How Do You Prioritize?

ID-100288876I guess you can manage your team without prioritizing, but what a ride that is! How do you prioritize your work and make sure that you and your team meet your goals? Best to find a way that works for you, or your prioritizing will become a burden and ineffective. Here are some things to consider in finding the best way to prioritize your work.

• Have a realistic sense of the time available to you and what you can get done.

• Align your priorities with those of your organization and customers and, if conflicts arise, address them.

• Make the hard choices regarding what is most important. There are so many demands on our time, that these choices are inevitable.

• Be clear about priorities with your team – no mixed messages, unrealistic deadlines or conflicting priorities.

• Don’t slack off. Keep stated priorities front and center for you and your team. If priorities change, inform your team and set a new course.

• Develop a “system” for prioritizing work – a process for communicating priorities, revisiting them when necessary, receiving team feedback, keeping a record and tracking progress.

An effective way of prioritizing your work gives you a level of control, a way to create efficiency, a path to achieving your goals and a little peace of mind.

photo: Stuart Miles,

Do It Yesterday!

We’ve all had experiences of being given near to impossible deadlines with aplomb, as if what was being asked for was reasonable. Have you ever been told, “Do it yesterday”? How can you respond to such a request? Run fast. Just kidding. ☺ Being fully present in the moment is quite important here. You need to be at your best to figure out what to do. From the present, you can assess the situation and determine what is possible. You may have to say it cannot be done, but before you do, think it out and come up with some options.

If the person asking you persists, roll with them awhile. But, be very careful not to let them put you in a position where pressure and stress build and you lose your ability to deal effectively with the situation. One approach that can work is to assume their ownership of the situation, suggesting you collaborate and come up with a solution together.

Shield your team as you can. Certainly, there will be times of crisis, need or opportunity where you all have to push and go the extra mile. Look for wins and avoid impossible demands like “Do it yesterday!”.

photo: Stephen Vanhorn,