Managing Priorities

by JN Software


We often feel that time is slipping through our fingers. We want to save it, to spend it wisely, to chase it, to enjoy it. Yet it’s so fleeting. They say that time is money, and so it is while we’re working. With all the demands on our time, how can we prioritize this valuable resource? How can we “spend it wisely”, managing our priorities properly during the course of our hectic day?

Managing priorities involves identifying those tasks that are most important and allotting the appropriate time to accomplish them.

Here are some brief tips you may find useful:

Step back and take a look at the bigger picture. This may seem counter-intuitive; step back and spend time to just look? Well, spend the time to look and also to think. Catch your breath, survey the scene. It’s time well-spent.

There is an expression: Plan your year first and your day last. Put key planning dates in your planner. Plan the next month. Plan the next week and finally, plan your daily goals. Your workload is likely to vary depending on the day of the week, the time of the month and the time of the year. Allow for those variations as you plan your goals.

Categorize your tasks.Which ones are important and which ones are urgent? You may be surprised to hear that it’s the important ones you should focus on first! Just because something is urgent, doesn’t mean it’s important. A deadline could be urgent, but it might not be so important. Handle the important tasks right away. Decide which ones you should delegate (maybe some of those urgent matters…), and which others you can postpone or reject.

Break down a larger project into smaller tasks and assignments that are clear, tangible and manageable, so that you and everyone else know precisely what to do each step of the way.

Look at each of those smaller tasks and estimate how long it will take to accomplish. Make sure the estimates are realistic and attainable. Allow for some flexibility, adding tolerance for interruptions or for things to go wrong once in a while.

As you set your priorities, justify them. If they’re based on solid reasoning, then everyone can see why a particular task needs to be accomplished before the others. The process will feel more streamlined, everyone will feel able to cooperate and the whole unit will meet any intermediate deadlines.

Time can be tamed. It needn’t run away from you. Get into the habit of applying some of these tips and you’ll find your productivity will remain high while your stress levels remain low.

There are excellent professional skills training courses available, some focusing on time management and managing work priorities. One of these courses might be of real benefit to you if you find that you’re constantly struggling to prioritize or make your time count.

We offer excellent professional skills training and consulting that will help you with time management or setting your work priorities.

IAAP works with the best trainers in the industry to ensure you have relevant, engaging, practical content at your fingertips. This blog is written by a speaker with a program in the IAAP Approved Programs database. Search by name or keyword to find their contact information and book them for your Branch or Region event. 

If you’d like to attend one of these events, you can find one in your area here.

Contact us now at JN Software at 416.264.6247 or info@jnsoftware.cafor additional helpful tips and to discuss our available courses.

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