The reality of today’s world is that we have to do more, better, faster, and with less. Time, quality, and cost are in constant tension, especially during hard economic times and the speed in which the world is changing. Often times, one or two of these factors takes priority and plays a prominent role in our planning, setting priorities, decision-making, and other time management issues.
Time escapes minute by minute and hour by hour. Nothing you do will stop or rewind a clock or calendar. You all have the same amount of time, 1,440 minutes per day. There are no short-cuts to managing yourself more effectively. The key is to invest your time in the most productive way, not only for the sake of your organization but for your own peace of mind. Here are some quick tips to help you prioritize tasks so that you can work more efficiently.
- Record All Activities: Write down all your multiple demands, competing priorities, tasks, and activities for the day or week
- Determine Primary Goals: List your primary goals for the day or the week
- Consider 80/20 Rule: Determine which 20% of activities will yield 80% the results, Bringing you nearer to your goals
- Evaluate Important vs. Urgent: Decide which of these activities are the most important versus the most urgent. At this stage, take into account how certain items affect others and the consequences for not accomplishing certain tasks (for example, someone might need something from you in order to do their job)
- Rank: Use a ranking system to begin planning. For example:
• “A” tasks have high priority and must be completed immediately
• “B” tasks are moderately important but can be done after the “A” tasks
• “C” tasks are of low-level importance and can be tackled in our spare time
- Create a Schedule: Indicate deadlines for each task and estimate the time involved
to complete the task. Create a schedule, keeping in mind any tasks that may be linked together to increase productivity. For example, can you couple something of lesser priority with something of greater importance?
- Revisit Goals and Adjust: Review your goal(s) and the rewards of doing the task on time, and make any necessary adjustments.
- Purge: Get rid of items on your list that remain at the bottom and will realistically not get