New Year, New You: Creating a Priority Management Plan

Jan 06, 2015

New Year, New You

Now that the holidays are behind us and a new year is ahead of us, it may seem like the ideal time to make resolutions for self-improvement. However, resolutions are meaningless without a plan for implementation. Consider a priority management plan.

Most of us often complain about having too many things to do and not enough time to get everything done. Accomplishing desired business outcomes, maximizing workdays, and creating a healthy work-life balance all have little to do with time management and more to do with priority management. In the workplace, we often spend too much of our valuable time and priorities on non-value added work, or activities that do not directly impact our customers and therefore negatively impact our company's bottom line. We also waste time on unnecessary work, or activities that result from complying with policies, procedures, systems and controls that could be eliminated. This inefficient use of time and ineffective prioritization creates a need for us to work late or take our work home, which often leads to living a life out of balance. Instead, we need to re-prioritize our work, choosing to focus on value added work, or activities that directly impact our customers and maximize our company's profits. Focus should also be directed toward necessary work, or activities that must be accomplished in all cases to deliver products and services to our customers.

How do we shift our priorities to obtain the biggest return on investment of our time and effort? It all starts with a priority management plan. The following tips will outline a basic plan to point you in the right direction for successfully achieving your desired outcomes:

  • Track your activities. Record everything you do in 30-minute increments for an entire week.
  • Identify and label your value added and non-value added activities.
  • Schedule your perfect week. Using a blank weekly calendar, write out weekly activities, blocking out time for the highest priority items in your business and personal life. Don't forget to make time to review your schedule and plan for the week ahead.
  • Delegate the non-value added activities. Assemble the non-value added work activities that did not make it into your perfect week and assign these tasks to someone else, perhaps a personal assistant or an intern.
  • Communicate your availability to clients, coworkers and your family. Post your schedule, the hours you are available, and when you are completely unavailable.
  • Practice delivering solution-based "No" responses. Make scheduled activities nonnegotiable appointments on your calendar. If someone wants to meet during one of your unavailable times, decline the meeting and suggest other times when you are available. If an emergency does arise and you must skip one of your scheduled activities, make sure you reschedule time for your missed activity right away.
  • Review your plan. Your new plan should be reviewed daily for the first 30 days. After that, a weekly review is ideal. Shift activities to different time slots if needed. Assess your energy level at certain times of the day and what level is required for you to deliver maximum results. Make adjustments and reengage the next week.

As you go through this process, you will experience the frustration of not achieving your perfect week and you may slip back into doing non-value added and unnecessary work. This is normal and something you will improve upon as you become more accustomed to your plan. Start by trying to successfully implement your plan four out of the seven days in a week, three out of four weeks in a month, and eventually 10 months in a year. A well-executed priority management plan can help you avoid burnout and be a catalyst for your personal and professional success. If you need additional help developing your plan, contact ZERORISK HR for in-depth guidance.

ZERORISK helps organizations build great cultures by identifying, developing, and retaining top talent. The ZERORISK Hiring System blends a revolutionary behavioral science with state-of-the-art technology to reduce unwanted turnover and improve employee performance. For more information contact us at (800) 827-5991.

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