Most people, myself included, feel confident about their ability to multitask and tackle a variety of projects at the same time. Recently, a group of employees at Convention Data Services, the event registration and business intelligence company for which I'm senior business analyst, attended a workshop on how to manage time and be more productive. After performing an eye-opening self-assessment, here are four tips I learned about managing priorities that can be passed on to the employees you oversee.
Avoid being a serial procrastinator
Procrastinating is very unproductive and creates unnecessary stress. Instead, avoid the urge to procrastinate by understanding your workload and tackling challenges in a strategic manner. Many people thrive on last-minute pressure, but often the work results are not the best they could otherwise achieve.
Set objectives: multitasking is not productive
Being able to effectively multitask is not easy -- few people are truly capable of successfully multitasking and more often become overwhelmed rather than productive. You can be much more productive if you understand your priorities and use the right tools to manage your time. Use your calendar and carefully consider every task that should be added to your list. Be realistic about your time and tasks. Lessons learned from the workshop were not new ideas but essentially a reminder of ways to effectively manage time and priorities. Being honest with an assessment of current habits and methods is an excellent way to reduce stress and be more productive. A little organization goes a long way to relieving stress.
Identify barriers to success
A valuable exercise is a self-assessment to identify existing barriers to being productive. Possible barriers to success include not having the right skills or being tired. Mental barriers, such as procrastinating or being easily distracted by too many emails, can also decrease your productivity.
Plan, plan, then plan more
This sounds so simple, but being organized and making lists is critical if your goal is to be more productive. At the beginning and end of each day, update your list and determine which items are most important. As you create the list, identify what is urgent and assign each task a level of importance. Then, you can approach each day with a plan of what you want to accomplish and how to maximize your time. Having a daily plan is so valuable because it allows you to communicate challenges and track performance results. Setting aside a small amount of time on Sunday afternoon or Monday morning to catch up on email and plan the week ahead allows you to start the week with a clear plan and objectives.
Lisa Gilmour, senior business analyst at event registration and business intelligence company Convention Data Services, has more than 20 years of experience at CDS in the areas of training, quality control, and support services. She manages multiple projects simultaneously and has a wealth of in-depth product knowledge.