How To Manage Your Priorities Janis Fisher Chan prepared by Senthil Kumar Janakiraman MBA IBM Early Bird
How To Manage Your Priorities Janis Fisher Chan prepared by Senthil Kumar Janakiraman MBA IBM Early Bird
How to Manage Your Priorities by Senthil kumar Janakiraman People skills Presentation on How to Manage Your Priorities Janis Fisher Chan Capgemini India
How to Manage Your Priorities- Why Learn to Manage Your Priorities?- How to Know What Is Important- Strategies For Managing Your Priorities- Planning and Scheduling- Working Efficiently-Using Technology to Manage Your Priorities (List of Exhibits, Exercises and Sidebars)
I. Why Learn to Manage Your Priorities? (List of Exhibits, Exercises and Sidebars)List of Exhibits:-- Benefits of Managing Your Priorities- Obstacles to Managing Priorities- Benefits & Obstacles of Managing Your Priorities :-
List of Exercises:- -How Well Do You Manage Your Priorities? -Your Priorities -Reflect on What You Have Learned-How Well Do you Manage your Priorities?
Why Learn to Manage Your Priorities? (List of Exhibits, Exercises and Sidebars) List of Sidebars(Case Study) :-More Productive Working RelationshipsWhen people are not managing their priorities successfully, their working relationships can suffer. Poor working relationships, in turn, can cause serious problems that consume a lot of timeand make it even more difficult to get things done. For example, Julia needs to spend some time resolving the tension between herself and Martin before they begin another projecttogether. Otherwise, they will find it difficult or impossible to work effectively together on future projects.Better Outcomes and Fewer Time-consuming MistakesWhen we do things quickly because of impending deadlines and other pressures, we tend to make mistakes that can themselves lead to serious consequences. Julia’s team has worked hardon the reorganization plan. But the final report that she is writing at the last minute might not clearly communicate their careful work. There is an increased possibility that she will leave outimportant information in her rush to finish the report.Improved Chances for Achieving GoalsOur high-priority goals are often compromised or discarded in the rush to get things done. We never quite get where we want to go because we get so busy that we forget where we weregoing in the first place. Julia’s chances for advancement within the company will be seriously affected by her ability—or inability—to remain focused on her important goals.Increased ProductivityResearchers who study the way people work find that being busy often has little connection with being productive. Many people who work hard from morning to night achieve very little. Theydo work that does not need to be done, work they do not need to do themselves, or work that could be done in h more efficiently. For example, it is not productive for Julia to continue revisingthe leadership guide once she has incorporated the necessary changes. An important benefit of learning to manage your priorities is making sure that you are working as productively aspossible.Improved Work/Life BalanceWhen we feel overwhelmed at work, we often sacrifice personal time with friends and family. The result can be strained relationships, which only add stress to our already stressful lives. Oneimportant benefit Julia will find from learning to manage her priorities will being able to spend more quality time with her family and friends.Reduced Stress and Improved HealthHigh levels of stress make it difficult to concentrate and make good decisions, often leading to mistakes and accidents. Stress can also affect our physical health. Julia already feels as if sheis coming down with a cold. Like many people who feel overwhelmed by their work, she probably is not taking good care of herself by eating healthy foods and getting enough sleep andexercise. There is a good chance that reducing stress by learning to manage her priorities will help her stay healthier, which in turn will make her more productive. Think About It... Think about Julia’s situation. Why do you think she was having so much trouble keeping up with her work? What obstacles stood in her way? ___________________________________________________ ______________________ ___________________________________________________ ______________________
RecapThe increased pace, competition, and globalization in the workplace means that we all need to do a better job of managing our priorities. “Managing yourpriorities” means “managing the important things you have to do.” We need to make choices about which of our tasks and responsibilities take precedenceover others.There are many benefits to learning to manage your priorities. You can establish more productive working relationships, achieve better outcomes andmake fewer mistakes, achieve your goals by focusing on what is important, and increase your productivity by making better use of your time. You can alsoimprove your work/life balance and your personal relationships, and reduce potentially harmful stress levels.There are, however, many obstacles to managing your priorities. Those obstacles include not identifying what is important, failing to clarify goals andexpected outcomes, working haphazardly instead of planning carefully, and poor communication that leads to misunderstanding. Obstacles also includenot dealing with conflicting needs and the unexpected; continuing to work as if things will never change; underestimating your resources, especially time;continuing to do something that has already achieved its results; not thinking creatively, even when the usual methods no longer work; and organizationalproblems that sometimes make it difficult to work productively.In this course, you will learn strategies for overcoming the obstacles and managing your priorities so that you can achieve your goals.
