10 Top Tips to Manage a Heavy Workload
- Review your Routine and Habits:
Identify how you spend your time and cut out any time-wasting and low value activities or limit them to a maximum of 30 minutes a day. Try to maximise any commuting or travel time by having a folder with reading material you never manage to get to.
- Don’t read Emails on demand:
Some of the most productive executives don’t have a PA and don’t respond to emails on their laptops. Instead they reply to emails in batches using their SMART phones; that way they don’t spend very long re-reading emails or being distracted by them. Answering emails on a small screen means you tend to act quicker, be more decisive, and your messages are more succinct.
- Turn your Phone and Laptop off:
Got a report to read or write? As long as someone, especially your boss, knows where you are, turn your phone and laptop off for an hour in order to be able to concentrate on the task in hand, as opposed to being distracted and having to refocus, which can take up to five minutes to get back ‘in the zone.’
- Work from Home:
Remote working is proven to be more productive than office working where managers are interrupted on average every seven minutes. Again, if you have an important document to read or write, or a key meeting to prepare, work from home, providing you have a quiet space. Otherwise work from a hotel foyer or coffee shop – you’ll find that changing your environment also makes you more inspired and focused.
- Unsubscribe from Unnecessary Emails:
It takes a few seconds to hit ‘Unsubscribe’ whereas sifting through non-essential emails can take minutes and add to stress levels.
- Manage Meetings:
Every time you think about calling a meeting or are invited to one, ask yourself if it is really necessary or would a telephone or conference call suffice. If you hold a regular team meeting, make sure some of the agenda items are strategic, not simply operational and that the agenda is circulated in advance.
- Block off time to Plan and Prepare:
If you take time out to plan and prepare you can actually free up time and stop being in reactive ‘fire-fighting’ mode. Working backwards from a key event and diarising important tasks is also very productive.
- Work from a Prioritized ‘To Do’ List:
Have a daily ‘To Do’ list which you update at the end of every day, and an ‘Important’ list which you check at least once a week in order to ensure you are not just dealing with the urgent tasks.
One of the most common issues facing managers is their inability to delegate effectively. If a manager analyses his/her team members and tasks, then marries up skills and experience with specific activities, they can reduce their workload, at the same time as helping to develop team members and increasing engagement and motivation levels.
- Just stop working a couple of times a day and ask yourself these Questions:
Why am I doing this and why now? Who else could/should be doing it? When would a better time be to do this? What is my key objective? What am I trying to achieve? How aligned is this task with the business plan or strategy? What should I be doing in order to be more effective?
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