Mandatory Units‎ > ‎Unit 301‎ > ‎

3. Be able to plan, prioritise and be accountable for own work

3.1 Negotiate and agree realistic targets and achievable timescales for own work


Along with my personal tasks list in SharePoint I can also be assigned tasks to complete through another list we call the Bright Ideas and Project Tracker.


Whilst these are being assigned I will or should have the opportunity to set a timescale for when these need to be completed or when I am able to complete them.


There is no need to add these to my own personal task list although i can do so if i wish but it works quite well to simply set reminders against them by using outlook by synchronizing this list.

My personal Task list


As mentioned before I can set timescales for when tasks need to be completed by and can update this as needed.

As you can see from this screenshot I can set a start date and a due date for the task which can easily be updated and changed at any point.

To help keep track of the task I can mark the percentage complete and set the priority.

Also, if i ever need to delegate this task out to someone else i can re assign it to that person or persons.

Negotiating targets and why this is important

Ideally if you are given a job to do you should do all of the following.

Discuss with your boss as precisely as possible what you have to do – either

verbally or in writing if it’s a bit more complicated.

If you don’t fully understand what you have to do, ask.

Pick your time. Don’t choose the beginning of an important meeting or at the end of a very fraught day.

Be positive. Say that you really want to do a good job but you need to be clear that you are going about it the right way.

Try to establish a series of progress checks if the target looks quite


Go back to the boss if things are beginning to go wrong and,

if necessary, try to renegotiate a target.




3.2 Prioritise targets for own work

Part of the built in features for tasks within SharePoint is the ability to set a priority against each task which can be changed / updated as necessary.

Prioritising targets and setting timescales  

SharePoint has the built in functionality to be able to set priorities against tasks as well as allowing you to set a due date against each of the tasks.

The information can be displayed in a simple list like in the example shown above or as a Gantt chart like in the screenshot below

The Gantt chart view allows you to see a visual representation of each task timeline giving you a quick overview of the progress of each task.


I regularly use both the standard list view and the Gantt view to help me keep track of my workload. This allows me to keep my line manager up to date and to give a forecast of sorts as to how well or how badly I'm doing. Using this information helps if i need to change targets and timescales for tasks or a project.



3.3 Plan work tasks to make best use of own time, effective working methods and available resources

Using my own personal task list I am able to set a priority and timescale to each task



Have a master list on which you write every target you need to achieve

– which often tends to be the completion of a certain number of jobs during

a specific period.

Don’t be tempted to put everything into a ‘pending’ or ‘jobs to do’ file.

Classify your targets into those that are

both urgent and important (class 1)

urgent (class 2)

important (class 3)

neither (class 4).

Highlight any specific deadline dates.

Set certain ‘milestones’ along the route. The more you manage to break

down the work involved in achieving a target into manageable periods of

time, the more in control you will feel.

At the outset, identify any targets that may be difficult to achieve and will

take extra time and effort.

At the start of each day plan to tackle your targets in ‘class’ order.

Make an early check on resource issues or people you need to speak so that

you can then have a clear pathway.

Try not to panic if you have to re-order targets because an even more urgent

one suddenly crops up. Just slot it into the most appropriate place on the list

and then keep going.

At the end of the day always reschedule your targets for the next day.

Make sure that you move forward targets with specific deadline dates and

try, if possible, to complete at least some of them one day in advance of the



3.4 Identify and deal with problems occurring in own work, using the support of other people if necessary


In theory you should follow a four-step approach in which you:

  • decide what the problem is
  • choose a solution

  • implement the solution
  • check it has worked.

Like many things, it’s easier said than done. What follows is one suggested


Stage one: Find the key factors
Start by writing down every key factor associated with the problem.


Stage two: Look for related areas
The next stage is to find ‘sub areas’ that fit in with the factors you’ve listed.


Stage three: Analyse your notes

Study what you have written, being as honest as possible with yourself


Stage four: Find any common factors

You might find that you can spot a recurring theme.


Stage five: Ask someone else

You might want to talk the problem over with a friend.

Stage six: Communicate

You might want to think about approaching your colleagues directly


Stage seven: Find some common ground

You’ll be very lucky if you find a perfect solution. If you can’t, try to reach a situation which is the least you can live with.

3.5 Keep other people informed of progress

I regularly send emails to the business to keep them informed of progress relating to changes to the various software systems we use.

Copy of an email sent from me to the business to inform them of how to add atachements to our statutory charge request infopath forms:

I also put together presentations and online training tutorials on a regular basis which goes into detail about any new changes such as the one in this example:



3.6 Complete work tasks to agreed deadlines or re-negotiate timescales and plans in good time


3.7 Take responsibility for own work and accept responsibility for any mistakes made


3.8 Evaluate results of mistakes made and make changes to work and methods, as required


3.9 Follow agreed work guidelines, procedures and, where needed, codes of practice



Chris Boddy,
14 Jul 2011, 01:56