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How to Prioritize Your Work

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How to prioritize all of those to-do’s in a logical, meaningful way?
Yes, you could just plow right into that pile, overcoming your workload with sheer grit and tenacity. But if you value your work-life balance and your sanity, it will take more than determination; it will require a little structure.
These 4 steps will help you prioritize your work according to what will deliver the most value to your company and peace of mind for you…

Published in: Leadership & Management
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How to Prioritize Your Work

  1. 1. How to Prioritize Your Work 4 steps to bring order to your growing pile of work requests
  2. 2. Introduction How to prioritize all of those to-do’s in a logical, meaningful way? Yes, you could just plow right into that pile, overcoming your workload with sheer grit and tenacity. But if you value your work-life balance and your sanity, it will take more than determination; it will require a little structure. These 4 steps will help you prioritize your work according to what will deliver the most value to your company and peace of mind for you…
  3. 3. 1. Identify business objectives Want to know how to prioritize your own work? Watch how your company prioritizes its work. The foundational piece to prioritization is getting behind a single rallying cry. If you have clearly defined business objectives, it is much easier to decide which tasks will rise to the top of the list.
  4. 4. “The bottom line is, when people are crystal clear about the most important priorities of the organization and team they work with and prioritize their work around those top priorities, not only are they many times more productive, they discover they have the time they need to have a whole life.” – Stephen Covey
  5. 5. 1. Identify business objectives Has your organization ranked demand generation activities above HR recruiting? You can probably make a call between building a sales email and enhancing your company LinkedIn page. Follow your company’s lead in your prioritization criteria and your work will always be aligned with what your manager and your organization value. If your organization hasn’t set clear objectives, work with your executive to provide them.
  6. 6. 2. Get your arms around your work You really can’t have a conversation about how to prioritize work without knowing how each kind of work you do impacts your time. Think of one of the types of projects you tackle on a regular basis. Now write down the number of hours you think that work takes.
  7. 7. 2. Get your arms around your work Now go and do the actual math. Write down every single step it takes to accomplish the request, from drafts to approvals to publication, etc. Put your list through the paces with an actual project.
  8. 8. 2. Get your arms around your work How different were the two numbers between your first stab and the number that came out of a step-by-step analysis? If you think something takes five hours but it actually takes 7, and you sign up to do 8 of those projects in a week—congratulations—you’ve just committed to overtime.
  9. 9. 2. Get your arms around your work Once you have an idea how long your projects usually take, now figure out how deep your backlog goes.
  10. 10. 3. Publicize your norms Make sure that your requestors know how much time projects usually take, and how substantial your usual backlog is. Soon you’ll create good habits in your requestors. If they do come to you with a last-minute request, they’ll know how big of a fire they’re setting for you.
  11. 11. 4. Set criteria for prioritization Each organization will have their own criteria for prioritizing work, but here are three common ones to consider: - Business value – create scorecard system, based on company objectives, that produces an objective score for every request you get - Rank of requestor – create shortlist of VIPs that get an instant pass to the front of the line - Urgency – base priorities on due dates of each work request
  12. 12. A little structure goes a long way Learning how to prioritize your workload can feel like the least fun job in the world, but with research, process, and communication—some much needed structure—you can methodically knock out your most important tasks… and even manage to keep your sanity in the process.

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