Staying on top of your work is an important part of your career, but what happens when you feel like you're drowning in it? How can you better cope with work, especially if it seems that all others want to do is pile it on top? Here are a few ways to get your workload into something more manageable, while maintaining drive, direction, and purpose in the workplace.
- Make your priorities known. One of the best ways to stay on top of work is to really look at and rank your current projects. If you have one that's due today, it should be on the top of your list to finish, before you begin picking up other tasks or working on something not due for another week. Making a list or following a schedule can be the best way to manage multiple projects that need to split your time and attention. Then, to stay on track of your priorities list, let others know, especially if they are requesting your work on something else. Communicate with others that you have certain things to finish first before you take on another job, especially if you're feeling like there's too much on your plate. Let them know that certain projects--such as next week's presentation or report--have precedence before anything else. That clarity will help others also manage their requests or work too.
- Say yes, with conditions. We've all found ourselves in positions where it's easier to take on a few tasks or favors for someone else, which sometimes means putting our own work on the back burner. Instead of feeling like you're never getting your work done while still working, make sure to add conditions to new work. For example, if someone emails you asking you for your help, email back saying, "yes, but I can do this at ___ date and ____ time," or "yes, after I finish _____ project, when I can devote my time to your project." Again, clarity is key. For help with email scripts with clients, co-employees, or bosses, check out this resource.
- Ask for help in return. If someone else in the workplace is asking for help on their project, ask for help in return. Sometimes, the best way to manage work is to share or trade-off with others, building on each other's strength. For example, maybe you love writing reports in the office, but don't have the time to proofread. Your co-worker, however, loves editing but hates writing correspondence emails. Switching off tasks can help you stay productive, while getting your work done.
Overall, managing your workload comes down to prioritizing, communicating, and sharing with others in order to meet all your workplace's goals. For more information on this and related topics, visit the Career Advice and Productivity sections of our blog.
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