Work is not always easy; some tasks can be too demanding that you have to clock in extra hours and stay after office hours to meet deadlines. In real-life workplace situations, priorities often collide, and ensuring the best performance from employees during urgent times can be challenging.
One of the most difficult tasks for project managers and team leaders is effectively prioritizing the work that is most important for the organization on a daily basis. Constantly prioritizing urgent tasks implies that significant projects with no immediate deadline may need to be put off for later. After all, no matter how ‘sophisticated’ your project management tool is, you are the one who sets the priority list.
Now, how can managers help both employees and themselves in prioritizing effectively? Here are some tips you can consider.
Classify Important vs Urgent
Make time early in the day to prioritize your most important tasks. If you delay things, you risk becoming overly occupied as the day goes. Identify all of the activities in order of importance, then shuffle, align, and realign them according to their relevance and level of urgency, the time span necessary to reach the deadline, and so on. If this requires breaking down a project into several tasks in order to meet the primary deadline, then do it. People will prioritize urgent activities over significant tasks, regardless of their importance. Prioritizing according to urgency also relieves the anxiety that is caused by approaching a tight deadline or high-pressure job demands. Then, always check whether there are any high-priority requirements that need you to finish in the near future. While doing so, keep in mind that each duty is important and must be completed correctly in order to reach high-quality standards.
Since all of the tasks listed are essential, there are some that are really urgent and those that can wait a little longer (perhaps a day more to accomplish). An urgent task is one that requires immediate attention, and if it is not accomplished within specific timelines, your business reputation may suffer from negative consequences. Urgent issues must be addressed, such as completing deadlines agreed to by a customer or prospective partner, publishing newsletters or press releases, and delivering urgent reports to top management and stakeholders. Your employees may simply manage time by prioritizing a job or two and delaying less critical tasks to be completed later by prioritizing a task or two.
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Be A Good Example
Explain the benefits that each team member may get from working with an urgent mindset for each project. To promote individual motivation from everyone on the team, communicate both collective advantages and individual rewards. Maintaining client contracts, fulfilling performance targets, and earning bonuses are all excellent motivators for responding quickly. You may also discuss the ramifications of missing deadlines, but remember to balance this information with positive reinforcement.
Most importantly, showcase the behavior you want to see on your team and hold yourself to the same standards. Perhaps the most effective approach to encourage and motivate staff to meet deadlines is to set a good example by being consistent, helpful, and trustworthy all the time. This includes how a manager acts when deadlines are missed: with an acceptable, calm, and understanding demeanor and an openness to modifications and alternatives. Work toward project objectives, answer to communications promptly, and always submit work ahead of deadlines. When your employees see you keeping those principles, it will be simpler to inspire them to enhance their productivity level.
Be the Help
If you see some employees are increasingly burdened with pressures and deadlines, help them reach out to their direct supervisors. Before condemning that the workload is too much or too burdening, you can clarify this with the direct supervisors and listen to the reasons why employees are given tasks of that amount. Facilitate access to resources, share your task-completion skills, and offer support when your employees are struggling. Moreover, as an HR manager or staff, you need to also be supportive of employees. By giving your support on a regular basis, you can show the significance of working hard at a steady pace while also supporting a healthy work environment. Reassure them that you are available to help after you encourage them to work faster since this shows how you have their back despite also doing your job to keep them productive.
Result-driven business is good, but companies also need to offer some breathing space and freedom for creativity and innovation at work before committing to strict deadlines in order to accomplish quality goals. Prior to actually assigning tasks and granting an affirmative nod, understand your team’s competencies. Value their contributions equally and reward them with significant advantages for all of their efforts, such as team lunches or weekend getaways shortly for a well-deserved rest.