Don’t try to do the impossible

The Avenue e-learning course, Successful Time and Workload Management, is based on four rules of time and workload management. One of those rules is: too much work is too much work. That is, if you have too much to do in the time available, then you need to find different ways of doing things rather than just try to do more than is possible and quite feasibly work yourself into a vicious circle in which your work pressures become increasingly unmanageable. A key word here is ‘strategizing’. Don’t try to do the impossible by trying to do two days’ work every day. Use reflective practice to explore strategies for managing the pressures you face so that you are not overwhelmed by them. Strategizing won’t provide magic answers, but it will certainly put you in a much stronger position than trying to do the impossible.  

Use holding emails

Email communication is a very strong feature of modern working life for a high proportion of people. It can be a very convenient and helpful form of communication, but it can also be highly problematic in a number of ways. One such way is the common (but thankfully not universal) expectation that responses will be more or less instant. This can lead to two sets of difficulties. One is that the person receiving an email may feel under pressure to reply there and then (when perhaps a more considered response would be wiser) and another is that the person sending the email can feel they are being ignored if they do not receive a prompt response. One way of addressing this problem is for the recipient to send a ‘holding’ message, something like: ‘Thank you for your message. I will give the matter my careful consideration and come back to you as soon as I can’. This will prevent hurried ill-thought-through messages being sent and will also stop the sender sending follow up messages to see if their first message had been received. This technique also prevents us from feeling overwhelmed by email and therefore prone to getting stressed about it.