1) Important and Urgent TasksThese are usually major assignments with tight deadlines or urgent tasks assigned by your boss. Typically these are time-critical tasks that require your immediate attention. It is important that you ignore other noise and distractions in your work and focus on completing tasks under this category.
The reason is simple: if you messed up and made your boss looked real bad during management meetings, you are likely going to get a bad appraisal. This was what happened to me during the early days of my career in one of my ex-companies. I missed the project deadline and the worst thing was that I actually confessed during the management meeting that I had not even started the project because of heavy workload.
Needless to say, my ex-boss blew his top and gave me a terrible appraisal. Thinking back, I was indeed at fault because firstly, I didn’t manage my time well and secondly, I should have been more candid and updated him on the progress of the assignment. If I had kept him informed, at least he could have salvaged the situation and allocated more resources on the project.
2) Important but not Urgent Tasks
These are milestone projects that are not so time-critical and can help you gain visibility within the organization. You do not need to work on these projects on a daily basis but make sure you plan sufficient time to meet the project schedule. Also, always remember to update your boss so that he has an idea on the progress being made. Many people, including me, tend to “drift off” and neglect this category of tasks when there are other competing important tasks to accomplish. Make it a habit to work on these projects every now and then, otherwise, you will tend to procrastinate.
3) Urgent but not Important Tasks
Many employees, including myself, tend to make the mistake of giving priority to urgent but not important tasks. Most don’t realize that focusing on these routine stuff will not get you ahead and very often, the credits will not go to you. Most of the times, you are only helping others, specifically your colleagues, to achieve their goals. So to be an efficient worker, make sure you work on the tasks that come under your direct responsibilities first before helping others. You don’t want to spend too much of your resources attending to phone calls or emails. Indeed, it is important to be helpful and be seen as a team player, but not at the expense of your limited resources.
4) Not Urgent and Not Important Tasks
Some workers are easily distracted and developed the bad habits of taking long coffee breaks on a daily basis. I am not saying that one should refrain from small talks with colleagues or taking time-out from work at all but we should do so only during lull periods. Socializing with colleagues is essential but not considered important. You can always do so during lunch breaks or after office hours. So try to limit the hours spent on office bonding.
Secondly, in our jobs, we are often tasked to take on secondary appointments like being coordinators for office events or managing the office’s pantry snack or stationary. Give the lowest priority for these extra-curricular activities. Remember to stay focused on the urgent and important tasks!
In short, to be a successful wealth builder, you must manage your time effectively in your job. This is an important skill. Mastering the art of prioritization will enable you to climb up the ladder and gain promotions faster. Knowing is one thing, you must put it into practice!
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