Do you have well-thought-out workplace priorities? Or, do you often have trouble deciding if you should set aside an important sales report to meet with an unhappy customer, or wonder if it’s best to answer your e-mail, answer the phone, or mail customer statements?
“In order to reach your workplace goals, it’s essential to define just a few key priorities and expend most of your energy supporting those priorities, instead of spreading yourself thin trying to keep up with too many concerns,” says Jeff Davidson, author of The 60 Second Organizer. “If you don’t decide what’s important at work, anything can compete for your time and attention and dissipate your day, your week, your year, your career, and your life.”
If you take the time and effort to set priorities, it will be easy to decide what to do when several tasks are competing for your time.
Mr. Davidson offers these strategies for setting priorities at work.
In the workplace, it’s essential to discuss priorities with your boss, but you must prepare before meeting with him or her. Because you have firsthand knowledge of your workday, you should come prepared with what you think are the top priorities and a strategy for getting them done.
To do so, for a week, write down everything you do during each day. Make a separate list for each day of the week. Then make separate lists for tasks you do biweekly, monthly and annually.
Sort it out
Look through your documents, calendars, and support materials for information that can help you evaluate your work priorities, and examine the lists of tasks you created during the week as you do the following:
Meet with your boss
Now you have the information and thoughtful evaluation you need to discuss priorities with your boss. Be prepared to be flexible because your boss may change some of your priorities and tasks. After the meeting, prepare a list of priorities you’ve agreed upon.
Review your priorities often
At first, it may be easy to forget what takes priority. Therefore, keep your list posted in your work area, and review it daily so you’ll stay on track.
“With so many things competing for your time and attention, it’s easy to lose sight of priorities and lose valuable time,” reminds Mr. Davidson. “You’ll soon realize the time spent setting your priorities is saving you from countless moments of frustration and indecision, and is allowing you to be more productive on the tasks that are most important.”
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