So, you’ve found yourself overwhelmed on track to burnout and it’s coming fast. Whether you said yes to too many projects, have been given an extra Exec or two to look after on top of your day job or simply cannot find a routine that keeps you accountable –– we’ve all been there. The good news is that there is a way out of this rabbit hole of cutting it close to deadline.
In order to support those around you in your workplace that require your attention and detail, you must be able to prioritise and support yourself first. You must put the cart before the horse if you will! Business Support Professionals are often the backbone of a sustainable workflow, so we’ve put together a few of our favourite tips for time management to use no matter where you are in your career.
Create your to-do list… the day before
Although it may seem obvious to some, using a to-do list is not common practice for many people. We get it: planning out what you need to do seems like a tedious task within itself – after all, isn’t it easier and more efficient to simply get to it already? However, without a clear plan and a fleshed-out list of the tasks you need to get done, you may struggle to stay on track with your calendar simply because of the amount of energy required from you every time you finish a task.
Creating your to-do list will keep you accountable to your daily workload and allow you to witness the progress you make, giving you a sense of achievement every time you tick something off. If you want to go one step further, write down your weekly goals and track them similarly…it’s also a great way to highlight key milestones you reach in preparation for your annual performance review.
Once your to-do list is ready to go, prioritise the tasks in two ways: First, from the most urgent to the least urgent. Second, from the most time-consuming to the least time-consuming. Figure out where these overlap and prioritise your tasks accordingly. Remember that although there are 24 hours in a day, you will not be using every hour to get things done! Bearing this in mind will stop you from working late into the night and being up before the sun.
Limit distractions – The Pomodoro Method
We are all guilty of being distracted, especially those of us that work from home where the kitchen, our bed and the couch are all within arms reach. If you find yourself frequently distracted in between tasks –– consider the Pomodoro method. It’s simple: for every 25 minutes that you work, you get 5 minutes to walk around and rest. After four slots of 25 minutes, you get 15-30 minutes of rest, depending on how much it disrupts your flow. Try it, it may revolutionise your productivity!
Assistant Room members have access to digital Pomodoro trackers to help you adapt to this amazing time management technique. Click here to register and download your Pomodoro documents instantly.
Plan in advance
It may feel like an empty tip to say “plan in advance,” but hear us out. Planning in advance involves using the right tools, whether it be Trello, ClickUp, Asana, or any other method. Find something that works for you. In the same way that you create daily to-do lists, create those for the months ahead…think strategically! The big projects? Break them down into smaller steps that can be achieved on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis. Schedule “check-ins” with yourself to see where you are at in terms of progress.
Following these four steps, you may realise that you just have too much on your plate. This past year of navigating a work and life balance in a pandemic has increased fatigue and burnout in unprecedented ways –– but it’s not too late to self-correct and ask for help. Helping yourself will help others also be successful.
We hope that you have found these tips helpful, and encourage you to check out our members forum by clicking below to chat with other members on their experiences with time management and balance.