II. How to Know What Is Important (List of Exhibits, Exercises and Sidebars) List of Exhibits:- - SMART Goals - Steven Covey’s Four Quadrants -SMART Goals:- - Steven Covey’s Four Quadrants:-
- Steven Covey’s Four Quadrants:- Urgent and Important:- Examples include helping someone solve a problem that has stalled an important project, reviewing a funding proposal that needs to go out immediately, meeting with a valued employee who is about to quit because he is upset with a co-worker, and providing information another team needs to meet its deadline. The fact that these tasks are urgent does not always mean, however, that you must do them yourself. You might be able to delegate some of this work to someone else, leaving yourself time to focus on Quadrant 2 which are the tasks and activities that are most likely to help you accomplish your goals. Not Urgent but Important:- Steven Covey’s four-quadrant matrix, the tasks and activities that fall into Quadrant 2 are the ones that are the most important, because they lead you to your goals. Hiring a good staff to which you can delegate work is one example. Another example is giving your staff members useful performance feedback. Goal setting, action planning, and strategic planning are important activities that we often neglect because they are not urgent, as are activities designed to help us learn. An important activity for Angela might be taking a leadership training program that helps her develop the leadership skills she needs to achieve her goals. Note:- Executive coach Catherine Fitzgerald says that people often waste time on urgent but unimportant tasks and activities instead of spending it on important tasks and activities. She suggests that her clients give subordinates the knowledge and skills they need to take on responsibilities that are urgent but which they do not necessarily need to do themselves. “You can easily free up at least 5 percent of your most valuable time by handing off things,” Fitzgerald says. “And those tasks often prove to be interesting to a direct report or an assistant (Mackenzie 1997).” Urgent but Not Important:- Third category include many of our daily interruptions: drop-in visitors, telephone calls, and e-mail messages. They include routine tasks that have no serious consequences if they are delayed. And they also include questions that people could answer themselves and problems they could solve without your help. To deal with these tasks and activities in a way that keeps them from taking up your day, recognize that many do not need to be done at all and others can be delegated to someone else. For example, to block out time for strategic planning or other Quadrant 2 work that requires attention and concentration, you might put a “Do not disturb” sign on your door, transfer your telephone calls to someone else, and resist the temptation to check your e-mail. Chances are, many if not all of the issues that seem so urgent will drift away. Note:-The third category is somewhat of a conundrum. Common sense tells us that if something is urgent, it should be important. In reality, however, urgency is often a point of view. Many tasks that we identify as urgent only seem that way, when in fact they are not. Not Urgent and Not Important:- Many of the tasks and activities in this quadrant are those we do because we enjoy them. It is more fun to surf the Internet than to write that proposal! Others are those we do to avoid or postpone difficult or unpleasant tasks. Rearranging your office can seem like a useful project when the alternative is figuring out how to trim 10% from next quarter’s budget or meeting with an employee to deliver a performance warning. Keep in mind, however, that priorities often shift from one quadrant to another. Recruiting a new sales associate might be in Quadrant 2 until the consolidation of regions shifts it to Quadrant 4. Setting up a company-wide training program on workplace ethics might belong in Quadrant 2 until a management policy decision moves it into Quadrant 1. Note:-examples are surfing the Internet, making unnecessary telephone calls, over-organizing your files, over-revising documents, and holding meetings to pass along information that could be quickly communicated in an e-mail message and By now, you probably realize that the tasks and activities in this quadrant are those you can quickly dispense with. They make up the majority of the “Time Wasters”.
List of Exercises :- - Set Your Own SMART Goal - Reflect on What You Have Learned-Set Your Own SMART Goal:-
-Reflect on What You Have Learned:- Exercise 2-2: Reflect on What You Have Learned How will what you have learned about determining whatis important help you improve the way you manage your priorities? What information will you use immediately?__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
List of Sidebars (Case Study):- 1. Linking Goals And Priorities - Make Your Goals SMART Goals – Refer- Exhibit 2–1: SMART Goals -What do you want to accomplish at work? List three work-related goals you would like to achieve 2. Relating Tasks And Activities To Goals And Consequences When we are busy, everything seems to call for our attention, like a lively kindergarten class all with their hands up in their air, shouting “Me! Me!” at the teacher. And just as each child in the class wants to be the most important, every one of your priorities —every e-mail, telephone call, meeting, and deadline—seems to fall in the “most urgent, must be done now!” category. i) Consider Tasks and Activities in Terms of Goals ii) Consider Tasks and Activities in Terms of Consequences -How is the work you do related to your specific goals? To your organization’s goals? Look at the priorities you listed . Can you relate each of them to a specific goal? -What are the consequences of some of the work you do? Review the priorities you listed in Lesson 1.Briefly describe what is likely to happen if you do not do those tasks, activities, or projects.
3. Recognizing What Activities Have Greater Value Think about the priorities you identified and enter them in the table below. Note:- The ratio is not always exactly 20/80, but the implications for those of us struggling to manage our priorities are clear: about 20 percent of the work we do produces about 80 percent of our results. That 20 percent comprises the high-value activities; the ones that most directly help us accomplish our goals. To improve the way you manage your priorities, you need to identify those high-value activities and then schedule enough time to accomplish them. Suppose your goal is to lose ten pounds within the next six months. Which of these activities would have the most value? •Reading about weight-loss techniques •Limiting your daily calorie intake •Talking to your friends about how they have lost weight All those activities would be useful, but limiting the number of calories you consume is the most direct way to lose weight, so it would have the most value. What if your goal is to move from sales into marketing within your company? Which of the following activities would have the most value for you? •Coordinating a sales conference •Attending a course in public speaking •Preparing a study on customer buying preferences The third activity is most directly related to marketing, so it would have the most value.Being Efficient Versus Being Effective:-4. Thinking about your activities in terms of the goals you identified earlier, which ones have the highest value for you?5. How efficiently do you work? Can you think of something you did in the last few weeks that got the right results but that you could have done in amore efficient way?Note:We all feel that if only we had more time, we would be better at managing our priorities. But we cannot change the amount of time available to us everyday—a day has 24 hours. We can only change the way we use that time. And we do not always use it as efficiently as we could. One important reason is that we donot stop to think about the difference between being efficient and being effective.
