How to Deal With Priority Conflicts

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Do you remember those old ball cages on the playgrounds of fast food restaurants? You would dive into a pool of deep plastic balls and float helplessly about until only your arms and legs were visible. Navigating unexpected challenges and sorting out priority conflicts resembles one of those pools. Nothing to hold onto as you try to grasp at anything.

It’s common to have days or even weeks where a ton of things need to get done, but there’s very little time to actually do them. It’s even easier to feel like a failure when you miss deadlines, leave jobs unfinished and forget about personal chores!

A significant other or co-worker are two examples of people with whom we frequently clash over priority conflicts. This kind of disagreement can fuel constant disagreements, resentment and hostility.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a complete understanding and agreement over what needs to be done and ample time in which to complete it? Then, our lives would become much more tranquil and our mind would have more room for original thought.

The good news is that this clarity is attainable! You can breeze through your day’s chores without a hitch by properly addressing competing priorities.

What do priority conflicts mean?


Objectives that compete for your time and attention are called “conflicting priorities” or priority conflicts and can’t all be completed and prioritized effectively at once.

When you have priority conflicts, you must be aware and focused on your duties and manage your time accordingly, giving importance and priority to some over others. Consider task sequencing as a starting point and tracking where and how you spend your time with TimeTrack Timesheets. 

Timesheets enable everyone on the team (and especially managers) to have a keen oversight on project and task hours. Everything is collated and tracked and you can even maintain an overview of staff attendances and who might be out of the office. As employees record their daily working hours, TimeTrack automatically creates their timesheet. 

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Monitor team time with Timesheets

To be sure you’ll be able to handle top priority projects and manage competing deadlines, employers  frequently ask interview questions concerning competing priorities and abilities on the job.

You’ll require excellent time management abilities, communication skills, the capacity to remain composed under pressure and problem-solving skills to effectively manage competing priorities.

When priorities conflict and clash


Conflicting priority deadlines can cause a lot of stress and frustration.

First, if you frequently try to focus on multiple tasks at the same time, the quality of your work may deteriorate and you constantly miss deadlines.

You could also work a lot of overtime to finish your urgent tasks. Although it could work in the short run, this can result in more stress and poorer performance. Also, it might cost the entire team in the end.

Constantly missing deadlines and making errors due to rushed work can lead to mistrust and concern as the team gains a poor reputation in the organization, or even with business partners. This may cause you to miss out on new initiatives and opportunities.

 

Examples of conflicting priorities


Here are some examples of scenarios where you could have conflicting priorities at work:

  • You have been given two critical projects by your company, both of which are high priority, but you only have time to fulfil one.
  • Starting a new project while you have three others in the backlog and you’re not sure which is most important.
  • Before you can finish the necessary work allocated to you, your manager has asked that you help with another important project that needs additional attention.
  • Your boss suddenly gives you their work on top of yours because a team member quit. You can’t manage the additional work and finish your most important job.

Priority conflicts and time management


Do you ever talk with pals about how badly you want to get together, only for those plans to never materialize? Of course, we all do. In fact, we may engage in these conversations far too frequently these days. You do, of course!

Occasionally, multitasking can resolve these kinds of top-priority problems. For instance, you could listen to an audiobook on the way to work instead of having the time to physically read a book.

But most of the time, we rush from morning to night in a frenzy of activity, unable to find a moment to fit in the activities we want to be doing. Here are some productive strategies for fitting in those priorities that keep slipping our mind.

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Handy tips to deal with conflicting priorities

Time auditing

Auditing is a relatively easy process but also a complex one. Identify common time-wasters and figure out proactive strategies to overcome a time thief at work. Most of us can pinpoint one or even two time-wasting tendencies after performing a time audit. Thanks to this knowledge, we are better equipped to make thoughtful schedules and plans. As a result, it’s simpler to fit in the things we truly want and need to do.

Off-load

It’s simple to tell yourself things like, “Everyone is busy with multiple different tasks, so I must do the same”. That small little word “no” is one of the most difficult words in the English language to employ. However, there are times when it’s the only way to squeeze in all the other things that have to get done.

Offloading is frequently required when dealing with competing demands. Consider your motivations for your actions and learn how to recognize when you’re taking on too much and just say no!

