The typical work day of a professional is becoming more complex and demanding by the day!
The multitude and variety of tasks can become overwhelming; many employees are unable to handle the stress and face a dip in their productivity . Prioritization skills become a handy tool in such cases and allow professionals to plan their day in a manner that not only creates value, but creates the right value.
Why is prioritizing of workload necessary at all? Abhijit Nimgaonkar, India capability & expertise centre head and office managing principal (Delhi), ZS, answers, “The classic situation faced by employees today is simultaneous urgent requests from multiple stakeholders. In the context of a global marketplace (different time zones), increasing compensation (higher expectations), many communication channels (request reach and immediacy), prioritising daily , weekly , monthly tasks is key to effective responsibility management. Working faster is not the solution; instead, working on the right tasks is essential.”
A broad categorization of all tasks is essential to bring prioritization in motion. Srinivas Ghanagam, head HR, Freudenberg India, explains, “Being able to distinguish between `urgent’ and `important’ tasks is one of the best known ways of dealing with a flood of emails, projects and presentations, the former being less critical than the latter. The focus should, therefore, be placed on `important’ work, which is usually more strategic in nature; losing focus of the same can be the undoing of an up and coming executive.”
Manuel D’Souza, director – HR, Serco Global Services, tells us how such measures also allow work-life balance, “Time spent on planning activities saves sufficient time in execution. On a regular basis, prioritizing not only makes a person more efficient at daily work-related activities, but also gives them the latitude to focus on their personal goals. It helps strike the right balance to handle both, their professional and personal life.”
How can one’s prioritization skills be honed? Rajiv Naithani, associate VP HR and L&D, GlobalLogic, gives suggestions:
– Make a work list:
Pen down every possible thing you can do in a day;
– Categorize urgent vs important:
See if you have any tasks that need immediate attention and if not completed soon, will have serious negative impact on business and people;
– Evaluate value importance:
Scan the list and identify highest value-adding tasks. Determine the amount of efforts expected to be invested on each activity and set the order accordingly;
– Be compliant and flexible:
Don’t forget that change is certain and be prepared for work that will come above your set order of priorities;
– Cut the cord:
You probably can’t get to everything on your list. Focus on the priorities that you know you must and can complete for the day.
Mehul Shah, MD, Collabera, describes the Pareto principle in the context of prioritization of workload, “The Pareto principle states that of the things you do during your day , only 20 per cent produce 80 per cent of your results. It emphasizes on putting more energy in prioritizing your tasks in the first hour at work and focus on the 20 per cent that matters. When the fire drills of the day begin to sap your time and something in the schedule has to slip, make sure it’s not part of that 20 per cent.”
Prioritization also enables employees to maintain clarity on the ultimate goals of the organization. Sailesh Shetty, VP human resources & services, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, explains, “Organisations should make every employee understand the role he or she is playing in solving the issues important for the organisation. Employees should have clarity on what is expected from them; this enables them to prioritise better. When the employer engages employees every day in analysing and solving problems, they feel highly motivated.”
Thus, prioritisation can make a lot of difference in employee efficiency and productivity .
CREDIT: Times of India