5 Strategies to Get Ahead of Your Growing Workload in the Digital Age
Most of us have so many tasks to do every day it can seem unmanageable and overwhelming. The workload only seems to increase with each passing week. And phone calls, emails, and social media can focus us on the latest and loudest, rather than what is truly important.
The workload isn’t going to change, but we can change how we handle it. By prioritizing, we can separate what needs to get done from what could be done, and break down tasks into manageable goals and next actions.
Here are 5 strategies to help you prioritize your work:
1. Trim task lists.
Delete or move the tasks on your list that remain at the bottom and realistically won’t get done. This will leave more room to work on tasks that need most of your focus. Rank your tasks to see what you are able to purge. Or use one of the many task-management software programs, some of which even have mobile device versions, to more efficiently handle your task lists.
2. Control your inbox.
Email is a great way of communicating, but going through your inbox can be a huge time commitment and it can be overwhelming. Of all the emails you receive in a day, 20% of them are probably worth 80% of the time you spend. Organizing and purging the remaining emails will make the important ones feel more manageable.
3. Set goals.
Determine what is a primary goal for you for the week and what is actually secondary. If you take the time to think about it, the answer may surprise you. And don’t just write it down and forget it! Revisit your goals and reward yourself for completing them, or make adjustments if they no longer seem feasible. This should be a living document that changes as your needs change. You can use your email application or other software to keep your goals in a handy, digital location.
4. Evaluate the important vs. the urgent.
Interruptions may seem important, but are they really? Looking at what is truly important can help you to focus on the work that really needs to be done. The urgent tasks may seem like they need to be done now, but take the time to consider if they really need to be handled immediately or if they just seem like they do. Set up action folders in your email application or create to-do lists in other software so that you don’t lose sight of your less-than-urgent tasks.
5. Create a schedule.
Think about those tasks you decided were important and make sure you have enough time to work on them. Distractions will come up throughout your day! The important thing is to make sure you budget your time well so you can process your massive inbox and answer that emergency phone call without sacrificing your high priority items.