To really get the most out of your day it is critical that you get help. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have too much on their plate and no matter how much you do each day there’s always more, so to really make a dent in that list it is important to use resources that are available to you. This may be in the form of other people or electronic tools.
First let’s look at how to get the most help from the people around you. This is the biggest asset you have in your arsenal of resources. If you are a manager you need to delegate to your team. This helps you get more done and it helps them grow. There are some routine tasks that can be more effectively done by others and there are tasks that will stretch members of the team. Keep in mind the abilities, goals and strengths of the people who work for you when you are delegating. Explain what is needed, when it is due, and check for understanding of the requirements. If this is a stretch for someone you may need to create checkpoints to make sure they are on track and not struggling. Their failure becomes yours if you did not set them up for success.
If you are not a manager then you still have people around you that can help. This is a harder thing to make happen since you do not have the authority to give them work. You are asking for help. Doing this wisely will go a long way to reducing your load and building your credibility for future leadership roles. The keys to doing this successfully are to be sincere in your request for help and to pick your helper wisely. Someone who is always complaining of being overloaded is not going to help you at all. If there is a person who is really good at something and does it with ease, asking them to do that kind of task for you can work well, particularly if you ask them to help you become as good as they are at it. Other people love doing certain tasks, if you need help in these areas they can be ideal helpers. Again, be sincere in your request, no dumping all the trash tasks on others, and offer to help them in return. Make it a true case of give and take and live up to your agreements and you will find support around you.
The other area where you can get help is by using technology to help you out. If you have to update monthly data and produce charts and reports you can set up programs like Excel to make it easier to do these. I’ve often set things up so that all I do is enter the data, refresh the charts, print and I’m done. Much easier. Also, you can use other electronic tools to help you manage files and data. Many programs have ways quickly update information. The best bet is to take the time to learn how to get the most out of the programs you use. Find a skilled user to teach you, take a class or use on-line training to get smarter on the tools you use. It can add work initially, but in the long run your time is available for doing things that add value to your organization or for doing the things you love to do.
Look around you and identify the resources that are available to you. Make a list of people who can help you and where you can learn to do more with the programs you use regularly. This will help you get the ball rolling on leveraging your resources.