"Dear Angela, when every task is urgent, how can I determine what I need to prioritize?"
We all run into this at one time or another, even outside of work. I’m sure there are lots of different answers for this one but for me, I always ask myself two questions. “Who needs me?” and, “Are they waiting on me?”
Our job as project manager is to keep the balling rolling:
1. Know who you can’t ignore and skim the rest.
Obviously, there are people that you’ll need to get back to right away; your boss, your clients, your doctor and/or your kid’s teacher but once that’s done, where do you go? For me, it’s best to have some knowledge of everything going on around me even if I can’t deal with it immediately. Since that’s the case, I tend to review (even if this means just skim) everything as it comes in. Then if someone calls me or something escalates, I’ll have at least a base understanding.
2. Ask yourself, who needs this answer and can they continue to work if I delay responding.
Project managers always have lots of balls in the air and almost always have lots of people needing their time. It’s just part of our job and we love it right? Yes and no. When we can be helpful, yes. When we can’t get time to help, no. So, I try to look at each email, call or request and think “can this person continue to do THEIR job” if I delay my response. Those who can’t get my attention first.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Angela PM is the executive leader of Project Insight’s latest project management platform, PI#team. She is a natural born leader and of course, Project Management is her passion. Angela is a Project Management Consultant with over 15 years of experience managing complex website projects. She has worked her tail off to become the best professional in her industry. Many in her field respect, admire and even fear the amount of dedication and detail she puts into her work. Her expertise, coupled with her positive and straight-forward attitude make her the perfect person to get industry insight from.