The end of the year is upon us, and somehow that means our workload has doubled – tripled even. Thinking of everything we have to do can get us quite stressed out, but there is a trick or two to managing a huge workload. Especially when it’s just crept up on you from nowhere.
1. Create a strategy. If you have a mountain of work to do you need a strategy. Sit down with a piece of paper and a couple of colored pens, write out what you need to do and create a visual timetable. It’s easier to create a spreadsheet, but sometimes putting it down on paper and taking the time to write everything gives you a satisfying feeling of control.
2. Avoid perfectionism. It’s great to be a perfectionist but if you’re still working on something after a long period of time in the quest for perfection, it’s time to stop. Remember, done is better than perfect. Perfectionism sucks up your time and causes the standards of everything you’re doing to fall. As long as what you’re doing is good, it doesn’t need to be a masterpiece.
3. Understand stress. Stress can reveal itself in all kinds of ways, you might not even think you’re suffering from it and then find you’re suddenly feeling depressed or under the weather. Doctors recommend mindfulness to combat stress or keeping a diary that tracks how you’re feeling, what you’re thinking, what you’re doing, and who you’re with every day.
One of the things I always tend to do is suddenly think about everything that’s looming over me and then panic, massively. Don’t do that. Instead, see it in chunks, don’t start thinking about one thing until the other one is complete. It’s also a good idea to do some stress prevention activities. Yoga, running, mindfulness and relaxation techniques can help you keep your stress levels in check. We love using relaxation sprays and a warming eye mask to shut out the world.
4. Be honest. One thing I have learned, though, is to always communicate. If you’re stressed or overwhelmed or for some reason can’t keep to your time schedule, tell someone. There’s a huge chance someone else can pick up the slack for you, and if not, at least everyone around you knows what to expect. As long as you’re constantly honest about what you’re doing and the pressure you’re under, there will be no nasty surprises.
5. Learn the difference between being busy and being effective. Most of the time we think it’s good to be busy, but are you busy doing what you need to? Is your business contributing to the stress of your workload? It’s a good idea to start saying no to things that aren’t on your list and deciding whether you’re solidly focusing on what you need to do or busy doing multiple things.
6. Track your time. I like to use Wunderlist to list everything I need to do because every time I hit a small goal it makes a super satisfying ding sound, but it doesn’t really track the amount of time I should be working on something. Another amazing app is TimeCamp, it’s automatic time tracking software for your projects, so you can see what you have to do, what’s coming up and exactly how much time you have for each thing.