Project Management

Productivity Beyond Prioritization

Pang De Xian’s past experiences include expertise in order fulfillment and continuous improvement projects. He is currently pursuing courses and activities for personal and professional development.

Some days it feels as though we will never meet the demands no matter the amount of time or effort spent on work tasks or life activities. With fully packed schedules, competing requests for input, endless meetings, business trips, and abundant distractions, it is often that we are drained and burned out both mentally and physically. When faced with overwhelming workloads, we are often advised to “prioritize,” as if that is some sort of magical spell that will ease the punishing schedules.

But what I have learned in the process of ranking tasks in order of importance is that it accomplishes relatively little. We need to look beyond prioritization. This involves straightforward cognitive analysis and an experienced judgment call. Here is the problem: After we have prioritized, we recognize that everything needs our time and attention; hence we do the more significant tasks first and get to the less significant tasks “later.”

However, “later” never really materializes. The to-do list remains without end and, worse still, keeps compounding. Recognizing prioritization is necessary but insufficient. We need to go beyond analyzing and doing tasks according to priority. Here are a few tools and techniques I have learned that can be applied by individuals as well as teams to increase productivity.

Taking Stock
Wan How (2015) …

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"Ambition is like a frog sitting on a Venus Flytrap. The flytrap can bite and bite, but it won't bother the frog because it only has little tiny plant teeth. But some other stuff could happen and it could be like ambition."

- Jack Handey