BSBWOR301 – Organise and Complete Own Work Schedule
Element 1: Organise and Complete Own Work Schedule
Performance Criteria Element 1
1.1 Ensure that work goals, objectives or KPIs are understood, negotiated and agreed in accordance with organisational requirements
1.2 Assess and prioritise workload to ensure tasks are completed within identified timeframes
1.3 Identify factors affecting the achievement of work objectives and incorporate contingencies into work plans
1.4 Use business technology efficiently and effectively to manage and monitor scheduling and completion of tasks.
Organise and Complete Own Work Schedule
Ensure that Work Goals, Objectives or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Are Understood, Negotiated and Aagreed in Accordance with Organisational Requirements
Goals and Objectives
A goal can be very simply defined as an end towards which some efforts are directed. In a game of soccer, each team tries to kick the ball into the opponent’s goal area in a team effort. Similarly, in organisations, the goal is to achieve a predetermined target, by determining the objectives to achieve the desired results. A goal is not an objective or a mission statement. Very often goals, objectives, and missions are mixed up, leading to confusion. Goals are specific and always measurable, missions are a statement of intent, and objectives are of a strategic nature.
A goal should answer the following questions:
In terms of work, goals may include such things as:
• Budgetary targets
• Production targets
• Reporting deadlines
• Sales targets
• Team and individual learning goals
• Team participation
When setting our work goals, they can often come from our job descriptions. Most job descriptions will include Key Performance Indicators (KPI). KPIs are measurable outcomes tied to specific tasks the job description lists.
Key performance indicators reflect and support the organisational strategic objectives and the factors that drive success. In other words, they’re larger than the employee and the employee’s job description. If one of the organisational objectives is to expand into new markets, the marketing staff would be tasked with researching possible markets to target. The key performance indicators for this task might be the identification of a specific number of new markets and a marketing plan for each. These key performance indicators have a direct and measurable impact on the organisation’s expansion goal. They also specify the performance standards employees are expected to achieve.
So by understanding the KPIs established for your position, you know what goals you need to set to achieve your contribution to the organisational success. You also understand where you fit into the ‘big picture’ of the organisation.
KPIs usually centre on any of the following, depending on your job role:
• Key performance indicators on customer satisfaction
• Key performance indicators on customer effort
• Monitoring time taken to answer calls
• Operating within reporting protocols
• Score tools such as net promoter
• Understanding metrics.
Of course it goes without saying that all organisations and their objectives must meet certain standards. We will examine some of those:
• Access and Equity Principles and Practice
Access and equity is about giving everyone a fair go. There are several federal Acts (legislation) and policies that relate to access and equity, including:
○ Racial Discrimination Act
○ Sex Discrimination Act
○ Disabilities Discrimination Act
○ Access and equity policies
○ Social Justice Strategy
○ Charter for a Culturally Diverse Society.
• Business and Performance Plans
Business performance management is:
1. Selection of organisational goals
2. Consolidation of measurement information relevant to an organisation’s progress against these goals
3. Interventions made by managers in light of this information with a view to improving future performance against these goals.
• Defined Resource Parameters
Every organisation has plans and requirements that determine how it will progress into the future. The strategic planners and management of the organisation, in consultation with staff, determine most of these requirements. Others are externally imposed, such as the legislation the organisation is required to comply with.
• Ethical Standards
Ethical principles are focused on values such as trust, good behaviour, fairness and kindness. Organisations usually set their own ethical standards.
• Goals, Objectives, Plans, Systems and Processes
Most businesses will have organisational goals and objectives, and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that must be identified, negotiated and agreed upon. An understanding of your organisation’s policies and procedures is imperative in relation to:
○ Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
• Legal And Organisational Policies, Guidelines and Requirements
Policies and Procedures
Policies are written by organisations to ensure that staff and stakeholders act responsibly and make rational, well-informed decisions. They help it to be consistent in its approach to decision-making and problem-solving across the organisation’s locations if appropriate. In order for staff and stakeholders to understand their responsibilities within the organisation, it is very important that policies and procedures are adopted and clearly communicated to everyone.
Guidelines are developed to assist and guide members in the workplace in relation to policy implementation. Guidelines are also intended to complement the development of local workplace policies and protocols.
A policy is a formal statement of a principle or rule that members of an organisation must follow. Each policy addresses an issue important to the organisation’s mission or operations.
A procedure tells members of the organisation how to carry out or implement a policy.
