By Sarah Pavey and the Mind Tools Team
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Managing Conflicting Priorities

Keeping People Satisfied

Conflicting Priorities

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Are you being pulled in different directions?

Pam's client needs her to complete a project by the end of the week. The problem is that she has another, more urgent project that she needs to finish for another customer. There's no way that she can finish both projects on time.

So, how does she tell her client that his project isn't as urgent as the other one she's committed to? And how can she do this without damaging their relationship?

Like Pam, many of us have situations where several people or teams are clamoring for our urgent attention. In this article, we'll look at a common-sense approach for managing conflicting priorities and for keeping everyone satisfied.

When Priorities Clash

You probably already know what happens when you have conflicting priorities.

First of all, the quality of your work can suffer as you work more quickly or multitask, or you may find yourself delivering work later than you promised.

Or, you might work very long hours to get everything done. Although this may prove effective in the short-term, it can lead to increased stress and lower performance.

This means that people who depend on you are disappointed, which affects your reputation and your working relationships. This can then lead to you missing further opportunities down the line, such as interesting new projects from your boss, or additional purchases from your clients....

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