With Much Power Comes Much Responsibility
You have a lot on your plate. People are constantly asking for your input or help. You have so many plates spinning it’s hard to imagine how you can get it all done each week. It seems like it has become more of a choice on who you are going to disappoint instead of who you will delight.
The more responsibility you have in an organization the more important it becomes to master prioritization. Not only will you set priorities weekly and daily, it may be important to re-prioritize many times throughout the day or week. And this is much more than just creating a to-do list. This is about crafting the list priorities in a way that maximizes your effectiveness as a leader.
It’s About Strategy!
Having a simple strategy on how to put first things first can help alleviate stress and keep you as a top candidate for promotion. Here is one method that works – REPS. It stands for Relationship, Effort, Profitability and Sustainability.
Think of each new task in terms of these four words to determine how high up the list it will go. If your task is high in each of these areas, it will probably be your first or second priority. If it scores high in only one category, it might sit toward the middle of your To Do List. And if it scores low in all categories, you can probably bump it to the bottom of your list.
A Quick Overview
Sometimes you have an activity or action that will have a direct impact on an important relationship. It may be one of your biggest customers or a senior executive within your company. It may be a colleague that you have blown off for quite some time and tension is growing. It may be a supporter of your own career growth. Whoever it is, consider how this action will affect your relationship.
As discussed in Email #34 and the use of the Action Priority Worksheet, some actions are low hanging fruit. They take little effort but have a great impact. These activities you want to put toward the top of the list. If the activity holds high impact but will take much effort, you may want to start the project but not expect to get it done ahead of other actions.
As discussed in prior emails, the higher up the chain of command you go the more important certain numbers become. One of the most important is profitability. Think of your To Do List priorities in terms of their financial impact. This criterion might dovetail into Relationship too. If the action will have a high impact on profit (whether it is revenue or cost) consider keeping it toward the top of the list.
This is a bit tricky. The idea behind sustainability is not whether you can sustain the effort over time, but whether the effort will be repeated again by others in the future. If this action items is bound to be on other colleague’s lists in the future, make it a priority to accomplish the task well and document it. You can then share your work as a best practice and actually scale the savings.
Consider REPS on your existing to-do list right now. Look at your top ten tasks and see how prioritization changes as you consider the four factors. Practice this for one month and see how your decision-making processes change. Keep the REPS definitions handy by putting it in your calendar as a 15-minute time slot in the morning, at lunch and at the end of the day and see how it impacts your overall well-being.