Over the weekend, I checked up on my friend who took my advice, made some adjustments in her work life.
Quoting her “It was difficult in some parts like saying no because I always love to help out. But I suddenly have more time to do more tasks and I don’t always feel like playing catching up with my work anymore.” I’m glad for her but I warned her it’s easy to slip back to old habits because it’s in her comfort zone. So it’s an uphill struggle until she got used to it.
She also mentioned that not all tips she could used in her role like asking another representative to take over meetings on her behalf but she adapt the advice to her situation and managed to delegate some of her simpler tasks to someone else.
Always adapt the advice I put out here in the articles to your situation because it is never possible to have one size fits all advice and the best person to gauge what suits your situation is yourself.
So here are the rest of the tips that I promised you and if you wish to read the first article, here’s the link: Time Not Enough (Part 1)
5. Know Yourself
What I mean is know how you work and how to make yourself more productive. I hate meetings on Monday mornings as I don’t like the negative thoughts in my head as I dragged myself out of my bed to work. So I always tried to schedule those meetings earliest at 11am instead of 9am, this way it gives me enough time to clear my head, gather my thoughts, work through my emails and invites, brief run through last week figures and set my goals for this week from.
Heavy lunches for me is a big no no and worse, if you pair it up with a long lengthy meeting. So usually for me, if I can, I’ll have meetings right after lunch where I’m the host so no one will catch me nodding off since I’ll be on my feet presenting most of the time. And it’s good for my body too, since I’ll be running calories pacing around and throwing ideas out there. Or instead of a meeting, I can schedule for an intense debate on a subject that I’m keen on, it’ll keep my mind burning with inspirations and usually after the session, I’ll have my adrenalin up to keep me going until the day ends.
So it’s important to know how you work and how to schedule your tasks to optimize it.
6. Priorities Priorities Priorities
Often folks whine, but every task is important, every task is urgent, everyone needs it by yesterday… That’s not true. So how do we differentiate the task, which is urgent and which is not? By understanding the nature of the request and who is the one requesting it. If you have a sales call to make to close the deal versus an email that you need to send out to highlight a change in policy, make the sales call. Customers won’t wait for you or take in an excuse you have something urgent to attend to.
If you have an important meeting to go to where you are the main contributor versus your boss suddenly need last month’s sales figures for his boss, go to your boss first and tell him or her you will have the figures as asap if not, before end of the day, then go to the meeting and let the rest know you may have to cut short the 2 hour meeting into an hour due to emergency. Always strive for a balanced win for both parties when it’s hard to choose.
7. Ask for Help
We are Asian, we don’t like to ask for help, it makes us feel small and vulnerable. Face it, we don’t like to be indebted to another human being. But for the greater good and your sanity, it’s okay to ask for help when you can’t cope.
Ethan* was struggling with one of his project on hand. He has too much to do during his normal work load, this project requires a lot of research which he is not good at and the deadline to handover is three days from now. Instead of gathering people who can help him, he kept quiet and work as hard as he could and as long as he can. Ultimately, the project results bombed as the project was way over his head and he was too stressed and too tired to see that he verged off course. Ended up the project was taken off his hands and passed over to another team member who managed to clean up his mistakes with the help of others and claimed credit for it. For months, management did not provide any ad-hoc projects for Ethan thus leaving him feeling quite shelved off.
8. Let It Go
I don’t mean let your job go or give up on your task. What I meant was to let your superiors know you are overworked and overloaded. Of course, you would have tried your best and all the tips I have given out before throwing the towel at your boss’s face.
Trust me when I said your management will understand if you approach them in a positive way and let them know you are overloaded. Armed yourself with a solution. Don’t just go to your boss and say “That’s it, I can’t do it anymore. I got too much to do!” instead try a different tack by saying “I love to do more but my hands are really tied. Perhaps we can try to migrate some of my tasks to Mary and free up my attention to work on the new project?”
Your boss will appreciate you being honest with him or her rather than to hide behind your desk, slogging until you fall sick. Then again, please do not try this method often, no one likes it if you cried wolf all the time, it will definitely makes you look incompetent.
There you have it, all my tips on how to save time so that you go home to your family on time and have a sit down warm dinner, spend some quality time on yourself, curl up with a good book and a cup of Earl Grey tea or even catch the latest drama serial on tv. Remember, work is ongoing, you can hardly finished all the tasks on hand in one day so go on and rest and don’t feel guilty about it.
If you don’t think my methods work for you or you have a better suggestions, please drop me a remark or a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hope you have enjoy my articles so far!