Are you one of those people who never seems to have a clear desk? Are others leaving at 5pm but you have to stay behind to catch up with your workload?
If this is the case then it sounds like you need some simple steps to ensure you stay ahead and don’t get left behind:
A to-do list: Some people can’t function without a list of jobs and tasks they need to get done throughout that day. Make sure your list is realistic and enjoy the satisfaction of crossing through a job once it’s completed. It’s advised that a list is written on a daily basis, ideally started the day before with any jobs that needed to be carried forward. The aim is to get to 5pm with everything crossed through, very satisfying especially on a Friday!!!
Workload reviews: What is that one job you absolutely hate doing? Is there a task you put off all day but really you know it has to be done? Why not approach this task face on, or maybe there is a way you could delegate it to someone who would actually quite enjoy it. Either way, the worse you can do is skip to the next thing on your list. You’ll feel so much better once you have got it out of the way.
Time Management: Think about how long each task is going to take. Managing your list in this way will then give you a clearer idea of when you should be done.
Being realistic: There will be times when the list doesn’t go to plan. Maybe an unexpected visitor or a meeting you weren’t aware of. These things happen. All you can do is ensure you’re focused, restrict the amount of distraction around you and deal with the important stuff first.
Structure: We all like to think we can be multi-taskers, juggling a number of things at one time, but sometimes it’s better to just deal with one thing at a time. Do the job properly so you know you won’t have to come back to it again.
Distractions: Are you easily distracted if you see an email pop into your inbox, do you find you hit the instant email alert tab if one appears on your screen? Maybe it’s worth switching these distractions off and only review new messages every half an hour/hour etc. If you review an email every few minutes that’s a lot of time you will be wasting switching from screen to screen.
Selecting the good stuff: I am sure we have all been guilty of skimming our to do list picking out the best jobs first and leaving the meaty, hard jobs until the end of the day. But why not try and get the bigger tasks done first and then you can enjoy the rest of the day with the weight lifted off of your shoulders.
Keeping it simple: A little like structure, sometimes taking too much on at the same time can really overload the process. Why not pick one job at a time so you feel totally in control and you won’t get flustered thinking you can’t finish one of them, let alone all of them.
The ability to say ‘NO’: It’s so much easier to say yes to a colleague than to worry that the word No sounds a bit harsh. But maybe it’s the way that you say No is the key to not taking on too much. Sentences such as: I’d love to be able to help you but . . . or I am sure I could help you with that once I have finished my ‘To do list’.
Asking others for feedback: Asking what others think is often a good way to find out whether your boss or colleagues think a certain tasks is as important as what you think it is. Maybe the job could be dealt with after the meatier tasks or even given to someone who has more time on their side. Some companies share their lists in morning meetings to make sure their workmates aren’t dealing with exactly the same thing or if someone has a great idea that will speed up the process of getting something done quicker.