III. Strategies For Managing Your Priorities (List of Exhibits, Exercises and Sidebars) List of Exhibits - Key Actions for Managing Priorities - Ensure that Outcomes Meet Objectives and Expectations - How to Manage Conflicting Priorities - Key Actions for Managing Priorities - Ensure that Outcomes Meet Objectives and Expectations - How to Manage Conflicting Priorities
List of Exercises Exercise 3-1: Reflect on What You Have LearnedHow will what you have learned about strategies for managing your priorities help you? List at least three actions you can take now: How to Take Care of Yourself :- Reducing your stress level means taking a close look at why you are experiencing too much stress and making changes to reduce both the stress and its effects. Here are some suggestions for reducing stress: •Identify the source of the stress. Do you really have too much work to do? Is something else going on at work that you find stressful, such as a reorganization or a merger? Do you have a new manager? Are you short-staffed? Is something going on in your personal life that is making you feel stress at work? •Identify what you can control. There is nothing you can do about an impending merger that might shake up the entire company. But you can make changes in the way you go about your work and in your relationships with colleagues, friends, and family. Figure out what you can control, and decide how you will cope with the rest. •Learn to say “no.” Too often, we say “sure” whenever we are asked to take on a new task or responsibility, no matter how busy we already are. To manage your priorities in a way that does not cause unnecessary stress, realistically evaluate whether you can actually handle something new before agreeing to take it on. If you have to say, “Sorry, I can’t do it,” be prepared to explain why and offer alternatives. •Avoid too much multitasking. Most of us are usually working on several projects at once, and we are often doing several things at one time: responding to e- mail messages while talking on the telephone, making notes for a report while attending a meeting, or answering questions while entering data into a spreadsheet. But days spent multitasking can seem longer and more difficult than those days in which you focus on only a few things. The former often end with a feeling that you have not accomplished anything. •Stay healthy. Any health professional will tell you that one of the best ways to control stress is to take good care of your body. That means eating healthful, nutritious meals, getting enough exercise and enough rest. No matter how busy you are, staying healthy needs to be one of your most important priorities. Otherwise, you might not have enough energy to tackle the other priorities in your life. •Balance your work and personal lives. One of your most important priorities should be your personal life. When you are busy, make it a point to set aside time to spend with family and friends, and also for time to do the activities that you enjoy. Schedule a dinner out with your significant other or your best friend. Put your daughter’s soccer game on your calendar, plan family vacations, buy tickets for a concert, learn a new language, or volunteer to teach at a community center. Keep in mind that at the end of their lives, few people wish they had spent more time at work! Instead, they wish they had spent more time with people they cared about, learning new things, traveling, and participating in activities they enjoyed. •Schedule quiet time. In our fast-paced culture, we sometimes feel as if we need to be doing something every minute. But we all need quiet time to reflect, to allow our thoughts to settle, and to re-establish a sense of peace and control. Reserve some quiet time every day, even if it is only a few minutes before you begin work. Plan time for relaxing activities that require nothing of you, such as getting a massage, doing yoga, taking a meandering walk, or sitting in a garden. When you feel overwhelmed, find a private place and spend five minutes observing your breath move in and out of your body. By slowing yourself down, you will return to work with more focus and energy.
Take Care Of Yourself And Manage StressNumerous studies have shown that stress can have a negative impact on your health, on the quality of your work, and on your relationships. A certainamount of stress is normal and can even have beneficial effects. But too much stress can cause problems that make it even more difficult to manage yourpriorities—and your life. Thus, managing your priorities also means taking care of yourself.Warning Signs of StressPeople handle stress differently. Some people thrive on a certain amount of stress—it helps them focus and work more productively. But experts agree thatthe following symptoms may indicate that a person is experiencing too much stress:•A continuing feeling of being overwhelmed. You are working from morning to night, but you feel as if you are not getting things done.•A continuing feeling of dissatisfaction. Nothing seems to be going right. You are not happy with your work, your friends, or your family.•Exhaustion that does not seem to go away, even when you rest. No matter how early you go to bed, you wake up tired.•Difficulty sleeping. You have trouble falling asleep or wake up in the middle of the night with to-do lists in your head.•A feeling of isolation. You feel cut off from people at work, from your friends, and from your family.•Constant irritation. You become annoyed at nothing, snap at people without good reason, and feel as if the world is conspiring against you.•Increased illness, accidents, and mistakes. You have more stomachaches or headaches, and you catch every cold that comes around. You bump intothings or slip and fall. You have drop things and make stupid mistakes.•You feel bored and apathetic. You are not interested in or excited by anything at home or at work.•Of course, many of these symptoms can indicate problems other than workplace stress. But no matter what their cause, it is important to pay attention tothe symptoms because they can have such serious results.
List of Sidebars Focus On The Outcome And Clarify Expectations:- -What kinds of systems do you use in your work? How do they help you? Refer - Exhibit 3–2: Ensure that Outcomes Meet Objectives and Expectations 1. Evaluating Available Resources:- Think about one of the priorities you identified in Lesson 1. What assumptions have you made about the objectives and expectations for that priority? _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ Who do you need to talk with to clarify the expected outcome? _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ How can you make sure that the outcome meets the objectives and the expectations? _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ Note:- Managing your priorities requires thinking about the resources you need to be able to carry out a task or project. Depending on the situation, you need to evaluate all or some of the following resources: - Money. There is almost always a dollar cost associated with achieving a goal. Do you have enough money? If not, is there a way to get it? It is unrealistic to embark on a project without the funds to see it through—including a “cushion” in case of unforeseen expenditures. If you see that you will not have enough, you might have to scale back the project. - Time. Few of us have time to spare, yet we tend to take on new projects without considering how much time they will take to accomplish. Then we are surprised when we cannot get everything done on time. - Think realistically about the time you will need. How can you free up sufficient time for this task or project? What about the others who are involved—will they have enough time? Can all the key people make time available without neglecting their other priorities? - Skills and knowledge. It is admirable to take on a challenge that “stretches” you and helps you learn something new, but the challenge should be realistic. For a home renovation project, you might save a little money by doing some of the painting yourself, but it is not realistic to attempt complicated construction work if you have never used a hammer! Think about whether you and the others involved in the project have the sufficient skills and knowledge to achieve the goals. If not, how can you get the expertise and information you need? - Equipment and supplies. What equipment and supplies will you need to accomplish your goals? If you need a high-speed computer that can “crunch” numbers rapidly, find out whether one is available before you launch your project. If you need access to 50 telephones for a fundraising campaign, make sure you have access to them. If essential equipment and supplies are unavailable, it is unrealistic to embark on the project. - Access. For some projects, you must have access to people who can provide certain types of information, make decisions, or give approvals. Find out what it will take to get access to those people. If they are not available, you will have little success in meeting your goals.
