Monthly Archives: April 2018

Checklist, Priorities and Time

Time management has always been the subject of many books, studies and talks.  One of the most well known is the book:“The 7 habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. In short, there will always be urgent things amongst which are stuff that you definitely need to respond to and those that you would probably respond at some point in time.

With experience, you have learnt not to allow yourself to be dictated by the tyranny of the urgent. Each person views the world differently and, therefore, what is considered as urgent varies according to each person. Your boundaries have sometimes been “invaded” by people who have tried to forge bonds to create a sense of solidarity in an effort to gain your support for their personal challenges. Attempts at highlighting what you both have in common: shared ethnic identities or common passions have been used to encourage you to view the world from their point of view. Your strong sense of self have finally helped you regain control of your boundaries and push back any further attempt of influencing your agenda for today’s work.

On the other hand, developing your own list of priorities at work is actually not only about your own sense of urgency. It also needs to take into account the diverse expectations of the people making up your working environment.  Decoding what would actually work for you and for your colleagues/team members sometimes require that you probe further to develop a better understanding of the inner workings of your environment. Asking the right questions, using the right approach to enquire and probably verifying that you have well understood takes valuable time but worth you putting the effort.  Making a checklist for today that is actually very different from the expectations of your team members or co workers may be sending the wrong message – “I want to be left alone and I don’t need you…”. You may be reminded of that single mindedness at a time when it matters for you to rely on the valuable contributions of your colleagues.

Determining your work priorities correctly require a working understanding of the different boundaries which permeates your workplace.  These boundaries can only be determined through your various interactions with your co workers.  Respecting those boundaries sometimes lead to vain efforts of complying to conflicting priorities. Your efforts to perform at your best are completely undermined by the dynamic power structures at work. Maneuvering the margins of your workplace require you to take an active role. Choosing to negotiate the boundaries would actually add value to your work brand. It is through these social negotiations that your work brand is constantly being moulded giving you opportunities to grow professionally and personally. Your ability to deal with both complexity and ambiguity and at the same time, managing your sense of confusion is crucial for you to successfully navigate your workplace.

There are times when you will feel trapped by those same boundaries that you are trying to redefine. You may then feel a looming sense of frustration and you tend to become very self conscious.  It is at this very moment that your resilience needs to kick in. Resilience is not about continued success but more about your ability to cope with crises, failures. It is an enduring process where at times you will feel vulnerable and lost but you will ultimately emerge stronger over time.

In the end, your approach to managing your priorities and defining your daily checklist is not linear. It does not necessarily follow the construct of any recommended framework. It is in constant flux imbued by the various experiences that act to enrich your time management skills.