Who Is Screaming The Loudest?
I saw this tweet and it immediately inspired me to share a story.
How should we prioritize tasks? Maybe by asking, “Who is screaming the loudest?” and getting them out of the way.
I try to do the tasks I dread the most in the morning for this reason. I know I’ll stress and worry all day otherwise. https://t.co/hpCnTcbWZ7
— The ADHD Academic (@theADHDacademic) September 2, 2021
The tweet reads:
How should we prioritise tasks? Maybe by asking, “Who is screaming the loudest?” and getting them out of the way. I try to do the tasks I dread most in the morning for this reason. I know I’ll stress and worry all day otherwise.
I once gave a training session in a community of practice at a job. I showed them how I triaged requests. It was a system where lots of data was gathered manually, and while there were overall processes and policy for the system, there were no rules on how you triaged the work. Hence, I created a system, used it, and shared it with my then-colleagues.
My data was all entered into excel, and then I had four colour categories:
- Red: needed urgent work, as this impacts a lot of variables
- Yellow: has minor critical factors, but is workable
- Green: variables have lots of options
- Black: Pain In The Ass person who thinks they need to be done first, but they don’t.
Were the people I coded as black were put LAST on the list? Where possible, yes. I cannot stand people who demand importance when they don’t know the full scope of work, and I refuse to put them first to just shut them up. As much as I’d like to be petty and put people last even if it is urgent, I didn’t. But 99% of the time their importance was the only variable, not the work, so they could be put last.
Of course, because it’s me and I can’t really do things in a totally acceptable way, I did use human triage tags to morbidly explain this. Yes, the toe-tag kind. What can I say? Probably not super appropriate in hindsight but hey, people listened.
As with 99% of things, my view is what is the right way for you to do it? The right way is rarely fixed. What helps you? Does your sense of justice mean you want to logically prioritise the work and ignore the screaming? Does having things “hanging over” you make you stressed and deplete the quality of your work, so the screaming needs to be done first? What helps you get things done?