Author: Suphamas Sanphawat
“I’m always occupied with urgent tasks.”
“I have no time to work on something new or creative.”
“How can I reduce my tasks?”
“What should I do first? I don’t know where to start.”
“How can I finish my work on time?”
These are common frustrations that I hear from my clients. From these experiences as a HR and organizational consultant, today I’ll try to share some tips for enhancing productivity, improving work performance, and arming you with one of the most powerful weapons to help you grow into a greater leader.
1.) Always having a CARING mind throughout every working step
CARING is the first key. Think of others people when performing your tasks. There are no tasks in this world that you be completed alone without any involvement or engagement from others, especially if excellence is your standard. So please make sure (or do your best) to complete tasks according to committed or assigned date. Because if you don’t complete them, the work that you believe is only your individual responsibility can negatively affect other people. Keep in mind that you have to care about your colleague, they also have to complete work on their parts. If you pass your deadline this could damage their work as well.
A negative example of this one is delegating work at the last minute, as everyone’s preparation time is different. Joint projects which involve many people cannot be completed if one person misses the deadline.
2.) Design the right strategy for your tasks
The above is called the Eisenhower box, which is a framework that can be used to achieve higher levels of productivity. The decision making criteria is based on four quadrants which are [Q1] Important and urgent – tasks that you need to complete now; [Q2] Very important but not urgent – tasks that you need to schedule and plan before get your hands on; [Q3] Urgent but not important – tasks that urgent but someone could support you; and [Q4] Neither urgent nor important – tasks that are not urgent and not important but need to be done.
Source: Eisenhower box from https://olivergearing.com
In real working situations we are always busy with significant tasks [Q1] or imperative tasks [Q3]. As a result, we forget to invest in other also critical tasks [Q2 & Q4]. As a recommendation, by following just some key steps, all your tasks will get done flawlessly, effectively, and create value added.
[Step 1] After receiving tasks, categorize them into Q1, Q2, Q3, or Q4.
[Step 2] Q1 is a task that you can complete immediately by yourself, so this is your first priority after grouping.
[Step 3] Moving on to Q2, these are tasks where you are suggested to allocate proper time (planning) in order to contribute greater expected output in the future. For example, internal development training is not an urgent task but highly important since this will help grow your team through knowledge and coaching received throughout the session.
[Step 4] For tasks in Q3, you should assign and delegate them to others to complete. Inform them of the expected deadline and follow up again 2-3 days beforehand.
[Step 5] And when you are free from Q1-Q3 you can start to complete Q4. No need to set a clear deadline or plan for this task.
Besides doing the right grouping and prioritization, when receiving ad-hoc tasks or any tasks which can be completed in a few minutes or not more than an hour (i.e. tasks which are easy to complete), you should complete them right away before getting back to your Q1-Q4 tasks to create good traffic and speed of your work flow.
3.) View task management as a key to your career development
Task management is a self-development opportunity. The better you can manage yourself, the better you can manage the team. Please keep in mind that your responsibility will grow the longer you stay with the team and company. I believe that if you are able to be completely responsible for what you are assigned, you also can gain trust from everybody in the team.
To become an effective leader, your tasks will definitely double or probably triple. This will come as a package as you thrive. At the same time, you are going to be occupied with your own tasks, managing your subordinates, finance, strategy, and daily tasks. You can choose to complain about the workload and and the need to become a super multitasking person, but there’s no need to feel anxious because it is not a major event and it is something that humans can certainly do.
When you have a good strategy to your task management, you will find more spare time to invest in other activities such as creating new initiatives, coaching your subordinates, and planning new businesses. This is a very necessary ability for senior positions. Task management ability is also one of the criteria that corporate management will judge your readiness to step up for higher position. This is one of the first steps for you to climb up as a corporate leader.
How to be More Productive and Eliminate Time Wasting Activities by Using the “Eisenhower Box” by James Clear | Decision Making, Minimalism, Productivity at http://jamesclear.com/