Managing the Workload
You may wonder how you will cope with the work load on the job. In college, you certainly had experiences with long nights doing assignments or preparing for tests. You know what a tough work load is like, but the workload on the job will be different. Consider the following differences you can expect on the job:
- The work load at first won’t be that tough, but as you become more experienced and respected, the work load will increase.
- There won’t be any breaks in the day like you had in college. You will need to be alert for the entire work day.
- There won’t be any end of the semester moments when you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that “it’s over”. Your work will be relentless with no down time.
- You will still have extremely busy moments when long hours are required.
- Your work schedule will be more consistent with regard to the times you work. There are few jobs that can tolerate “I’m not a morning person”.
- Travel will become a factor in your work load. Travel to and from work can add significantly to your work day. Air travel can also add to your work load.
- After hours social events (e.g. receptions, dinners) which are an expected activity can also add to your work day.
How do you manage the work load? Here are some suggestions:
- Become consistent in your sleep habits. You can’t function without 7-8 hours of sleep.
- Work out times when you do certain activities. An activity that takes 3 hours to do at one time can take 1 hour at another time.
- Learn how to multitask. There are times when you can combine one or more activities (e.g. filling out an expense form while participating in a conference call).
- Make repetitive tasks more efficient. For example you might develop a template for a weekly report you need to do.
- Learn how much time is needed for each activity. Not everything needs to be done to perfection.
- Learn how to avoid activities that are huge “time sink holes”. Some of these can be avoided entirely while others can be done with minimal time commitment.
- Don’t let others steal your time. This is especially the case for those who view the job as one big social event.
- Think ahead on major assignments. Often you can avoid time consuming dead ends when you just give an assignment some thought.
- Find people in the organization who are noted for how productive they are and ask them for guidance on how to use your time.
- Develop a “relief value” that can let you get away from the job and renew your energy. This will be something you do for yourself.
Managing your work load is a gradual process. In fact, the change in work load from college to job isn’t as severe as you experience in going from high school to college. But you won’t learn how to manage your work load if you don’t have a plan. .