Do More With Less

Posted by in Enjoy Your Job or Start a Business

Companies are always looking for ways to cut back, especially since the beginning of the recession.  You have probably been in the situation where someone was fired at your company and you had to pick up the slack.  Sometimes picking up the slack consists of constantly having more to do than you have time.  By the way, you could be in this situation without someone being fired (this is the typical mode of operation for my line of work).

It is stressful to always have too much to do; always feeling you are not living up to the expectations of the boss.  Always afraid that you are going to be disciplined for being behind on all of your tasks.


If you always have more to do than you have time, first need to have a way to keep track of all your projects.  You can use an electronic list (I use this) or a physical method like an inbox on your desk.  Whatever method you use, you need to be able to easily shift the order of your projects.

Second you need to have some sort of order to the system itself.  I mainly use first in first out (FIFO) so the project I am asked to do first is what I work on completing first.  You need to be able to shift priority in this list so you can move projects to the top that your boss wants completed first.

That was the hard part of this system.  The next step is to communicate this system to your boss.  First, show your boss your system and tell them how it works.  Make sure they know that you have a complete list of your projects and that you are completing them in FIFO/priority order.  Then let your boss know if something needs to be moved up in priority they can come and tell you where it needs to go or simply move it themselves in your system.

The best part about this system is that your boss can easily tell what you are working on and that you are not slacking.  Another great thing about this system is they can tell, over time, if your list of projects is constantly growing (you can share this with them if they do not notice).

Sometimes your project list will grow beyond your ability to complete all of the projects in a reasonable amount of time.  This is when I tell my boss that I am concerned I may not complete some of my projects when they would like.  Then I ask my boss to help me reshuffle my priorities.  Most of the time my boss with agree with me and help me reshuffle my tasks and sometimes will give a project to someone else or kill it all together.