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We all understand the importance of working efficiently but there’s no denying that work can sometimes be overwhelming. One week you’ve got everything under control and the next – you’re snowed-under with too many pressing deadlines. Sound familiar?
So how do you avoid unwanted stress and potential sleepless nights over a heavy workload? We spoke to Kenny McPhail, Head of Learning & Development at Oliver James Associates, to understand his 5 top tips for managing your workload effectively…
1. Make time to plan the plan
If there’s one key piece of advice you should remember, it’s this – make time to plan the plan. It’s so important to spend 20 minutes at the end of your day planning tomorrow and trying to clear your mind of tasks before you leave the office. Don’t keep lists on different post-it-notes or ‘in your head’; make a cohesive list of all tasks whether on paper or using online project management tools such as Trello.
2. Prioritise your projects
This one’s simple. Get your priorities straight. You will always have more work on than you have time to complete, right? Not if you prioritise. Work out project deadlines and prioritise tasks accordingly. Pressing work can sometimes take priority over important long-term projects. Don’t let this happen! Utilise your time wisely by prioritising that workload.
Sometimes you need to trust and empower other members of your team to do certain tasks. Tasks that perhaps you’ve been used to doing for a number of years. At a senior level, you shouldn’t always been dealing with automated workflows. Which is why it’s key to hand that power over to your team, embrace delegation and aid their career progression.
4. Learn when to say no
Learning when to say no will actually get you ahead. You need to learn to set firm boundaries; it’s one of the most important skills to master for professional development. When you say no to the things that don’t help you, you are actually saying yes to the things that will. It’s too common place to say yes to workloads out of guilt or fear of what the other person/team will say. Why don’t you implement a pause period before you accept specific workloads? Just remember to be purposeful in your actions as setting boundaries and saying no can actually help you reach your goals.
We all know how difficult it can be to remain focused throughout the working day. Especially if you’ve had back-to-back meetings and the workload just keeps piling up. The trick to ensure you remain focused and consistent throughout the day is to group tasks together in 45 to 60 minute slots. Allotting time to different tasks will mean the variety keeps you focused for a set period of time and your work flow is constant.
Following these 5 top tips can help you manage your workload effectively. Don’t get overwhelmed by large scale projects or multiple tasks, just take a step back, plan, prioritise and you’ll succeed.