The chances are that in the three minutes it takes you to read this article, you’ll receive an email adding a task to your ‘to-do’ list, a phone call needing your attention, or an internal communication with a co-worker who has a question for you.
Most of us can relate to our days at work often feeling overwhelming before we’ve even sat down to begin them. The accumulation of emails, phone calls, to-do lists, project meetings, team meetings, review meetings, just to name a few, can mean that managing our workload feels like a constant struggle.
We wanted to highlight five keys to help relieve the pressure and create a workspace that’s not getting the better of you.
Here are our top five ways to better manage your workload:
Take time to plan
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ― Benjamin Franklin
Planning is hands down the most important tool that so often gets lost under the pile of urgent paperwork. There are too many tasks to accomplish to set aside any time to plan so you hit the ground running as soon as you’re in the office.
This may feel like the most efficient thing to do, however, the inability to plan your week can be the difference between burn out, and successfully achieving what you need to get done.
Our suggestion is on your last day of the week, take fifteen minutes to plan out your next week.
List out your top, secondary and lesser priorities as well as what the KPIs are for those tasks.
Are there any other people needed to achieve the task?
How urgent is each item on the list?
Once you can see it laid out before you, you’ll have a much easier job of putting together a to-do list that isn’t wasting time. This also clears your mind to focus on the task at hand as you’re not needing to hold all your other priorities in your head.
Multi-tasking is overrated. Look at your new priority list and then dive into the first task wholeheartedly and with full focus. The good thing about focus is that it’s a learned skill meaning you can get better at it the more you practice.
A key to this is cancelling out as many distractions as possible – even your email. Put your phone away, turn off your notifications, and set some focus goals. You will be amazed by how much more you will achieve when you fix your attention on one thing.
Work in set blocks of time
Hand in hand with the point above, a powerful way to stay on task is time-blocking. There are many theories out there for the best ‘formula’, but everyone is different, so our suggestion is to try out what works best for you and your attention span. Whether its twenty-minute blocks with five-minute breaks or fifty-minute blocks with ten-minute breaks set a timer and reward yourself at the end with a moment to stand up and stretch your legs.
This will enable you to mentally prepare for each new task and gives you little goals to work towards that help you to feel fulfilled throughout the day. Timo Kianda has a great blog dedicated to the art of time-blocking if you’d like to dive in deeper.
Breathe and self-talk
Sometimes you need to take a minute, take a deep breath, and tell yourself that you’ve got this. We know this can sound somewhat simplified but there is profound science behind the power of our words and the way they influence our emotions and actions.
Communicate and be honest about what is and isn’t working
Finally, know your limits and communicate if you’re not able to achieve everything on your list. Sitting under the stress of an overwhelming task that you can’t accomplish will only slow down your progress so don’t be afraid to ask for help or find a co-worker who can take some of the load on an important project.
If you are an Accounting/Finance Professional interested in exploring new opportunities in the Brisbane market we’d love to hear from you on (07) 3135 9780. I also encourage you to join our private LinkedIn network Accounting & Finance Professionals in Brisbane (click here). As you probably are aware we do move quite quickly on the roles we recruit for so it pays to stay ahead of the competition. Our group is an exclusive community I am building up for Finance Professionals in Brisbane who want to share job search opportunities, industry news, blogs and other content. You’ll also have an opportunity to network with each other. You might even come across some people you have worked with in the past!