- Organise your workload
Design a list or spreadsheet that specifies all the tasks that you’ll need to complete. Note their urgency, approximate time needed until completion as well as their due date. From here you can organise your working day. By doing this exercise, you will get a sense of how to organise your workload to ensure that the most urgent items will be actioned first. For larger, long term goals be sure to factor in enough small periods to chip away at them rather than waiting until they become urgent.
If your list makes you realise the amount of work you have in a set period won’t be possible to complete, set aside time to devote to the most pressing issues and provide a status update to those waiting on your work. As long as others can see a task is progressing, it can be a shorter term way to manage a full workload until you can clear it.
In many jobs, there will certain times where your workload’s at a hectic level, so having well developed habits will enable you to get through a seemingly endless to-do list a lot more efficiently.
- Review your environment
Once you’re organised on paper, set up your workspace to facilitate the most efficient means to complete your tasks. Laying resources out in the order that you’ll require them will save time. This is still achievable in a small or customer facing workstation, but you may need to be more clever with storing items in discrete areas until they’re required in order to avoid clutter. By checking off all the materials you’ll require to manage a task, you’ll have a chance to chase up outstanding input from others before you need it and have to wait around for their contributions.
If you work from home and find your environment is too distracting, whether it be noise or the dishes piling up encouraging you to procrasti-clean, it may be time to consider looking at offices for lease or a co-working space so you can work in a more disciplined manner. Likewise, if you’re in a noisy office, book quiet meeting rooms or wear noise cancelling headphones when needed to minimise distractions.
- Know thyself
Some people work best on detail intensive tasks first thing in the morning, while others need to ease into the day and start with routine admin. Whatever your style is,ensure that it meets the needs of your work load to maximise the amount that you can achieve at work. There is little point slaving away editing a large document mid-afternoon if you typically find yourself a little drowsy after lunch.
So cross compare with your list mentioned in point 1 to schedule the completion of work tasks in matter of urgency, but also to suit how you work best.
- Use technology
Having google at your fingertips is sometimes as curse when events, lol cats and checking the news turns a 5 minute glance into a 45 minute break.Being human, we all need time out to refresh our brains, so instead of banning all extra-curricular phone or internet use at work, set some parameters around how you will utilise them. Many people swear by the Pomodoro technique for time management which will see you working in 25 minute bursts followed by brief 3-5 minute breaks. After 4 or so 25 minute cycles, you will have earned a longer break.
If you can’t stick to something like this, there are several apps and desktop plugins that will lock your computer for specific tasks for a predetermined time.