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How to Prioritize Your Work When Your Manager Doesn't

Flag Your Priorities

Take ownership and reclaim your time, choosing where you can best spend your time and energy.

You can analyze your last month's calendar and flag or grade your work and in which quadrant you have been working. This will help you plan in a more informed way to use the finite resources of time and energy.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How to Prioritize Your Work When Your Manager Doesn't

How to Prioritize Your Work When Your Manager Doesn't

https://hbr.org/2017/01/how-to-prioritize-your-work-when-your-manager-doesnt

hbr.org

4

Key Ideas

Self-Managing Our Priorities

We need to take ownership and set priorities of the existing workload ourselves. Our priorities can be divided into:

  • The work that one is passionate about, and have build-in motivation for.
  • One's contribution, taking into account the company's needs.

Prioritize Your Work

  • Prioritize the tasks with the highest value addition and impact, while being in your 'high passion' list.
  • Tolerate tasks that may be important but stress you out, as they may be part of the deal. It is also good to push yourself out of the comfort zone.
  • Elevate tasks that others don't see as important, but you are extremely motivated about
  • Delegate all procedural, low-value and low-energy tasks to someone else. If that is not possible, try to minimize or eliminate such work.

Flag Your Priorities

Take ownership and reclaim your time, choosing where you can best spend your time and energy.

You can analyze your last month's calendar and flag or grade your work and in which quadrant you have been working. This will help you plan in a more informed way to use the finite resources of time and energy.

Greg McKeown

Greg McKeown

"If you don't prioritize your time, then someone else will."

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The Planning Fallacy

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Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower

“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important."

The 4 Kinds of Priorities

The Decision Matrix on how to approach tasks has 4 quadrants:

  • Quadrant 1: The Urgent Problems which are important.
  • Quadrant 2: Not Urgent but important tasks
  • Quadrant 3: Urgent but not really important
  • Quadrant  4: Distractions and time-wasting tasks. 

Prioritize the important (Quadrant 2) to attain maximum benefit from your work.

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Personal Operations Category

  • Task management. This one is most commonly taught and includes systems like Getting Things Done.
  • Knowledge management. This is embodied in systems like productivity educa...

What's on your plate

Prioritizing tasks at work involves getting all your tasks and commitments in one place.  Take a piece of paper and make a list of everything you need to get done. Questions to help you:

  • Do you have commitments to others like your boss, partner, kids, or clients?
  • Do you have anything you need to submit? 
  • Do you have any financial tasks that need to get done? 
  • Do you have any planning that needs to get done? 
  • Do you have any administrative tasks? Legal, insurance, staffing, or training?
  • Do you have any professional development tasks that need to get done? Training, areas to research, skills to develop, books to read or study, or classes to take?

Brainstorm your goals

Find your goals. Without them, it is impossible to prioritize your tasks. Try to set 90-day goals, which is long enough to make meaningful progress. Questions to prompt goals:

  • What’s the one thing you could do that makes everything else easier or unnecessary?
  • If you were giving advice to someone else in your position, what 1-3 things would you tell them to focus on?
  • What do you want to have accomplished over the next five years?

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Learning how to prioritize...

...means getting more out of the limited time you have each day. It’s one of the cornerstones of productivity and once you know how to properly prioritize, it can help with everything fro...

Master lists

Capture everything on a Master List and then break it down by monthly, weekly, and daily goals.

  1. Start by making a master list—a document, app, or piece of paper where every current and future task will be stored. 
  2. Once you have all your tasks together, break them down into monthly, weekly, and daily goals.
  3. When setting your priorities, try not to get too “task oriented” - you want to make sure you’re prioritizing the more effective work.

Eisenhower Matrix

The matrix is a simple four-quadrant box that answers that helps you separate “urgent” tasks from “important” ones:

  • Urgent and Important: Do these tasks as soon as possible
  • Important, but not urgent: Decide when you’ll do these and schedule it
  • Urgent, but not important: Delegate these tasks to someone else
  • Neither urgent nor important: Drop these from your schedule as soon as possible.

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