Plan and plot it out

Time is often the culprit that robs us of our ability to get it all done. Understanding how long everything takes opens the window to realistic possibilities and deadlines.

What’s taking the most amount of time? Maybe these activities can be reduced, postponed or cut out altogether. Assess your most critical tasks and then create a realistic deadline.

Time management ability is essential for managing conflicting priorities. With the right tools and strategies, you can create a few extra hours of the day.

How do you manage conflicting priorities?


Here are some suggestions for handling priority tasks.

Make a list of every project and task

To efficiently manage conflicting priorities, you must first get a bird’s-eye view of everything you have to do. Planning priorities is simpler and will be under control when you clearly understand your objective and resources.

Make a list of each project and task. This comprehensive to-do list should include meetings, daily conflict jobs and urgent projects. Your task list can be written in a notebook. But you’ll also need to keep this planning list updated frequently. Simplify your meetings and appointment scheduling with TimeTrack Appointment Planning. It’s an efficient and methodical way to manage the myriad of meetings and appointments we all have to juggle in between tasks and deadlines. You can even filter by a specific project to see related appointments.

Appointment Planning - Clear Appointment Calendar

Simple, efficient appointment tracking – TimeTrack

Set work priorities based on urgency

Make a prioritized list of all tasks and resources and then start to rank. Control activities according to urgency and importance.

Knowing what needs to be done now, this week or next month can be determined by categorizing tasks according to their urgency. Sort “important” chores from “urgent” things on your list by urgency.

It’s possible that significant jobs aren’t always urgent. For instance, before sign a project, you might need to communicate with a client to discuss and realize a particular issue, resources and objectives. Even though this is a crucial chore, you might be able to delay it for a few days.

An urgent task needs to be finished as soon as possible. Give precedence to the critical and time-sensitive duties as missing deadlines could have dire implications.

Reduce complex tasks to simpler tasks

Divide major chores into smaller jobs as you learn to prioritize. Organizing future chores into manageable segments will help you stay focused and you’re less inclined to wait until the last minute to do things.

You might, for example, be working on a project that needs preparation with research or data collection. The project’s initial stage might be conducting research. The second step can involve gathering the research and developing the project’s outline. To avoid rushing until the deadline, it is best to outline the project and then gradually work on it.

Be creative

It might not be easy to manage priorities that contradict your client’s needs. However, creative thinking is sometimes necessary to find solutions.

Ask for help, delegate non-essential parts of the task and move away from micromanaging. Perhaps breaking up the project into 20-minute chunks will help. Look for creative solutions whenever possible and you’ll be surprised at how well you can start managing priority conflicts.

Be tough

When we worry about having too much to accomplish, it’s easy to procrastinate. It suddenly becomes more appealing to check out social media, watch some videos or play online games.

The solution is to slowly and steadily cross off items from your list. As you accomplish more tasks and start getting mentally tougher, feeling overwhelmed dissipates.

That is to say, dealing with competing projects requires taking firm focus and action rather than hesitating over what needs to be done. Productivity frequently pays off. As a result, we might find ourselves with a nice window for some leisurely reading after a long day.

Overall, feeling overwhelmed is overwhelming. We can, however, control how we handle competing priorities. Clarity is easier to find when we have the correct instruments. The next step is to act with determination.

Minimize interruptions and distractions

Focusing on your projects will keep you on track. Distractions and interruptions, however, can quickly derail any progress. It’s common to experience unforeseen obstacles. The good thing is that you can prepare for diversions and interruptions, such as emails, phone conversations and meetings.

Avoid checking your email regularly at work to reduce distractions. Only check your email in the morning, after lunch and at night if feasible.

Conclusion


Manage conflicting priorities can be difficult for many team members when everything is vital.

How, then, do you order your tasks? You begin by making a thorough list of everything. Then, prioritize the tasks on the master to-do list according to their importance and level of effort.

Divide your priority list into monthly, weekly and daily increments to make it easier to maintain. When juggling competing goals and deadlines, ask for help and delegate when necessary.

Sometimes you might not have enough time to complete everything on your list. Please don’t be hesitant to reduce your workload and transfer it to your team. You might alternatively request a delay, which would free you up to concentrate on the work with the earlier due date.

Your capacity to understand how to prioritize your day will ultimately determine how productive you are. After some practice, you should have no issue in managing your workload, deadlines and conflicting priorities.