‘The goal is not to work smarter – the goal is to work less and integrate work more successfully into the rest of our life’ Richard Maybury

A handful of questions to remind you of some critical elements of Best Practice workload planning and management. What elements are you using?

Every worthwhile job in the world entails prioritising a series of to-dos against the clock.

Yet, when it comes to workload planning and workload management very few people have a realistic, robust plan for each day.

Many ‘Plans’ that I see are long lists of tasks – without any priority criteria, nor any start or due dates allocated to them …… more of a ‘Wish List’ than a ‘Plan’.

Or they are a few high level ‘tasks’ which, in reality, are more like project milestones or project headers, each with a multitude of undefined, unallocated, unprioritised and unscheduled workloads lurking within!

Such To-Do lists, Task lists, ‘Notes-to-self’ and reminders take many forms:-

  • Pages in ‘Day or Meeting Books’ -the type that keeps Hamelin Paperbrands – owners of the ubiquitous  Black’n’Red notebooks in profit.
  • Excel or Word files, or lists in the many thousands of ‘Apps-for-that’ that get downloaded by busy people every day
  • Good, old-fashioned ‘Memory’ for those adrenalin junkies who think it is cool to be surfing on the edge of chaos every day and eventually drive home strung-out every evening.

Now, if you are a regular reader you will know that I believe that ‘In the real world, one size fits nobody’ – so this is not a universal fix, and what follows may not be absolutely right for you. Use it as a basic check of workload management best practice processes.

  1. How many ‘To-Do’ lists are you currently maintaining? Think notepad, daybook, loose paperto-do list, post-it notes, whiteboard, piles on the desk, overstuffed Inbox, electronic calendar, Smartphone tasks, ‘Apps-for-that’, Word and Excel lists, pocket paper diary,  and don’t forget your memory.
  2. How rich is your To-Do list? How accurately does it reflect the ruthless reality of what is actually involved in delivering what is in front of you? 
  3. How are you planning, prioritising and scheduling your start and due dates?
  4. How well balanced are these prioritised, scheduled tasks against your other daily calendar commitments and inevitable interruptions and how easy is it to alter your plan against the onslaught of incoming fire during the day without loosing sight of what was initially important?
  5. How well integrated are your email driven tasks and commitments with your To-Do list?

Best practice demands just one place to plan, review and execute our workload from (yes, that’s ONE – not a task list AND an inbox!) When our work is visible in one place it is easier to prioritise, manage and control.

Naturally, if you want any support in managing conflicting priorities for your organisation, team or yourself just call me on +44 (0)1428 607763 or use this enquiry form. Feel free to see what others say about our support before you get in touch. Finally feel free to add your thoughts here.