Let’s talk about how to manage a demanding workload
Project managers often having incredibly arduous workloads. In this podcast, project leadership coach Susanne Madsen talks to me about how to manage a demanding workload.
For 17 years, Susanne Madsen worked in the corporate sector leading change programs for organisations such as Standard Bank, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase before starting her own business. As a qualified corporate and executive coach and a member of the Association for Project Management, Susanne specialises in helping managers improve their leadership skills and become good role models.
Throughout the podcast she provides valuable advice on how to keep your workload under control, by sharing valuable knowledge with colleagues who may be looking for new opportunities.
Points raised in this podcast:
- Signs that your workload is not under control include working long hours, taking work home, abandoning relationship building, not finding time to liaise with clients, and not being proactive about quality assurance.
- Secretly, many people are holding onto their busy-ness, because it makes them feel in demand and indispensable. They may not necessarily be aware of this consciously.
- People often don’t like to turn down projects because they fear it will make them look weak, even when the extra work will have consequences for their existing projects. It is always be best to be honest about how much work you can effectively manage.
- Junior project managers are more likely to find themselves having to manage a demanding workload because they do not always have the confidence to be assertive and approach their superiors about their workload.
- When discussing your workload, being objective about the impact of taking on more work and avoiding emotion or frustration from the conversation will make it smoother.
- Try to identify and address the reasons you may be unwilling to turn work away.
- Delegation is an important part of being able to manage a demanding workload. Delegating tasks to other staff members who want opportunities can be an effective way of sharing knowledge, while also freeing up time for other work.
- Some people can find it difficult to delegate tasks, as they do not like to feel they have lost control. It is important to remember that everybody operates differently.
- Having overly high standards for work you delegate, and not giving enough instruction, will make others less likely to offer to take on tasks.
- Work out what your strengths are, and find others who may like to take on the tasks you find challenging.
- Good leaders nurture a collaborative environment.
- Avoid multi-tasking. Jumping from one task to another quickly is bad for productivity. Focus deeply on one task until it is done.
- Eating the ugliest frog first will make all other tasks seem simpler. Each morning, do the most important work first, even if it means closing down your email temporarily, or working from home.