In March of this year, CNN reported that the economy experienced the lowest unemployment rate since May of 2008 – before the financial crisis. Great news! The economy is back. The flux in opportunity can also bring increased workloads. How are you managing your workload productivity? Do you over-commit and over-promise? Identifying over-work can be challenging. At Performance Dimensions Group we think we can help you manage better with 4 D’s – Discuss, Delay, Deny and Delegate. Regardless of your title/position in the organization you work in, these are great tactics that will help you manage better.
- Discuss. In order to negotiate and find a compromise there must be discussion. Ask yourself if you have the capacity. Am I the only one with the skill set to complete it? Is this a sensitive issue that only I can know about? It’s important to match the right task to the right individual. Clarifying boundaries and making a list of your concerns can help you feel prepared. Discuss quality over quantity and if you have the resources you need to do the task at hand. Keep in mind, communication is a must. It will help you find a way to meet everyone’s needs.
- Delay. Tell the other party what priority the project has and when it can be done. An example of something to say might be “I’m sorry, I can’t complete the spreadsheet by Friday. Can I get it back to you by next Wednesday when I’m finished with my client meetings?” Refer to your master list – look at the outstanding tasks. Rate them in terms of urgency and importance. Prioritize. And don’t be afraid to share your priorities with others – they may want to negotiate to place their interests higher on the list but both of you will walk away with clarity rather than disappointment. Prioritizing also helps you take charge and manage your time wisely. Putting a task on hold that you know you don’t have the capacity for will actually increase your productivity.
- Deny. Politely tell the person that their request can’t be done right now or in the near future (and offer an alternative or tell them why.) Be honest with yourself and know that adding one more item on your list will result in working beyond your normal office hours which cuts into your personal time. By denying a task, you are effectively managing your current capacity. Example: “I’m sorry, I won’t be able to take on this project right now. I know Amanda is a great coach with extensive experience. Would you be comfortable letting her take this on?”
- Delegate. Force yourself to let go. Give it to someone else on the team – or perhaps even the person trying to give it to you. Remember to ask; don’t just tell someone you need help. It’s important to match the right task to the right individual. Determine what resources will be needed to support the individual and inform them that you want to stay connected. This will help the person that you are delegating to succeed with the project. Example: “Suzanne on my team has survey data analysis experience. This project sounds like a good fit for her. I’ll make sure we connect and have a good understanding of your expectations.”
By applying the 4 D’s to your workload you can channel your energies more effectively. Having a discussion and planning for the week ahead should allow you to focus on the urgent tasks first. Prioritize the rest and figure out if you can delay a project’s timeline. Track your workload, number them by urgency. Break it down so it’s seems more doable. If you know you can’t add anything more to your plate, simply say “I’m sorry, I can’t help at this time.” Lastly, if you know you need a hand, give the project away. Negotiating your workload will increase your productivity and it will allow you to enjoy your job more. And we all know that happy employees create thriving companies!