Many of my clients complain that they have too much on their plate and feel they never really accomplish what they want to get done. Conflicting priorities keep them busy yet often they feel as if they are running in place. If you have a system to prioritize what needs to be done you will likely move forward more quickly. Men, as a whole, are better at doing this than women. Men traditionally stay with one project until it is completed. Women tend to juggle multiple projects - home, children, and career and do it very well. But when it comes to the work environment, sometimes they have a hard time switching gears to a single focus.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, "What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important." His Matrix of prioritizing work is a standard for optimum productivity. I give my clients a twist on this matrix and suggest that they do the following.
Big Bang Your Project Prioritization
1. Start each day with a list of things that need to be done.
2. Rate each project/item 1 through 4 as to:
Big Pressure versus Big Picture Projects:
1. Big Picture/Big Pressure - Finish today
2. Big Picture/Little Pressure - Plan a specific time to finish
3. Little Picture/Big Pressure - Delegate
4. Little Picture/Little Pressure - Eliminate
3. At the end of each day re-rate these tasks so that you know where you are when you start the day tomorrow. Include the projects added throughout the day.
4. Complete my Triple Five Report every week to gauge your productivity. (In this report you list your "Five Goals for the Week," "Biggest Frustrations," and rate "How You Did on Last Weeks' Goals.")
If you keep a running list of all of your priorities nothing will slip through the cracks. You will find that as you focus on the big picture items and dedicate specific time to complete the others you will not busy yourself with putting out fires, opening email and answering the phone to feel productive which is of course working on someone else to-do list. Start now!
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Mary Lee Gannon is the president of StartingOverNow.com - Transforming People and Organizations with Goals-to-Results. With more than 16 years of experience as a CEO of organizations with up to $26 million in assets, Mary Lee coaches individuals and organizations with a Goals-Accountability-Results system. Read testimonials from her clients. She is a graduate of The Duquesne University Professional Coaching Program and an alumnus of the 2010 Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital Coaching in Medicine & Leadership Conference. Her personal turnaround came as a stay-at-home mother with four children under seven-years-old who endured a divorce that took she and the children from the country club life to public assistance from where she rose to the level of CEO to support her family. Areas of Specialty: Strategic Planning / Board Development / Executive Coaching / Healthcare / Public Relations / Meeting Facilitation / Leadership / Productivity / Life/Career Transition. Her book "Starting Over - 25 Rules for When You've Bottomed Out" is available in bookstores and from online booksellers.
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