also see that the task "Pay the charges" has increased on the dates of July 23 and 25.
- Read the articles listed below to learn more about how to manage your time and priorities.
- You can download a copy of this spreadsheet at the following address: 
- = IF (WEEKDAY (TODAY (), 2)> 5, TODAY () - (WEEKDAY (TODAY (), 2) -5) +7, TODAY () - (WEEKDAY (TODAY (), 2) -5))
- Feel free to sort your to-do list every day if necessary.
- Divide your big tasks into several smaller ones.
- Copy your recurring tasks in the "Template" tab so that you can easily find and copy them.
- You are free to change the points assigned to each priority level.
- Don't mix family and home tasks with work-related tasks in the same Excel workbook.
- You are free to add new columns to this table - who assigned you the task, in which category the task falls etc.
- Use the AutoFilter tool to select tasks that have passed their deadline (Urgency = 1) or very important tasks (Importance = "To").
- One way to always keep a recurring task up to date is to enter this under the "Deadline" column (This example is based on Friday, which is indicated by the "5" here)
Add a conditional form (using the "IF" function) in your "Deadline" column in order to automatically indicate to you when the deadline has passed.
- Each week or month, count the number of tasks performed during the chosen period. This might be the only positive feedback you get on your work.
- This formula takes the current date (Monday = 1, Tuesday = 2 etc.) and checks whether or not the Friday of the current week has already been passed. If so, the formula adds 7 to the current Friday, to return the date of next Friday as the result. If Friday has not yet passed, however, the formula simply returns the date of Friday of that week.
- In this example, Monday = 1, Tuesday = 2, Wednesday = 3, Thursday = 4, Friday = 5, Saturday = 6, Sunday = 7.
- We can also change this formula so that it works for example on Tuesdays. We see in the list above that Tuesday = 2, it is thus necessary to change in the formula given above all 5 by 2.
- Save this sheet regularly.
- The numbers assigned to these different priorities are not always ordered. Thus, filling a priority with an assigned number of "1" will not increase the numbers associated with the other priorities. Some priorities may have an associated number that exceeds 100, and not all possible numbers are assigned to priorities. I advise you to focus on the priorities with numbers between 1 and 12.
- Don't worry if you put a lot of to-do's in this worksheet. It is absolutely not a problem that tasks remain at the bottom of the list for several months. They will start moving up the list when their deadline approaches.
- How you manage your time is up to you, and this spreadsheet might not be right for you at all. You might also think that having to open this file every day is too much work or too intrusive. This is why this spreadsheet could be useful to you, for example, when it will seem completely useless to your neighbor or vice versa.
- You could use a spreadsheet from Google's online spreadsheet software instead of using Excel. So your file will be available anywhere from the moment you can have internet access.