2. Think about the priority you addressed earlier in this lesson. What resources do you need to achieve it? Refer below notes:Note: Determine What You Can Stop Doing:--Identify What No Longer Needs to be DoneExamine the tasks and activities you do regularly to make sure that each one serves a useful purpose. Eliminate any that do not serve a useful purpose, and look for ways to streamline those that do. Do you need to approve every expenditure, or only those over a certain amount? Could that monthly sales update be replacedwith a quarterly report? Would a bi-monthly staff meeting accomplish the same objective as a weekly meeting? Can you eliminate or simplify any procedures?-Delegate Work You Do Not Need to Do Yourself-One of the most effective ways of managing your priorities is to delegate everything you can to subordinates, other team members, peers, or even outside consultants.-Delegating frees up time so you can focus on more important priorities. It also has the added benefit of offering other people opportunities for developmentAs author Steven Covey (1999) says, “Empowering subordinates is hard and complicated work….which is initially more time-consuming than solving the problem on your own.”However, it is worth the time and effort to delegate successfully because delegating has so many benefits, including those below:-Frees up your time and energy for high-priority work and for the work that only you can do-Reduces the stress that comes from being overwhelmed with too many tasks and activities-Provides opportunities for others to learn, develop, and grow-Gives others a sense of shared responsibility for and a stronger commitment to the organization’s success-Helps the organization retain good employees and expand their competencies-Develops a pool of competent people with a wide range of skills and experience-Helps you discover more creative, innovative ways of doing things-Improves communication and increases productivity3. Make a list of ten tasks and activities you do on a regular basis.Are there any tasks and activities that you could stop doing?__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Any tasks and activities you could streamline to accomplish more efficiently? How?__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Any tasks and activities you could delegate to someone else?_________________________________________________________________________Note:- Reduce InterruptionsA study conducted by Professor Gloria Mark revealed that today’s workers spend only 11 minutes on a project before they are interrupted. After an interruption, it takes workers anaverage of 25 minutes to return to what they were doing—if they can remember what it was. As interruption science expert Mary Czerwinski (Thompson 2005) reports,“The central danger of interruptions…is not really the interruption at all. It is the havoc they wreak with our short-term memory: What the heck was I just doing?”Even those individuals who are good at juggling e-mail, drop-in visitors, and telephone calls while doing other work have difficulty doing tasks that require concentrationwhen they are constantly interrupted. Author Steven Covey (1994) advises, “If you are immersed in an extremely productive or creative work, don’t let anything interrupt.Can you imagine a surgeon taking a telephone call in the middle of surgery?” Yet interruptions are a fact of life in our busy, highly technological world. Professor Mark also found that“Distractions are not just a plague on our work—sometimes they are our work.” You might need to interrupt that meeting to take an urgent telephone call or to respond to animportant e-mail message. You might need to stop working on that report to talk with a colleague or subordinate who urgently needs help with a problem.While we cannot completely close ourselves off from interruptions, there are steps we can take to minimize them and reduce their effects.
4. List four to five interruptions that you typically experience during the course of a day.•How do interruptions affect your work?___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________•Which interruptions are necessary parts of your job?___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________•Which interruptions can you control?__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Note:- Anticipate ProblemsUnforeseen problems can wreak havoc with good-intentioned attempts to get our work done well and on time. Like potholes in a poorly maintained road, problems slow us down; they can also cause breakdownsthat make it impossible to reach our destination.Many problems can be avoided or their effects reduced by careful planning. But no matter how carefully you plan, you cannot anticipate every delay or problem that might appear when you are trying to reach agoal. That is what happened to Francesco as detailed below.As a new manager, Francesco worked diligently to set up well-functioning teams and to develop an action plan for achieving several ambitious six-month goals. Although everyone’s schedule was always full,things had been going well, and his group was just about ready to preview an exciting new product for company executives and several key clients.But the week before the launch date, things started going wrong. Here are some of the things that happened:Andrea, who was coordinating the launch activities, went into the hospital with a ruptured appendix. The only person working closely with her on the details for the launch had resigned two weeks earlier andhad not been replaced.It turned out that another manager had reserved the large conference room for a meeting on the day scheduled for the product presentation.The CEO sent back the prototype of the presentation folder, asking for substantial changes.Francesco’s manager found that the new CEO wanted her to attend an executive retreat during same week as the regional sales conference, which was only two weeks away, and asked him to take her place onan important panel.Francesco still has not received the product prototype and estimated costs even though he is made several requests.Francesco feels overwhelmed and frustrated and it seems impossible for him to go ahead with the launch. He also has been so busy that his other priorities are suffering. What could he have done to avoid thisdifficult situation?Francesco’s careful planning omitted something very important: Strategies to deal with anticipated problems and extra time in which to handle those he had not foreseen. Here are some strategies he could haveused:Ask, “What if….?” Those powerful two words can avoid a lot of trouble. Whenever you are planning a task or project, take some time to ask yourself, “What if *this and that+ happens?” Once you have identifiedpotential problems, you can take steps to keep them from happening or develop backup plans for dealing with them. For example, Francesco might have decided ahead of time what he would do if any of the keypeople become unavailable at the last minute.Communicate clearly with others and get their cooperation. We often think we are communicating clearly and that we have everyone’s agreement when, in fact, all we are doing is telling people what we want.Real communication means that the other person not only hears but understands our message. And real communication is a two-way process, in which both participants listen to and understand each other’spoint of view. That takes time, especially when people need to come to an agreement about something.When managing your priorities, one of the key people with whom you need to communicate is your manager. For example, if you think you have identified an activity you can stop doing or delegate to someoneelse, you might need to get your manager’s agreement before eliminating that activity from your list of priorities or handing it off to someone else. Explain why you think the activity is no longer necessary or theadvantages of delegating it. Elicit your manager’s ideas and perspective, and make sure that you both have the same understanding of the situation before proceeding.Leave “lag” time in your schedules. The old cliché, “If something can go wrong, it will,” is, like so many clichés, based on real-life experience. Every realistic schedule must include blocks of time for bothanticipated and unanticipated problems. The more complicated the project and the higher the stakes, the more lag time you will need. The worst that can happen is that you will have some extra time!Think creatively. When things go wrong, put on your thinking cap. Look for innovative, efficient ways to solve problems. Keep in mind that most obvious solution is not always the best.
