Knowing how to manage workload effectively is crucial for maintaining productivity and avoiding burnout in the workplace. However, there are times when tasks pile up, you’re given extra responsibilities outside of your job description, deadlines loom large, and it feels like there's no end in sight.  From prioritising tasks to goal setting and delegation, these techniques can help you keep your head above water.

If you’re feeling the crunch, our recent survey of 2,000 UK workers shows you’re not alone. 32% of workers have actively turned down the chance to pick up additional responsibilities. This reluctance isn't just a whim; it's rooted in real concerns. Nearly half (48%) cited existing workload was already stretching them thin, while a similar number (45%) worried about maintaining a healthy work-life balance if they took on more.

You shouldn’t have to give up opportunities to progress to hold onto your well-being. But if you’re struggling, we’re here to help with practical tips for managing your workload efficiently, and how to ask for help when needed.

Effective workload management

1. Assess your workload and prioritise tasks:

Prioritisation is the cornerstone of effective workload management. Identify tasks based on their urgency and importance. Use techniques like the Eisenhower Matrix, which categorizes tasks into four quadrants:

  • Urgent and important
  • Important but not urgent
  • Urgent but not important
  • Neither urgent nor important

Focus on completing tasks in the first quadrant first, then move on to others.

2. Set clear goals:

Define specific, achievable goals for each task or project. Break larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks with deadlines. This not only provides clarity but also helps you stay motivated and focused on what needs to be done.

3. Establish a routine:

Establishing a daily or weekly routine can help you manage your workload more effectively. Allocate specific time slots for different tasks, including work, breaks, and personal activities. Stick to your schedule as much as possible to maintain consistency and productivity.

4. Delegate tasks:

Don't hesitate to delegate tasks that can be handled by others. Identify tasks that can be outsourced or assigned to other team members. Delegating not only reduces your workload but also allows others to develop their skills and contribute to the team's success.

5. Utilise time management techniques:

Explore various time management techniques to help you structure your time effectively, minimise distractions, and improve your focus and productivity:

  • Pomodoro technique: Breaks your workday into 25-minute focused intervals (Pomodoros) with short breaks in between. After each Pomodoro, take a short break of around five minutes. After completing four Pomodoros, take a longer break, typically 15-30 minutes. The Pomodoro Technique helps improve focus, productivity, and time management by dividing work into manageable chunks and providing regular breaks to recharge.
  • Time blocking: Rather than having a to-do list, schedule specific blocks of time for different tasks or activities throughout your day to prioritise and manage your workload effectively. Visually organising your day into blocks of time, you gain clarity on your priorities and commitments.
  • Two-minute rule: If a task can be completed in two minutes or less, do it immediately instead of postponing. By taking immediate action on quick tasks, you prevent them from becoming larger, more time-consuming issues later.

6. Practice work-life balance:

With workers actively turning down the chance to pick up additional responsibilities, and almost half (45%) citing concerns about maintaining their work-life balance, it’s important now more than ever for workers and employers to find the balance. Prioritising time between work and personal life is crucial, and achieving balance now sets you up to manage future opportunities without sacrificing your well-being. Remember to take regular breaks, exercise, get enough sleep, and practice mindfulness or relaxation techniques.

7. Review and adjust

Regularly review your workload management strategies to identify what's working well and what needs improvement. Be willing to adjust your approach based on changing priorities, deadlines, or personal circumstances. Continuously learning and adapting is key to long-term success.

8. Ask for help

Asking for help can be a lifeline rather than a sign of weakness. Recognise the value of this as a proactive step towards delivering quality work and achieving team goals. Follow these tips to stay on track

  • Start with colleagues: Begin by respectfully seeking assistance from immediate colleagues, acknowledging their expertise. Clearly communicate your needs and be open to collaboration.
  • Approach your manager: If workload remains overwhelming, escalate the issue to your manager. Demonstrate accountability and present potential solutions, showing commitment to team success.
  • Act swiftly and be prepared: Address the problem promptly with a clear overview of tasks and potential solutions. Come prepared to collaborate with your manager on resolving the workload challenges.
  • Embrace accountability: Show accountability by presenting efforts to address challenges independently. Express willingness to work together to achieve shared goals and objectives.
  • Recognise red flags: If requests for help are consistently ignored, consider larger issues within the team or organisation. It might be time to explore alternative opportunities aligned with your professional values and aspirations.

Are you in the right job for you?

If you find that your requests for help aren't being met, it could be a sign you're not in the right environment to thrive. Consider exploring new opportunities that align better with your career goals and values. If you're thinking about making a change, explore live jobs and reach out to your local Page Personnel office today. Our team can support you in discovering exciting career paths.

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