How to Take Back Control of Your Workload

If your to-do List is a mile long, and you constantly worry about your workload, you’re not alone. These days, it’s hard to meet anyone in the Windy City who is not busy. Thanks to over-scheduling and over-committing, to-do Lists are overflowing! 

Before your workload really gets out of hand, do these three things to take back control:

  1. Prioritize.

Take a look at your to-do List and break it into sections. What is due first? What will take the longest amount of time to complete? Which projects do you — or, more importantly, your boss — deem the most important?

Rate each project either A, B or C (A being the hardest, most important, most timely). Then, break down these sections. Note the steps that need to be taken to get each project done. That way, each day, you will have a clear game plan and idea of what you need to do to cross every project off your list.

  1. Delegate.

As much as we all pretend, none of us is a superhero. We simply can’t do everything ourselves and expect a manageable workload. If you are a manager, think about which projects can be assigned to members of your team. View delegating as a way to empower others, not push your work to someone else.

Also look at your skill set verses those around you. Keep in mind that someone on your team may be better equipped than you for the job at hand. 

  1. Say no.

Before you say yes to a new project, consider how it will fit into your current workload. Is it closely related to a project you are currently working on and, therefore, take only a little bit of time? Or would it cause you to push an assignment aside (or take it home)?

Know that you can be a team player and be enthusiastic about your work without having to take on every extra project. Offer your help in other ways, like by contributing to a brainstorming session or volunteering to help with the project when your schedule has cleared up.

If the extra work comes from your supervisor, and you truly do not feel as though you can say no, ask him or her to help you reprioritize your current workload.

By doing these three things, you’ll start to gain control of your to-do list and, in turn, your sanity.

Check out our blog post on how to work smarter, not harder for more advice on taking control of your workload. And share your tips in the comments below.