What a crazy year 2020 has been. As we start to see a return to something that resembles a more normal life, with the notable exception of our friends in Melbourne (hopefully soon guys!), it’s a good time to focus on how we can work smarter.

I wrote a post recently around the use of the word ‘busy’ that generated a little commentary. It is something that drives me mental at times, and it seems that there are plenty of others out there with a similar view! I want to focus this piece on one of the points I raised in that blog: The need to prioritise.

Choose what’s important

As I said in my earlier blog, we all have enough time in our lives; it’s just what we choose to do with it. When we say we’re ‘busy’ we’re making choices on how we spend our time.

Those choices reflect our priorities. It’s a simple fact of life that if we are motivated to do something, we will find a way to do it. So, the question you need to ask yourself is: Why am I not prioritising that thing I say I’m too ‘busy’ to get to? What is the real reason I’m not seeing it as being important enough to dedicate time to?

If we focus on our working lives, I’m a big believer in the issue of people focusing on delivering the wrong tasks. We often see businesses and management teams focusing on tasks that fill their day…but possibly don’t add a huge amount of value to the organisation. It makes you look ‘busy’, but is it really delivering a result?

Start with the end in mind

When I think about prioritising my time, I try to look at a bigger picture. You need to know why you’re prioritising that task and how it fits into where you want to go.

For example, our approach at PPS is to focus on outcomes. We’re not so focused on the team’s daily task list; it’s not our management style. What we want is a focus on starting with the end in mind. Once we know the end goal, we can then set priorities within the business or project to focus on delivering that result. It sounds simple but it actually takes discipline in your approach to achieve this.

So ask yourself: What’s the end goal? Will the activities I’m prioritising get me there?

Create the right environment 

So what’s stopping you from setting the right priorities? In reality, it could be the management style you’re employing that’s stopping your team from achieving more.

In recruitment, I’ve seen plenty of managers/businesses that have an overreliance on call numbers. While activity is a part of your success, it’s not the only measure, and I’d argue that there are other more important priorities for your people to focus on. There are plenty of people churning our calls and never closing a deal.

It highlights for me that for your team to set the right priorities, you need to create the right environment. I’ve already mentioned our outcome focus at PPS: That’s been super important during COVID where we’ve been working remotely. Some of our team will continue with remote working longer term, and, in my view, if that’s going to put them in a situation where they can deliver a result, it’s entirely fine by me.

Think about what you’re giving your team in terms of a frame of reference for setting the right priorities. For many managers, it can be eye opening when they do.

How are you making sure you prioritise the right activities to achieve success? Keen to hear what you think. DM me here or email me at steve@projectprofessionalservices.com.au.