1.2 Creating a Work Plan

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Remember, it also helps to take big tasks and break them into smaller steps. Well, depending on the type of work you do, sometimes your priorities are gonna come to you from your leadership or from a customer you support. Now, before we move to the next module, why don't you consider taking a shot at creating your own plan that covers at least the next five business days.

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Make sure you know what you’re supposed to be doing. Okay, that sounds obvious and easy, right? This is not always true. If you are new to your job, you might not have a feel for your responsibilities. If you have not done a certain type of work before, you might not know how long something is going to take. That’s completely normal. So how do you know? Ask. Review your job responsibilities, ask someone who is in the same roll or who has previously done this job, keep good notes, keep track of how long something takes you so that you have a solid estimate and you can use that next time. Remember, it also helps to take big tasks and break them into smaller steps. Remember that research Sam was starting for the sales reports? He might take that research and divide it into steps, that way he can keep track of each step and he’ll know what is involved in completing that research. How do you know what your priorities are? Depending on the type of work you do, your priorities come to you from your leadership or perhaps from a customer who is, you’re supporting. It’s important to really understand the priorities you’re expected to support. So in your sample work plan, you’re going to have something, perhaps the priority, the description of what you’re doing, the due date, who you’re doing it for, the steps, an estimate of how long it’s going to take, and a start date. And those are some good fields for you to start out with. And you can create a table, a spread sheet, and begin to work with this and see if this helps you in completing your work. You might not really know how long something is going to take. That’s okay. So how do you know? Ask. Review your job responsibilities with your supervisor, ask someone who’s in the same role, or who has previously done the job. Keep good notes when you do something, keep notes, keep track of how long it takes you, and then you have something to refer back to for a good estimate next time. Remember, it also helps to take big tasks and break them into smaller steps. Remember when Sam was working on that research, he started that research with those sales reports? He might take that research and divide it into steps, and that way he can keep track of how long each step will take, and he’s gonna know what is involved in completing that research. How do you know what your priorities are? Well, depending on the type of work you do, sometimes your priorities are gonna come to you from your leadership or from a customer you support. It’s important to really understand the priorities you are expected to support. In our example with Sam, it became more important for him to complete his status report first and then his other report later. What if your boss can not or will not tell you? You know sometimes the person you work for wants to see you figure it out for yourself. Sometimes the person you work for doesn’t really know what the true priorities are. And if this is true, you’re gonna have to figure it out for yourself. Pay attention to what is discussed the most in meetings and in announcements and in other communications. Pay attention to where your successful colleagues are spending their time. There are clues around you waiting for you to uncover them. Before you go, I would like to share with you a story. I once had a co-worker who had an important meeting after lunch and the meeting was with an executive. She was gonna facilitate the meeting and give a presentation. During lunch, she remembered that she forgotten to pick something up at the store. The item she forgot was something her family needed that evening. Immediately, she ran out of the office to the store and purchased the missing item. In doing so, she was late to her own meeting and to make matters worse, she explained why she was late. Her manager looked at her and said, if I had known you were gonna go do that, I would’ve gone to the store for you so you could have been here on time and been prepared. That’s what we call a career limiting moment. It was all because she forgot her plan, she forgot her priorities, and she forgot the difference between something that was urgent versus important. It may have been important that she bring home that item that evening to her family, but it wasn’t urgent. She could’ve picked it up on the way home from work. What was both urgent and important was being prepared for that meeting. Now, before we move to the next module, why don’t you consider taking a shot at creating your own plan that covers at least the next five business days.

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