You know that uneasy feeling you get when there's too much to do and not enough time to do it? When you try to prioritize tasks, but it seems like everything is important? Don't panic —it's something we all face and while it's difficult to manage competing priorities, it's not impossible. Here's how:
Ask the boss. At work, everyone has a manager or boss. One of the primary responsibilities of any leader is to help you determine what's important, what's not, and what you should be working on. Don't be afraid to open up, express your concerns, offer a few solutions, and listen for their direction.
Ask co-workers. If you're prioritizing tasks or work-related responsibilities involving other people, be direct and ask for their input and guidance. Don't wait for your co-workers to contact you first, or expect them to carry the load.
Reverse engineer. It's simple to forget, but knowing the end determines the path to get there and when you need to arrive. So, you probably have an idea of when each task is due—or at least when you'd like them completed—and how much time is required to finish them. Start with the most pressing due dates, take into account how much effort is needed for each task and how much input is needed from others, and work backwards to find out what you should be working on right now (or what you should have already started, in some cases).
CYA. Lastly, once you've determined what's really important and organized tasks based on timelines and resources, it's time to write our your plan and share it with all involved. Remember, this your project and your reputation, so never expect what your don't inspect!
One of the biggest challenges for project managers and leaders is accurately prioritizing the work that matters on a daily basis. Even if you have the best project management software on the planet, you’re the one who enters information into the tool. And, you don’t want to fall into the role of crying “top priority” for every other project that comes down the pike.