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How to manage work “load” shedding

It’s 2019, and Eskom persists in keeping us in the dark and draining our treasury of its limited reserves. But there is a bigger threat than being left in the dark, and it’s work overload caused entirely by yourself.

Yes, little old innocent workaholic YOU! One of the biggest threats we face in achieving success is our ability to overload ourselves with tasks and underload ourselves with clear focus. I see the impact of this in most of the work I do with teams today, from the bottom of the pack admin clerk to the high fliers at the top of the food chain. They just cannot say no to work, more work and even more work.

The reason is varied but often has to do with FEAR, yes FEAR. It’s the FOMO of modern business, the need to keep your finger on the pulse, to be seen as irreplaceable, to know what’s “cooking” and more. The egocentric beings at work just keep on taking on more and more until the boasting becomes excuses;

  • I am up to my eyeballs!
  • This place can’t do without me!
  • I worked till 22h00 last night!
  • Be great if everyone else chipped in some time!
  • Sorry, I just had too many reports to finish!!
  • Again, just me and the boss working till late!
Beyond Teambuilding pride ourselves in creating events, activities and challenges that push any team past mediocrity, allowing them to express themselves in a way that unleashes a team synergy that is often lying dormant. Our teambuilding is done in two definitive ways; formal and informal. Both have merit and are used to create the specific objectives of your particular team’s needs.

The symptoms of overload come rapidly, and the quality of one’s work drops off very quickly. Once superb work suddenly becomes average and often incomplete or ridden with mistakes. Deadlines are missed, and the excuses become more and more fictitious. The rot has set in, and it’s very difficult to get out of this downward spiral. Self-pity abounds, and you become a pain in the butt to work with.

So how does this happen and how do we avoid it? A good boss will see it long before it happens and re-allocate work to ensure proper efficiencies and maintenance. But I said “good” boss?  Most bosses just love to see team members exhaust themselves with overtime and over commitment, so why stop it; it’s going to make them look good, not so?

Wrong! The overworked team eventually will implode and will need surgery in the near future.

Plan number 2: it’s all about YOU!

It’s only you who can decide what’s best for your capacity and only you who can shape your work ethic. The following will help you stay meaningful at work and ensure your standards don’t slip:

  1. Never start or accept work without clearly understanding WHY it’s beneficial to the organisation and why YOU need to do it?
  2. Is there someone in the organisation who is better equipped to do this work?
  3. Once it’s clear that it needs to be done, and by you, make sure you understand who will benefit from it and WHY?
  4. Take time to ask that person how they would want that work presented and whether there are any time constraints.
  5. Clarify time deviations and communication requirements.
  6. Set clear standards for all your work, schedule your work on a critical path basis.
  7. Creating a critical path simply means scheduling all your deliverable dates, prioritising the importance thereof and ensuring you work backwards to guarantee enough time is allocated to each task. If there is any risk of missing deadlines or clashes of priorities, then report this and or delegate to others who are competent enough to help.
  8. Refresh your thinking every evening.

This is a high-performance discipline that will ensure you promote your personal image and brand in the business and remain a meaningful player in any team.

Several of our teambuilding packages may seem like just a fun day out of the office, but in actual fact are riddled with activities that promote critical path analysis (Manic Motion), force teams to delegate effectively (Ubuntu Challenge) and ultimately urge participants to understand time constraining factors (Movie Maker).

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