Pulled in 20 Different Directions - Prioritizing Tasks at Work.

Pulled in 20 Different Directions

June 20, 2023

Part of a series of blogs expanding on the findings of the latest ROI Benchmark.

It’s mathematically impossible for every task to be the top priority, but you wouldn’t guess that working for an internal communications team. People talk about separating the important from the urgent, but in today’s workplace, it’s ALL important, and it’s ALL urgent — the fear being that, otherwise, things will never get done.

The latest ROI Benchmark asked internal communicators what areas they were responsible for. The results were shocking – communicators shared they had 20 different areas they were responsible for. That’s a lot of workstreams to keep straight! At the same time, 82% say they expect their responsibilities to increase in 2023, while 67% anticipate budget and headcounts will stay the same or decrease (it’s no wonder they cite burnout as the top challenge they face).

Different Directions - ROI Benchmark Data Table V2

How do you manage such a packed portfolio without overburdening your team? Every organization operates differently, so there’s no magic formula, but we have a few tips that can help you work it out.

  • Be clear about what’s possible. Sometimes, it’s not sustainable to say “yes” all the time. If your team is burning out, you may need to ask for more resources, either from an outside agency (like us!), or from other departments within your organization. Alternatively, determining the ROI of various projects is an important time investment — if you can show that the results don’t reflect the effort, you can make an argument to strike it from your to-do list.
  • Connect to your mission, values and strategy. Nothing creates clarity like returning to first principles. The same guidance that serves as your company’s North Star can help your team navigate the comms journey. If something you’re working on can’t be traced to one of these foundational elements, then it’s worth questioning.
  • Help your stakeholders help themselves. Many service teams are so eager to prove their value they take on work that might better be implemented by others. Developing turnkey solutions and providing strategic counsel are self-sustaining ways to demonstrate your expertise without getting tangled in the weeds of execution.
  • Get creative. The way you’ve always done things might not be the best way forward. A busy crunch might feel like the worst time to take risks and try something new — but what if it’s actually the best time? A new tool, process or perspective can help you view a project in a new light, showing the way to opportunities and efficiencies that you hadn’t previously imagined.

In the final analysis, prioritizing requires ruthlessness. You need to make hard choices and stick with them. Doing so might feel like a challenge in the short term, but once you get past the difficult conversations, you’ll be able to tackle the important and the urgent in equal measure — with time to thank yourself for your courage.

More about The ROI Benchmark:


Jeff Lewonczyk ROI Internal Communication Agency Employee.
Jeff Lewonczyk

Director, Specialist

Jeff is a strategist and award-winning illustrator with a background in theater, music and arts advocacy. A resident of Brooklyn, he directs musical comedies and helps clients connect with their audiences through compelling stories and messaging.