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Managing Multiple Priorities
Managing Multiple Priorities
By: Dr. Donald E. Wetmore
We all have "too much to do". As a professional speaker, I hear that all the time from my audiences.
And that says a lot of good things about you, if you have "too much to do" because, obviously, a lot
of people have entrusted many things to your care and have confidence in you.
Every priority claims itself as the most urgent and crucial thing in the world screaming for your immediate attention.
The problem is, we can only do one thing at a time. So, here are four nifty ideas to help you to Manage Multiple
1. Keep the focus on personal balance first.
Our lives are made up of Seven Vital Areas: Health, Family, Financial, Intellectual, Social, Professional, and
Spiritual. We will not necessarily spend time every day in each area or equal amounts of time in each area. But,
if, in the long run, we spend a sufficient quantity and quality of time in each area, our lives will be in balance.
But if we neglect any one area, never mind two or three, we will eventually sabotage our success. Much like a table,
if one leg is longer than the rest, it will make the entire table wobbly. If we don't take time for health, our
family life and social life are hurt. If our financial area is out of balance, we will not be able to focus adequately
on our professional goals, etc. As in the medical profession, it is said that you cannot be sick and make other
people well. In Time Management, then, we have to keep ourselves healthy first, in balance first, or it won't matter
how many or how important our priorities are, we will not be able to properly handle them.
2. Schedule Daily Planning.
I set aside at least 30 minutes each night for Daily Planning, a time to have a Board of Directors meeting in the
most important corporation in the world, Me, Inc. I make up a list of things for the next day that includes not
only all the items I "have to" do, but, more importantly, the items I "want to" do. Putting
it all down in writing is vital because if you want to manage it, you have to measure it. This will tend to overload
your next day, which is useful because it permits us to take advantage of Parkinson's Law, which says, in part,
that a project tends to take as long as the time allocated for it. If you give yourself one thing to do, it will
take all day to do it. If you give yourself three things to do, you get them all done. If you give yourself twelve
things to do, you may not get all twelve done, but may well accomplish nine. Having a lot to do, being a bit overloaded,
creates a healthy sense of pressure on us to get through our list.
3. Review each item and ask, "Is this the best use of my time?".
There is a lot of difference between "I do it" and "It gets done". Which is more important?
"It gets done". Sure, it's great to accomplish things ourselves but we only have 168 hours per week to
accomplish results. (And if we take away 56 hours per week for sleep, that only leaves 112 hours!) So, each night
during Daily Planning, I review each item on my list and ask, "Is this the best use of my time?". If
it is, I will plan to work on it and if it is not, I will try to find a way to delegate it to someone so that it
4. Prioritize the list.
Typically, our "To Do" lists will contain "crucial" and "not crucial" items. Some
items will be more important, some not so important. Typically, the "not crucial" items are quicker and
often more fun than the "crucial" items, which tend to take longer and are generally less fun. So what
happens for many is that without prioritizing our list, we have a tendency to do the "not crucial" items
first, substituting the quantity for the quality. Identify the most important "crucial" item on your
list, the one you would want to tackle if you could only work on one item tomorrow and then label that as "#1".
Next, identify the second item you would work on, if time permits, and label that as "#2". Continue prioritizing
the entire list in that fashion and tomorrow start with #1.
These four steps will help you to more effectively Manage Multiple Priorities and increase your daily results and
that a good thing.
If these ideas were helpful, we have prepared an additional article entitled, "The Time Management Myth"
to help increase your daily success. It's free. If you would like a copy, email your request for "myth"
Would you like to receive free Timely Time Management Tips on a regular basis to increase your personal productivity
and get more out of every day? Sign up now for our free "TIMELY TIME MANAGEMENT TIPS". Just go to: http://www.topica.com/lists/timemanagement
and select "subscribe". We welcome you to our list!
Dr. Donald E. Wetmore
Time Management Seminars
60 Huntington St., P.O. Box 2126
Shelton, CT 06484
Fax: (203) 929-8151
Time Management Supersite: http://www.balancetime.com
Professional Member-National Speakers Association
Copyright 2000 Dr. Donald E. Wetmore
Tags: Wisdom and Life Skills