5. Take Care Of Yourself And Manage Stress:-5. Think of a time when there was a conflict between your priorities and the priorities of someone else.What was the result?___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________What could you have done to manage those conflicting priorities?Refer above sides 17 to 18.6. How to Take Care of Yourself:-Do you experience too much stress at work? What are some steps you can take to relieve it?Refer above sides 19.
RECAP:- People who seem to manage their priorities effortlessly have something in common: they all use systems of some kind. Systems help uswork efficiently, instead of haphazardly, so that we are more likely to get the results we want. The first element of a useful system is setting SMART goals.Once that has been done, there are several other key actions in a system for managing priorities. To focus on the outcome and clarify expectations, make sure that everyone involved has the same understanding of the expectedoutcome, that the outcome is achievable, that the deadlines are clear, and that the lines of communication are open. When you evaluate your resources,determine whether you have enough money, time, skills, equipment, and other resources that are essential for achieving your goal. To free up time for what isreally important, identify what you can stop doing and what you can delegate by examining each task and activity in terms of specific outcomes and specificgoals.Even those who are good at juggling e-mail, drop-in visitors, and telephone calls while doing other work have difficulty doing tasks that require concentrationwhen they are constantly interrupted. Reduce unnecessary interruptions so you can concentrate on important tasks. Unforeseen problems can wreak havocwith good-intentioned attempts to get our work done well and on time. Try to anticipate problems, avoid them when possible by communicating clearly, leavetime in your schedule to deal with the unexpected, and think creatively.One reason that managing priorities is not a simple task is that people’s priorities often conflict. You cannot manage conflicting priorities alone. Respect otherpeople’s priorities; make sure they understand why yours are important; offer help with their priorities; and establish positive, cooperative relationships.Lastly, a system for managing priorities includes strategies for taking care of yourself and managing the stress that can have a negative impact on yourhealth, the quality of your work, and your relationships. Learn to recognize the warning signs of stress and take steps to alleviate it.
IV. Planning and Scheduling List of Exhibits - Key Components of an Action Plan - Guidelines for Scheduling - Key Components of an Action Plan - Guidelines for Scheduling
List of Exercises Exercise 4-1: Action PlanningExercise 4-1: Action PlanningExercise 4-2: Schedule Your TimeExercise 4-3: Reflect on What You Have Learned
Exercise 4-2: Schedule Your TimeExercise 4-3: Reflect on What You Have Learned How will what you have learned about action planning and scheduling help you improve the way you manageyour priorities? What two or three actions will you take right away?
What Action Planning And Scheduling Can Accomplish:- The process of planning and scheduling forces you to think consciously about what work you need to do and how to decide on the best way to do it. Theprocess also helps you find shortcuts and avoid problems. First, think about what the terms “action planning” and “scheduling” mean. How would you define them? Action planning means identifying thesequence of key activities for achieving a specific goal, the resources you will need, the time each activity will take, and who is responsible for carrying out each action. Scheduling means setting up a time to handle each of your tasks or activities. Setting up a schedule is a reality check: It requires that you look carefully atwhether you can actually achieve what you hope to achieve within a given period of time. Schedules serve as reminders, and they help clear your mind so that you canfocus on one thing at a time without worrying about all other things you need to do. In Chapter 3, you learned that people who do a good job of managing their priorities use systems to help them work more effectively. Action plans andschedules are both systems. As is true of any system, it takes time to set them up, and that is one reason we tend to neglect them. But “saving” time by not developingaction plans and schedules is false economy. It is like driving ten miles out of your way to save a penny on a gallon of gas—you end up spending more overall. Let’s begin by examining the components of an action plan. Then we will look at how to set up a schedule.How To Build A ScheduleYou can schedule your time for a single day, a week, a month, or even longer, but no matter what the time frame, do your scheduling on a regular basis: at the beginning of the day, onthe first or last day of the week, on the first or last day of the month, and so on. Also, if you schedule on a daily or weekly basis, you will also need a schedule for a longer period—a monthor even a quarter—to account for your important, not urgent priorities.Below is a process you can follow to build a schedule:1. Determine the calendar period for your schedule and make a list of everything you need to do during that period of time. In addition to work-related tasks and activities, list things youneed to do in your personal life, such as doctors’ appointments, getting the car serviced, going to the gym, meeting with your children’s teachers, or having lunch with friends.2. Identify the important tasks and activities that must be done at specific times, such as attending a conference, taking a class, making a presentation, facilitating a meeting, or going tothe dentist. Put those items on your schedule first. Be sure to include any necessary preparation and travel time.3. Identify the high-priority activities, such as planning a presentation, writing a report, or preparing performance evaluations that require the most concentration. Estimate how long youthink they will take, and schedule them for times when you are least likely to be interrupted.4. Estimate how long it will take for your routine activities, such as returning telephone calls, checking e-mail, organizing your files, and discussing routine matters with others. Schedulethe time for those activities.5. Schedule some blocks of time in which to handle unexpected interruptions and crises.6. Schedule blocks of “quiet” time, when you are not likely to be interrupted, for thinking and reflecting. Try to hold onto those times except for genuine emergencies.7. Schedule time for yourself, so you can take a walk, go to the gym, or visit with a friend. Remember, your personal time is valuable—be careful not to lose it or give it away.8. Finally, double-check your schedule to be sure that you have left enough “lag” time so you do not have to rush through one activity to get to another.What If There Really Is Not Enough Time?No matter how hard you try, you cannot add hours to the day, or days to the week. Building a schedule forces you to acknowledge the reality of time. When we take on too manyresponsibilities as did Mercedes, something in the schedule has to give. If you really cannot fit everything into your schedule without sacrificing time for your “important – not urgent”activities, lag time, quiet time, and time for yourself, then you have taken on too much.When you find yourself in this situation, review your priorities again. Try to find tasks and activities you can delay, hand off to someone else, or not do at all. Could you take that statisticsworkshop next quarter instead of this week? Do you have to facilitate the weekly meeting, or could another team member take on that responsibility? Could an event planner coordinatethe off-site sales meeting? Look for ways in which you could accomplish your work more efficiently. Could you replace a business trip with a telephone conference or eliminate one step inthe document review process?You will find strategies for streamlining your work. Use them to “buy” yourself some extra time when you really have too much to do.
