Organizing your priorities, or managing yourself!

The priority is that which has the right to go first. Managing your time thus means first to know what deserves to be done and what does not need to be. But is it really a question of managing your time, or of managing yourself?
Decide for yourself what is important
It won't be news to anybody: it is the difficulty we have in distinguishing the important from the urgent which disrupts our planning. As Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States put it: "What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important."
A reflex to develop: asking yourself regularly "is what I am about to do really that which is, at the moment I am going to do it, the most important thing in terms of the mission I have to accomplish?"
To learn more, consult the Coach's Corner.       
Resist the tyranny of the urgent
Urgency is that which pushes us, pressures us. "The urgent tasks call for instant action ... The momentary appeal of these tasks seems irresistible and important, and they devour our energy. But in the light of time's perspective their deceptive prominence fades; with a sense of loss we recall the important tasks pushed aside. We realize we've become slaves to the tyranny of the urgent." Charles Hummel, The Tyranny of the Urgent
To train yourself to resist, 3 questions:
. Am I going to do this because it is truly urgent or because it is the easiest solution?
. What would actually happen if I did not give in to the feeling of urgency?
. While I accomplish this task that's called urgent, what would I be leaving aside?       
Apply Parkinson's Law
Parkinson's Law explains the principle of time dilation: "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." The more time we have to perform a task, the longer it will take.
To apply it in practice: determine a "time budget" which is reasonable to devote to a given activity, and respect it.
An initial area for experimentation could be meetings: reduce the duration to half the usual amount and observe what effect is produced...       
Each question has only one correct response, but be careful: among the possible responses there is one that is "almost correct" and might make the choice harder!
1 / 3   You take into account the problem and will then identify what is most important in order to be able to try different solutions.
You are about to plan a task in your agenda: what is the main question you ask yourself?
How much time do I need to set aside for it?
Important question, but for later.
How should I proceed?
Useful thought, but after question 3.
Is this task really important in terms of my mission and/or my objectives?
Yes, this is the question of "why" before "how”
Can I delegate it?
Why not, but after asking yourself question 3.
2 / 3   An emergency !
10:15. Your supervisor solicits you: "I need these elements for 2pm". However, you are already working on the JK file which is both important and urgent. What do you reply to him?
But I can’t work on this for this afternoon; I have to give my answers concerning the JK file.
It would be best to discuss with your superior the impact of his request. This is a more constructive approach.
OK, I will deal with it, but the timing is really tight!
Shame! you put  pressure on yourself  without letting the others know what the consequences  may be.
Preparing these elements for this afternoon means that I will have to put back my reply concerning the JK file. Is this OK with you?
Yes, you clearly explain the alternative and you make sure you have your superiors support.
You should have asked me earlier, I would have been able to organise myself.
Pointless! But you can go over your working methods together in order to avoid this type of situation in the future.
3 / 3   To manage your priorities...
You decide to better manage priorities. Among the 3 following measures, which, according to you, seems to be the most efficient?
Dealing with requests on an as-and-when basis.
To be avoided! Dealing with requests as and when prevents you from prioritising and concentrating on what is important.
Allotting a "time budget", as short as possible, for each task.
Yes, you respect Parkinson's law: by giving yourself  limits, you condition yourself to be more efficient. For example, meeting times can often be reduced by 30 to 50%!
Disconnect yourself (telephone, email...) a whole day per week.
Good idea! but 1 day per week is ambitious! Disconnecting time windows of 2 hours or a half day would be more realistic.
Your score is
You finished!
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