When approaching the end of a work day, do you ever feel like you’ve just ran a marathon? Going nonstop all day can leave us feeling exhausted, mentally drained, and ready to go home and just lay on the couch for the rest of the night. And for those of you who wear multiple hats, it can feel downright impossible to focus and complete tasks in a timely manner.
While we can’t really take tasks off your plate, we can give you some tips for getting through the day a little less overwhelmed! Consider how these may help balance your workload every day:
1. Self-assign due dates
It can be really easy to let tasks slide when there isn’t a due date – especially if it’s something we’re not particularly keen on doing. Self-assigning due dates on projects (and tasks within projects!) will force you to work them into your days, and avoid feeling that panic when your boss comes along asking for a progress update!
2. Prioritize a to-do list at the end of the day
By the end of the day we’re usually ready to stop doing the heavy thinking. Take 10 minutes before you leave the office to think about your workload and prioritize your tasks for the next day. To balance, prioritize your list by considering:
- Due date (self-assigned or not)
- How long the task will take (and maybe if you can spread it out over a two or three days)
- What you want to do vs. what you (honestly) just keep putting off
Coming in each morning with a fresh to-do list will get you in the right mindset to check them off, one by one! Pro Tip: Keep everything that won’t fit into the next day’s schedule on a seperate list so you don’t forget about anything, and have something to pull from for the following day, etc.
3. Block off time on your calendar – and commit to it
You block off time for meetings, right? Do the same for yourself! If you have “Write blog post” on your to-do list (hello!) and you know that usually takes you about an hour – but you have a tendency to get distracted – block that hour off and commit to only writing for sixty minutes. If you can manage to do this for most of your tasks you’re much more likely to stay focused, rather than scatterbrained. Try putting your phone away and turning your WiFi off, too, for when you really need to buckle down. (If the task allows…and if you can handle it!)
4. Know when it’s time to ask for help
We aren’t super humans, after all. Self-awareness is key to managing your days – whether that’s knowing how long a task will take, or knowing that you simply don’t have time to add another to your plate. Don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues to help you pick up the slack when needed! They’ve likely been there before, too (so return the favor when they’re the one feeling overwhelmed). If there’s just no time to go around, be sure to give realistic expectations with your team for when you’ll be able to accomplish tasks, based on your entire workload.
There will always be another task, but hopefully they stay manageable by using some of these tips! And it’s all the better if you can get your entire association on board. In fact, consider working some of these ideas into your onboarding process for new staff members! Don’t have one yet? We’ve got your back: check out Best Practices for Onboarding New Staff.