Discussing priorities

An interesting discussion this afternoon within my team at work on prioritisation, and how some handle it better than others.

I remember when first starting my working life the word “No” just didn’t come naturally to me, I felt a need to please and would always do what was set before me, often to my detriment. Sometimes I’d even come in on the weekends, not too often mind you, if I particularly enjoyed the task; not a healthy approach to work/life balance. Gradually though, I began to develop a confidence to push back on immediacy of pleasing and would query when things were needed, often finding out things weren’t so urgent, or could wait a few days.

As the years went on though my workloads grew quite significantly, eventually I decided to undertake a time management class offered at work. Sadly I only managed the first of two classes, however that proved rewarding, offering useful tips like asking when a new task is being requested: I have Task A and Task B but only sufficient time to complete one of these, which would you like me to prioritise?

Today’s session discussed four quadrants for prioritising tasks: Urgent, Not Urgent, Delegated, and Deleted. I must admit I found these interesting, the first two made sense to me, and potentially the third too, however the fourth I’d not considered though I guess would fall under “No”.

We each completed a survey prior to the session that ranked our urgency levels, thankfully I only came out at the upper end of low with a score of 23, what was interesting was my supervisor admitting though he scored 25 this time he’d likely have scored twice that 10 years ago. Since then he’d realised he couldn’t please everybody and started asking more questions of them when they made requests of his time, I also wondered if his becoming a father around that time may have influenced change too?

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