Guest Author - Dianne Walker
Being able to prioritize is an important skill to learn in any successful career. Downsizing and layoffs have increased workloads which require a new game plan to prioritizing the work day and getting the job done. Learning how to prioritize your work on a daily basis will make you efficient in any career that you embark on. All job related tasks fall into four distinct prioritization categories including; time wasters, busy work, developmental and critical. Determining which tasks falls into which category, can help you to get your work done as efficiently as possible.
The least effective category of tasks when setting priorities, are known as time wasters. Time wasters include frequent and unnecessary breaks, wasting time answering unnecessary e-mails, spending time on the phone on non-work related calls. Achieving a task that can be categorized as a time waster is not utilizing your time to the fullest extent. Consider cutting a majority of the time waster tasks from your routine. You will find that your efficiency level will increase dramatically. The most important reason to remove tasks in this category is that they will lead you quicker to a termination rather than a promotion.
Busy work is the second category of prioritization. Tasks in this category usually take up big chunks of your work day. Unlike time wasters, however, tasks in the busy work category usually are required by some aspect of your job. This can include daily, weekly or monthly reports which are due on your supervisorís desk. Busy work also includes tasks which have been delegated to you by management. In some cases, your attitude toward and effectiveness at busy work can get you noticed when management is determining promotions.
Developmental tasks are the next level of prioritization. This level includes such tasks as planning, development, preparation, and training, Tasks at this level are very important, however due to a lack of immediate need, they are often placed low on the prioritization totem pole. Consider your last evaluation, how much of the conversation was spent talking about goals that you planned to accomplish but did not get around to?
The final prioritization category is known as critical tasks. These tasks include deadline driven priorities. Critical tasks are often needed in order for the organization to meet their daily goals and deadlines. The ability to complete critical tasks is usually the reason that people are hired. The ability to successfully complete critical tasks can also be a determining factor when being considered for promotion.
Prioritization is the key to effective job performance. All job related tasks fit into four different levels of prioritizing. Understanding the different levels of prioritization will assist you in getting your work done. While ineffective prioritization may lead to termination, being able to effectively prioritize your tasks can lead to promotion.