Ten ways to prioritise your workload
Working efficiently is essential for any business, but getting snowed under is a too-familiar situation. A well-structured workload is key to proper time management and will increase your productivity.
- The To-Do List. Use one, but don’t keep it on different post-it notes or in your head. At the beginning of each day or week, write on a sheet of paper what you want to get done and by when. Rank tasks according to priority (importance or urgency) to plan your day and focus your mind. Get it out of your head and onto paper. You’ll feel such a relief.
- Consider delegating whole projects that you don’t need to be involved in or allocate a specific time when you only do your admin, for example.
- Remember the 80:20 rule of workloads. It’s straightforward — 80 per cent of our work contributes to less than 20 per cent of its value. Concentrate on the most crucial 20 per cent of your workload, because performance would still be healthy.
- Set realistic deadlines for your tasks. Look at your To-Do List and estimate the time each task needs to be completed but don’t be overoptimistic. Be honest of what you can achieve in a working day or week so that you don’t feel overwhelmed from the start.
- Allow time for interruptions. If you need to finish a specific task at a particular time, only deal with urgent queries during this time. You can then quickly pick up again where you left off.
- Structure of your workload. Avoid picking up a job, doing a bit and then putting it back on the pile. Deal with them one at a time, and finish each one before starting another. Your mind will be clear and ready for the next one.
- Don’t let your inbox drive your workload. If you get 50+ emails per day, this means 50 interruptions to your day. Don’t check your inbox every time a message arrives. Switch off instant alerts if necessary and allocate a time when you will check your inbox.
- Fun, fun, fun. Ticking items off your to-do list is great, but are you concentrating on the quick-and-easy ones? Tackling more challenging projects first might mean more time, but also that a significant task is completed and a weight off your shoulders.
- Keep multitasking to a minimum. Starting several jobs simultaneously means most of them won’t get your undivided attention. Think of multitasking as dealing with more than one task during a day, not at the same time. That way, you focus on the project in hand.
- Keep a log of your workload. If you’re unsure how long things take, how often your focus shifts or how many times you get interrupted, keep a record of your working week. This will help you plan your week in future.
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If we do this right, you’ll increase your sales, service your clients better, make more money and work fewer hours. Now you can spend it with those that are most important and not doing work.
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