How Leaders Prioritize – Examining the Steps to Successful Tasking

March 15, 2012
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Have you ever wondered how those in leadership positions seem to effortlessly handle all their duties and tasks, while barely breaking a sweat? While many leaders tend to have others on board to help, some do it all on their own as soloprenuers and innovators. Just think about recent leaders who have become the movers and shakers of the world, and you’ll understand this concept more.

The key to being able to handle multiple tasks and responsibilities as a leader is: Prioritization. Yes, the arch enemy of procrastination, prioritizing is learning how to put the most important tasks at the top of your To-Do list, yet remaining focused on objectives in an adaptable way as things change.

Being able to prioritize means being flexible, yet steadfastly pursuing your goals. It’s not an exact science, but there are strategies for projecting leadership through being focused on prioritization. In fact, there are even some advantages to prioritizing well.

  • Less stress because deadlines are always met.
  • Become admired by colleagues for a job well done.
  • Ability to handle higher levels of responsibility.
  • Always know what’s going on and when things are due.

To help you learn to prioritize things the way leaders do, and to develop your abilities on the path to your own leadership development, here are some steps for successful tasking.

Keep simple lists.  It doesn’t matter how organized you may think you are, when you don’t write things down they tend to get ignored. To start your daily task list, you need to first ask yourself a simple question about each task. “Is this time sensitive or does a client have high expectations?” If the answer is “Yes”, then this goes on the top of your list followed by other tasks.

Maintain a calendar. While a list is a good start, a calendar is going to keep you on track in terms of accomplishing things, while still having a semblance of a life. Use a calendar that can send you alerts of meetings and tasks to be done ahead of deadline. Consider the advantages of a mobile-friendly calendar, and share this with your personal assistance and others who need to know the progress of specific things.

Learn to say “Yes”. You may have heard that saying “No” more often is a good thing, but actually it can backfire. Instead, take a more positive stance and learn to say “Yes” more often to the tasks that are worthy of your time. You’ll find yourself working with a more productive mindset, while not getting defensive every time someone asks you about something new. Remember, your time is valuable.

Question yourself. If you tend to procrastinate or have trouble juggling multiple things, you may need to ask yourself why this is a problem for you. Many people self-sabotage without realizing it. This can be for many reasons, but in order to become an esteemed leader, you need to find a way to either trick yourself from doing this, or get help to cope with these habits now.

Ask for help, and often. As a growing leader, a critical skill you must learn is how to delegate less important tasks out to others. If you are a solo-leader or in a position where you can hire help, get a personal or virtual assistant. Many would-be leaders get into the habit of trying to control things by taking on the world. You are human first, so ask for help so you can focus on the big tasks.

If you would like to learn more about prioritizing your tasks to become a better leader, consider adding a Dale Carnegie course to your schedule, which can help you become more effective in all areas of your career and leadership development.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at DaleCarnegieTrainingofCentral & SouthernNewJersey. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter@CarnegieJersey.

 

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