Managing Work


Effectively managing one's time and resources to ensure that work is completed efficiently. Click here for associated skills and behaviors.

Ways to Demonstrate this Skill

Development Activities

  • Prioritize your work.

  • Identify which of your activities and tasks are critical, and which are less so.

  • Keep reviewing and adjusting your work priorities as factors inside and outside of the organization change.

  • Periodically check your priorities with your manager to ensure mutual agreement.

  • Make a list of your tasks and rank them according to how critical they are. Then discuss your rankings with your manager to ensure that you have a shared understanding of priorities. Modify your priorities as needed.

  • Identify things that are likely to change about your job in the next year (new information system, new responsibilities, new processes or procedures) and plan how you can modify your work and your priorities to absorb the change.


  • Organize your resources and your schedule.  

  • Make sure the materials and equipment you and others need are in appropriate locations so that everyone’s work can be done effectively.

  • Take the initiative and use available resources (individuals, processes, departments, and tools) to complete your work efficiently.

  • Coordinate your schedule with others' to avoid gaps in coverage, or conflict over access to resources (rooms, equipment, etc.) Bring problems due to lack of resources to your manager’s attention.

  • Allocate your own time so that you complete your work.

  • Ensure your most critical tasks are always completed effectively and on time. If there are obstacles to completing them, do all you can to clear the obstacles yourself. Inform your management ahead of time if your own efforts are not enough to keep the tasks on track.

  • Do your best to complete the less critical tasks on time, but do not let this interfere with completing the most critical ones.

  • Identify shared resources and other constraints that can create problems for completing your most critical work on time.

  • First, identify three or four ways you can prevent the problems, such as working with others to schedule use of scarce resources, changing when you do particular tasks, etc.

  • Then, share these ideas with your manager and discuss what are other ways you can handle the situation, and whether s/he can help.

  • Work to make sure the top priority tasks are done first on a daily and weekly basis. If you encounter conflicts, discuss them with your manager.

  • Set some short-term goals for using your work time more effectively (for example: spending four hours a day for a week focused on your three most critical tasks), track your use of time, identify obstacles, and do some problem solving. Concentrate on solving as many problems as possible before asking for help from management. Plan a reward for yourself when you reach the goal, like buying a good book, sharing a nice lunch, or going to a film.


  • Stay focused.

  • Use the time you have effectively.

  • Don’t let irrelevant issues or distractions interfere with your work.

  • Observe how other people react to distractions and interruptions. Note both effective and ineffective behaviors. Work to adopt some of the effective ones.


Developmental Resources


     If you find workshops a good way for you to learn and develop, look for workshops or classes that address the following:

  • Time management

  • Setting and maintaining priorities

  • Working as part of a team

  • Working with different personal styles and/or difficult people.



   The following books are recommended resources on managing your work:

Alan, David. (2001). Getting Things Done: the Art of Stress-free Productivity. Viking Press. ISBN 0670899240.

Covey, Steven. (1990) Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Publisher: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0671708635.

Lakein, Alan. (1996). How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life. Publisher: New American Library. ISBN 0451167724.

Mackenzie, Alec. (1997) The Time Trap. AMACOM Publishers. ISBN 081447926X.

Pritchett, P. (1999). The Employee Handbook of New Work Habits for a Radically Changing World: 13 Ground Rules for Job Success. Dallas, TX: Pritchett and Associates. ISBN 0944002153.

Tobias, Cynthia Ulrich. (1999) The Way We Work: What You Know About Working Styles Can Increase your Efficiency, Productivity, and Job Satisfaction. Broadman & Holdman Publishers. ISBN 0805418334.




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