Do you have a million things to do that each seem as important as the next?
These are called competing priorities, and they can get in the way of your success if they aren’t managed appropriately.
In a survey of my blog readers, competing priorities were identified as a leading cause of distraction.
There are cartloads of theories that explain how to develop, communicate, and make decisions based on priorities.
I have a very simple piece of advice for you.
If what you’re working on isn’t moving you towards your goals and objectives, why are you working on it at all?
Here’s another way of looking at it. Ask yourself this question every time something new comes up: “How does this project or opportunity get me closer to my goals?”
We’re often not making choices that bring us closer to achieving our goals.
That’s why I’ve put together these three helpful tricks that can help you manage competing priorities and determine what you should focus your attention on.
1. Check in with your boss.
If you aren’t sure what your priorities are, you had better hustle down the hall and talk to your boss or your board.
One of their first responsibilities is to help you understand what’s most important.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your boss for help managing competing priorities. Chances are, they’ve been in the same boat and will have some great insight.
2. Check in with others.
If your tasks involve other people, talk to them.
Find out when they need your help or if they can lend a hand. In some cases, they may not need your deliverable right away. Other times, they might not be as busy as you are and they could help you out.
Utilize your coworkers and other people involved, and you never know how it could help you manage all of the tasks on your plate.
3. Manage expectations.
Once you’ve determined what you should tackle first, put it in writing and share it with everyone involved.
This sets expectations for when you’ll get your work done. When expectations are sufficiently managed and communicated, you’ll be able to get a handle on the most critical tasks you need to complete.
When it comes to managing competing priorities, we know that reaching out to our bosses and coworkers is a significant first step. Next, it’s up to you to manage expectations by putting these priorities in writing.
Before you know it, you’ll be a pro at managing competing priorities and handling whatever life throws at you.
If you’re interested in going deeper or moving your career to the next level, you’ll also want to have a look at my 1-on-1 coaching services.
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This article was originally published on May 31, 2018, and has been updated.