Five Steps for Dealing with Multiple Priorities

    1. Lay the groundwork. Organize your workspace, especially your desk. Clutter breeds confusion, so get rid of objects (supplies, stacks of paper, toys, etc.). These things seem harmless, but they register in your peripheral vision and compete for your attention. Clarify instructions and standards so you don’t waste time with trial and error.

  1. Prioritize Your Priorities. They’re not all created equal. Number One Priorities—important AND urgent. Number Two Priorities—important but NOT urgent. Number Three Priorities—needs to be done, but neither important nor urgent. Ask your boss for direction if you’re unsure.
  2. Negotiate. Deadlines are frequently arbitrary and are set simply to create a goal with a deadline. Investigate which ones have wiggle-room in them to help you prioritize. Sometimes a Number One Priority can be temporarily put aside to make room for others.
  3. Delegate. You don’t have to be a supervisor to delegate. Think of it as “job–sharing,” and work with your co–workers to determine what workload relief you can offer one another.
  4. Eliminate Distractions. Be assertive with drop–in visitors, check caller I.D. to see if you really need to take the call, turn off email alerts, but especially stop interrupting yourself with “soft–addictions” such as social media and internet surfing.

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