Takin’ Care of Business – Managing Priorities in Times of Pressure

Pre COVID-19, employees were living in a time where we were facing multiple responsibilities of work, being a carer, a parent, partner, etc. and coordinating between schools, activities, household demands, meeting deadlines, work stress and managing work hours.

Now with COVID-19, everything is different.  Employees are now under even more pressure to manage pre-COVID-19 work demands, with working from home and other family and domestic responsibilities all at once.

So how do we manage these priorities when under pressure?

Here are our top tips to manage priorities in these times of pressure:

  • Create a to do list.  Include within the list: identify what is urgent, what is important and what can be delegated.  Aim to complete the urgent items in the day and anything else that is completed is just a bonus!
  • Keep structure to your day – maintaining a schedule will allow you to focus your priorities for the day and allow others within your household to know when you are free.  This will include keeping meals scheduled at the same time, checking emails at scheduled times of the day, making sure those in your household are aware of do not disturb times (esp for children who are being homeschooled), etc.
  • Prioritise your energy – take note of when you are the most productive and focused.  Try to coordinate when you are most productive to complete those tasks that you have flagged as “urgent” this will allow you to get those items ticked off your list!
  • Minimise/avoid multitasking – working from home is generally more relaxed, however, it can be overwhelming.  It is easy to look at the list of tasks and deadlines and get overwhelmed with work.  Schedule times to focus on individual tasks and keep internet tabs closed that do not relate to the task.  Schedule a 5-10 minute break between tasks to allow for stretching your legs and doing smaller bite-sized tasks around the house.
  • Know when to clock out – at home you may feel like there is no end of the day. It is important to have a clear distinction as to when you are working and when you are not, as you want to avoid a situation where you are in constant work mode and do not have an appropriate balance between work/personal/family.

Is it getting too much?

Recognise when and if you need help and speak up.  You do not have to do everything on your own.  Ask for help when the work gets overwhelming.  Even when it is not overwhelming and you feel are getting to that point, you can still ask for help. 

Sometimes things are just too much, and that’s ok! You can speak to:

  • Your supervisor, family, friend, etc;
  • Your Employer’s Employee Assistance Program Hotline (if they have one);
  • Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service (via BeyondBlue); and
  • Lifeline.

As we say in the Seed People Consulting team – you need to give yourself oxygen, so you can support others!  Make sure you ‘self care’ when managing your priorities, so that you can build and maintain your mental strength throughout times of pressure.

For more tips and tricks on building your mental strength, check out our Mental Strength Virtual Masterclass series!