Our Experts | Anna Hermann, Marketing Strategist
Prioritizing your work can be a daunting task: you want to make sure all your work is getting done but sometimes it just doesn’t seem like there are enough hours in a day. Not to mention missing an important deadline can be harmful to your company and your career. So how do you get it all in order?
Ask your manager. Every project you are assigned should come with a due date. If it doesn’t, ask. If multiple projects are due at the same time, discuss with your manager which one takes precedence.
Keep the communication open. If you are getting more than you can handle from different managers, don’t be afraid to speak up. Let your managers know what you’ve already been assigned and when it’s due. If there is too much on your plate, ask your managers who else can help take on the workload.
Write it down. Using a project management tool can help you keep track of your projects more efficiently. You can see your deadlines, notes about every project and attach pieces of the projects all in one place, so you’re not starting from scratch each time or forgetting a deadline.
Do the easiest one first. Okay, so maybe none of your projects are “easy,” but you know where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Start with the projects that will take you less time so they are out of the way and you have a clear mind to focus on the more difficult tasks.
Plan it out. For a bigger project that will need completed over a span of time, plan it out! Set small goals to have pieces of the project done in stages. Leaving a project until the last minute can result in a loss of quality, a chance for peer review or even completion.
If you have made prioritization efforts and still aren’t seeing the results you want, consider other factors that may be playing into your work.
Work a full day. Come into work on time, take your allotted lunch break and leave on time. An employee who leaves 10 minutes early each day is losing nearly an hour of productivity each week! The same goes for coming in late and taking extended lunch breaks. Pay attention to where you spend your time. Committing yourself to the full eight hour workday makes all the difference.
Keep your focus. Are you distracted by chatty coworkers, social media or office music? Pinpoint what is distracting you and create a solution. Block social media pages on your work computer during set hours, and keep your cell phone tucked away if you don’t need it for your job. Bring earplugs to drown out the noise. Do whatever it takes to keep your focus throughout the day.
Examine your work. Are you spending a lot of time in one area of your work compared to others? Try to find the root cause of what is taking you longer to do and why. Are you being assigned work in which you aren’t the subject matter expert? Is there a tool you’re struggling to use? Identify if there is someone better suited to take on a certain task, or if there is additional training you can receive to help your work.
Be honest. If you’re prioritizing, working long hours, playing to your strengths and still not getting the results you need, be honest with your manager about it. Together you can devise a plan for success, whether it be to delegate work to another team member, drop a project that doesn’t produce ROI, purchase a tool or software to help automate your work or something else. It will be better than projects building up with missed deadlines.
For more tips on doing your best work, check out our blog, 5 Steps to Take Control of Your Work.