List of SidebarsWhen Don’t You Need An Action Plan?Look at the list of priorities you developed in Your Priorities and the SMART goals you developed in. Know what is ImportantAre there any priorities that do not need an action plan?_________________________________________________________________________Note:-Good action plans take time to develop and monitor. Fortunately, you do not need an action plan for everything you do! For many of the items on your to do list, you need only a few notes aboutwhat activities should be done to achieve the outcome, what resources you need, your deadlines, and so on.Work that does not need an action plan generally includes routine tasks such as purging old e-mail files, planning weekly meetings, writing employee performance evaluations, or writing monthly status reports.Although those types of activities need to be scheduled, they seldom require the same in-depth planning and thinking involved in action planning.For complicated tasks or projects, however, the time it takes to develop and monitor an action plan will be time well spent. Nadia’s project exemplifiesthe type of complex undertaking that requires an action plan to ensure that the outcome is achieved successfully. Nadia’s project, in fact, meets all these criteria for determining when you need an action plan:- It has several activities or phases, each of which has its own deadline- Other people are involved, some of whom may have conflicting priorities- Achieving the outcome requires substantial resources, such as time, money, skills and knowledge, access to certain people, or equipment-It is subject to delays, changes, or problems that could throw the project off track or make it impossible to achieve the outcome- The deadline for achieving the outcome would be difficult or impossible to change
RECAP:- The process of planning and scheduling forces you to think consciously about what work you need to do and decide on the best way to do it. Action plans and schedules are both systems. Action planning means identifying the sequence of key activities for achieving a specific goal, the resources you will need, the time each activity will take, and who is responsible for carrying out each action. Scheduling means setting up a time to handle each of your tasks or activities. For an action plan to be workable, everyone involved must have the same understanding of the goal, the deadline, and the criteria by which they will know that the goal has been achieved. Action plans specify the activities that need to be carried out to achieve the outcome, the resources that are needed and where they will be obtained, factors that might influence or constrain the way the outcome is achieved, the sequence of key activities and the progress checkpoints, and responsibilities. An action plan also anticipates problems that might come up and includes ideas about what will be done to handle them. While you do not need an action plan for every task and activity, you do need schedules to manage your priorities successfully. Schedules help you make sure you get all your important work accomplished, find shortcuts, and clear your mind so you can focus. Building a schedule forces you to acknowledge the reality of time. It is important to develop a realistic schedule based on how long it actually takes to do things. A schedule also clusters activities; recognizes times you do your best work; includes time for the unexpected, thinking and reflecting; time for important, not urgent activities; and personal time. Build schedules carefully, and review and revise them regularly.
V. Working EfficientlyList of Exhibits- Obstacles to Working Efficiently- Sample Daily Time Log- Work More Efficiently- Tips for Delegating Work-Tips for Using E-mail Productively-Obstacles to Working Efficiently :--Sample Daily Time Log:-
-Work More Efficiently :--Tips for Delegating Work :--Tips for Using E-mail Productively :-
List of Exercises:-Exercise 5-1: Delegating WorksheetExercise 5-2: Reflect on What You Have LearnedExercise 5-3: Daily Time LogExercise 5-1: Delegating Worksheet Exercise 5-2: Reflect on What You Have Learned How will what you have learned about working more efficiently help you improve the way you manage your priorities? What three actions will you take right away? _______________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________
List of Sidebars – Case study - Think about it :-- What It Means To Work Efficiently:-- There are many different ways in which we waste our valuable time. Can you think of some time wasters of your own that might be keeping you from working more efficiently? List four or five of them below:- Delegating Successfully:--Look at the list of time wasters you identified earlier in this chapter. What strategies can you use right away to improve the efficiency of your work?-Tips For Using E-Mail Productively:-Plan the e-mail you write. If it is worth the time to write an e-mail, it is worth the time to think about how to write one that gets results.What questions does your reader need answered? What are you trying to accomplish?How productively do you use your e-mail?How much of your time do you spend on e-mail?_________________________________________________________________________How often do you check your e-mail?_________________________________________________________________________Do you respond to messages as soon as they come in?_________________________________________________________________________Do you stop what you are doing to check messages when they arrive?_________________________________________________________________________Do you reply to every e-mail you receive?_________________________________________________________________________How many messages each day do you receive that you do not need to see?_________________________________________________________________________What is your most important point? Remember that most people read only the first few lines of an e-mail before deciding whether it warrants any more of their time,so put the most important message first. Then include a subject line that accurately previews the message.You will reduce the chances that the recipient will miss your message or send an e-mail back asking for clarification, and you will be more likely to get the right results.
- What It Means To Work EfficientlyWe all know very busy people who complain that there just are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Kiran was one of those busy people. When he was promotedto manager of new program development, he decided to undertake several initiatives that would make a real difference to the organization. He clarified his SMART goals,developed action plans for achieving them, and set up schedules.But six months later, Kiran is having trouble getting through the day, and is not making any progress on his initiatives. He spends nearly all of his time responding to requests,answering questions, solving problems, and trying to keep up with routine tasks. It seems as if every time he turns around, someone needs something from him, and they need itnow! He is a member of three different teams and often has back-to-back meetings. He has hardly finished reading his e-mail when his in-box fills up again with new messages,calling for his attention. When Kiran tries to take some quiet time to think and plan, the telephone invariably rings or someone stops by his office. He has started taking officedocuments home to read at night and on the weekends, because he never seems to be able to get through them during the day.Instead of moving forward with his new initiatives, Kiran is running in place, just trying to keep up. One reason is that he is not working as efficiently as he could. But what does“working efficiently” really mean?Working efficiently means doing the right work in the right way to achieve a specific goal. Yet Professors Ghoshal and Bruch (2002) found that “fully 90% of managers [theystudied] squandered their time in all sorts of ineffective activities and frittered away their productivity, despite having well-defined goals.” Managers feel overwhelmed by demandspartly because they fail to recognize the degree to which they can control their work. They function in “reaction” mode, responding on a moment-by-moment basis to whateverquestion, demand, task, or crisis comes their way.To work efficiently, we need to step back, evaluate the way we use our time, and make conscious decisions that help us use our time to best advantage. We need to identify theways in which we “fritter away” time and learn how to streamline our tasks so that we can accomplish more in the time we have available.- Delegating SuccessfullyAs you have learned, delegating work you do not have to do yourself is a great way to “buy” time you can use to achieve your goals—as long as you delegate the right work in the right way. That iswhat Carlo discovered.For the past month, Carlo had been falling farther and farther behind in his work. No matter how many hours he put in or how many times he rearranged his calendar, he could not seem to catchup.
