Good time and project management doesn't necessarily mean doing everything requested. More importantly, it means doing what is best for your organization, even when the organization may not realize it. Success and achievement are not measured by doing everything requested of you. It's measure by doing the right things. Sometimes to improve productivity and be successful, you must say "no" to some tasks, or at least defer some.
Understand what you must accomplish and when it’s actually needed. Goals give you a destination and vision to work toward. When you know where you want to go, you can manage your priorities, time, and resources to get there. Goals also help you decide what's worth spending your time on, what's not an immediate priority, and identify what's just a distraction.
One of the biggest work challenges that many people face is accurately prioritizing their workload. Here are some guidelines to prioritizing your task list to keep you well-organized:
- Collect a list of all your tasks: Pull together every request made of you that you could possibly consider getting done. Don’t worry about the order, or the number of items up front.
- Identify urgent vs. important: See if you have any tasks that need immediate attention - work that if not completed on time will have serious negative consequences. Those are important.
- Assess task value: Look at your important work and identify what carries the highest value to your business and organization. For example, focus on client requests before internal work, organizational requirements before desired requests, and how many people are impacted by your work.
- Check priority daily: Be flexible and adaptable. Know that your priorities will change and sometimes when you least expect them to. Keep focused and committed to the tasks you’re committed to doing right now.
It's OK to say "No"
You may not be able to get to everything on your list. After you prioritize your tasks and add up the ranged estimates, cut the remaining tasks from your list. Focus on the priorities that you know you must and can complete. You can revisit the other tasks at a later time.
You can apply the above strategy to large-scale projects as well as to your daily workload.
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