Workload Management

Daily planning of your workload is critical to working productively. It may seem as though you are wasting time but you need to pause and plan in order to speed up and be efficient. Effective daily planning will help you cope with interruptions and help you answer the "What do I need to do next?" question.

‘Priority Management’ offer the following strategies for managing workload:

  1. Set up a re-occurring appointment with yourself before close of business each work day to ensure all that you’d planned to do that day is under control and the next day is achievable.
  2. ‘Date activate’ in Outlook any incomplete tasks, to dos or activities to a more appropriate day.
  3. Clear your inbox. Either file emails or date activate them as tasks or to dos if they require future action.
  4. Take some time out before close of business to reflect on the day, particularly focusing on the lessons learned and successes.
  5. When looking at your calendar, indicate all meetings and appointments with travel time added as appropriate.
  6. Ensure preparation and follow up time is in place for meetings and appointments.
  7. Allocate time for lunch and other daily routines.
  8. Clearly identify the amount of time left in the day to handle your tasks, to dos or activities as well as the unexpected.
  9. Each day estimate the amount of time your high priority tasks, to dos or activities will take.
  10. Ensure you add in a realistic "interruption percentage" to that calculation.
  11. Block out time in your calendar to complete your high priorities.
  12. Follow the same process for your medium and low priorities.

For more information, see the Priority Management website.

Time Management

Good time management is essential to success as a Development Assessment Planner. Planning your time allows you to spread your workload over a number of weeks, avoid a 'traffic jam' of work, and cope with work-related stress.

The first step to good time management is to write a list of tasks. Many people find it useful to use an electronic task list, such as the to-do list on Microsoft Outlook, which can be date-activated.

The second step is to prioritise your tasks. In other words, decide which task on your list is the most important and should be completed first.

The third step is to decide when you will do the tasks. Be realistic and only plan to do what you think is achievable. Plan to do your highest priority tasks first. If your workload of high priority tasks is too large to be completed in the required time, speak to your manager.

Tips to Make Time Management Easier

The following tips will assist you to practice good time management:

  • Complete small tasks straight away rather than putting them off. This will encourage you to begin tackling larger tasks needing attention.
  • Break difficult or 'boring' work into sections. This allows you to approach a large task as a series of manageable parts.
  • Don't try to write a whole report in one sitting. Write it section by section.
  • If you have 'writer's block', try writing something-anything-down. Even if you change it completely later, at least you've started. The alternative is to having nothing at all.
  • Set goals. Set yourself manageable goals for the day e.g. finishing a report by lunchtime. This will help you to manage your time more effectively. 
  • Project plan. If you have a large Development Application to assess, write down all the things you need to do to complete the assessment and list the order in which you need to do them. This can give you some direction and help you to form a timeline.
  • Use a diary. Write down appointments, deadlines, or things you have to do. This way you may avoid things catching you by surprise. Try using a wall calendar or an electronic calendar, such as Microsoft Outlook.
  • Switch the phone or email off. If you find that you are being distracted by the phone or emails, it might help to stop email alerts on your computer and turn your mobile phone off. You can always ring people back later and check your email at a more convenient time.
  • Be flexible. Sometimes situations change and you may need to re-adjust your goals or work plan to fit in with the changes.

Sources: University of New South Wales,  and Reach Out