During the past 20 years both the pace of work and workloads have increased in most organisations. Workload is the factor with the strongest link to work-related stress. To reflect over your work and its processes is a necesary ingredient in reducing your workload. Here are some concrete strategies that could help.
6 strategies to remember at work
- Be a good self-manager: Make sure to be a great boss to yourself by planning long term, and be sure to have a structure for work. Work with objectives that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely).
- Do not over work: It can feel wrong to hand over a piece of work that is not perfect, but usually it’s not worth the time to try to do things perfectly. Decide for yourself or together with your boss what is ‘good enough’.
- Dare to say no: Consider what the consequences are when taking on tasks. In order for everyone to feel good in the workplace, there must be some kind of healthy balance between your own needs and the needs of others.
- Consider how: Give more thought to how tasks in a project will be executed rather than on what should be done. The more time spent in thinking about how things should be executed often means projects and tasks run more smoothly as the data becomes more concrete.
- Clarify expectations: Since everything is a matter of interpretation, it may be helpful to clarify expectations for a task with everyone involved, including bosses. Also, find out what it is that doesn’t need to be done to avoid spending time where it is not needed.
- Fixed times: Set a fixed time to leave work. This will make it easier to work effectively and you will finish at a reasonable time. If there is no deadline, it is easy to keep on working.
There are also strategies that aim to reduce the workload by reducing what you do. It has a lot to do with defining, prioritizing, or stopping certain tasks.
5 tips for reducing your workload
Your work responsibilities: Do not take on tasks that are not in your job description. Analyze what you are doing on a daily basis and identify what is not part of your job description. Discuss with your boss or your colleagues how these tasks can be addressed in another way.
80/20 rule: If you really have a lot to do during a certain period think about which 20 percent of your job is most effective and focus on those parts first. This can be beneficial if you have a lot to address during a short period of time, but it is not a long-term solution.
Reporting: In many organizations, there is a requirement that information be reported or documented, which can be time consuming. Discuss what the minimal requirements are in these areas with relevant colleagues/managers.
Business travel: If you want to try to cut down on business travel, it may be worth thinking about taking meetings via video conferencing or Skype. If that isn’t possible, use your travel time to write, email, call, or read. If you do need to meet in person, it can be helpful to plan your travel in chunks, so that travel doesn’t break up your working week.
E-mail: Ways to reduce the time you spend on e-mails and to bring more order to your inbox are: 1. Unsubscribe from all newsletters and advertising you do not want. 2. Create different mailboxes for different senders, such as an inbox for managers, suppliers, and emails that you are copied on. 3. If you send fewer emails you will automatically receive fewer emails. 4. If there is an email conversation involving more than two people, avoid issues requiring a decision, as e-mail is not an effective way to do this.