Few people are trained in workload management. Yet every job in the world entails balancing a series of "to-dos" with the clock. Here's the skills you need to develop that will help you stay balanced and in control of your agenda.
Our experience shows that very few people have a realistic plan for each day. Most plans that we see are long lists of unprioritised tasks - more of a wish list than a plan.
Here is a quick check as to how your workload management processes compare to best practice. Think about where you presently keep all the things you have to do . How many of the following tools do you use each day? Notepad, paper to-do list, scraps of paper, post-it notes, whiteboard, piles on the desk, Inbox, electronic to-do list, diary, electronic calendar and your memory. No wonder we so quickly lose the plot and find ourselves unable to finish a day's work!
Best practice demands just one place to plan (yes, that's ONE). When our work is in one place then we have something we can manage and control.
Now we have consolidated our tasks into one location, we have a process that will get you home on time!
- Write down all the things you need to do tomorrow in one place. (It can be your diary or your electronic calendar)
- Estimate how long it is going to take to get each item done. Total the time - does it fit into an 8 hour work day?
- Are you likely to be interrupted tomorrow? If so, how will that impact your work? It will most likely double the time it takes to accomplish your work. Ask yourself if you can still get the work done after the interruption time is added?
- Have you included time for lunch? What about travel time to and from your appointments? What about time to check your email? Remember that time for lunch, coffee breaks and checking email can easily add up to one-and-a-half hours.
- Now total the realistic time and block out your calendar. What time are you going home? Is it the time you want to go home?
By developing essential skills such as personal organisation, life/work balance and workload management, you will improve every aspect of your life.