How to Deal With Work When You Are Extremely Busy

You have to be even more precise, and work even more carefully when you are really busy.

In my own experience, rushing into several things at once only makes the situation worse. Let’s use an example Let’s suppose I have six tasks on my to do list. Six tasks that I absolutely need to get done in just one hour. It’s very easy and tempting to rush into spending only a few minutes per task and ‘do it as quickly as possible’ so that I could move to the next item on the list. Often, some tiny (but important) details might get missed when rushing into work, and instead of finishing six tasks, I might end up having six barely finished tasks.

And you know what barely finished means. It means unfinished.

Instead of rushing into doing all six items, I’m trying to pick the most important one – the one that has the biggest impact, and finish that one properly. After I’ve finished the task, I move to the next one. If I end up having finished only 1 out of 6, then I’ll simply have to accept that. After all, finishing 1 out of 6 is better than finishing 0 out of 6. I can also try to delegate or try to delay some of the tasks if possible. If I absolutely need to finish them, then barely finishing is not going to get me any closer to the goal. I’ll simply finish what I can, and that’s it.

That’s the math part that might not be realized sometimes. When I try to rush into finishing 6 tasks, it just might happen that I don’t manage to finish any one, and it might mean more work in the future. Instead of saving time, I just might have wasted time by doing something so poorly that it needs to be re-done.

Here’s a practical example: a busy morning. You try to shave, dress, eat breakfast and read the morning paper quickly so that you can get to work on time. You shave fast, dress fast and start drinking coffee fast while same time reading the newspaper. In haste, you accidently pour coffee on the newspaper, then stand up just to notice you have caffee on your shirt – and look into mirror just to see that your hasty shaving style gave you a nice bloody wound. Now you are already late from work, and didn’t manage to finish anything.

Rushing might not be such a good idea.

What if you cannot avoid situation like this, and you still need to get things done?

As I said earlier, the worst thing to do is poor job. It most likely makes the situation even worse, and you might end up spending more time on the task right now and also in the future. If you are really busy, and really need to get things done – then do the absolute minimum that needs to be done, but do it well. Like in the previous example, you might have simply skipped shaving, coffee or newspaper and dressed properly (bare minimum). Or you might have skipped the shaving and newspaper and only eat & dress. It depends on the situation.

You can also delegate your work. If you cannot do everything by yourself, then consider delegating tasks to some other people. Simply explain your situation and why it’s important that somebody else does it. When you explain the ‘why’ part, people are more willing to do things for you.

Learn from the situation: you created the rush in the first place, so it’s your job to decide how you are going to prepare in the future. What will you do to avoid being busy in the future? You might consider spending some additional time before the last day, delegate more work or use alarm clock – anything that works. And if things get busy, make sure you do a precise job.

4 thoughts on “How to Deal With Work When You Are Extremely Busy

  1. @Tuna: Heh, try to survive! :)

  2. Sounds like a typical day at work for me, lol. Being lead tech at a computer store can get pretty hectic. I plan to alleviate the workload by having my boss can the current employees and hiring competent people. :)

  3. Yeh, good tip – “negotiating” is always something worth trying.

  4. “Learn from the situation” Yeah this bits important. I basically try not to get myself in such situations any more – it doesn’t always work ;-)

    Also, often people think that a certain bunch of stuff must be complete by a certain time for a boss but if you talk to them they might be understanding and ask for 3 now and 3 later for example.