Policy is the ‘what’ and the procedure is the ‘how to’.
Policies are written as statements or rules. Procedures are written as instructions, in logical steps.
Legislation is the act of making or enacting laws. When people talk about ‘the legislation’, they mean a law or a body of laws. The legislation in a state or territory are the laws enacted specifically to control and administer the state or territory.
Regulations are the way that the legislation is applied. They are generally very specific in nature, and are also referred to as ‘rules’ or ‘administrative law’. These are administrative ‘rules’ that describe rights and allocate responsibilities. They can take many forms such as being legal restrictions established by a government authority, a self-regulating mechanism for an industry such as a trade association, social regulations such as ‘norms’, co-regulation or market regulation. They are actions of conduct imposing sanctions such as a fine.
Codes of Practice
Codes of Practice are sets of guidelines and regulations to be followed by members of some profession, trade, occupation, organisation etc. They are not usually covered by law, but rather by agreement of participants or members. Data in the Codes of Practice database consists of several different types – Codes of Practice (Australian & International), Standards (Australian & International), Australian Design Rules and ‘Other’.
There are federal and state and territory legislation and regulations surrounding privacy. Under these laws, you will need to be careful how you handle, store and dispose of personal information. You may also be required to keep certain information confidential.
• WHS Policies, Procedures and Programs
Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation is designed to ensure a safe and healthy workplace, and to reduce the number of injuries in the workplace by giving all staff responsibilities. Employers, self-employed people, those in control of work premises, machinery and substances, designers, manufacturers, suppliers and workers all have obligations with regard to workplace health, safety and welfare.
Although it differs in detail from state to state, in general Australian WHS legislation is aimed at achieving:
○ Provide and maintain a safe working environment and safe systems of work
○ Provide information to employees in relation to health, safety and welfare in the workplace.
Employees also have responsibilities under the health and safety laws:
○ Follow instructions and rules in the workplace
○ Work and behave in ways which are safe and do not endanger the health and safety of anyone in the workplace.
You can be disciplined by your employer or be prosecuted under the health and safety law in your State or Territory if you do not comply.
WHS is regulated by Commonwealth and state and territory government bodies.
• Privacy Act
The Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) is an Australian law which regulates the handling of personal information about individuals. This includes the collection, use, storage and disclosure of personal information, and access to and correction of that information.
• Quality Assurance and Continuous Improvement Processes and Standards
Many organisations comply with international or industry quality standards, such as ISO9001. These standards focus on continual improvement and involve reviewing and monitoring work processes in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the organisation. Quality standards such as ISO9001 have a strong focus on identifying and meeting customer needs.
In order to be able to apply the legislative and organisational requirements to your own role and responsibilities, you must have a clear understanding of what is being asked of you.
Goals are set to establish a direction, identify expected results, improve team work, and provide a sense of purpose by setting targets and improving performance. You should note the following points with regards to goals and objectives:
• A goal should be defined and in writing
• It should be measurable
• It should be achieved in a specific timeframe
• It should be achieved at the lowest possible cost.
Finally, setting goals is not enough. The organisation should be geared up to achieve them. The leader has to do the following:
• Implement the action plan
• Monitor the progress periodically
• Revise the objectives, tactics, and strategy to achieve the results without changing the goal.
Assuming the goal is realistic, it should never be changed. There could be cost and time overruns in achieving your goals due to various unforeseen hurdles, in which case, the goal could have been unrealistic. Hence goal setting is very important and due care should be taken before it is ‘cast in stone’.
The Smart model is an excellent way of establishing goals and objectives.
SMART Goals are Specific:
A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal you must answer the six ‘W’ questions:
1. Who: Who is involved?
2. What: What do I want to accomplish?
3. Where: Identify a location.
4. When: Establish a time frame.
5. Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
6. Why: Specific reasons, purpose, or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
SMART Goals are Measurable:
When you are writing goals for yourself to achieve, you need to ensure that there is some form of criteria in place for you to be able to measure what you have achieved. Without this measure in place, you will have no idea how well you have actually performed, whether you have reached your goals, and whether you are actually staying on track in terms of your performance.
You may find it useful to ask yourself how you will actually know whether you have accomplished your goals.
SMART Goals are Attainable:
The goals that you set yourself need to be attainable – make them realistic. By setting the bar too high, you will set yourself up for failure and this will lead you to being less motivated. Add some challenge, but do not make things too difficult.
