You or your team feeling stretched?

Need to revisit automation, delegation and boundaries?

Tried the latest gamified productivity apps?

Here, red10’s Will Sudworth, gathers together 8 ideas for when it’s time to manage workload.

It’s easy to just say ‘yes’, then regret it.

Sometimes we say ‘yes’ when actually it isn’t ours to say ‘yes’ to – it’s someone else’s job.

Sometimes we say ‘yes’ without checking if we have time to do what we are being asked to do.

Much better is to check you really can say yes, by knowing when you’re going to fit it in. e.g. have you time this week and can even block out the 30-mins it needs in your calendar, or are you back-to-back?

It’s easier to say ‘no’ if you reply soon after getting the request – it gets harder to say ‘no’ if we’ve sat on the request for days or weeks.

And a question for you: how do you respond when people say ‘no’ to your requests?

I go out of my way to thank people when they say ‘no’ to my requests, telling them that it encourages me to ask them again in the future as I will be confident that a yes really means yes, and they will deliver on it.

Do you have a tool allowing you to ‘see’ your workload and remaining capacity, beyond your calendar?

There’s so many great productivity apps out there – including five that turn your to do list into a game.

As much as I am attracted to gamified productivity apps, my admins and I chose Microsoft Planner which we use together, with a monthly board visually filled with cards for my main commitments.

I meet with my admins each week to check through both my calendar and the Planner, streamlining the process of handing over tasks to them and my team, and then tracking follow through.

Have you fallen into the trap of eating at your desk? Can you go somewhere else instead?

How many Lux per day are you getting? i.e. is there a way of getting sunlight?

What time do you start being available for meetings? What time do you finish being available? How firm are your boundaries on these things? How much does it matter to you?

What would be a treat? E.g. a late start now and then?

Do you need to work early mornings or late evenings sometimes? Many of us choose to. Do you take the time in lieu from the next day to ensure you don’t work more than  two segments in a three segment day?

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

What do you do in your ‘me time’? Do you even have any?

Read this great 5-min article by our Wellbeing expert Lisa Smith

Have you seen the research about ‘avoiding mulit-tasking’ and tried clearing, clustering and connecting?

Have you tried an important-urgent 2×2 matrix?

Have your tried applying a normal distribution curve, identifying the top X you must-do and the bottom Y that can be dropped?

What can you automate?

As a business owner, I noticed a huge improvement in accuracy and speed when we moved from financial spreadsheets to cloud-based accounting for our book-keeping. And the benefits kept flowing, as my accountant asked for real-time access and were then able to give me concrete rather than theoretical answers to my questions.

What can you delegate?

My coach used to say to me “why keep a dog and bark yourself?” – not very flattering to admins, yet not meant offensively, rather it’s an old English idiom to remind us not do to tasks that someone else is better placed to do.

Do you have instructions for your admin on your boundaries, so that they can help you keep to them?

Are your admins beyond capacity?

I coached one senior leader who was so good at delegating that she exceeded the capacity of her admin, and worked with him to hire an additional admin just for her. What a great problem to have!

It’s important to have an open door, and ask your team to speak-up.

Beyond this, there’s lots of options:

  • Have you tried a shared productivity app?
  • Have you tried daily/weekly 10-30 min stand-up planning meetings?
  • Have you tried agreeing Must Wins, assigning a lead for each who coordinates everything within that Must Win for the team?

Please share your top tips on managing workload for yourself and your team.