03 May 6 Time Management Tips To Avoid Having Too Much Work In Progress
When you’ve got high priority demands coming at you from all angles, it can feel a little overwhelming and very frustrating.
Take a moment to take a deep breath, then get to sorting and organizing.
The best way to approach an endless list is steadily and focused, one project at a time.
Here’s now to make it a little less daunting and a little more reasonable.
- Start with a to-do list. Whether it’s on paper and written in pen or pencil, or in an application or digital form, start by listing all the things you have to do. Don’t worry about priority at this point, just get them all down so you can see them. Be as comprehensive and complete as possible.
- Prioritize and confirm. Once you have all your tasks in front of you, try to reorder the list with the highest priorities on top. Things might change, of course, but this is a good way to help frame your actions and set up your time, without having to wonder whether you’re working on the most important thing at the moment. Once you have your list, share it with your supervisor to make sure they agree that you’re prioritizing the right tasks in the right order. This might also help them see that you have too much on your plate and could result in some tasks being either delayed or given to someone else!
- Don’t overburden yourself. If, while in the middle of working through your list, someone asks if you have the ability to take on something new, say no. It’s ok to push back and explain that you’d love to help but you just can’t right now because you have other pressing tasks that need your attention. If your supervisor or manager is the one adding the task, bring out your to-do list and ask for assistance in reorganizing your priorities.
- Block out time for each task and complete it before moving on. When you have a jam-packed day and so many competing demands, it can be really enticing to spend a few minutes here and there on each one. Unfortunately, at the end of the work day, you’ll have nothing completed and a number of projects in process and you’ll come in the next day with the same to-do list. Instead, start with your top priority and finish it, if you can. If you need a little break — and you should take breaks during the day! It’s good for your brain! — walk away from the item for a few minutes, get some water and maybe some fresh air, then come back and pick it up again. Should something interrupt you, get back to the task as soon as possible. If you need to move on to something else for whatever reason, pick the second thing on your prioritized list and start that.
- Set specific time blocks for checking emails and minimize distractions. Turn your cell phone on silent mode, or so it buzzes when you get a call. Set aside a few short blocks of time for checking and responding to email and other messages. You need to do what you can to keep your focus on the task at hand, so do what works to minimize the little hiccups that happen so often during the day we don’t even realize it.
- If needed, break projects into pieces. If you know you won’t be able to get a whole project done in a day, and two things are due at the same time, break up your day and each task into pieces. Effectively and efficiently chip away at the tasks so that, at the end of the work day, you know you’ve accomplished things and that you’re further ahead on each item than you were in the morning.
It’s a great feeling of satisfaction to be able to look at a to-do list at the end of the work day and see how far you’ve come! That also makes it easier to give a status report or update if your supervisor asks how a project is coming along. This method will help you avoid the frustration of having too many projects in the works without making any real progress on anything at all.
If you’re looking at a never-ending task list that never gets smaller, it might be time for a change. Luckily, LeadingEdge Personnel can help! We partner with great companies looking for candidates just like you, with your expertise and skill set, and they’re eager to have you join their team right away. Contact LeadingEdge today and let’s get to work!
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