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27 февраля 2012 eCat-Erina | 2 комментария

Tips to Tackle Year-End Deadlines

By David R. Butcher

The weeks leading up to the end of the year force many workers to meet tight, often unreasonable, deadlines. Here are seven ways to survive the avalanche of work before the new year.

Many of us deal with tight deadlines or intimidating projects on a regular basis, and it only gets worse in the final weeks of the year. The pressure can often be overwhelming. Managing multiple projects and deadlines at work is stressful, so it is important to develop a smart strategy and organize your schedule.

Here are seven ways to help get a handle on tight deadlines.

1) Prioritize tasks. Some tasks are crucial and some are not. We tend to gravitate to the «not crucial» items because they are often quicker, easier and more fun to do. Instead, carefully set priorities based on «high-payoff» activities and use them as a basis for making decisions. Figure out your top goal and focus on that first, then tackle the rest of your assignments in the order of importance.

2) Break down the work. If a task seems daunting, break the large, time-consuming job into smaller tasks. «Split the whole into parts, the parts into bits and the bits into morsels,» productivity blog Half-a-Dozen Monkeys recommends. Work on each segment a few minutes at a time until they’re all done. For instance, rather than set «Finish meeting presentation» as your goal, zero in on each task involved in finishing that presentation and focus on them separately.

3) Use your tools. «Your time management tools cannot have your back if you don’t use them,» productivity expert Craig Jarrow writes at Time Management Ninja. «Keep your to-do list visible, and pick tools that you’ll enjoy using.» Some people prefer to keep things simple and write a to-do list on paper, while others take advantage of one of the many software tools or online task-management tools available to keep a digital list. Figure out which method works best for you.

4) Plan ahead. Plan tomorrow today. Before you go home each evening, spend a few minutes looking at all that you have to do and want to do the next day, and with each item ask yourself if it’s the best use of your time. If it is, do it. If it isn’t, try to arrange a way to delegate it to someone else. «Take the time each night to take control of the most precious resource at your command: the next 24 hours,» Dr. Donald Wetmore, creator of the Productivity Institute, writes in Ten Time Savers. «Plan your work and then work your plan each day.»

5) Ask for help. With the holidays right round the corner, tap into coworkers’ giving spirits. «The quickest way to halve the time [needed] to do something? Double the number of people working on it!» Half-a-Dozen Monkeys says. «Get a colleague, a friend or even a boss to role their sleeves up — if you make people aware you need help, they will often do all they can.»

6) Manage expectations. Accept that you may not get everything done before the office closes for the holidays. However, keep in mind that your boss likely doesn’t want to be told that you can’t meet a deadline without some indication of what you can do. «Instead of just saying a deadline is impossible,» U.S. News & World Report suggests, «try saying something like, ‘With only 10 days, I can do X and Y, and I’ll need to modify Z in the following ways. And we won’t have finished fully testing it, but that could be wrapped up two days later. Would that work?'»

7) Understand the positive power of tight deadlines. Many of us must multitask and work on multiple projects every day. However, keep in mind that a tight deadline, while stressful, can also ignite creativity, reduce wasted time, encourage teamwork, build confidence and even lead to finishing a task or project early, giving the worker more time to review and even re-work. «By keeping tight deadlines, you will increase your productivity and get more done,» Jarrow writes. «Sometimes it takes a tight deadline to make the impossible happen.»

Источник: http://news.thomasnet.com

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23 декабря 2011 eCat-Erina | 3 комментария