We all have a lot to do. Our in-baskets are out-of-this-world. We have stacks and stacks of documents, lots and lots of emails, and people who involve us in all of their projects. I’m sure you play a very important role in your organization and your ideas and insight, are sought, by staff. So, how do you prioritize the work?
Here are some thoughts on how to prioritize work.
Make a list of all of the activities you are involved. Consider all of the items in your in-basket. Include appointments, projects, meetings, reports, routine tasks, and the people you need to talk to concerning these activities.
Consider all of the interactions required, to arrange for materials, sharing information, giving directions, and responding to requests. List everything you can think of that you need to do.
Now analyze and rate or score each item based upon these four criteria: Intrinsic importance, deadline-driven, potential for delegation, and communication time.
Provide a score from 1 to 4 for each criterion.
Intrinsic importance means everyone agrees it is important, that is why we provide that service, and why we are in that industry.
Deadline-driven means that there is a certain day and time things need to be completed otherwise there will be negative consequences.
Potential for delegation considers whether it is something that only you can do or can someone else be quickly and properly trained to perform the work instead.
Finally, the communication time needs to be evaluated, phone calls, emails, and meetings. Estimate how much time is needed, and how often, and by you.
If the task scores 16, you better to get on it. If the task scores lower, maybe it is time to let go of it and give it to somebody else that can grow from it. This approach guarantees that you doing the right things rather than doing things right. I love this scoring system. It’s simple and easy to use.
Sometimes when we feel overwhelmed by all of the work, we need step back and work on prioritizing. Ask, “What’s the best use of my time right now?” That’s what prioritizing is all about.
If you or members of your organization are struggling with time management, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will provide a presentation packed with time management strategies that work.