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Being busy and trying to prioritise your workload

I’m busy!

I’ve noticed more and more that’s all people seem to say lately. As soon as you say hi how’s things? Or how have you been? It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s a developer, sales, marketing, accounting or admin everyone is busy. But that’s life and we all have a role to play and sometimes it is just that. It’s busy.

I know each day when I boot up my trusty Penny, I have a tasks to do that are repetitious: Open up email, calendar, Kanbhan board and then log onto IRC, HipChat, and Skype. That’s just before I even make a cup of tea! I’m sure everyone is the same so how to you then prioritise your work, where do you even begin to start.

I’ve started each day recently by checking the calendar and then not looking at email for the first hour. Lets be honest, if you talk to a manager or anyone on your team, everything is urgent or important but it does need a priority. In some cases one needs to be done in order to complete the next task. It was one my colleagues in Marketing that told me about her priority list and it is helping. I’ve come up with a priority list that fits on a sticky note pad which sits on my laptop. Anything that fits on the note is then what I do first, you cannot have multiple priority notes! This is then what you work through and as soon as something is completed cross it off, as soon as the list is done or almost done create a new note and stick it back on. It’s really helped a lot!

I do think more and more people are saying they’re busy when they’re just not organised or taking too much on and not delegating. It happens to everyone and it happens easily especially when you’re trying to make a difference or get things done in order to go somewhere or show something. I’m busy is often a mechanism so people can see how busy you are clearly if you have this much to do you’re important. Possibly you are! But you’re not invincible and everyone can pitch in to help.

When it comes to meetings, it’s often tricky, you want to be involved but when you have a large chunk of a day dedicated to meetings how can you get work done? It’s a case of juggling. I’ve found having one day set aside a week to be my meeting day has helped. It doesn’t cover them all but it is where I have the majority of meeting and I know on that day I may get less preparation done on other areas. It needs to be balanced without being needed in every single meeting that takes place.

Delegation is key as in taking useful minutes of meetings to share with colleagues so they know what is happening in other areas. To make a meeting successful so that people who do attend and who are busy, have an agenda created in advance, stick to it! Don’t over run as it has a knock on effect on peoples day. I think we had a great format at UDS sessions have an agenda, discussion takes place, and you have outcomes and action items from it. To me that sums up a successful meeting.

I’m curious how other order their work loads, even more so if you wfh as I know the challenges of taking on board more work as you work with more people in a distributed environment.

The next time you hear yourself “I’m busy” Think about it, are you? Or are you in need of some prioritisation and some help?

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