Prioritising your work can actually help you be more confident. Here’s why…
You may well be thinking … What’s prioritising your work got to do with self-confidence?
The answer is everything. Let me explain why.
If you’re in a mess, you’re just not helping yourself when it comes to self-confidence. Being in a mess is often the result of confusion over your priorities. No prioritisation means no focus … which leads to no achievement … no success, no self-belief and no confidence. And on it goes.
“Lack of time is actually lack of priorities” – Timothy Ferris
Prioritising your work will definitely help you to feel more confident. Here’s how to do this effectively.
Try reflecting for a moment on the amount of time available to you each day. There are 480 minutes in an eight hour working day. That’s certainly enough time to be inefficient and that’s exactly what you’ll be if you don’t think about how you’re using your time.
A great way to improve efficiency is to have a method of prioritising your work
A lot of people on my confidence courses admit to spending most of their time in a frenzy of activity, but achieving very little. They also know how ridiculous this is.
They spend their time concentrating on the wrong things, mostly because they have no idea where they’re going. So before you start thinking about prioritising, an essential first step is to be clear about your long term goals and objectives.
Use the SMART formula to make your objectives Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timed. You’ll find comprehensive advice about this in my blog about setting personal objectives.
Once you’ve nailed your objectives, think about what you need to do each day to achieve them. Get tasks clear in your head, writing them down helps too.
Think today about what you plan to achieve tomorrow. It’s a great way of prioritising your work
Don’t wait for the morning to arrive and then when you get to your desk, work out what you plan to do. By then it could well be too late. You may have already got caught up in the business of the day because you didn’t have a plan when you arrived. That means you open yourself up to the danger of other people taking control of your priorities, not you. When you get to work you should already have an idea about what you’re going to do that day.
So how do you make this happen?
Very simply, by creating a ‘To Do’ list. You may well have heard the concept of the ‘To Do’ list mentioned before. That’s because having a task list is essential before you prioritise your work. You can write it just before you leave work, on your way home or wait until you relax over it when you get home. Whatever you do, just make sure you do it the day before!
Once it’s written, you need to prioritise the jobs on it. Be disciplined when you do this. Some people find it helpful to divide the tasks into A, B and C priorities.
A = Urgent & important, B = Important, C = not important. These words relate to time, not importance of doing the task. They’re all ‘important’ to get done because you’ve added them to your list.
Make sure the first task on the list is actually the most urgent and important one, in other words a high priority ‘A’ task, not the one that will take the least time or the easiest one! When you’re writing your list, here are some handy tips that should help.
Write the list in the same place each day
Some people find it helpful to buy a small hardback notebook for this sole purpose. Use it to drive what you do. Tick off items as they’re completed. Account for every item on your previous list when carrying forward.
By writing your list the day before, you’ll feel more motivated to get on with it when you see it in the morning. You’ll have to try it to experience this feeling. Even the tasks that seemed quite challenging when you wrote them down the day before, now seem slightly more manageable because you’ve had a chance to mull over them and prepare yourself for them.
Have a separate list for smaller more incremental tasks that you can knock off quickly when you have a couple of minutes free.
It’s surprising how much time you can waste if you don’t use these incremental snippets of time effectively (for example, when you’re waiting for people to turn up at a meeting). One minute here and two minutes there don’t seem very much at the time but when you add them together over the whole day, they become significant chunks of time. Time you really shouldn’t have wasted.
So, from now on, try to have more self-discipline. Prioritising your work is intrinsically linked to self-confidence.
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