It Is What It Is

Every day when I walk into the office, I pass by the desk of Randy, our Site & Facilities Manager here at Heartland Conference Retreat Center. Randy has a plaque hanging on the front of his desk that reads, “It is what it is.” This is his mantra and the way he lives his life.

Randy always has more work to do than hours in the day. Over the years I have heard him say “it is what it is” hundreds, if not thousands, of times. One day I asked him why he says it all the time. His response was, “I never have enough time to get everything done. I have to choose the most important tasks every day and accomplish those things first. If there is time left I move on to the rest of the tasks on my list.”

Most days there are also tasks that arise unexpectedly. Sometimes they require immediate attention; sometimes they are added to the list of things to accomplish later as time allows.

Managing a Full Workload

When you are dealing with a never ending list of tasks, it’s a good idea to manage those tasks to get the most of your workday.  Here are 5 strategies to effectively manage your workload:

1. Create a Task List

Use a spreadsheet or program to manage your projects (some of our staff use Asana, a free online program for task management). List each project and prioritize them based on importance. It creates a natural flow for your workday and thought process.

2. Review Your Task List Every Morning

Each morning before starting any tasks review your task list. It’s very easy for a task to make it to the bottom of list. Before you know it the deadline for that task has arrived and you have to complete the task while stressing about getting it done.

3. Use the 80:20 rule

The 80:20 rule, or Pareto Principle, teaches us that 80 percent of results come from the top 20 percent of causes. This means at work we should spend 80 percent of our time on the top 20 percent of our workload. It is very easy to become caught up in trivial tasks. By the time you get back to the important tasks you’ve either reached your deadline or the end of the day.

4. Stay Focused

During the workday it is very easy to get caught up in your thoughts. While you are working on one task you may think of another or receive an email or other alert. Keep a notepad handy to record thoughts to review later. Set specific time aside to check and respond to emails.

5. Avoid Extensive Multitasking

Today’s culture teaches us to constantly multitask. We check emails during meetings, text and spend time looking at our phone while walking, and eavesdrop on conversations while working at our desk. All of this leads to interruptions in our thoughts. In attempting to accomplish more, we actually accomplish less. When your focus is placed on one task at a time, that task receives your undivided attention. You will create a higher quality product than if you were to divide your attention between several tasks all at once.

Reduce Stress and Increase Accomplishment

There will never be enough hours in the day to achieve everything on your to-do list. It is important to manage your workload wisely to create an environment of reduced stress and increased accomplishment. If you follow these task management steps, you and your team will increase productivity thereby creating more success and a workplace filled with employees that enjoy coming to work every morning.  For a FREE printable activity that deals specifically with the importance of planning, time-management and dealing with stress sign up below.

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