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Deciding Your Work Priorities- Finding Out What to Spend Your Time On

How to Use Tool:

An important part of focusing on results is working out what to focus on! Many people work very hard all day doing little jobs that do not actually affect the quality of their work.

This section concentrates on three areas - clarifying what you enjoy, understanding what your strengths and weaknesses are, and working out both what your job is and what constitutes excellent performance.

Doing what you enjoy

It is important for your own quality of life that you enjoy your job. If you know broadly what you like and dislike, you will be more able to move your job towards doing things that you enjoy. This is important as you are much more likely to do your job effectively if you love it than if you loathe it.

Note that almost every job has tedious or unpleasant elements to it - it is important that these parts are done properly. It is up to you over time to minimize this.

Concentrating on your strengths

It is also important to know what your talents and weaknesses are. A good way of doing this is to carry out a SWOT analysis. This provides a formal approach to evaluating your strengths and weaknesses, and the opportunities and threats that you face. It makes a lot of sense to find a job that suits your strengths, and where your weaknesses do not matter.

Understanding how to be excellent at your job

One excellent way of ensuring that you concentrate on the right things is to agree them with your employer!

 You should ask the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of the job? - If possible, express this in a single sentence starting with the word 'To' - for example 'To ensure effective distribution in the South East...'
  • What are the measures of success? - Work out how your employer will decide whether you are good at your job or not. Find out what the key targets to be achieved are, and how achievement will be measured.
  • What is exceptional performance? - Find out what this is considered to be, and work out how to achieve it.
  • What are the priorities and deadlines? - You need to know this so that when you are overloaded with work, you know what to focus on.
  • What resources are available? - This ensures that you are using all the tools at your command.
  • What costs are acceptable? - This lets you know the boundaries within which you can move.
  • How does this relate to other people?  - What is the broader picture within which you have to work?

If you have answers to these questions, you will know how to do your job in precisely the right way. If you know what exceptional performance is, you can plan to achieve it using all the resources you have available.

Key points:

This section gives you three ways of deciding your work priorities:

  • Concentrating on what you enjoy
  • Using a SWOT analysis to work out your strengths and weaknesses. This helps you to play to your strengths, minimize weaknesses, and move in the right direction.
  • Finally it explains how to clarify your job with your employer, and concentrate on doing well in the areas he or she considers to be most important.

By concentrating on the right priorities you will ensure that you are always working as effectively as possible.

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