At Work

Handling your workload well

Do you feel like you are nowhere nearer to clearing the in-tray each new day at your job? Do you tend to start new projects but never seem to finish them? Is there a whole pile of papers in your in-tray and a mess of scribbled notes scattered on your desk? And to top it off, do you have a phone that won’t stop ringing?

If this sounds familiar, then you probably would benefit from these workload-handling tips.

Plan ahead

Most people don’t plan ahead; to be fair, once things become overwhelming it’s hard to do anything other than try to stay on the ball. But, it’s best to sit down and compile a list of your tasks, together with deadlines and ease of completion. Take into account the fact that you might have to wait for your colleagues to finish their individual parts before you can do your bit. This should help with prioritising what should be started first!


Some companies practise a culture where they divide their time into small blocks; for example, 30 minutes per block. Employees decide what they want to do in that 30 minutes – web design, perhaps – and for those 30 minutes, they do nothing else. No phone calls, no chatting and no toilet breaks. After they complete the block, they move on to another activity, be it leisure or more work. The tendency to get distracted can severely cut down productivity; it breaks concentration and trains of thought. For obvious reasons, these chunks should be small ones so as to foster heightened focus and intensity.

Stop worrying

As a continuation of the above section, worrying unnecessarily just cuts into productivity time. Try to keep all your thinking sessions to the planning part of your week, and just do. After all, thinking and worrying won’t speed up the work process; it will only result in negative vibes and self-doubt. So, to the best of your ability, try to eliminate worrying.

Ask for help

If it all just becomes too much, it helps to talk. Talk to your manager or supervisor about the best way to handle your tasks, or just to share your feelings with someone who can understand. Help can come from unexpected places, if you just ask for it. There’s no point in keeping all your issues to yourself; colleagues and bosses wouldn’t be aware of any issue, if they aren’t informed.

Just say ‘no’

If staying afloat is a struggle, it’s perfectly acceptable to say “no.” It won’t be easy, but if you have no choice then practise prioritisation and say “no” to the more negligible tasks. Try not to refuse the more important tasks, and remember to refrain from saying “no” more than you have to!