Having a good work ethic and pursuing a worthwhile career are both important criteria in life. However, it’s also important to make sure you have a life outside of the office. A good work-life balance helps ensure longevity. You can manage stress and fatigue better if you’re not always on the clock, both mentally and physically.
Whether your goal is to earn more paid time off or simply quit your job, frontloading your tasks can help you accomplish your goals. Front-loading refers to the process of getting your work done before you leave the office. That way, you won’t be left with unfinished projects on your desk to worry about, or a huge backlog of tasks waiting for your return.
Learning how to do the tasks ahead doesn’t require you to attend any lengthy seminars or pay for an expensive study guide. Front-loading tasks are more about how you choose to organize your time and effort. Here are some simple but simple examples of how you can immediately start uploading your tasks:
Schedule uninterrupted attention time on your shared calendar
When you know you’re going to be out of the office for a long time, use your calendar to get things done. This is especially effective if you use a shared online calendar with the rest of your team. By using this platform, you can block off certain chunks of time where you won’t be disturbed, and you can fully focus on getting things done.
Let’s say you just want an hour of uninterrupted work time to get your last batch of papers done before the weekend. Create an event in your online calendar that designates that time for personal work. Anyone who can see your schedule here will know that you will not be available during those 60 minutes. During this block, you can focus all your time and attention on front-loading the tasks you need.
This is a practice you can follow during the work week, not just when you have a big trip coming up. Time blocking is a proven technique used to increase your drive and focus in a short period of time. This can help you leave the office early to make it to the kid’s piano concert or meet your sales quota by the end of the month.
Set an out-of-office response
A common email response you may have received in the past is an out-of-office message. This autoresponder is created when someone knows they can’t be reached and wants to let people know when they plan to get back. While this is a handy setting to have around while on vacation, it can also help you prioritize your tasks.
Setting up an out-of-office response will keep your to-do list from growing even larger before your actual free time. You won’t have to worry about emails being sent to you at 4:59pm on a Friday or small questions being asked while you’re trying to enjoy a California beach.
Your out-of-office response doesn’t have to be an essay explaining every detail of your unavailability and detailing your itinerary while you’re away. Just be sure to hit the most important points, like when you’ll be back and who to contact for urgent questions. When you come back from vacation, you can take care of what’s left to do.
Do the tasks in order of priority
Your out-of-office reminders and other measures you use to take advantage of your time off should not be at the expense of your work and business. There will always be something to do, and it’s true that some tasks can be left behind for a while. However, some issues are vital to business operations. These tasks should be on your priority list as you preload before your vacation.
Write down all the urgent items on your to-do list and order them from most important to least. Your goal should be to knock as many items off the top of this ordered list as possible before you leave the office on your next segment. With these high-level tasks out of the way, you won’t feel guilty about taking time off or worrying about the office while you’re away.
You may want to tidy up your office for a while. Ultimately, this should be the highest priority on your list. Perhaps the first thing to do is to take care of completing paperwork for a new customer or ensuring that a shipment leaves the warehouse on time. You will be able to make these types of decisions when you have an adequate list.
Order tasks while you’re out and about
For tasks that are lower on the totem pole, you may feel better leaving them. If you still want to see them done before you return, you can delegate them to other members of your team. You can do this if you are in a leadership position or if you have a close friend in the organization who is willing to cover for you while you are away. Just make sure you’re willing and able to do the same for them down the road.
These tasks can be as simple as answering the phone when your clients call while you’re out of town. This ensures that someone will stay in touch with them and inform them of your journey if they were not aware of your departure. Covering invoices, some emails. answering emails and even taking over the meeting are other options you can consider.
If you are a member of the regular floor, try to talk to your boss about how your workload can be transferred while you are away. Come up with a solution that works not only for you, but for anyone on your team who needs some time off. The goal of the team is to support each other and allow these types of breaks.
Additional working hours
No one wants to be told to work harder, but there is actually some merit to the suggestion here. There are ways you can preload your schedule by just changing your time. With some simple schedule adjustments, everything else can fall into place.
If you have the flexibility, try to preload your hours at the beginning of the week. Working ten or more hours on Monday means you can theoretically get enough done to get out a few hours early on Friday. The more you do in the early hours of the week, the sooner you can close up shop.
If you have a long journey ahead of you and don’t want to be delayed, consider spending a few hours before your trip. This helps ensure that you complete your most important projects before you leave. If those boxes are disabled, you can take your time. This may even be a system that you keep trying to implement. Some people would rather work four 10-hour shifts and get an extra day off than clock in five days a week.
Try front-loading your tasks during a typical work week to see how you like it. Mess around with your performance until you find a system that works well for you. When you need to front-load for a long layoff, you’ll know exactly what you need to do to succeed both before and after the break.
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