Do you feel like you spent the majority of 2015 clearing your inbox? Do you find it hard to decide what to postpone and what to delegate? Where should you put your energy when there's just too much to do. We've asked some of the Impact staff to share their top tips on the matter.
Penelope Mavor, Impact Italia Senior Consultant
Where do I put my energy when there’s too much to do? I’d say I try to follow these top tips...
- Knowing your values and using them to guide your decisions as what to do and when
- Knowing what nurtures you and fiercely protecting that time/space for self care.
- Remembering that urgency and importance are not the same thing
Rachael Garner, Impact UK Business Development
In sales, nothing else matters other than giving your customers what they want, when they want it. You are working to your customers’ deadlines, and not your own. It's exciting, fast paced and hard to predict.
I often find myself in a momentary state of panic when the next unexpected deadline reveals itself. It's momentary, because my experience tells me you can't do your best thinking and your best work in this state and something needs to be done to move from panic zone to productive zone.
That's when my experience kicks in and I do a few fundamental things to channel my energy and focus in order to ensure I can give the customer what they want, and more!
What can I clear from, or push back my diary in order to give me the space I need to do the best job for this customer? This has to be done carefully, and mindfully considering implications from a work and relationships perspective.
Who within my contact sphere could help with parts of what needs to be done? Again, this is where relationships are critical. If you want your colleagues to be there to help you when you need it, you've got to be able to do the same in return for them.
Look for a quick win
When a task looks daunting, I try and give myself a lift early on in the process by looking for something I can get done quickly. It makes me feel good and gives me the energy I need to tackle the rest of the task!
Ruth Ollis, Impact UK Senior Programme Manager
Ensure that you have the enthusiasm for the task - putting energy into a task you are not enthused about will end with lack lustre results and leave you feeling deflated.
Check you are best placed to complete the task – if someone else has better skills, expertise or knowledge, and you are short on time, then take a rain check...your energy will be better placed elsewhere.
If the the task is an opportunity to develop your other softer communication skills such as listening, communicating, advising or assisting others – then do it, people skills are needed in all areas of life so my advice would be never to pass up on improving these.
What to focus on when you've got too much to do?
Apart from the obvious of tasks that have urgent deadlines… I always try to take a step back and focus on the bigger picture. It's easier to get organised, write your lists ( who's not a list writer?) and group your priorities when you are not focusing on the finer details and intricacies of completing the individual tasks.
Jim Hick, Head of Impact Singapore
I’ve always got too much to do and have already accepted that this will always be the case!
However, I can recommend a few very simple practical things that help:
Make a list
Decide what’s most important and urgent and then prioritise
Try to think – if you can’t do it all yourself then who is it that can help you?
Also I take time at weekends to catch up with the routine tasks so I’m ready to go on Monday. I generally put client needs first!
It’s my habit to rise early, go running, then work for an hour or so before heading to the office – that’s when I clean my inbox.
I will always take time to help others in need even if I’m up against a wall. It’s a good investment of energy and get the help reciprocated.
The demands of emails are an interesting challenge in our day and age. It’s become our main means of communicating but is far from perfect in a relationship building sense. I feel it takes a huge amount of time and so much energy that we actually get into a mindset of “I must clear my emails.” Some of my clients are beginning to set up codes of conduct around emailing – I see this as an opportunity to focus on at Impact and really lead the way on this as an important organisational issue.