How to prioritise workload and meet deadlines

How do I prioritise my workload?

how to prioritise workload and meet deadlines

Time management and prioritising is a topic that you are often asked about at an Are you going to be able to cope with different tasks with different deadlines. Job interviews frequently have questions regarding time management, which can cover topics like meeting deadlines and work-life balance. Knowing how to prioritize work affects the success of your project, the To help you manage your team's workload and hit deadlines, here are.

Work categories The first stage in learning how to prioritise effectively is to allocate your tasks to appropriate categories. Quadrant 1 — important and urgent These are tasks that are essential to the functioning of the organisation and must be done urgently to avoid a potential crisis. These top priority tasks must be actioned ahead of all the rest. For example, you are working at your desk and the fire bell starts ringing.

It is not a scheduled fire drill; there is a real possibility that the building is on fire. This is important and urgent; whatever else you were doing, you must now interrupt it and evacuate the building. Quadrant 2 — important but not urgent These are the tasks which are defined in your job objectives and which you are employed to carry out.

Often, these tasks are projects of medium- to long-term duration and therefore lack urgency. However, you should be assigning regular chunks of time to these activities in order to fulfil your job role and your annual appraisal will reflect how well you have done this. Quadrant 3 — urgent but not important These tasks threaten to cause a negative impact or disruption if they are not actioned quickly.

'How do you manage your time and prioritise tasks?' Tricky graduate interview question

However, they may well be outside the scope of your job objectives and the extent to which they contribute to the functioning of the organisation may be questionable. Sometimes, the degree of urgency may have been defined by someone else, whose judgement may be inaccurate, or at least, different from yours. Quadrant 4 — not important and not urgent Tasks in this quadrant are not an essential part of your job objectives, neither will there be any noticeable impact to the business if they are not done at all.

For example, reading trade journals and newsletters is a useful thing to do if you have time. However, if a pile of these has accumulated, all still waiting to be read, and some of them are now several months old, they could probably be discarded without causing any impact whatsoever.

The bee is praised. The mosquito is swatted. However, instead of Quadrant 2 tasks being next, Quadrant 3 urgent but not important tasks consistently jump the queue ahead of the Important Quadrant 2 tasks.

how to prioritise workload and meet deadlines

An ignored Quadrant 2 task has the potential to become a crisis and move into Quadrant 1, displacing everything else. If, however, the task had been addressed earlier, before it became urgent, the crisis would have been avoided. If you find yourself firefighting on a regular basis, it may well be that you are not giving Quadrant 2 tasks sufficient importance in your daily work allocation. The question to ask yourself in order to determine the importance of a task is: Your time horizon How far ahead do you need to look when assembling your list of tasks and fitting them into the appropriate quadrant?

In your job, you need to consider a time horizon. Just how far out do you look each day? And how far out should you be looking?

how to prioritise workload and meet deadlines

For someone working on a customer service desk, it is not much further than the next call. For a team leader, it might be a couple of weeks.

how to prioritise workload and meet deadlines

The higher up the management structure, the more distant the time horizon and the tasks connected with it you need to be considering. How can managers help decrease the work pressure on employees, prevent productivity burnouts and train them to prioritise effectively such as to get the job done on time?

Employees are stressed, exhausted, drained off energies, and sometimes choose to be absent from duties to evade off the work load. How do you maintain clarity of thought and stay sane when crazy schedules create havoc? Well, here are some tips for you to help manage your workforce to stay focused, achieve peak performance, maximise productivity and deliver within the timeframe committed: Prepare a Collective List of the Tasks to be Done First thing to do is to list all the tasks, in the order of importance, shuffle align and realign them depending on their importance and sense of urgency, the time span required for meeting the deadline etc.

While doing so, it is important to not forget that every single task is important, and each job needs to be well done to meet superior quality standards.

How to answer the question: 'How do you manage your time?'

Important vs Urgent Since all of the tasks listed are important, there are some which are very urgent and those for which you can buy in some more time perhaps a day more to accomplish.

An urgent task is a task that needs immediate attention, and if it is not completed within certain timelines, your employer brand could face serious negative impact to hamper the brand repute.

  • Work categories

Urgent issues such as meeting deadline committed to a client or prospective partner, publication of newsletters or press releases, and immediate reports for the top management and stakeholders have to be prioritized. By prioritizing a task or two, your employees can easily manage time and postpone other less important tasks to be accomplished later.

Ask the Manager to Prioritize A good communication with your immediate manager to understand the job scope, urgent business requirements always help you to be prepared for such urgencies at work. When the employees have enormous stacks of immediate tasks to be neatly accomplished at the same time, seek help from your manager to decide on the ones most important and those which could wait for sometime.

A manager in turn is required to be understanding and co-operative of the work deadline and support efforts of the team to accomplish the targeted deadline.

Stay Flexible and Accept the Changes It is important to realize that priorities can change at any point of time, over an email dialogue or a business conversation and employees are required to be prepared for sudden urgent business needs.

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