When You Have a List for Your List

October 22, 2015
| ByMadison

Your brain is overflowing. Your boss has just given you another task to complete. You feel like your creative brain has taken a vacation, and you don’t know how you’re going to churn out the two 20 page reports you have to create this week, on top of your usual day job. Coupled with your endless list of chores, you feel run down, you know you have a cold coming on, and all you want to do is sleep.

Are any of your employees thinking these thoughts?

‘Too much to do’ is a familiar story in many workplaces today, and stress in the workplace is contributing to unproductive employees and rising healthcare costs.

So what can you do about it?
Looking after your wellbeing, and that of your employees is vital for physical and mental health and productivity. So, when work gets too much to handle, and our resilience takes a battering, sometimes we need to take a step back before we can move forward.

Here are some tips to help you and your teams to get through the times when to-do lists adopt a mind of their own:

Take time off to help others – Taking time out to help others may seem like a counterintuitive way to get through a mountain of work, but helping others can help us to put tasks into perspective. Thinking about something outside of the to-do list can also help restore our batteries and find some creative energy.

Relieve the stress by working through it – If there is no way to take time out, the next best thing is to get stuff done. Nothing relieves stress like smashing through a to-do list.

Create plans – This might seem like an obvious one, but when we’re overwhelmed with things to do it can feel like a monumental task just to figure out where to start. Here are our top tips for both you and your teams:

  • Put everything into categories. For example – low, medium and high priority.
  • Put all of your tasks into your calendar and always schedule to do the high priority stuff first.
  • Next, schedule enough time to complete each task (always leave an hour of buffer just in case it takes longer than you think)
  • If you have any tasks on your list that take less than 5 minutes, do them now. You’ll be surprised how many things you can tick off, and at the amount of pressure it alleviates.
  • Once you have your full plan, and everything is scheduled, get ready to start your first task.
  • Most importantly, completely forget about your list until your first task is complete.

Share the love – Sometimes there’s just too much work for one person to get through alone. If you or your employees have worked through the plan, and there isn’t enough time to get everything done, bring in the cavalry. Delegate whatever you can to the rest of the team, or find out if some of the deadlines can be stretched. Remind your employees that if they present their delivery plan to those they are asking for help, they are more likely to see their predicament and lend a helping hand.

Final thoughts
Everyone gets overwhelmed at one point or another, but by being organized and using both the technical and people resources at your disposal, anyone can regain control and deliver on every promise. You’ve got this!

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