Attainable goals are ones which you feel that with a little work you could achieve. The best goals are those which are based on a number of steps that you can follow – one-by-one, in order to reach that goal. The time frame that you set yourself is also an important consideration. Make sure that you are not making the goals too long-term as you may find that you never actually reach that ultimate goal and it seems to fade away into the distance.
SMART Goals are Realistic:
Realistic goals are attainable goals. By setting your goals way too high, you are again setting yourself up for failure. There needs to be a willingness on your part to reach the goal and in turn there must actually be the ability for you to reach the goals that you set yourself. Try to find goals that are in that difficult area of being attainable, but challenging.
If a goal is too easy to obtain you may not work hard towards achieving it. However, if it is too easy, you will not be motivated enough to want to work towards it in any substantial way.
A realistic goal is most likely to be one that you believe you can actually achieve. If you think that you can reach a given goal, then it is likely that you will be in a position to actually achieve it.
SMART Goals are Tangible:
Finally, the goals that you set yourself need to be tangible. There needs to be something about the goal that you are setting that you can experience. You can see it, touch it, smell it, or taste it. If there is nothing tangible that is coming out of a goal, it is very difficult to achieve that goal – it also makes measuring your performance much easier.
If a goal is intangible in its nature then you should find that it is based around making internal changes to yourself. Things you may not experience yourself – such as changes to personality and behaviour.
Smart goals allow you to keep your eyes on the ultimate goal, no matter what stands in your way.
Setting Goals – The Process
|Identify a key job or task||Goal setting should begin by defining exactly what it is you want to accomplish. The best source of this information is looking at your job description. This will detail the jobs that you are required to perform, how these tasks are to be done, and what outcomes you are responsible for achieving.|
|Establish specific and challenging goals for each task||This is fairly self explanatory. We will add that these goals should be made public where possible. This allows you to be more committed to their achievement|
|Specify deadlines for each goal||Goals should include specific time limits for their accomplishment.|
|Prioritise goals||When you have set yourself more than one goal, it is important to rank these goals in order of importance. The purpose of this step is to encourage yourself to take action and expend some effort on each goal, in proportion to the importance of that goal.|
|Rate goals for difficulty and importance||Goal setting should not encourage people to choose easy goals in order to ensure success. Goal setting needs to take into account the difficulty of the goals selected and whether you are emphasising the right goals. When these ratings are combined with the actual level of goal achievement, you will have a more comprehensive assessment of your overall goal performance.|
|Build in feedback mechanisms||Ideally, feedback on goal progress should be selfgenerated rather than provided externally. When you are able to monitor your own progress (as we look at in the next Element) the feedback is likely to be less threatening and less likely to be perceived as being part of a control system by management.|
Assess and Prioritise Workload to Ensure Tasks are Completed within Identified Timeframes
Identify Factors Affecting the Achievement of Work Objectives and Incorporate Contingencies into Work Plans
Factors that May Cause Problems
As hard as we may try to reach our goals, there are likely to be some factors that will always work against us. These factors, however, should be identified early so that contingency plans can be developed to stop these problems from occurring. Here are some common examples:
|Competing work demands||Previously, we have examined the importance of knowing what your job involves by examining your job description. This is important because it allows you to see which work demands you are facing that are important and which are not. It is also important to know when to say ‘no’ to tasks that are not always a part of your job, when you have more important priorities you have to meet.|
|Environmental factors||Areas such as workplace hazards, controls, and risks are an everyday part of your job, and you need to know how to deal with these and what you can do to prevent them from becoming a problem.|
|Budget and resource constraint||These include constraints such as late delivery of supplies, company downsizing, cutbacks in your budgets, and colleagues being off work. Often they are outside your control, but having plans in place allows you to ensure that they cause as little disruption as possible.|
|Technology||Where there is technology and equipment there will be breakdowns, hold-ups and other unforeseen issues. Not only can you waste a lot of time when machinery breaks down, but not being competent in computer applications can lead to frustration and wasted time. You need to be flexible in your scheduling to allow you to move to another task but keep details on your current task|
You can draw up a good contingency plan in a short period of time. Use the following questions to help you:
1. What could go wrong?
Brainstorm as many things as possible that could go wrong. Let your imagination run wild. List each item and keep going until you feel that you have run out of potential issues; 5 to 10 minutes will usually be long enough.
2. What can you control?
Examine the list of potential problems and divide them into 2 lists – what you can control and, what you cannot control. There is no point dwelling on things which fall outside of your control so discard that list.
