LESSON 6 - HOW TO DELEGATE, MANAGE YOUR TIME, SOLVE PROBLEMS & MAKE THE RIGHT DECISIONS
How to Multitask and Prioritize
Unless you’re managing just one or two people, it’s inevitable that you will be involved with many issues and tasks all at once. Some need immediate attention, while others are less important. Multitasking is about knowing how to juggle several issues or tasks at once. Prioritizing is about knowing which of the issues or tasks are the most important and need to get done first. You need to be able to combine multitasking and prioritizing expertly. This is a bit of an art, but it can be learned.
Even though the pressure might be on, you always need to keep a cool head. The saying, “Never let them see you sweat,” is perfect when it comes to multitasking. Exude a sense of calm and control. This is a show of strong leadership.
Here are six ways to help you with everyday multitasking:
Delegating, as previously described, comes into play the most when multitasking and prioritizing. Without delegation, proper multitasking would be almost impossible. Make sure tasked priorities are shared with your team. They will want to see the project succeed as long as they know the goal.
Chart it out on the whiteboard and make a list of the tasks and its importance. Separate the tasks into three groups:
Group 1 - needs to be done immediately or at least by the end of the day.
Group 2 - would need to be completed in the next couple of days.
Group 3 - would need to be completed in the next week or month. Just make sure you never lose sight or put the tasks from group 3 on the back burner for too long.
The point here is to not only make a list of tasks, but to schedule based on importance rather than just having a “to do” list.
Focus on the critical items. Postpone current tasks if needed, and put full attention on the critical task. Sometimes you need to make the right decisions like canceling a meeting in order to get the task completed in time. A good leader can adapt to changes and break routine in order to address the issues at hand.
Work smarter, not harder. This cliché works well when it comes to multitasking. This basically means reducing or eliminating redundancy by improving workflow. This thought should be used for all aspects of your department including processes and procedures. Utilize tools that are in place to reduce the time spent on each task, thus reducing the amount of open tasks on your plate. Use automation whenever you can to reduce time and redundancy. It is worth the investment to develop automated tools, especially if most of the tasks are regular and in common. This can include how you set up your e-mail such as utilizing task manager in Outlook.
Set a part of the day to focus on the “non-informational” tasks. This would mean turning off instant messaging, close your e-mail, and only answer calls when absolutely necessary. Part of multi-tasking is knowing what tasks you do not need to do such as real time response to all e-mails, always on your IM, etc.
Make multitasking a game, and try to keep your mind as clear as possible with the tasks at hand. Instead of letting it get to you, try and make it fun and challenging. The quicker you accept you have to “do more with less,” the easier it gets to get on with the task at hand.
Try and stay motivated and not lose sight of the big picture. Know when to pay close attention to detail, and when to take short cuts.
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