Traffic, doctor's appointments, parent-teacher conferences, and holidays - all things that can impact the amount of time you have to spend at work during the week. Whether you're going to be a few hours late to the office or plan on missing an entire week of work you need to know how to get back on track and avoid falling behind on major projects. Here are a few tips to get you organized and headed down the right path as soon as possible.
Write down everything you need to get done.
There is a reason that therapists offer writing as a way to help clients that are feeling overwhelmed. Tasks are almost always more daunting in our imaginations than they are on paper. Writing down everything you have to do can minimize your anxiety and help you get organized. Once you see it all on paper, you will have a realistic picture of what needs to be done.
Once you have your list of tasks, arrange them from most to least urgent. If you have trouble doing this feel free to use my system I created based on my personal values.
First, review the things you have promised other people. I like to be a person of my word, so I prioritize activities where people depend on me and ensure I get those done first.
Next, review things that were not completed the week or day before since these activities are more likely to be past due.
Last, think about the one task that would make you happiest to complete and that will be your last priority for the day.
Move meetings that are not urgent.
If you are looking to save time, moving meetings are a good place to start. If I notice my day is stacked with meetings, I'll move those meetings to a lighter day. When moving meetings be sure to consider meetings with a small number of attendees and review each person's calendar to ensure it is not just best for you, but also it is best for the team as a whole.
Try not to do this with one-on-one conversations related to performance reviews. As an employee, there is nothing more frustrating than a supervisor who does not prioritize our meetings.
Also, consider delegating meetings to a team member you are looking to develop. It will be a great opportunity to get them involved.
Ask for help in advance.
If at this point the hours in the day and the tasks that need to be completed still aren't adding up it may be time to reach out for an additional resource.
In the case where you know you have an early morning appointment that will set you back at work, reach out to a team member the day before and ask if they have any availability to help you out.
As my father says, "It's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it." You can let them know that you may need their help on a project around a certain time of day and wanted to know if they were available. You can also let them know when you'll confirm if you need their help or not.
The advanced notice, even if it's a few hours before, shows you respect their time and priorities.
The most important thing to remember here is to stay calm. With organization, prioritizing, and appropriate delegation you will be caught up in no time. Don't allow your emotions to get you into an unproductive rut. Just start and before you know it, you'll be ahead of the game and ready to take on the next big project.