Tips For Using E-Mail Productively:-Importance of scheduling time for your e-mail activities: checking your inbox, writing e-mail, responding to messages, and organizing messages that you need to keep. Let’s take acloser look at the actions you can take to make the best possible use of your e-mail time. Those actions are described below and summarized :-•If possible, avoid interrupting yourself to handle e-mail. “Computer-based interruptions fall into a sort of Heisenbergian uncertainty trap: it is difficult to know whether an e-mailmessage is worth interrupting your work for unless you open and read it—at which point you have, of course, interrupted yourself (Thomspon 2005).”Some of us do the type of work that requires reading and responding to e-mail immediately. Even those who normally do not need to check e-mail more than two or three times aday occasionally work on projects that require checking it more often. But the truth is that most of us are more than ready to interrupt our work to check e-mail simply because itfeels easier and more enjoyable than what we are doing.Why concentrate on writing a difficult report or balancing a budget when you could see whether anyone has sent you an interesting e-mail? “I can’t seem to resist that little ‘ding’that tells me a new message has landed in my inbox,” says executive Melissa Lukin. “No matter what I’m doing, I stop to see what it is (Fisher Chan 2005).” The lesson is that to use e-mail more productively, turn off your computer’s “You’ve got mail” message.•Plan the e-mail you write. If it is worth the time to write an e-mail, it is worth the time to think about how to write one that gets results. What questions does your reader needanswered? What are you trying to accomplish?•Think carefully before responding to an e-mail. Many of the e-mail messages you receive need no response. For messages that do, ask yourself whether e-mail is thebest way to communicate about the topic. When an issue requires discussion, it is more efficient to telephone or to have a face-to-face conversation.•Organize saved e-mail messages so you can quickly find what you need. Imagine how long it would take to find one piece of paper in an overstuffed, disorganized filecabinet. It can also be very time-consuming to search for e-mail messages unless you have set up a workable set of e-files. Set up folders that reflect the work you doand label them so you can tell what their contents are at a glance. When you need to keep an e-mail, save it to a folder as soon as you have taken whatever immediateaction is needed. Schedule time to review your saved e-mail folders periodically so that you can delete or archive e-mails you no longer need. Review and redesign thefiling system regularly to make sure that it is useful.•Get off distribution lists for e-mail messages you do not need. Every e-mail that lands in your in-box requires action, if only to delete it. Cut down on the amount of e-mail you receive by asking people to remove you from their distribution lists when you no longer need to receive their e-mail messages. Do the same with newslettersand promotional e-mail. Let your correspondents know what kind of information to forward to you and what you do not need to receive.•Use templates. Many of us send essentially the same messages again and again. But why “reinvent the wheel”? You can save time by creating and using templatesthat you can quickly adapt for specific readers and situations. Make sure to incorporate the changes needed so that the message is directed to your current audience,not to the person or people for whom the template was originally created.
Recap:- Working efficiently means doing the right work in the right way to achieve a specific goal. You need to evaluate the way you use yourtime and make conscious decisions that help you use time to best advantage. Common obstacles to working efficiently include: doing things you enjoyinstead of those that move you towards your goals, using e-mail unproductively, unnecessary interruptions and disorganization, managing by crisisinstead of sticking to priorities, saying “yes” to everything, unnecessary or poorly planned meetings, procrastination, and doing things that do not need tobe done. By tracking your time, you can identify what is unnecessary or inefficient and make changes that help you make better use of time.Some actions you can take are: stop doing or delegate routine tasks and activities you enjoy but do not have to do yourself, reduce interruptions, controlthe way you use your e-mail, take time for reflection before the day begins, revise your priorities when things change, build a network of people you canturn to for information and help, and keep up with your routine work. Delegating is a great way to “buy” time you can use to achieve your goals—as long as you delegate the right work in the right way. Tryto delegate complete jobs, instead of tasks. Make sure the person doing the work understands the job, its importance, and what you expect. Delegate bothresponsibility and authority, and let the person doing the work determine how to achieve the results. Provide the resources people need, expect them tocome up with the solutions to problems, and give them as much as they can handle. To avoid problems, reach agreement on key issues before the workbegins, then provide support without micro-managing. Respect differences in style and approach. To keep improving the way you delegate, regularlyevaluate your delegating process. E-mail is both a time waster and an opportunity to improve productivity. To manage your priorities, use your e-mail time efficiently. Youcan do that by planning the e-mail you write and thinking carefully before responding to an e-mail, organizing your saved messages so you can find themeasily, reducing the number of e-mail messages you receive by getting off distribution lists for unwanted messages, and using templates for e-mailmessages you send repeatedly.
