Managing your work
It is normal to feel lost and overwhelmed in the midst of work, especially when you are working on multiple projects at once. The sense of loneliness during COVID-19, due to lack of in-person support, may exacerbate these feelings. Here are some tips to help you regain some control over your work.
- Briefly plan out your workflow at the start of the week. This gives you a better idea of what your capacity looks like to help with external tasks or urgent work. Estimating the amount of time needed to complete a task also helps to manage your time better.
- Keep a schedule of your work deadlines and meeting. This helps you to organise your work time and allows you to plan around your workload. It can be a bullet journal, schedule book, or even a google calendar.
- Visualising your work helps you to prevent your brain from overloading with information; it is also a great way to identify anything that is unclear or uncertain. Some examples include writing down the tasks that you need to complete or visualising your workflow and ideas through mind maps or flowcharts.
- Break down your work into smaller tasks. For example, if you are writing up a report, break it down into different sessions and complete it part by part.
- Communicate with your coworkers before you start working. Go through your workflow together to avoid doubling the work, or any misunderstandings.
- Schedule breaks between tasks. Taking a break allows your brain to rest and be prepared for the next tasks. Completing routine tasks (e.g. replying to emails, filing papers, etc.) can also be a form of ‘brain rest’.
- If you find yourself struggling with the amount of workload, you may want to discuss this with your manager to readjust your tasks and deadlines or acquire external help.
To ask or not to ask?
“I got a lot of questions but am too afraid to ask because I am scared that people will think I am dumb.” – Fresh Grad, age 22
Often times we are too afraid to ask because we are scared of being scolded or judged by our manager or coworker for asking ‘stupid’ questions. Ask your line manager or coworkers if you are uncertain – it is always better to be safe than sorry. If available, you can also check to see if there are any guidelines or templates that you can follow. If you are uncertain about the workflow, run your plans with coworkers before you start to avoid miscommunication.
When should I say ‘No’?
Saying ‘No’ can be hard, but when you are already struggling with your own tasks, pushing yourself to do extra tasks may lead to burnout, and also affect the quality of work. Consider your capacity to complete the task before offering to help. If you are unable to help, explain to your colleague and offer alternative ways to help with the situation.