Too many tasks – too little time? Maybe it’s time to brush up your time management skills!
Check your email first thing in the morning
Make sure that you’re up to date with all the new tasks you are responsible for, and that you are aware of other people’s workloads. Checking your email first thing will help you re-adjust your daily schedule, if necessary, to fit in what everyone else is doing or to add any important tasks that have come up last minute.
Plan regularly and be flexible
Every day before you finish work make a to-do list with all your unfinished tasks, along with an estimate of the time you’ll need to complete them. Make sure you set priorities and learn to stick to this list as much as you can. You will need to try to leave yourself some wriggle room in case something important comes up.
Set deadlines for subtasks
Setting subtasks for big projects is extremely helpful, as you will have to deal with smaller, manageable pieces of work that need to be completed in a specific order. Setting realistic deadlines for each of them will help you to be more focused and productive, while the bigger project will also seem less intimidating as you’ll be ticking off bits of it as you go along.
Schedule phone and email time
Allocate a time for returning phone calls and let people know that this is the best time to reach you. Also, it helps to check your email at set times rather than every time a new email arrives. Just like any other tasks, phone calls and emails need to be scheduled, or they have the potential to be disruptive and cause you to lose focus.
Long hours are not usually the answer
It may be tempting to work longer hours trying to finish all your tasks but it can lead to burnout in the long run. Working smarter always pays greater dividends than working harder and longer. Take regular breaks, get adequate sleep and try not to think of work when you’re not working.