Working Out Priorities on the Job

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorUniversity, Master's February 2008

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Sometimes in the work place our employer's priorities may not be the same as our own. Therefore we must decide which tasks are the most important and need urgent attention. We must also remember that priorities change, and that we may need to reassess them periodically throughout the day. The first thing that we should do is ask for a second opinion if we cannot effectively prioritize the tasks at hand. It is always a good idea to consult with your supervisor if you are unsure as to a pending deadline or if you need clarification as to which task he/she may need to have completed first.

Second, you should analyze your work. Start your work day by devising a plan of action. This one step will save you time in the long run. Write down the number of task that you must complete. List them in order of importance.

Now decide which of these tasks are important and urgent. List tasks that is important and urgent, but not both. Then list the tasks that are neither important nor urgent, but routine. Try to complete a few urgent and difficult tasks daily. The task that you consider to be urgent or important should account for the majority of your workload. Non-urgent tasks should be completed as time allows. As you complete a task you should remove it from your list. This is an indicator of the progress that you have made.

Third, there may be time when we can delegate task that require outside input. This does not mean that you now have someone else to do your job for you. Do not demand too much from your helpers. If the task that you have delegated to someone else is too much for you to handle alone then assume that it may be too much for the person that you delegated to as well. This may be a project that the two of you can work on together. Also, delegate enjoyable task as well as unpleasant ones. You shouldn't always be the bearer of bad news.

Next avoid wasting time. Idol chit-chat is distracting to say the least and it takes away from the time that you should actually be working. It is okay to exchange a few words with your co-workers but remember that time does not stand still for anyone and you still have work to do.

Finally, we must not forget that priorities change all the time because we receive new information all the time, whether from the intranet, the telephone, or from co-workers. New information will almost always have an impact on our task list. It may change the level of importance or urgency of a task. When we receive this new information we need to reassess our list of priorities once more. This will ensure that we meet our current deadlines. If we use the steps listed above we will be able to use our time in the most effective and productive way.