How to manage a workload during the busy season?

Practical advice

The autumn season is often one of the busiest periods at work. As a result, the workload increases, the hours to complete all the tasks become countless, and it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up with the pace of life. Cortlex colleagues share their experiences and advice about effective workload management during a busy season.

Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks

Natasha Zaharova, Head of Talent Acquisition, believes in the power of delegating tasks. However, she understands that for people to grow, you need to trust your employees and delegating tasks is not the same as micromanaging. If you have to manage others for the first time, use the following tips:

  • empower employees – encourage them to be proactive and help to build a problem-solving attitude; 
  • seek for accountability – invite them to share their obstacles and provide feedback;
  • share your knowledge – don’t forget to provide some tips, because sometimes those delegated tasks can be complex at first. 

Keep track of your own and other’s time

Rita Gradeckaitė, Talent Acquisition Lead, adds that it would be best always to observe yourself and others to manage the workload and stay effective. On the other hand, she believes that work-life balance is crucial for efficiency. Rita shares some of her practical teamwork tips:

  • know the direction – answer yourself: what is the result you’re seeking; what do you want; what are your long-term goals; what are your priorities.
  • observe others – know their strengths and weaknesses, then try to use them when you delegate tasks. It’s also crucial to mix tasks between team members so others wouldn’t feel the need to compete.
  • know what works best for you – be aware of your most productive hours, know what environment encourages you to work more effectively, and have your planning system.
  • have time off – go out with your team, plan some time for rest by yourself, always remember to reconnect from working platforms when you’re not working.

Implement Agile and Scrum methods

Head of Customer Experience Helen Shavel points out that the constantly changing and dynamic programming sphere needs some structure, so Agile and Scrum techniques come in handy. Helen shares some essential attributes of before mentioned techniques:

  • Sprint planning. During this meeting, the team selects tasks for the coming sprint and estimates them. It sets up the entire team for success throughout the sprint;
  • planning poker (or Scrum poker) helps to provide accurate estimates of programming (and non-programming) task completion time; Eisenhower’s Urgent / Important matrix – helps to sort out which tasks are the most important, which ones are urgent, and which jobs have to be delegated or removed from your to-do list;
  • daily stand-ups – short team meetings to discuss what the team has achieved the day before and what they will do today;
  • run retrospective meetings – remember to look back at events that took place, also review the works that you produced;
  • one-to-one meetings – this could be a great weekly practice to have with your team members, so you never lose the pulse of your team.

Be flexible while planning

Like the other Cortlex team members, Business Development Manager Martin Ganchev also sees the need to plan his workload. He also learned that flexibility in teamwork is as essential as planning, so Martin shares his tips:

  • prioritize tasks – this is the crucial step while seeking to deliver the results on time without compromising on quality;
  • no last-minute tasks – if it is possible, do not leave tasks for the last minute. When the deadline is near, it means that no time has left for final checks and amendments;
  • great haste-great waste – planning not only the workload but the day, in general, is essential and aids to avoid stress and pressure. Trello gets handy when managing the workload;
  • be open-minded – bear in mind that you may face a change of plans most of the time, so it’s essential to accept the changes and adapt. Communicating about the changes to your team is also a must.

Manage the work process

Cortlex Software Developer Konstantin Malikov believes that extra workload or sitting overtime is just the result of poor planning and broken processes in work. So, to manage the work process, he gives some advice:

  • no multitasking – jumping from one task to another most often leads to extended working hours and insufficient concentration on the fundamental jobs.
  • change the roles of team members – if plans are not working, don’t be afraid to change the responsibilities and rearrange plans.
  • have time to learn – poor processes always lead to more significant problems such as no work-life balance, burning-out, additional communication with other team members, and no time for learning, so no time for improvements.

Find time for deep work

The Head of People and Culture, Nina Pivavarchyk, has learned that quality work needs focus and concentration during five years of work. Only these few tips have saved her from countless hours of shallow and unproductive work:

  • write everything in the calendar – writing your plans means you don’t have to think about thousand different things at a time and entirely concentrate on work;
  • plan collaboration days – have separate days full of face-to-face meetings and team collaborations, cooler chats, and other interactions with team members;
  • plan deep-thinking days – the days with no appointments and no additional distractions, only the dedication to researches, strategic planning, document writing;
  • leave time for emergencies – plans rarely work as expected, so you need to have extra time to catch up with everything.

Conclusion

As Cortlex employees point out, perhaps the best way to deal with the increased workload is to plan the time properly. The plans must include the work to be done and the time when one can rest with the team or individually. With the help of other tips mentioned, one will efficiently deal with a long to-do list.