from Chaos to Efficiency
Sultan, managing director of UK flight
support company FltCtrl.
eaching myself how to prioritize was
a fundamental part of achieving efficiency.
The ability to prioritize work is
not natural at all, and to start, I had to identify which things needed to be
done first. It is an essential process; however, once I got used to it, it made
organizing and planning much less stressful. When I started to learn how to
organize and prioritize my workload, I, in turn, learned how to be more
efficient and productive.
I started off by asking myself,
how do I organize and plan my work? What are my priorities? There isn't a right
or wrong way that these questions can be answered. However, based on research, I
was able to find guidelines that helped me prioritize my work and answer
questions about time management skills.
I fully understood that projects,
especially the large and complex ones, are in immense need of clear priorities.
That’s much easier said than done. I knew for sure the type of projects we were
handling in our company, regardless of how well-planned for, will involve a
change of orders, re-prioritization and a common occurrence of surprises. That
was just the natural order of things.
Nonetheless, to assist in
managing my team’s workload and keep us delivering on deadlines, I taught myself
to master the following nine crucial steps to prioritizing over time:
Create a to-do list that consists of
all of my tasks. This list
includes everything that I could think of getting done in a day, effectively
making sure that I will remember all the things I need to do. This list can
be either a weekly to-do list or a daily one - but I have found that the
latter to be more effective. I make sure to list everything down on a
notepad and do not scatter it around post-it notes or keep them in my head.
Identifying urgent vs. important.
The next step focuses on identifying
the tasks that are in need of immediate attention, meaning that if they are
not done at the end of the day, there will be severe consequences. After
doing so, I would write my list again, this time in ranking - from most
urgent to least.
The next step is to look at the critical work and identify which tasks carry
the highest value to our business. One way to assess value is to determine
the number of people that will be impacted by our work. In most cases, the
more significant the number of people affected, the more critical that task
Set realistic deadlines.
It’s crucial to ensure that the deadlines set are realistic and that I do
not rush myself into finishing something. Taking one step at a time provides
that I do not set myself up for failure and that the task is done correctly.
Order tasks by estimated effort.
In cases that tasks are equal in terms of priority, make sure to check their
estimates and which task would require the most effort to complete.
Productivity experts suggest starting the lengthier task first. However, I
have found that clearing up small tasks is always a motivator before
starting the lengthier ones.
Be flexible and adaptable.
Be aware that uncertainty and change are a given; thus I know that our
priorities will change even when we would least expect them to. The trick is
staying focused on the tasks that we are committed to completing.
Know when to cut.
At times when I cannot get to all the tasks on my list, I will make sure to
focus on priority tasks that must be completed for the day and cut off the
remaining ones. I always stick to the 80:20 rule of workloads – so I
concentrate on the most crucial 20% work that will give us 80% value.
Put away distractions.
There are numerous things around me that could distract me from doing my
work such as social media – so I make sure I put them all away and pay the
least attention possible to them.
- Keep multitasking to a minimum.
I make sure that every task I carry out has my undivided attention – and do
not spread my efforts across multiple different tasks at the same time.
Time-management is one of the
essential skills in this world. Thus with the proper prioritization and
preparation in place, you will be able to take advantage out of it.
Upcoming now, is the art of
delegation and overcoming the limitation of having too much to do with too
Next week: 'Delegate'
things First' | 'Declutter'
About the Author
Issam Sultan is the Managing
Director of FltCtrl Ltd
headquartered in London, UK.
Combined, the company’s team
of professionals, FltCtrl
has over 40 years of
aviation industry experience
and currently specialises in
developing aviation IT
solutions to the aviation
While working in the UAE
with flight support services firm RamJet Aviation Support for more
than 17 years, Issam became increasingly frustrated by the
complexity of the flight operations process – it was crying out to
be simplified. Aviation requires quick decision making and to do
this, one needs to have all the relevant information at their
fingertips. Team synchronicity is invaluable. From that seed, the
idea for FltCtrl was sown.
Using the latest technology,
FltCtrl has also started
Flock.aero, a Community
Driven Aviation Directory
that aims to give aircraft
operators and suppliers the
power to connect and succeed
in their business. At its
very core Flock is a
directory of all the
airports and suppliers
operating at these airports,
but more importantly it is a
platform where operators and
suppliers can connect and
find new opportunities to
improve their business
BlueSky Business Aviation News | 1st February
2018 | Issue #449