The more immersed in your role you become, the more tasks and projects you end up taking on. That’s how you pick up the experience to get promoted, then hand off lower-level assignments to others. But it doesn’t always work that way in practice. Many companies are still trying to squeeze more out of fewer employees, in what some experts see as a symptom of the lingering economic hangover from the last financial crisis. So how can you stem the tide of more work and longer hours? Start by taking these steps to better manage your workload.

·     Set an allotted time.

While many people believe you should sleep on decisions, that leads to over-thinking and insomnia. We must set a mental timer in our head of two to four hours tops in which we need to make a simple decision with the overall goal of making it in under two hours. This gives us enough time to ponder the pros and cons of the decision.

·     Take the ‘lean startup’ approach.

Often a good decision now beats a great decision later, but understanding the cost of a bad decision is critical. If it’s something that is easy to change later, make your good decision now. Get data, see how it works and then you can make a more informed decision down the line. It’s analogous to the “lean startup” approach.

·      Get Organized.

A chaotic workspace creates a chaotic mind. When you’re drowning in work, you don’t want your mental and physical energy pulled away because of disorganization. If you’re scrambling around trying to find paperwork or maneuvering around that tangled ball of wires under your feet, you’re not working as productively as you could be. Take a little time to get yourself organized now and it will save you much more time later. Everything is easier to handle when you know where things are and you feel comfortable in your space.

  • Write it down.

The clarity attained from writing down the problem and potential solutions should not be underestimated. Once the list has been created, it can then be beneficial to phone a respected colleague and run through the list with them.

·     List the pros and cons.

By writing the pros and cons of a decision and its costs and benefits, we can transition the information out of my head and into simple statistics. Once we have the pros and cons in front of us, especially if it’s matched to a mind map of our current tasks, then we can see if a particular decision is beneficial for the big picture.




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