Juggling a neverending workload of deadlines, meetings and paperwork puts a strain on your overall productivity. So how do you prioritise and organise your work and make your schedule smooth sailing? We’ve got some quick dos and don’ts you can implement straight away.
DO: go easy on yourself
Take a moment to accept that you can’t do everything. Having a demanding role doesn’t mean working non-stop like a machine. It’s ok to set boundaries and limits to free up your time and energy, which is better spent driving the business forward.
DO: write a to-do list
However you choose to work (Agile, Kanban or a plain old tick-box list), the problem with confronting everything all at once is that the smaller tasks can eat your time and attention. You might find yourself displacing the more urgent or knotty tasks until the last minute. Organise your tasks by ease, difficulty and priority; allocate a realistic schedule, and delegate as much as you can.
DON’T: be rigid about your to-do list
Review this set of tasks as often as suits you and take a flexible view – what may have seemed feasible last week might be overreaching today. You’re not just going with the flow; you’re setting it.
DO: Remember that your inbox isn’t your boss; forget about multitasking
You know the pattern: start one task, get distracted by calls and emails, try and pick up another task. Who’s the boss here?
If you feel unable to keep ahead of your emails and finish your tasks to prevent them dragging on, set time in your calendar to work on specific items, and to go through your inbox. Your time is at a premium; protect it by switching off distracting alerts, and communicating that only urgent interruptions can get through. Go one better: set the same times every week and train your team to know your routine!
DON’T: get sucked into fake deadlines
It’s becoming increasingly common to set teams ‘fake’ deadlines to make colleagues ‘more’ productive by giving ‘less’ time. We’re not fans: deliberately applying pressure creates more stress than necessary, and weakens trust between your colleagues and you.