We have all been there – coming into work Monday morning with mountains of work on our desk. Before screaming at the top of your lungs and throwing paper into the air like large pieces of confetti, take a step back to evaluate how you can successfully get all the jobs done and still be leaving the office on time. Whether you’re trying to impress your new boss or gunning for that promotion, it can be hard to say no to more work. A well-structured workload is key to good time management and will increase your productivity as well as decreasing your stress levels. After all, you want everyone to see how amazing you are.
Here are a few ways to tackle an overwhelming workload without dropping the ball:
- Write a to-do list
Don’t allow yourself to decorate your desk with post it notes and be running laps in your mind of all the things you need to get done. We recommend that at the beginning of each day or week to write a to-do list of what you want to get done and by when. Rank tasks according to priority to plan your day ahead. This will help you focus at the job in hand. Ticking items off your to-do list is great, but are you concentrating on the quick-and-easy ones? Tackling more challenging projects first might mean more time, but when this task is out the way it will be a huge weight off your shoulders.
- Set realistic deadlines for each task
Look at your to-do list and estimate the time each task needs to be completed but don’t be overoptimistic. Be honest of what you can achieve in a working day or week so that you don’t feel overwhelmed from the start. Also allow time for interruptions. We all know how hard it is to avoid a natter in the kitchen or when cake is being passed round the office.
- Review your workload regularly
By reviewing your workload can help to rank the importance of each task and to ensure nothing is getting left behind. Is there one task that always ends up at the bottom of the pile? Consider delegating projects to other members of your team or allocate a specific time when you only do your admin for example. By getting into a routine will help you feel more organised.
- Structure your workload
Avoid starting a job and not finishing it. It can be difficult not to get distracted or bored of the task you are working on, but try to finish each one before starting another. Starting a number of jobs simultaneously means most of them won’t get your undivided attention. Think of multitasking as dealing with more than one task during a day, not at the same time.
- Remember the 80:20 rule
It’s a simple rule that you can apply to all aspects of your work life – 80 per cent of our work contributes to less than 20 per cent of its value. Concentrate on the most crucial 20 per cent of your workload and performance will follow.
By simply changing the way you approach your day to day tasks will significantly change your attitude towards work. Remember to always focus on one thing at a time to maximise your productivity and take breaks to reduce your stress. Don’t let your inbox direct your workload as well as distract you from what you are doing. Turn off notifications and try to avoid social media at all costs as this only leads to procrastination. Finally keep a log of the tasks completed each day. This will help you plan your week in future as you know how long things take as well as provide a log for the things you have achieved. This may come in handy at your next review with management. If you follow these simple techniques and continue to work hard, you will be happier, more productive and your manager will soon notice just how awesome you are.