Prioritizing Tasks Template

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This Prioritizing Tasks template provides you with a quick and easy way to prioritize each of your outstanding tasks according to their relative urgency and importance.

One of the most critical aspects of ensuring your work productively is that of managing the expectations of those you interact with. This covers a wide group of people - your manager, your team, suppliers, customers, agencies and other managers within your organization.

You know what goals you have to achieve and you know the best way to do this. So you need to communicate clearly and concisely with others involved in this process so that everyone understands what their role is, what they need to contribution is so that no-one is in any doubt of what the end result will be.

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By focusing your attention and energy into setting clear expectations and maintaining clear communications throughout the process you will be able to be productive. When you manage someone's expectations you reduce the burden such people can imposed by interrupting you or causing your to procrastinate over how best to complete your assigned task.
Here are some tips you can use to manage shareholder and sponsor expectations.

It can be very difficult to shoot down a suggestion from someone who you respect or holds a more senior position that you is. Even if you know that it is too much to take on, you might end up saying yes and then continue to regret it later. This is something you have to learn to avoid.

Of course, you will be expected to explain why you refused to do what they asked you to do. To read more about how your own behavior can help to minimize interruptions. However, this is infinitely better than taking on more burden than you can manage.

There are some things you need to keep in mind when saying 'No'.

  • Have a viable explanation for it. Don't offer a generic explanation, saying there is too much work. Provide a concrete answer.
  • Be calm and collected and behave naturally when saying 'No'. If you are overly aggressive or harsh, it will not go well.
  • You have to be convinced about the refusal to be able to communicate it effectively. If you have second thoughts about saying 'No', you will not be able to clear the air.

You need to be adaptable and flexible with how you respond to people. You cannot treat every person the same way. There are some you will have to pay more heed to while some can be handled casually. Either way, what you have to make sure is that you don't offend anyone but at the same time don't give more importance than deserved to anyone.

A great way to manage the expectations of those senior to you is by sharing your progress through well-structured and informative reports on a consistent basis. Let them know the stage of the task and how much more work and resources are required to drive it towards completion. That way, they can see for themselves whether they are expecting too much and most importantly they don't get surprises out of the blue, saving you a lot of hassle.

It is true that you are the manager, not the owner, but you have to learn to take ownership of the task because you are responsible for its delivery. You have to show that you are involved and in control every step of the way. This will present yourself as an authority and they will be more willing to trust your judgment.

There is little doubt that managing expectations is an essential skill for every manager. You may find our template the urgency and importance grid on this page helpful in enabling you to prioritize and plan your workload to maximize your productivity. Following the tips provided here will enable you to do just that and stay focused on what you do best.

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You may also be interested in: Goal Setting, Goal Setting Theory, The 4CF Goal Setting Method, Setting SMART Goals, Backwards Goal Settingand Prioritizing Your Goals.

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