Tips And Techniques For Knowing Your Priorities-w-inds.

UnCategorized The finite nature of resources is one of life’s inevitable nuisances. We’ve all dealt with them at one time or another; we’ve all been shopping, and not been able to buy everything that we’d like, because the money just isn’t there. Or, sometimes, the money is indeed there – but needs to be set aside to pay bills, because keeping the lights on or a roof over your head is a bigger priority than ice cream or a fine chardonnay. The time we have in a working day is also finite, and there too we have to prioritise, to ensure that we use our time for the best possible results. However, there’s some distance to span between knowing what has to be done, and knowing what has to be done first. How do you decide which tasks are to be considered a priority? Sometimes, the choice is clear. It may be that one option is clearly advantageous in terms of the profits or progress it would bring about; you might be facing extra pressure from managers or clients to finish a certain task first; there could be one piece of work that is critical in allowing others to be completed (such as a vital stage in a project). Key business decisions are rarely as straightforward as this – when a number of tasks are demanding your time, it can’t be assumed that one of them will stand out so clearly from the rest. To be able truly and effectively to prioritise your schedule, you’ll need the tools and techniques to separate the must-do from the would-like-to-do, the necessary-now from the hopefully-someday. There are many ways of analysing these demands, all of which offer different approaches for different circumstances. Paired Comparison Analysis A widely favoured technique for separating two tasks that seem at first glance to be equally necessary, paired comparison analysis helps you to identify the true priorities by breaking down the tasks into their constituent elements. Dividing a sheet of paper (or a word processor document) down the middle, with each side being devoted to one task, a list is drawn up of aspects of the work – for instance, how long it will take, what resources will be used, how many workers will be needed, and what the intended benefits will be (such as profit or market share). Each side is then compared, clearly illustrating which should be prioritised as bringing the greatest net benefit to the organisation. This is a very effective tool for a rapid decision between two choices – but only works with two. Wider choices need more inventive solutions. Decision Matrix Analysis Where there are multiple options to be considered, a decision matrix can help identify which ought to come first. The hoped-for benefits of completing a task – which may be very similar, or perhaps identical, to those for paired comparison (such as profit, time, or resources) are weighted in order of importance, with the most important consideration receiving the highest mark. Each option then receives a score for how thoroughly it fulfils each intended benefit (e.g. a higher score for the most profitable, a low score for the most time-consuming). Multiply these scores by the weights given to each consideration, and the totals highlight which of your options will bring the benefits you need. Impact/Effort Matrix Analysis Alternatively, several choices can be assessed very straightforwardly using an impact/effect matrix. This is a simple chart, with impact on one axis and effort on the other. If impact is vertical and effort horizontal, then a task that requires great exertion with little consequence would be in the bottom right hand corner; a task which can bring great benefits but is highly demanding would be in the top right; and a small, inconsequential effort would be in the bottom left. But any tasks towards the top left – high impact, minimal effort – will bring the most positive net results, and it would be the task closest to this corner which should be your priority. Such axes can be used with different measures. Impact and effort can be replaced with urgent and important: a task may be urgent, to be done soon if at all, but of little relevance; alternatively, a task may be of critical value to the growth of a business, but able to be postponed without suffering or causing any detriment. With this form of analysis, the priority can be identified as that task that charts furthest to the top-right, that has the greatest combination of both urgency and importance. Another popular measure is the ‘Boston’ model (named after the 1970s consultancy firm that created it). This sets market share and market growth on opposing axes, and is used for tasks with a direct impact on sales and revenue; although there are benefits to activities that can increase the company’s grip on a small market, or help boost a large market, the priority would be the option most suited to taking an increasing share of the most prosperous market. Group Analysis Of course, the tasks you need to prioritise may not be solely yours to decide between. If priorities need to be decided between a team, paired comparison or decision matrix analyses can be used to produce scores for each option. Every member of the team submits their scores, and priorities can be assigned according to the average of these scores. With this method, you can be confident of gaining a consensus about these key issues, and also gain a greater understanding of the situation by looking at it from others’ points of view – you may find that what you considered a clear priority is seen as rather less critical by your colleagues. It might also be helpful to use a number of these techniques together, to get a clearer picture of what each task offers to, and demands from your organisation. A short training course in time management can similarly be beneficial, giving you the skills to find the best route forward for your company. Prioritising successfully can help you to get the most from your time – so why not make time management a high priority for you and your team? About the Author: 相关的主题文章: