"The way to find a needle in a haystack is to sit down."
Do you ever have those days where you wake up, go to work, sit at your desk and a sudden and overwhelming rush comes over you as you try to comprehend, organise and put together all of the things that you have to do that day? All of those things that need doing ‘right away’ according to those around you, clipping at your heels and demanding full on and immediate efficiency?!
We all do. We’ve all been there on many an occasion, often daily. With the pressure of trying to wade your way through all of the things on your desk, in your inbox and in your head you suddenly feel like you’re going to explode, or implode, one or the other. Neither option is going to be practical or indeed very helpful!
So I thought I would make a list of my 4 top tips for organising your workload at the start of your day. Try following this simple process and hopefully all of the things swimming around in your head will become more manageable and you can start to work a lot smarter!
1. DON’T PANIC:
Ok so this may sometimes be easier said than done but it's so important not to panic and start flapping! If you get yourself so worked up that you can’t calmly process what needs to be done, you will fall at the first hurdle. Take a moment, breathe and compose yourself – you know the old adage of the swan gliding serenely along on top of the water whilst underneath all is chaos as the feet paddle fiercely away! Remind yourself that you can get through this workload, you just need to stay calm, put your mind in gear and then get your most important tasks into a workable order.
2. TO DO LIST:
It's an oldie but boy is it a goodie!
This isn't rocket science but it's really the main key to getting yourself organised. Writing things down into a workable and manageable list is the best way to tackle what needs to be done.
Get it all out on paper, every last little thing so that you can see exactly what you need to do. This way your workload becomes a tangible and more doable practicality.
If you're looking for a good, practical list book/notepad then you may want to revisit my previous post here to see what I've been using recently!
For the tech savvy among you, one great app that I've recently discovered for making and keeping lists (especially whilst on the go) is Wunderlist. This free online to do list is a great way of organising your priorities and sharing them with others who may also need to be involved. You can add to it on the go and mark things off as you complete them. I'm quite the fan, a useful little tool!
Once you have your list go through it and really honestly prioritise the tasks that are on it.
Be aware of real deadlines and don't fall for the 'right now' effect. Realistically not everything needs to be done right away no matter what people might tell you!
However don’t leave the worst until last! Another old saying comes to mind here: 'Why put off till tomorrow the things that you can do today?' or somethings along those lines!
This is often my own downfall. I have a tendency to put off the tasks that I'm most uncertain about until the very end of the day, but then you only prolong the agony! Crack on with those difficult items first and leave the easier things until later. Often the hard things aren't as bad as you think once you sit down and face them. If they really are as problematic as you had feared at least you've addressed that fact and can take steps towards helping yourself. Whether that be asking someone to assist you or rethinking exactly how you are going to approach something.
Set realistic goals and realise that sometimes you just can’t do it all - know yourself and your working habits and don't be afraid to ask for help.
Finally, where possible delegate tasks to other colleagues around you who may be better placed to complete them, being aware of their own workload. Don’t be afraid to ask for support and make sure your team are aware of the workload you are dealing with. You have to communicate, this way they can have realistic expectations of you and the time that you are truly able to offer them.
So those are my tips. Simple really and probably nothing you haven't heard before but I honestly think that following these 4 simple steps when things are getting on top of you can help you wade your way through the load!
What do you think - do you have any top tips that you find particularly useful? If so let me know in the comments below, I love new inspiration and ideas!