How To Effectively Organise Your Workload…

Organised Workload = Happier Work Life

As a business owner, you always have one too many hats on, or plates spinning. But the key to staying productive in a high-volume workload is organising and prioritising.

I started Think Forensics on my own in 2014 and did not have any additional help until Lexy joined me in 2020. Through those 6 years, I tried multiple methods to check off my to-do list, but I never felt fully productive. There was always that overwhelming sense that would encourage me to wake up at 4 am and jump into work and finally log off at 11 pm.

These were my day-to-day work hours, and it led to ineffective work, and ultimately burnout. I used to get so frustrated that I would spend so much time at my desk, but never seem to get significant things done. I’m sure most business owners have been through this cycle or are currently experiencing it, so I’d like to present how I added structure and order to my work life.

1) Create a digital shared space to organise workload…

After 2020, it is clear organising work ‘in person’ isn’t as simple as it used to be. Where a whiteboard or corkboard used to be great at displaying tasks, they are not useful if you can’t physically see them. Over the last year, Think Forensics, like other businesses, have optimised the use of digital platforms such as Trello. Within the business, we have created a routine when uploading a task onto Trello. Ensuring each job can be completed to its full potential and on time, with no confusion about who is responsible.

2) Optimise your digital software…

Once you find your digital platform, optimise it! We often invest in software and do not use it to its full potential, wasting time and money. Lexy and I both researched Trello, and researched it again, ensuring we were using all the features available. We now have multiple boards for our business activity, keeping various tasks categorised and tidy. We also have a list of labels that allow us to highlight who needs to take action, with deadlines to inform them of when.

We also use Trello with clients, laying out activities and the actions taken to complete them. Allowing our customers to see our workflow provides transparency and keeps them involved with all areas of their business, even when outsourcing. We also find it helps to justify the money spent on our services as they can see exactly what we are up to and the impact we are having on their business.

3) Create a detailed to-do list…

After Lexy joined Think Forensics this task became significant. I learnt that just writing down ‘newsletter’ isn’t enough to capture the time that goes into that one action. It also means multiple tasks are being ignored, tasks that Lexy could do to ultimately save me time. Now we break down tasks realistically, showing what needs to do to complete them. For example, writing a newsletter doesn’t only consist of that one task, it is selecting the topics, writing content like a blog to go within it, and creating eye-catching imagery. Not to mention thinking of ideas for the subject line and preview text! But anyway, breaking down them induvial actions adds ease to completing the overall exercise, it also provides self-satisfaction as there are more ticks on your to-do list!
We know this may be harder to execute with a larger team, but if your business consists of you and a few others, try it!

4) Monday catch up…

The most important thing when organising workload is communication. Whether it’s with a colleague, client or supplier, writing a clear email summary of your actions or expectations is extremely useful to all parties. It allows you to get the ball rolling on tasks and informs others of your proactivity. It also ensures you priorities tasks based on others involved and their deadlines, creating an overall more effective way to work.

I can honestly say following these steps has made it easier to run my business. I won’t lie, there are still extremely long days where structure goes out the window! But operating like that the majority of the time just isn’t worth it. Working with no organisation means the hours and effort put in doesn’t result in high-quality work because you physically cannot focus for that long!

So remember to break down your workload and take a 5-minute breather where you can!

Debbie Bouffler