Monday, December 25, 2006

Priority management

Priority management

Priority management is a significant part of time management : it allows you to take control of your day by favouring important things instead of non-productive tasks. It will help you to improve your productivity and avoid stress caused by missed deadlines.

List of things to be done
Writing a list of things to be done is a first step in priority management : this is a simple but powerful tool to bring out what must be done everyday.
To make a list of things to be done, just write down all the tasks you would like to complete today. You should breakdown big tasks into several smaller ones. Getting that on paper (for example in your daytimer) will help you to see them more clearly. It will help you to focus on one task at a time and give you an idea of the total amount of work that ought to be done.

First things first!

Priority management is not only enumerating tasks but also sorting them out, according to deadlines and priorities. It is thus necessary to prioritize your list of things to be done: select the most important things in your list, labelling each task in numerical order (from the most important to the least important). If too many tasks have high priority, run through the list again and change the rank of the least important ones. Once you have done this, rewrite the list in priority order. Then follow this order for your task during the day. This way, you will complete the most important things, even if you can't do everything in one day.

Favouring important things seems obvious, but people usually give in to the temptation of working first on easier or shorter items, that are often some of the least importants.

Do this every day : now you really control each of your days!

Warning : Some low-priority tasks may be rejected several times at the end of your list, be sure to control that there is no deadline for them (otherwise, raise their priority).

Priority management is also useful outside of work : you can use the "list of things to be done" method for your everyday life, but you especially have to learn how to balance your family time, leisure and responsibilities. The time you spend on leisure and with your family is very important to make you feel better at work (and thus, to be more efficient).

Don't let your workday encroach on your personal life. People who take on more and more responsibilities become stressed and ineffective : their efforts are going in so many directions that they're not focusing on the most important things.
Finally, learn to delegate at home too!

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