October 2016 — Stressed Out? 4 Tips to Manage Your Workload
Get Ready! It’s the Newest and Biggest Generation in the Workplace, Primed to Make a Difference You Can’t (and Don’t Want To) Ignore. This series offers career advice to the Biggest Generation since The Baby Boom, by The Millennial Mentor.
Stressed Out? 4 Tips to Manage Your Workload
By Robyn Tingley
Work/Life Balance has been a popular topic for the last two decades, yet remains elusive for many in today’s demanding workplace. Some are even rejecting the term, replacing ‘balance’ with ‘effectiveness’ in an attempt to appeal to upper management and persuade them to implement programs to assist employees with productivity. These often come in the form of flex programs, leadership courses to teach managers techniques to assign the work better, and even incentives like free food, wellness challenges, and lunchtime yoga to keep employees’ spirits up.
While employers do have a significant role to play in helping employees cope and stay positively engaged, you are ultimately responsible for your own work/life balance. We all have different stressors, thresholds, and coping mechanisms that help us recharge. Understand yours and make sure to incorporate time to renew your energy every week.
Equally important is to cultivate techniques to prevent your workload from getting out of hand in the first place. Here are 4 tips to help you get more out of your day, so you can spend more of your evenings and weekends stress free.
#1 Minimize distractions – be very careful about the people in your work environment who consume large amounts of your time without any valuable outcome. These are the ramblers, the venters, the gossips, including those on your social media feed who can lure you into wasted surfing. If you entertain them, you’ll have lost hours before you know it and fall behind on your responsibilities. Identify them (including yourself if you have a tendency to waste time like this) and avoid the behaviour.
#2 Stop procrastinating – quite simply, you need to tend to your to-do list immediately as matters arise. If you let things pile up, you’ll be overwhelmed and stressed by the volume of it all. This is not to suggest you rush through work and compromise quality, but you must take early action in order to keep a good pace and produce regular results.
#3 Get really clear on what is needed…and by when – often employees don’t take the necessary time to understand the nature of their assignment, including scope, resources, and deadlines. They risk blowing the work out of proportion and spending far more hours than are really warranted on trying to perfect something. Take five minutes when you receive an assignment and have a good discussion with your boss on exactly what is required and by when. It will avoid any miscommunication and rework.
#4 Create false deadlines – this is a great technique for you personally, and especially if you are managing a team. Don’t wait until the last minute to deliver work or see it from a colleague. Building in checkpoints will ensure everyone is aligned and that the work is progressing according to expectations. It will avoid any last-minute weekend and evening work, and the frustration that goes along with feeling you’ve missed the mark.
By incorporating these simple steps you can more directly manage your workload and improve your stress levels. Good luck!
Robyn Tingley’s career has taken her around the world as an international executive in Human Resources and Communications. She is the founder of GlassSKY.org, an organization dedicated to workplace diversity, gender equality, and helping people succeed.
Other articles in the Series —
Networking: An Investment in Your Future, February 2016
Take Back Your Happy – 5 Steps, May 2016
Attitude — An Inside Job, June 2016
The Pursuit of Purpose, August 2016
4 Simple Ways to Shine in Meetings, September 2016