VI Using Technology to Manage Your Priorities List of Exhibits – 3. Tools for Working Remotely 1. Goal-Setting Tools Goal-setting software walks you through the process of what you learned in Chapter 2 of this course: •Determining your long-term goals •Developing an action plan that includes the short-term goals needed to achieve your long-term goals •Prioritizing your tasks and activities in terms of your goals •Track and evaluating your progress using various metrics 2. Project Management Tools Much of the project management software on the market is designed for large, complicated projects that involve large numbers of people and extensive resources. Most of us do not need such sophisticated software to help us manage our projects. But we can benefit from less complex applications that are relatively easy to learn and which help us do the following: •Set up a project, including identifying and assigning resources •Identify critical tasks •Establish a project schedule, including checkpoints or “milestones” •Track progress, staffing, and expenditures •Report project information and status
List of Exercises Exercise 6-1: Reflect on What You Have Learned :- How will what you have learned about technological tools help you improve the way you manage your priorities? Which of the tools you now use are working for you? What will you do to use those tools and others more effectively? Solution – Tools To Help You Manage Your Priorities The variety of technology-based tools available to help you manage your priorities can be mind-boggling: software programs, cell phones that include calendars and cameras, and hand-held computers that can receive and send e-mail are just a few examples. Here are some of the things those tools can help you do: •Set and manage your goals •Schedule your time and set up reminders •Set up and manage your to-do lists •Set up and manage your address books •Coordinate your schedules and work with other people •Manage your projects •Browse the Internet, send e-mail, and write or edit documents •Make telephone calls and send voice and text messages •Hold meetings with people who are in different locations Computer Applications for Organizing and Scheduling Paper-and-pencil agendas and calendars work well for many people, and you might be one of them. But there are also many computer software programs that are designed to help you stay organized and schedule your time. Here are a few of the things these computer applications can do for you: •Set up and manage an address book or contacts list. Computerized address books are easy to update and easy to use. Once you have entered information about a contact, you can retrieve that information in a variety of ways. You can search for a specific contact or group of contacts, create e-mail distribution lists, print out the information in a card-file format or a booklet that will fit into your organizer, and flag contacts for follow-up. You can usually to send the information electronically to and from other electronic devices, including some cell phones. •Set up and manage calendars, schedules, and to-do lists. Computerized calendars make it easy to schedule both one-time and recurring tasks, activities, and appointments. You can view your calendar for selected time periods—a day, a week, or a month. If you are on a network, you can choose to allow others to see your schedule and even make entries in it. For example, an assistant could check to see when you are available and then make appointments for you. Most scheduling and organizing software includes a “task” or “to-do” list feature you can use to set up a to-do list that includes both one-time and recurring tasks, with reminders if you specify them. Those applications usually allow you to make electronic “notes”—ideas, questions, reminders, and other types of information you want to remember. You can even leave your electronic notes open on your computer screen, like Post-It notes that you stick on an office wall or along the edges of your computer monitor. •Set up meetings. Scheduling meetings can be a frustrating, time-consuming task that involves many telephone calls and e-mail messages to find out when people are available. Scheduling and organizing software allows you to streamline the process of setting up meetings with people who are in your network. You can use the system to find out when people are available; invite people to attend and tell them whether their attendance is required or optional; reserve the meeting room and equipment; and, if necessary, reschedule the meeting. You can also block out time on everyone’s calendar for routine meetings. And some applications allow you to set up online meetings, in which you and your colleagues use instant messaging to communicate with one another.
List of Sidebars – Case study - Think about it :--What technological tools are you currently using? What tasks do you use them for?- In the above Case study section, you listed the technology-based tools you arecurrently using to manage your priorities. What others might be useful?Before answering the Case Study read it carefully below:-Note: I am using Mind Tree ApplicationHow To Learn More About Technology-Based ToolsAs was mentioned previously at the beginning of this chapter, technology is changing day-by-day. To identifying which technology-based tools might help you manage your priorities, you can dothe following:- Ask your friends and colleagues for suggestions. Find out what tools they use, how they use them, what problems they have found, and so on. Other people’s experiences can provide muchuseful and time-saving information.- Search the Internet to learn about the available technology-based tools. Read reviews that discuss the pros and cons of various programs and devices. Look for tools that do what you need themto do without a lot of unnecessary features.- Visit the Web sites of several technology developers for demos and free trials before purchasing software. Experience how easy or difficult the software is to use and how well it does or doesnot meet your needs.- Discuss your needs with the IT people if your organization has an Information Technology department. They should be able to advise you of the best technology-based tools for your specificneeds.- Spend the necessary time to learn how to use the software or an electronic device you have purchased. If you cannot figure it out by yourself, take a class, or find someone knowledgeable whocan teach you. Find out how to customize the software or electronic device to your needs, use all the features that will be useful to you, and handle problems.
RECAP:- When used thoughtfully and with care, technology-based tools can help you stay organized and streamline communications which can be of great value in managing your priorities. Paper-and-pencil agendas and calendars work well for many people, but there are also many computerized programs that set up and manage an address book, or contacts list; set up and manage calendars, schedules, and to-do lists; and set up meetings. Other computer programs help you set goals and manage projects. Many electronic tools help you work very efficiently while away from the office and with colleagues in distant locations. In addition to cell phones, they include handheld electronic devices and computers that allow you to access, organize, collect, store, and process various types of information; teleconferencing systems that allow people to hold meetings from different locations; instant messaging, so that people who are on line can communicate with each other in real time; and text messaging, a less-expensive alternative to a telephone call. Technology does not always simplify our lives, however. It can take much time and effort to use these tools effectively. Electronic devices demand attention, and they do not always work properly. Because we can check e-mail and communicate in text or by voice 24 hours a day, we never get away from our work. We also tend to use electronic tools far more often when we need to use them. Technology has greatly accelerated the pace of doing business so we have less and less “down” time. Electronic devices can also “disconnect” us from our environment. Before purchasing a technological tool, think about how you will use it to manage your priorities and whether it is worth the time and effort to learn. Try to avoid overusing electronic devices and cell phones. Resist the temptation to buy every new tool as soon as it becomes available on the market. Technology is changing day-by-day. To identify which technological tools might help you manage your priorities, ask knowledgeable friends and colleagues for suggestions, research the available tools, and learn to use the tools you purchase so you can take full advantage of their benefits.
Senthil kumar JanakiramanPeople skills Presentation on How to Manage Your Priorities-Janis Fisher ChanSenthil-kumar.janakiraman@Capgemini.comOracle –Peoplesoft financials – NACapgemini India Pvt Ltd – Mumbai