How would you say you manage your time through the workday? Have you taken on a bigger workload, find yourself working longer hours, or feel like you have never-ending projects staring you in the face? Before you get overwhelmed with your to-do list and the stress sets in, here are a few tips to help you manage your day and keep your projects in check.
Keep your project list up to date. It’s never a good feeling when you have projects that seem to just sneak up out of nowhere. Try to always be aware of what is coming up that you need to do. Using a project list as a time management tool and keeping it updated will help you prioritize. For example, outline all of the projects you need to accomplish for the week and when they are due. From there, outline the daily actions you need to complete in order to finish the projects. Prioritize what needs to be done first, second, third, and so on. Breaking larger projects out into smaller steps will also help you better manage them and not get so overwhelmed.
Don’t be afraid to speak up. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about your projects, don’t shy away from talking to your manager about them. Having open and clear communication is important for you and your manager. Make sure you talk through the details of your projects to help you complete your tasks in a timely manner. Also, keep your manager in the loop about your progress and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
Learn how to prioritize. Let’s face it. There are only so many hours in a day, so there’s only so much you can get done. What projects are most important for you to complete right now and which ones can wait? Always talk to your manager first to learn how to prioritize your tasks and outline your day. If there is something that needs to be done right away and you don’t have the time to do it, find out if someone else can cover that project or if the deadline can be shifted? Don’t adopt the superman or superwoman mentality that you can do everything by yourself and in record-breaking time. When you’re already dealing with a full plate, trying to make room for one more thing isn’t always easy. Overextending yourself by agreeing to take on additional projects when don’t have the time will not leave a good impression for your employer if you under perform.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, but someone comes to you for help with another project, be honest with them about what you’re working on. Let them know you will visit with your manager regarding the project and will get back to them about when it can be completed or who can take the project on. This still shows the initiative that you want to take on new duties, but also that you’re responsible about how much and when you can do them.
Make time for you. Do you get time for lunch each day? Do you use that time to get away from the office or can you be found at your desk still doing something work related during that time? Use your free time to get up from your desk, grab something to eat, or stretch. Just getting away from your current tasks for even a little bit can give you the chance to refresh and refocus for the rest of your day. Take time to recharge yourself throughout the day with a few little breaks and you can see a big difference in the amount of energy you have to accomplish your priorities.
These are just a few ways to help you get through the work day with less stress. When you have more control of what you have to do, it won’t control you, and it will help you be a better employee and have better days at work.