Nothing is more critical in a business setting than time management. There are only so many hours in a day, and it’s important to make them count. This is easy (or easier, rather) to do when you have a defined set of tasks to accomplish, but what about when things are more ambiguous? Working within a deadline is great, but what if that’s not communicated? How do you prioritize?
The simple answer is to make the most recent task you were given top priority, but that’s not an effective way to make your decision! There are a few schools of thought on this issue, and since they all have merit, I’ll list them all:
- Create a list of your tasks, and organize it into three sections: high, medium and low priority. Within those sections, order the tasks by their importance and cross them off as you finish them.
- Order your task list by the potential impact on the company. Is anything mission-critical? Do that first. Ask yourself what has the greatest chance to positively affect revenue, and prioritize accordingly.
- Ask a superior! Talk to your boss and discuss the proper order of your task list. This is obviously the easiest route, but not everyone operates this way.
Things can compound when the pressure is on and the stakes are the highest. Make sure that you choose whichever method works best for you, and manage your time effectively — it’s one of the most important things you can do at work.