Over the years of my working life, this question has often come up, depending on your current role (and attitude) an overload of work probably has several answers ranging from:
- I don’t care it’s not my problem, I’m finished for the day
- I’ll do a couple of hours extra and get it done
- I’ll tell my boss and it’s their problem
- (Boss) I’ll send you on a time management course
- (I am the boss) Heeelp!
As a small business owner you tend to have to deal with it all yourself, time management courses can help you to plan your time at a high level (blocking out time for various things etc.), Project management can help you plan your resources etc. etc.
This is often not much help when you are bombarded with tasks and jobs and you are not sure what to do first. When you are this overloaded there are again several reactions:
- Choose something and get it finished
- Do little bits of everything until it’s all done
- Hide in a corner and hope it all gets done by the fairies.
So a few tips:
- Plan your day in a broad sense so start/end times. Lunch and possibly other general activities. Set reminders to alert you when this should happen.
- Include in this time checking email, if you are outside of those times close your email, do not check it. The danger with email is you tend to deal with the current items at the top of the list meaning you do Last in First Out, the leaves older tasks for an ever increasing amount of time.
- If you have staff get them to deal with all incoming correspondence while you deal with the things you absolutely must.
- Break your jobs down into individual tasks with start/completion rules that are based on the actual job rather than when you receive it.
The last one is fairly important, taking time to understand the activities for a specific job and when they must be completed allows you to do a number of things:
- Delegate some activities
- Order multiple tasks across multiple jobs by when they must be completed
- It will also help you to cost your jobs more accurately
- It can help you automate the process of delegation and ordering of tasks.
Other than the costing activity, a good CRM/custom system can assist you with all of this. Workflow can automate the generation of tasks, automatically assign them to the relevant person, with start/completion dates to allow the tasks to be completed in a good order and allow overview of if/when you are about to run into difficulties before it happens (a couple of extra hours now would save stress/panic and missed deadlines next week when several jobs become due).
If you would like some help with a database system or CRM system and setting up workflows/tasks and deadlines please do give us a call. We can help!