3. How likely is it to happen?
Devise your own scale e.g. 1-5 where 1 is highly unlikely to happen and 5 is highly likely to happen. Give each item on the list a rating.
4. How damaging would the impact be?
Use a scale, just like last time and give each item on the list a rating based on how damaging the impact would be if it were to occur.
5. What contingency can you plan for each item?
Work your way through each item on the list. Do so in the following order:
• Items which are both potentially damaging and more likely to happen
• Items which would be very damaging if they occurred
• Items which are more likely to happen.
The first step when setting your contingency is to ask if you can actually eliminate the possibility of the issue arising in the first place as it is better to eliminate the risk than deal with the aftermath of the issue occurring.
If the risk cannot be avoided, you need to determine what you can do should the situation arise. Even if your solution cannot eliminate the issue there will usually be some action that you can take to lessen the impact.
6. How do you plan to deal with setbacks?
Even with the best made contingency plan, there is a good chance that something which you haven’t thought of will go wrong. You should build time into your plan to deal with any setbacks and take any necessary action to get yourself back on track.
When you expect a setback, you are better able to recover and move forward when the expected catastrophe occurs. The worst possible scenario is to be hit with a setback because you never considered the possibility that one could occur. In such a case, you’re without a back-up plan just when you need one most. These are the types of setbacks that stop people cold in their tracks, some never to move forward again.
This is not to say that when you expect to fail, you see all the possibilities ahead of time. It only means that when you anticipate failure as a part of your original plan, you are better able to deal with it when it does happen. This is where a contingency plan quickly becomes your best friend.
Planning is the key to managing problems that may affect your ability to reach your goals.
Use Business Technology Efficiently and Effectively to Manage and Monitor Scheduling and Completion of Tasks
Business technology is an ever expanding field and may include:
• Computers and Computer Applications
Technology can be a boon. It can allow you to better plan your time, and be more efficient in working towards your goals.
• Microsoft Outlook
Outlook provides excellent facilities for planning your day, and building in time for reaching specific goals. It can remind you of upcoming events. You can also use calendar apps that come already installed on mobile devices, such as the Calendar app on Apple devices or Google Calendar on Android devices.
• Project Management
Your goals can often be treated as projects. You may have a goal that you wish to achieve and in order to organise your efforts you can use apps like Microsoft Project. You can create Gantt Charts that allow you to determine the steps that you need to follow to reach your goals. These can be given specific time frames and you can use these as the basis for your goal setting. In the example below, the stages to the goal of opening a new business have been outlined in an older version of Microsoft Project.
• Email, Internet/Extranet/Intranet, Modems
The advent of email and the internet has greatly improved the efficiency of communication and have been a great time saver.
• Fax Machines, Photocopiers, Printers, Scanners
All of these devices speed up day-to-day work, which increases efficiency and accuracy.
• Personal Schedulers
You will notice that most of your effort when working on achieving your goals will revolve around time-management. With excellent time-management, you are put in a much better position to achieve your goals. Your mobile devices are great for helping you manage your time.
Prioritising Your Workload
When working, your workload is likely to be varied, with many different competing demands on your time, and important deadlines to meet.
Your workload may consist of the following:
• Projects you are personally responsible for: you will be involved in the major decisions; you will need to identify the tasks that need to be completed, set mini-deadlines and coordinate the efforts of anyone else involved in the project. You will also need to keep clients and colleagues updated and informed of any developments.
• Supporting colleagues on projects they are personally responsible for: this may involve providing help or expertise for colleagues, and projects can range from pitches for new business to delivering a long-term Public Relations (PR) campaign.
• Smaller administrative and non-project tasks: these tasks may not be directly tied to a specific project, but dealing with them may be a significant part of managing your workload. They include tasks such as maintaining an orderly work environment, processing invoices, replying to emails, etc.
Your workload is likely to comprise a range of tasks with different levels of responsibility and importance. The key to planning and managing your workload effectively is being able to prioritise tasks and manage your time effectively.
The way that you plan and manage your workplace can have a wide effect on other people and aspects of your life outside of work. Making better use of your time can increase your capacity and productivity, which means that your agency becomes more effective. If you are able to take on more work, then this may result in more interesting and demanding projects. Effective workload management could improve your career prospects and help you achieve your maximum potential.
