It can often feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. Hectic days and unfinished work can lead to stress, anxiety, and unpleasant conversations with your boss and coworkers.
You don’t have to let your workload control you! There are things you can do to save some time when working on tasks throughout the day so you can get more done.
Use Programs With Built-in Data Sets
Data gets moved around a lot at work. That’s especially true when it comes to building reports or comparing data. Shuffling it all around takes a lot of time. Not to mention, important pieces of data can fall through the cracks.
Optimizing data modeling with calculated tables in a Power BI enables you to use data you’ve already loaded into the model instead of relying on external data. Because the data sets are already there, they are loaded into the memory and are always prepared without you having to do any extra work.
There are other programs that can help too. For example, a performance management software platform enables you to amass performance data in the same place so you can graph or compare data without trying to organize and import data that’s being stored somewhere else.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you sit down to get some work done. Chances are, you have already done something similar, which means there’s the potential to use a template. You might use the same format to write a report or use similar slides on a new Power Point presentation.
Templates don’t have to be anything fancy. It could just mean opening up the last time you created a project plan or submitted a report and reference each section’s contents, format, and length as you write the next one.
You can find templates online, but don’t forget to ask your coworkers! They may be using helpful templates that they would be willing to pass on to you.
Batch Your Tasks
You can waste a lot of time switching between different types of tasks that require different materials and even a different mindset. Instead of switching gears multiple times throughout the day, try task batching.
Task batching just means grouping similar items together and completing them at the same time to avoid context switching between wildly different tasks.
It helps to group tasks according to the amount of attention they require, then keep tasks within those concentration levels together. Examples include combining:
- Checking emails with data entry tasks that require minimal concentration
- Client calls and team meetings that require a moderate amount of concentration
- Research, writing, and planning that require a high level of concentration
Meetings can be extremely helpful, but they can also be a waste of time. Most of us have been stuck in a long meeting when we would rather be at our desks getting some work done.
See what you can do to make meetings shorter. As a manager, that might mean doing away with the ice-breaker activities and getting right to work. Writing out an agenda that includes how long you plan to talk about each topic can help keep you focused while letting those at the meeting know what to expect.
Employees can influence how long meetings are too. For example, see if you might be able to email any questions you have after the meeting is over instead of asking during the meeting. If you’ve been asked to attend a meeting, but you don’t think you need to be there, don’t be afraid to ask if you can skip it.
Do Things as You Go
Some tasks aren’t completed until another task is finished. For example, you may not be required to submit a report until a project is done, but that doesn’t mean you should wait until everything has been completed before you get started on that report.
If you want to save a little time, make it a habit to start doing things as you go. You might spend a few minutes every few days filling out a report or completing portions of a presentation as you’re working on a larger project. It means you won’t feel like you have to scramble to fit a larger task into your schedule later.
Consolidate Where Messages and Notifications are Sent
Most of us get a lot of messages and notifications. Maintaining so many different platforms can be tiring and time-consuming. Not to mention, it’s easy for important messages to go unread.
Tell your coworkers the best way to get ahold of you or which platform you regularly check, whether it’s your email, Slack, or something else.
Then, consider consolidating your notifications and alerts. You can find apps that enable you to house all of your notifications in one place, or you might simply enable notifications in one place yourself, like your computer, and not another, like your phone.
It’s really about being mindful of how you get messages and notifications and taking the time to make them work for you.
Ask For Help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes you really do have too much to do and you need to delegate some of your tasks to others.
You don’t have to hand your tasks over to others in order to get help, though. Let your coworkers and your manager know what you’re struggling with and ask if they have any advice. They may be able to share a strategy or a template with you that will make it easier and faster for you to complete tasks.
You aren’t at the mercy of your workload. Even if you have a lot to do, there are still things you can do to save a little bit of time throughout the day. When you do, not only are you more likely to finish whatever it is you need to get done, but you’ll experience less anxiety and stress too.