Prioritising work and meeting deadlines – 5 top tips

As an apprentice it can be difficult having to balance studying with your job. Picture this; you’ve had a busy day at work and you’re struggling to get on top of things. I am here to show a few of my top tips for prioritising your workload and meeting those deadlines!

What is prioritisation?

Prioritisation is arranging your tasks in an order of importance and urgency and working through them.

1. Create a to do list

You can’t keep everything you need to do in your head – it’s virtually impossible! But you can write stuff down on paper or use the ‘to-do-list’ tool on Microsoft Teams. I highly recommend the ‘to-do list’ tool on Microsoft Teams – this is where you can make notes, add comments and cross off these when done.

2. Flag or tag emails

You can use a tool on Microsoft Outlook where you can flag and follow up emails for a particular day. You can also tag emails and categorize them into different colours. 

3. Prioritise the most important tasks

Tasks can be grouped into 4 categories:

1. Urgent and important

2. Not urgent but important

3. Urgent but not important

4. Neither urgent nor important

Emma Donaldson-Feilder (chartered occupational psychologist) states "the aim is to learn how to become better at reducing the number of urgent and important tasks. Having to deal with too many urgent tasks can be stressful.’’

It is a good idea to tackle points 1 and 2 first and points 3 and 4 afterwards.

4. Delegate tasks

There is a misconception that you delegate tasks to somebody who is below you. However, as an apprentice you may not have that option. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or delegate tasks to more appropriate people/departments if you’re unsure on what to do.

5. Remove all distractions

We can get distracted from time to time. Whether it be from conversations with our colleagues or scrolling through our phones. A great place to start is turning off your phone of or putting it on aeroplane mode. You can also click on the ‘do not disturb’ icon on Microsoft Teams. In the short term you could put a temporary message on automatic replies to say you won’t be able to pick up emails at the moment (but don’t forget to change it for next time!)

Thank you for reading this blog – I hope you’ve found it helpful!

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