The Urgent vs. The Interesting: Managing Priorities in the Workplace, written by Allison McWilliams for the Huffington Post, June 13, 2017.
One of the hardest, yet one of the most important, professional lessons to learn is how to manage priorities in the workplace. Particularly when you are just starting out and do not have control over how you spend your time or what your work assignments will be (and even as you gain experience this may still be the case), it can be challenging to determine what counts as urgent, what’s important, and what’s merely interesting. Add into that mix the real probability that you are receiving tasks and projects from different people who may not agree on what those things are, and there is real possibility of not meeting expectations and letting other people down.
Indeed, no matter how warm and welcoming and supportive your work environment, at times any job can feel a bit like a scene from A Devil Wears Prada, like nothing you do is right or will make the higher-ups happy. And while there is much to loathe and disparage about the character of Miranda Priestly and the way she treats her staff, I particularly like this scene for the truth that it contains: each one of has the ability and the responsibility to take ownership for our own lives and work.
What does that mean? Instead of taking on an “oh poor me” mindset and complaining about how your manager treats you, think about what you can change in your own behavior that might lead to better treatment (and, recognize that you always have the choice to leave, as Stanley Tucci’s character points out in this clip).
Learning how to manage your work, and how to manage priorities, is one way that you make yourself stand out from your peers and demonstrate that you are a serious, competent professional deserving of more responsibility. No manager wants to spend his or her time constantly telling someone how to do their job, even the least Miranda Priestly-like among us. So how do you start to do this?