The key to successfully managing your workload is prioritisation, but it’s often easier said than done. Even people with the best organisational skills can quickly be derailed by outside influences.
‘Important tasks’ and ‘urgent tasks’ can appear to be the same thing, even though they are very different. Some things may appear important solely because they are urgent and it’s not uncommon for a matter that was important to also become urgent because it wasn’t prioritised effectively.
‘Important’ will often relate to what your role within an organisation is. When you’re attempting to prioritise conflicting demands, you may need to step back and ask yourself what you’re actually setting out to achieve. If you’re running your own business, the answer will be the important tasks that line up with your business plan to ensure your work objectives are met. If you’re an employee, these were the top items on your position description and are likely to be critical to you satisfying your KPIs.
Important tasks don’t necessarily have an urgent timeframe, however if you can’t identify what’s important and what’s urgent and prioritise these tasks accordingly, you may end up putting yourself under unnecessary pressure.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of becoming reactive – or crisis managing. While you will need to react to emergencies and requests urgently at times, being reactive can sometimes cause crisis management by not clearly distinguishing important activities.
To be a high-performing individual, it’s important to do something every day that moves you towards achieving your goals. The best use of time is that which is spent focusing on achieving goals that add value to your outcomes.