Regardless of your role, skillset or life of work, your work life probably feels like you’re always treading in a stormy sea of tasks and client demands. And for every notch checked off your to-do list, doesn’t it seem like three more plop in? The good news is you’re not alone.
According to a 2012 National Study on Balancing Work and Caregiving in Canada, almost two-thirds of Canadians are working more than 45 hours a week – 50% more than two decades ago. This growing national trend shows that employers are pulling more from their staffs than ever before. The number of hours Albertans work per week is even higher: in 2014 Stats Canada found that 30% of that province’s full-time work force tallied more than 50 hours per week.
It’s inevitable that you’re going to have days that feel like utter chaos, the key is to remain in control — or at least appear to!
At CR Creative Co., many of our team members have refined their processes to accommodate and overcome the chaos that comes with their day-to-day duties. My day consists of a little bit of everything including non-stop calls with clients and vendors, building and refining proposals, fighting fires, and occasionally affording myself two-minutes to down a coffee or scarf a protein bar in lieu of eating lunch.
The key to it all — prioritizing! Time is a valuable commodity and it’s important to focus on the most important tasks at hand, while relying on my staff to help with the rest. Sometimes the most important projects may not be the most profitable, such as maintaining client relationships, chatting with an employee, or putting out fires. It’s important to remember that not all daily task require immediate attention, even though we sometimes have a tendency to look at them all the same.
The worst thing you can do is to get caught in “email hell,” feeling as though you need to respond to them as they arrive in your inbox. I only check emails at specific times throughout the day, allowing me to segment my day and shift focus to the most important tasks. Remember, your clients don’t always expect an immediate response, so it’s OK to wait a couple of hours to reply.
Another trick I use to maintain my sanity is to tackle some of the larger, thought provoking tasks outside normal office hours – when I can use the peace and quiet to my advantage. This is one of the reasons my day starts at five a.m. - I can not only enjoy some quiet time, but also am able to sneak out of the house before the kids wake up!
Here are some other tips on managing chaos from our team:
“A good old-fashioned to-do list.” Alison, General Manager
“Biggest thing for me is routine. Having a routine in the morning before starting the day. Going over the servers to make sure everything is running smooth, looking … for upcoming jobs and web changes.” Brian, Web Manager
“I schedule time to work from home every couple days — where I can’t be pulled into meetings or be interrupted by phone calls or general office chatter… This leaves the rest of the day open for dealing with interruptions and work as it comes in, without getting frustrated that my more tedious tasks are continually being put on the back burner.” Steph, Sr. Account Manager
This article was written by Matt Pasut, the President of CR Creative Co.
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