At one point or another, whether you are a CEO of a rapidly growing company, an entrepreneur of a small business, or an employee of a company that demands a high level of productivity, you are going to be faced with too much work and not enough time to get it all done.
As our culture shifts towards heavier workloads, the expectation remains the same, that you will put in the extra time, take fewer breaks, and still meet the demands that your tasks demand of you.
According to a 2016 study by Wrike, “nearly six in ten employees feel their workloads have gone up,”[i]which not only contributes to staff burnout and a loss of efficiency but it can impact the future growth of your career and your business. With this said, let’s explore a few strategies you can use as an employee, CEO, or entrepreneur to better manage a heavy workload.
- Prioritize Workload Tasks That Are Important Over Urgent. Start with the big tasks that are important and ugly. The tasks that are big and rear your head at you are the ones you need to get done first. Set aside an hour or two in the morning to get work done on these as these are the ones that will bring you results. Do not answer e-mails or make phone calls and instead get some solid work done first thing. Once this is done, then attend to what is urgent.
- Set Up Limits, Know Them, and Ask for Help. Get comfortable with saying no. If you are already drowning, it is not fair to them or yourself to set unrealistic expectations. You do not have an endless capacity to work, so do not take on a workload that expects that from you. When your limits have been surpassed, ask for help.
- Manage Your Stress Levels ASAP. Do not give in to constantly working. This will cause boredom, burnout, and anxiety. Boost your creative thought, grab a cup of coffee, and get yourself outside for a walk. Happiness and keeping stress levels down are a huge component to a healthy and efficient work environment.
- Take It One Bite at a Time. Reduce your scope down and break the workload into actionable tasks. This could be focusing on one day at a time or a set of tasks that span one week at a time. Dissect each workload one project at a time and identify the steps you and your team needs to take to manage what is on your plate.
- If You Are a Boss – Set Achievable Deadlines. As an employer, it can be very easy to just add to the pile rather than help to reduce what is already there. If your team is feeling overwhelmed, take a look at the big picture and find out what can be culled from the to-do list. Once this is done, look at the responsibilities of your team and the collective goals you have and prioritize tasks with achievable deadlines. Not all tasks need to be executed like it was yesterday and so make sure you are setting realistic deadlines; yes, even if something is past due.
- Assess Yourself and Become Aware. Whether you are a boss or an entrepreneur, self-awareness is key to knowing whether you are making your workload more difficult than it needs to be. Figure out if you are being indecisive, if you are micromanaging, if you are failing to follow up on issues, and if you have an atmosphere that induces organized productivity.
- Throw Multitasking in the Trash Can. When it comes to multitasking, this can be counterproductive because it lowers your efficiency levels and hurts the quality of work being outputted. Multitasking can also cause undue stress on an employee’s quality of life which will eventually cause burnout. This can lead to unsatisfied customers and poor work performance. With this said, if you are a CEO, distribute tasks out in an even manner and only ask one thing at a time from your employees. If you are an employee or an entrepreneur, work on one task at a time until it is finished.
The number one thing that is going to save you when you have a heavy workload is to remember that you have to be reasonable, flexible, and have clear cut communication. If you are a boss, always delegate when you can because trying to do everything at once does not scale into profits, into growth, or into positive results. If you need to, use electronic planning to help keep yourself on track, as this invaluable tool will keep you accountable, regardless of whether you are the boss, the individuals, or the employee.
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[i] Longelin, Jade. “How to Manage A Heavy Workload Without Increasing Staff or Losing Efficiency.” Tips to Improve Customer Service and Satisfaction, blog.playvox.com/how-to-manage-a-heavy-workload-without-increasing-staff-or-losing-efficiency.