What you need to know
At Canada Post, our goal is to establish a work environment that enables employees to complete their assigned tasks and responsibilities efficiently within the available time. We are committed to providing the necessary support for our employees to achieve career success, and we recognize that skills such as time management, prioritization and setting goals are critical for effective workload management.
What you can do
2.0. Improve your organizational skills
Being organized can help reduce stress, provide more balance to the workday, and increase a sense of accomplishment by helping to get the most important tasks done.
Here are some tips you can follow to stay organized:
- Start each work day by preparing a list of daily goals.
- Take a few minutes to organize your workspace and make sure the tools and resources you need are closely available.
- Prioritize your tasks and delegate when possible.
- Build breaks into your schedule.
2.1. Prioritize your tasks
Effective workload management relies heavily on prioritization, which involves identifying and concentrating on tasks that are most important rather than those that appear urgent but may not be.
The Eisenhower Matrix defines all tasks by their urgency and their importance to determine what needs to be done now, plan to do later, postpone for now, or eliminate.
|1. Do Urgent and Important||2. Plan Not Urgent, but Important|
|3. Postpone Urgent, but Not Important||4. Eliminate Not Urgent and Not Important|
- Do: Urgent AND important—this should be your main priority.
- Plan: Important, but not urgent—work on these tasks for a short time each day.
- Postpone: These tasks are urgent, but not important—delay completing these tasks until you have the time to spare, as the consequences of the delay will be minor since the task isn’t considered crucial.
- Eliminate: Not urgent OR important—this work may be eliminated through delegation, abandoning the task, or other methods to avoid taking up time that could be better spent on other tasks.
2.2. Offer support and accept help from others
Encourage coworkers to access advice and support offered through Homewood Health, Canada Post’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP):
- Consider reaching out to coworkers for social support, technical expertise, physical assistance, or any other help you may need.
- Practice asking for help from your team leader or peers so that you feel comfortable doing so when you genuinely require assistance.
- Accept help when it is offered; offer to help others when you are able.
- Differentiate between what needs to be your responsibility and what can be delegated, and respond accordingly:
- Determine what situations require your immediate attention and those that can be handled by someone else or at a different time.
- Choose your actions carefully by determining the right time to intervene that allows for others to use their problem-solving skills beforehand.
For tasks that can be delegated, identify individuals who possess the appropriate skills, experience and availability to assist, and ask them to take on those tasks. Seek support from resources such as EFAP (Employee and Family Assistance Program), peers, and your supervisor to help manage the demands and stress of your work.
2.3. Set realistic goals
We often tend to be more critical of ourselves than we are towards others. This can result in feelings of guilt, stress and eventual burnout.
To overcome these challenges, consider utilizing some or all of the following strategies to better establish realistic goals and expectations for yourself:
- Practise establishing SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound).
- Set clearly defined goals, which often helps provide clues on how to achieve them, making them easier to accomplish.
- Set realistic goals, allowing you to see tangible progress, helping you feel more productive and less discouraged or less likely to burnt out.
- When setting goals, consider external factors like ongoing events in the world and in your personal life.
- Frequently review expectations you have set for yourself and others and revise as appropriate.
- Set a periodic reminder (i.e., every 2 weeks) for goals that involve longer term timelines.
- Consider any changes in circumstances since you set the goal.
- Is accomplishing this goal still necessary?
- Is this goal still realistic?
- Ask yourself whether you would hold the same expectations of someone you care for as you do of yourself, and practice treating yourself as you would treat these others.
2.4. Keep a healthy mindset toward productivity
Focusing solely on productivity can be unhealthy when it is at the expense of quality work, careful decision-making, personal well-being and interpersonal relationships. This may contribute to feelings of guilt and restlessness when attempting to detach from work. Ultimately, this leads to burnout, stress, poor health, poor work-life balance, isolation, and other harmful effects.
To maintain a healthier mindset toward productivity, try the following:
- Practice differentiating between healthy and unhealthy productivity and surround yourself with people who encourage healthy behaviours.
- Take a closer look at your own perspectives on productivity.
- Focus on appreciating your intrinsic value rather than valuing yourself based on what you achieve or produce.
- Utilize your emotional intelligence to understand why you feel compelled to take charge of matters that may not fall under your direct responsibility.
- Shift your mindset regarding breaks to recognize them as an important tool that will help you accomplish your work with less stress and preserve your well-being.
- Redefine success with both you and your team.
- Consider what may indicate productivity or success within your team beyond simply “amount of work completed.”
- Establish clear norms and procedures for recognition and reward to avoid team members feeling the need to go to extremes to have their effort acknowledged.
- Practise mindfulness.
2.5. Consider Workload management workshops
- Putting workload management on the agenda: Creating awareness workshop
- Putting workload management on the agenda: Creating change workshop
2.6 Grassroots tips and tricks for staying focused
- Anticipate the execution.
- Know the plan for the next day/initiative.
- Foreshadow any issues.
- Stay organized.
- Organize your space (keep your work areas clean and uncluttered).
- Maintain a to-do list.
- Keep track of plans.
- Deal with difficult issues immediately if possible.
- Provide solutions.
- Do not keep stale notes around.
- Talk to people that are willing to take time to help.
- Acquire sufficient knowledge from your supervisor or team leader in order to understand the assignment and set clear expectations.
Define what success would entail and have a clear understanding of what a favorable outcome looks like.
2.7 Your play-by-play guide to effective workload management
Setting up for success
- Begin your day by reviewing your calendar for any scheduled meetings.
- Check your emails to help determine the most urgent tasks that need your attention for the day.
- Create a comprehensive list of all the tasks you have on hand, prioritizing those with impending deadlines. Schedule these tasks within your available time.
- Personally commit to completing all tasks either ahead of time or by their designated deadlines.
- Take lots of notes while in meetings to better understand the task that will need to be competed, the stakeholders, and any other considerations.
- Have an organized desk and work centre to ensure easy access to tools and information.
- File and sort information in different labelled folders for each task or project.
Prepare for the day (delivery workers and drivers)
- Be aware of areas that are under road construction that could cause potential delays.
- Check with staffing to see if any new drivers covering a route—that driver will require extra attention to help keep them on schedule.
- Open dispatch an hour before the shuttle start times to evaluate each route and determine if any pickups could be in jeopardy—assign on-demand to another route or arrange to use other depot resources.
- Assign on-demands as necessary considering any other potential slowdowns for that route.
- Contact new customers to determine what product they are sending out, as well as any special instructions concerning location.
- Communicate any changes or on-demands with the driver.
Follow up, Evaluate and Celebrate at the end of each shift:
- Determine what is highest priority to be considered a successful day (i.e. pickups completed on time, to our customers’ satisfaction, and all drivers return safely).
- Look back at the day and see if there was any areas or processes that could have been improved and take those lessons into your next shift.
- Celebrate your successes each day by practicing positive self-affirmation.