Tools of productive staff, tool 1: priority list

Do you love watching competitive television shows for leisure? MasterChef Australia is one such show that never disappoints. Different chefs are challenged to make the best dish to test the contestant’s food knowledge and preparation skills. Episodes are varied to make them unique.

In one of the episodes, new contestants were given a menu and challenged to go to the supermarket and buy food (raw materials) to prepare the meals on the menu! How brilliant.

And indeed, a good soldier knows when and how to use his or her tools and weapons at disposal.

The same applies to staff productivity and job performance.

To win, you must know which model or tool to apply where and when. For example, an accountant or CFO must know when to use a budget and when not to. And of course, have the presence of mind to know that a budget is useless if spending is not made against the set projections or if the actual income and expenditure are not monitored against the set estimates for prudent financial management.

Any busy professional knows how tough it is to keep track of all projects, appointments, and critical events or planned trips without surrendering fully to the personal assistant.

And that is where the priority list comes in. A priority list is a tool you need to keep yourself organized and focused. A priority list is not like a to-do list, which assumes that everything must be done. No. You need a priority list that responds to the emerging needs of the business.

Table 1 is a sample priority list. The best way to keep a priority list is to buy a notebook and write your priority items daily. At the start of the day, and review at the day end.

Table 1: The daily priority list

Activity / task Why? Priority
Write a blog article A firm’s CSR 3rd
Meet a prospect Meet revenue targets 1st
Read the newspapers and summarize for the team Look for opportunities 4th
Submit proposal Revenue targets 2nd
Etc    

To make a great activity list, start by listing all the desired outcomes or targets. Review the company strategy or have a chat with your supervisor via phone or email or any means. Know what they expect you to accomplish. To make a great activity list, start by gaining clarity of the desired results or outcomes.

Then list all activities needed to accomplish the targets if you want to generate Ugx. 1m revenue through training, you need to list your activity list as generate a list of prospects and research about them, including their close friends or influencers. Then, call or contact them. Do consistently.

Keep the activity on your priority list until you accomplish it.

Some of the tools that I have failed to use well are the sticky notes and to-do lists on mobile devices or computers. I think when it comes to being organized, the manual book calendar and notebook takes the day. Try it.

Do you want to improve your staff productivity? Contact us today

Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.

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