Tasks are interrelated within projects, so your colleagues may not be able to start or complete their tasks until you have completed yours. Your colleagues therefore rely on you to complete tasks on time or to give them sufficient warning if a deadline is at risk of not being met. This will enable them to plan their own workload accordingly.
Work affects our lives outside work. Poor planning may mean that you have to work beyond normal office hours to complete tasks, cutting into your personal time.
When you have a range of competing demands on your time, you may find that you try to complete more than one task at a time. However, this may result in all of the tasks being done to a lower quality than you would have achieved otherwise. Alternatively, you may feel paralysed by indecision about what to do first.
Setting priorities can help you complete your work more effectively, as you clearly establish the order in which you should complete tasks and you can channel your energies more effectively. You can prioritise work according to a number of different measures.
Important or high-priority tasks are the tasks that help us achieve our long-term goals or that have other meaningful and significant long-term consequences. A good way to prioritise key tasks is to complete a ‘priority graph’ on a daily basis, as shown in the image below.
‘A’ tasks should be done immediately.
‘B’ tasks should be planned and given action dates.
‘C’ tasks should be done as you can do them, fitted around ‘A’ and ‘B’ tasks.
‘D’ tasks should be removed from your list of tasks. It is usually a major challenge to find these, let alone remove them. You should therefore consider carefully whether or not they are actually ‘C’ tasks.
Once you have planned out your tasks and prioritised them, you will need to develop a schedule. Scheduling is where the objectives you set are placed on a timeline and given expected completion dates. You need to look at the time you have available and plan how you will use it to meet your objectives. To be most effective, you should schedule at the start of every week and review every morning.
Scheduling should be completed in the following order:
• Identify the time you have available
• Make a list of the actions you have to take
• Review the tasks and prioritise them
• Include time for possible unscheduled tasks
• Leave the remaining time to use to present work or follow-up on activities.
Effective scheduling will help you to understand what you can realistically achieve, and assist you to make the best use of your time. It can also help you to ensure that you have enough time to meet your highest priorities and manage contingencies! This will help to minimise stress.
Managing your workload effectively can help you work towards your own goals and ambitions. When considering your career, remember that the seniority of the task giver has an impact on your prioritisation. However, regardless of how senior the task giver is, you should take time to consider whether the task is genuinely urgent before putting it at the top of your to-do list.
Technological Help to Achieve
Technology can be a blessing and time-saving intervention. But it can also be a time waster. If you check emails 50 times a day, Facebook 10 times and browse the web for a new personal purchase – well, you have lost hours!
By exercising a little discipline, you can advantage yourself and alleviate your workload. Check emails on arrival at work and deal with the urgent, important ones. Leave Facebook and personal web browsing until lunch.
Use your planner as your diary, including your to-do list. Complete the list before you go home and you are off to an organised early start. Technology allows you and your employees to make new connections anywhere and store those connections in databases that can be accessed at any time. For instance, if you meet someone at a networking event, instead of asking for a business card, you can easily add them on LinkedIn. Each connection you make can turn into a new opportunity, whether it’s a new lead for your sales team or a mentor that can help you with a project that you’re having trouble with. Employees who have the most robust networks tend to be the most effective.
Email and instant messaging apps like Skype allow almost instant contact with others on projects or in the business. Questions can be answered, information provided and a continuous flow of work completed without necessarily having to be onsite.
Smartphones and other mobile devices are great ways of syncing your computer diary and keeping on time.
Try alternating your schedule, contact records and note-taking and adopt the ones that work best for you. However, once you have begun your work tasks, it is important to monitor your work progress and completion of tasks against the schedule. You may need to review your schedule if you have fallen behind or your priorities have changed.
Technology can help or hinder your work. Before we examine how technology can assist you, let’s look at some of the problems it can cause. Not only can you waste a lot of time when machinery breaks down, but not being competent in computer applications can lead to frustration and wasted time. However, technology can also be a boon. It can allow you to better plan your time, and work towards your goals. We will look at a number of electronic aids to goal achievement in this Element.
• It is important that you are able to understand the work goals and objectives that you have been set. These may come about through your own understanding of your job or you may be given goals by your superiors.
• In order to schedule work effectively, it is important that you assess your current workplace and prioritise your work in order to ensure it is all completed within the identified timeframes.
• There are a wide range of factors that may affect your ability to complete work tasks. These include lack of resources, your workload being too heavy, or problems with technology.
• Electronic diaries or project software may assist you in scheduling work in order to meet the requirements set for you.