Does this sound like your typical day?
Constant requests from your customers or manager
Objectives that you can't ever seem to find the time to get to
Since I was young, I’ve always been passionate about productivity, organization strategy, and efficiency. Those are huge themes of my professional life, it’s what I read about and discuss frequently. The secret I found is that successful people are always working on important things. Navigating HOW to get work done isn’t a skill set that’s often taught in college. That’s one of the problems facing so many young and established professionals today.
So, about 3 years ago, I started The Priority Process blog. My goal was to share my insights and thoughts, as well as, start a conversation about how we work. To reach more people and have a broader conversation, I later launched the Priority Process Newsletter. And, now I’m ready for the next step. This week, I’ll be launching The Priority Process Coaching. Outside of all the free resources I offer, I'll be teaching ONE simple process to manage all your priorities.
What’s the most important task that you have to complete for work right now? If you know, you get a point. If you know the next 2 things on your list, you get 10 points. There’s a lot involved in HOW we get work done, that might not always receive our full attention. Is a task Important vs Urgent vs Easy to do? Or, is a task purely Busy Work?
It helps to understand and focus on what’s a priority. Priorities have set timeframes and consequences if not completed. To leverage your priorities you need to understand where all your work is coming from. What are your inputs? There are usually 3 main sources -
Roles and Responsibilities
Organizational Goals and Objectives
Getting a clear understanding of where we fit inside these structures will better allow us to understand and pursue our priorities with clarity and confidence.
Email is amazing. You can communicate with multiple participants, they serve as records and they ease the pressure of speaking publicly. On the flip side, however, they can be distracting, lead to miscommunication, and even feel overwhelming. A complaint I often hear is spending more time on emails than actually getting work done.
The goal is to leverage what’s good about email while limiting all the unproductive parts. One way of optimizing email usage is by quickly identifying and categorizing emails. Are you receiving a Request vs being given Information? Requests are things you need to do, while Information is items you need to know. Being able to categorize your emails will help to pull you out of your inbox quickly. Plugging your requests into tasks, like a To-Do list, and using email folders to file and keep records.
You may not have a documented, define system of work, however, everyone has preferences and styles that they have developed over time. Maybe that’s working on the easiest items first to get momentum. Or, working on the hardest items in the morning. But, without a consistent, process you are losing focus and efficiency.
Here’s why -
You’re leaving a lot up to your memory or you’re spending time searching notes and emails
It becomes complicated and takes time to figure out what your most important tasks are
So, how can we become more efficient? Earlier, I spoke about identifying the Inputs to your job - role, expectations, and organizational goals. I also talked about the importance of identifying requests through email and extracting those from your inbox. To put those things together, capture all those items into a written, or preferably an electronic list. Keep that list simple and action-oriented, organizing by your most important priority. Then, simply work on only one item at a time.
Just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it will always be easy, but how much more productive could you be if you were only completing your most important work?
We all have systems of work, written or otherwise. Knowing all the expectations of our jobs, managing emails appropriately, and working on our priorities creates a solid foundation for getting work done. However, unless we make our system sustainable, it won’t serve us well.
Here’s how to achieve sustainability -
Alignment with your Manager: Business environments are always changing, sometimes daily. Get alignment with your manager to keep the inputs to your work current, preferable through a regularly scheduled meeting.
Avoid Derailers: things like email requests that aren’t your responsibility. Having the tasks you need to complete in multiple places, not a list. And, busy work that’s not a priority.
Like any system, you have to invest time and energy into ensuring that your work system is functioning efficiently.
We feel most accomplished, not when any work gets done but when the right work gets done when we get our PRIORITIES done.
That’s why next week, I’m excited to launch The Priority Process Coaching! Outside of all the free resources I offer, I teach ONE simple process to manage all your priorities. Check out the assessment tool below to see where you are at.
You'll learn a concise, yet powerful system over 4 weeks that will allow you to focus on your most ambitious results while limiting distractions and busy-work. Here's how I can help.
Priority management teaches you how to get your most important work done all the time. It teaches how to always be productive, allowing you to gain a greater sense of control, efficiency, and focus.
Managing your email can feel like you're drinking from a fire hose! Focusing on the organization of your inbox, email processing protocols and distraction limiting strategies drives effective, intentional workflow.
Click here to set up a call!
To celebrate, I’ll be giving away a FREE COPY of Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, if you are already on thepriorityprocess.com’s mailing list forward to your friends. For every person you recommend to sign up, you’ll get an extra 2 entries! If you’re not signed up as yet, click on the link, thepriorityprocess.com for a chance to win!