By Morgan Norman
Priorities can often be tricky to battle at the workplace. While you may sit down at night and write down the goals you hope to achieve at work tomorrow, the order in which you complete them and devote the most attention to each one sheds light on how well you can prioritise.
Prioritizing your priorities and paying specific attention to why one task trumps another will help you stay organised. You may have specific goals that you want to achieve, but the timeliness of work is also important. If you do not plan ahead and spew off work the second it comes at you, you will quickly fall behind and become overwhelmed.
Every employee faces a time at work when they are swamped and need to figure out the most efficient way of climbing out of a pile of projects. They may be behind on client deliverables and have a new project to lead at the same time. How they function under stress and find a solution to an overload of work is a tough test that will say a lot about their work ethic.
Similar to goals, priorities must be realistic and time appropriate. You may say, “My priority is to read all the new marketing materials in the client’s folder before starting any work.” If reading that amount of content is unproductive, and the team actually could benefit more from you completing concrete projects rather than reading literature at work, your priority is not conducive to the team’s growth.
Priorities do not have to be in the form of completing projects. A priority could be to hire a new account manager before landing your next client. Another priority could be to call an emergency meeting the very first thing in the morning to discuss breaking developments within your company. A priority can even be something simple, such as organising your desk and computer to better your daily productivity.
Priorities will help a worker stay organised and ahead in the workplace. Planning is key and setting the right priorities means researching, analysing and collaborating with an entire team regarding deadlines, task delegation and client expectations. While you may think you have the right priorities based your what you would like to achieve within the next few weeks, your team members may disagree with you.
Before you set your priorities, it is important to get on-board with your colleagues and supervisors to understand their goals. While goals and priorities do not have to be the same among a team, they must at least complement each other. You may wish to complete projects in a certain order, but if your supervisor needs a longer amount of time to review a particular one, you may need to reconsider your priorities so they align with those of your supervisor.
Priorities also differ with various types of workers. While it might be a priority for you to complete several small and mundane tasks before tackling the larger ones, your colleague may be on a different page. There really is no cookie cutter approach to prioritizing projects based on size (it depends on an employee and their work style), and different priorities will work for different employees.
Priorities should also be realistic. If you discuss a slew of projects with your team and you feel overwhelmed, saying that your priority is to get four days worth of work completed in two days is not realistic.
While priorities must be synchronised among a team or company, they can differ among employees. Each worker has a unique way of producing work and therefore individuals need to know themselves well to set the right priorities at work.
How has prioritizing helped your efficiency at work?
Morgan Norman is the Founder and CEO of WorkSimple, a Social Goal management program, and is passionate about building the first performance management designed for all employees. Connect with him and WorkSimple on Facebook and Twitter.
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