Managing Your Workload

Overview

Stress is a normal part of life, but sometimes it can get overwhelming, when this happens it can seriously affect your emotional and physical wellbeing, as well as your performance and productivity.

Many of us believe it is our fault when we experience unmanageable stress due to not being able to cope with the high demands of our jobs. But really, many people suffer from high stress levels because they simply have too much to do, and unless you are the boss, that might not be something you have much control over.

There are always things you can try to do to manage your workload more effectively and reduce your stress levels at the same time.

5 Time Management Tips

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1. Recognise Your Own Limits

If you have an unrealistically heavy workload, acknowledging that you cannot do it all is the first step towards getting the situation back under control. Thinking that working a bit longer or a bit harder will help you catch up is not going to stop the situation repeating. If you have more work than you can complete now, chances are your to do pile will be even bigger tomorrow.

2. Take Back Control

Start to take control of the situation by getting used to saying ‘no’ to those who keep piling the work on top of you, or at least to make sure they have more realistic expectations of you. If you do not, the quality of your work could suffer, you might start missing deadlines and you could become so exhausted your mental and physical health will be affected too.

Saying ‘no’ occasionally is much easier than having to deal with what happens when you say ‘yes’ all the time.

3. Prioritise Tasks

If there is no way you can complete everything on your to-do list, choose the tasks that need your attention the most, the rest will wait or you might be able to delegate them.

You should try to avoid choosing the easiest or quickest tasks on your to-do list, just so you can cross a few things off. Although it may feel satisfying to look as if you are tackling your unrealistically long list, doing those fast and easy tasks may not represent the best use of your time.

Try using this method of prioritising, it involves marking each task as one of the following:

A: Urgent and important

B: Important but not urgent

C: Urgent but not important

D: Neither urgent or important

Then, concentrate on the A tasks before moving on to the Bs and Cs. If you have already acknowledged that you cannot possibly achieve everything on your list, then the D tasks are the ones you should leave undone. In time, you may learn to say ‘no’ to D-type tasks and only ‘yes’ to the As, Bs and Cs. Try not to abandon tasks, they might need to be re-prioritised as time goes by.

4. Do one thing at a time

Do not be tempted to dip in and out of tasks. Attempting to multi-task is not usually the best way to achieve anything, even if you have several A-tasks that all need your focus and attention. Instead, work out the best order to complete tasks in the same priority category; do the most important task first and only move on to the next one when you have finished.

5. Deal with deadlines

Most workers experience what it is like to have an impossible deadline. Deadlines are often the biggest causes of stress in the workplace, partly because they are seen as written in stone.

If you are working towards a deadline that you know you cannot possibly achieve, you have nothing to lose by asking your manager or employer to consider extending it. If that is not feasible, then why not ask for more resources to help you meet the deadline, or find out if the task can be altered to make the deadline more achievable? If nothing else, you will have clearly communicated to management that the deadline is unachievable.

Meanwhile, try to think carefully about deadlines before you agree to them. If you accept a deadline, your employer or manager will expect you to stick to it. You are always best off managing their expectations by being realistic about your workload and capabilities.

Free Office Tools for non profits

To access the free online productivity tools below, your organisation will need to first register with Techsoup tt- exchange. Your organisation must be a registered charity to be approved by Techsoup, unfortunately community interest companies are not accepted to the programme at this time.

You can also set up a free personal account and still use some of the productivity tools that Google and Microsoft offer but you must make sure you get permission from your manager to use these in the workplace.