How to Manage Your Workload… In College & After

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Being asked to complete an extra task now and then isn’t bad, but what if you’re getting overwhelmed with the extra tasks? This could affect your productivity for other larger responsibilities that your job relies on. How can you learn to prioritize your workload and manage your schedule to make your boss, teammates, and self happy? If you find that your inclination to be the yes-(wo)man in the workplace has caused you to become a scapegoat, it may not be an effective strategy. If your kindness is not generating value for you or the company you’re working for, you may need to consider the following tips below:

  1.        Learn to say no.

It’s happened to all of us… Someone in your team fails to finish a portion of their project and asks you to complete it. It won’t help you or the other person long term to continually pick up the slack for others. It’s ok to tell them no, but in being objective, be sure to offer assistance.

There is a huge difference between offering to help and doing the project in its entirety. One will make you look like a great team leader; the other will make you look like a pushover.

  1.        Assess how long it takes you to complete tasks.

When you have a better understanding of your everyday workload, it will be much easier for you to gauge what else you can manage to take on during the day. It is very easy to feel the need to say yes to everything you’re involved in on campus or what your manager asks of you, but it’s unimpressive and disappointing when you can’t follow through with work you promised or you under-perform. Keep in mind that your peers and management will have much more respect for you if you follow through on the work you promised efficiently and at a high-performing level.

  1.        Block out time in your schedule for specific tasks.

As a student, some find it very helpful to create blocks of time in which they do certain things. You could create a weekly calendar that allows you to schedule time for study, working out, and relaxing. This will be more likely to hold you accountable and help you succeed, while also helping you to groom your time management skills for the future. For instance, when you begin working you will have to keep a calendar for others to see – most likely on Microsoft Outlook. If you keep a blank calendar at all times, people will assume you’re free and schedule meetings. Meetings can easily become the most unproductive part of the day if they are not called for, effective, or efficient. Block out time to respond to emails, work on specific projects, or work on your personal career development. If you respect your time and others, your fellow students, or co-workers and managers will begin to as well.

If you find you’re having trouble finding balance in your schedule, reach out to an adviser or your manager at work to discuss the classes/projects you’re involved in and how you can better achieve balance.

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