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Prioritizing

There are two keys to prioritizing. The first is communication and the second is organization. Coworkers or team players must be willing to share their ideas with others as well as listen to others' ideas. Once people know the needs of others, then there must be a system designed to manage the work flow. Listed here are suggestions to help implement these keys.

Communication

  • There must be a periodic meeting of all employees for whom you work. This can be weekly, monthly, daily, or whatever fits your situation best.
  • All staff must be clear about the purpose of the office and the function of each position. This is necessary to understand the total picture and how the pieces all fit together. If you are uncertain about any of these relationships, ask for clarification.
  • During this meeting be certain you ask each person what their priorities are for that day or the next week or the next month. Be prepared to negotiate assignments and workload.
  • Be realistic about the amount of work that can be scheduled and allow time for interruptions and emergencies.
  • Be willing to delegate any assignments to other staff or volunteers.


 Managing the Work Flow

  • Develop a coding system for priorities. Assign an A, B, C, or 1, 2, 3 code to each assignment or project. Then work on the A's or l's first.
  • Use the FIFO system. If you do not get specific deadlines use the "first in, first out" system.
  • Develop a log sheet for projects and post it on your desk. The log sheet would include:

Column 1

Column 2

Column 3

Column 4

Name

Date

Project

Deadline

  • When someone brings a project to you, have him or her enter it on the log sheet. This lets others know the workload and lets them know they need to set priorities.
  • Use an assignment request form for the person giving you the project. This will require a deadline and a priority assignment as well as written instructions.
  • Use a daily written "to do" list. Do it the last thing each day or the first thing each morning. Assign A, B, C or 1, 2,3 priorities. Then do the As and ls first.


Following these suggestions will not prevent all conflicts, but having a system for identifying priorities will eliminate unnecessary distress. And being willing to communicate will enhance your ability to handle tough situations.