Article Link: https://www.icaew.com/archive/library/small-business-update/10-ways-to-prioritise-your-workload
- The to-do list.
Don’t keep it on different post-it notes or in your head — at the
beginning of each day or week, write on a sheet of paper what you want to
get done and by when. Rank tasks according to importance or urgency to
plan your day and focus your mind.
- Review your workload regularly. Is there one task that always ends up at the bottom of
the pile? If you find you’re avoiding it, can somebody else do it?
Consider delegating whole projects that you don’t need to be involved in
or allocate a specific time when you only do your admin, for example.
- Remember the 80:20 rule of workloads. It’s very simple — 80 per cent of our work contributes
to less than 20 per cent of its value. Concentrate on the most crucial 20
per cent of your workload, because performance would still be strong.
- Set realistic deadlines for your tasks. Look at your to-do list and estimate the time each
task needs to be completed but don’t be overoptimistic. Be honest of what
you can achieve in a working day or week so that you don’t feel
overwhelmed from the start.
- Allow time for interruptions. If you need to finish a certain task at a certain
time, only deal with urgent queries during this time. You can then quickly
pick up again where you left off.
- Structure your workload. Avoid picking up a job, doing a bit and then putting
it back on the pile. Deal with them one at a time and finish each one
before starting another. Your mind will be clear and ready for the next
- Don’t let your inbox drive your workload. If you get 50 mails per day, this means 50
interruptions to your day. Don’t check your inbox every time a message
arrives. Switch off instant alerts if necessary and allocate a time when
you will check your inbox.
- Fun, fun, fun.
Ticking items off your to-do list is great, but are you concentrating on
the quick-and-easy ones? Tackling more challenging projects first might
mean more time, but also that a major task is completed and a weight off
- Keep multitasking to a minimum. Starting a number of jobs simultaneously means most of
them won’t get your undivided attention. Think of multitasking as dealing
with more than one task during a day, not at the same time. That way you
focus on the project in hand.
- Keep a log of your workload. If you’re unsure how long things take, how often your
focus shifts or how many times you get interrupted, keep a log of your
working week. This will help you plan your week in future.