Whenever I feel overwhelmed by conflicting priorities (which doesn’t happen that often) I use the technique below. I recently shared it with a client who had moved into overload and they found it helpful, so my offer is to perhaps file it as a resource for the next time you’re in that same uncomfortable space.
Make a monster list of all your tasks: big / small / trivial. Split them into the following categories:
If nothing else, this will make you feel vital.
Buy some mini Post-it notes and gaffer tape, and stick the tape right down the middle and across the centre of your office door.
Write each task on a Post-it note and stick it in one of the quadrants on the back of your door under the most relevant heading:
urgent but not important important and urgent
not urgent and not important important but not urgent
Now it’s easier to allocate the tasks to your team. As you do so make sure that each task is SPECIFIC AND TIME-BOUND. When briefing a team member always ask HOW WILL I KNOW WHEN YOU HAVE COMPLETED THIS TASK? (This tells you whether they have fully grasped the task and its importance.)
Finally, make sure your team knows you are EXCEPTION REPORTING — in other words, you are assuming the task will be completed on time unless you are advised otherwise by the team member.
I know it’s clunky but it really works. There is a digital version but to be honest Post-it notes and markers always work far better for me. Good luck.