6 time management tips to organize your own workload

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Jobs, where you get autonomy over what you do, are great if you don’t like being told what to do and offer a lot of satisfaction. However, with freedom comes the need to organize and manage one’s own work.

It requires time and task management skills, and it’s not necessarily something that comes naturally. Let’s look at some reliable ways to build your abilities in this area and start effectively taking care of your own workload.

1. Get into the habit of using a calendar


Illustration of a calendar icon

Relying solely on your memory to keep track of your schedule is open to huge amounts of human error. The easiest way to master good time management is to use a calendar for everything and do it regularly.

There are many digital calendar apps you can use, such as Outlook and Google Calendar. Additionally, you can opt for Tweek, if you prefer a task-based scheduler.

Related: How to Categorize Your Outlook Calendar Colors

The goal is to put everything on your calendar, including meetings, jobs and events, and basically anything you know you need to do. If there’s something you know you might forget, write it down. It’s good practice to fill in your calendar as soon as possible, so set aside time at the beginning of your week to do this.

2. Organize your emails into folders


Illustration of a person placing a file in a folder
Image by Elf-Moondance from Pixabay

Keeping all your emails in your inbox can create chaos, especially if you need to find an important incoming email at a later date. To remedy this, you need to organize your emails into relevant folders.

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The folders you create should be specific to your job and role, and allow you to find information quickly. This can include folders for projects, company announcements and updates, team members, emails you need for follow-up, etc.

It’s best to avoid deleting work-related emails because even if something doesn’t seem relevant now, that doesn’t mean it won’t in the future.

You may not immediately see the benefit of organizing communications this way, but in the long run it will help you stay in control of your workload.

3. Organize your file drive

There’s nothing more detrimental to your productivity than a file drive with hundreds of loose files. This makes it difficult and overwhelming to find what you need, leading to procrastination and avoidance.

Just like with your emails, it’s important to organize your files into folders so you can stay on top of your work. Essentially, you shouldn’t have any files that aren’t stored in a dedicated folder.

Related: Productive Tools to Improve Focus in Distracting Offices

It won’t automatically make you better at managing workloads, but it will help you manage your time and stay consistent. Have you ever heard the saying “a tidy house is a tidy mind”? The same goes for your digital workspace!

4. Keep track of your work


Photograph of a person using a spreadsheet on a laptop
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Having autonomy at work means you are expected to keep track of your own ongoing tasks and how that fits into the larger team effort. Therefore, it goes without saying that you need a convenient way to do this.

You can create a spreadsheet that lists all the progress of your work, from clients you work with to project planning. Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets have plenty of templates you can use or you can create one from scratch. Ideally, your spreadsheet should allow you to monitor:


  • What is the job.
  • Time limit.
  • Progress indicators.
  • Tasks associated with it.

Alternatively, you can use work management software, like Asana, to take care of the organization for you. Whichever way you choose to track your work, if you’re solely responsible for your workload, it’s essential that you have some sort of visual overview.

Related: Asana Hacks You Need To Know

5. Prioritize your tasks effectively


Image of a yellow sticky note next to a stack of notes
Image by 11066063 from Pixabay

When no one tells you what to do, you need to figure out which tasks take priority over others. This skill is often the one people struggle with the most, as it requires thinking about the big picture and anticipating future outcomes.

Fortunately, there are proven methods to do this, to help you. The MoSCoW method helps you categorize tasks into must-haves, must-haves, must-haves, and don’t-haves. It is a tiered system that allows you to determine which tasks are essential and which are not.

The Eisenhower Matrix is ​​another method that categorizes your tasks in a 2×2 grid: urgent, important, not urgent, and not important. Therefore, if your task falls in the Urgent/Important box, that means you need to do it now. Whereas if it falls into the Not Urgent/Not Important box, you can probably ignore it, for now.

6. Save time on repetitive tasks

People spend about 25% of their time at work on repetitive tasks; it’s a huge chunk of time, and it’s incredibly inefficient. These can be emails you send with identical content, or blocks of text you write in reports.

The good news is that you can automate routine work like this using the Magical Text Expander Chrome extension. It’s a free app that lets you create up to 10 shortcuts instead of writing the same text over and over again.


Related: Daily Tasks You Can Automate Using Zapier

The shortcut trigger can be a combination of symbols and letters. As you type them, it automatically produces the full text you need. For example, typing #report will produce the complete skeleton report, and you can simply enter and edit all relevant details.

Stay on top of your workload

It’s very easy to get disorganized and make mistakes when it comes to managing your own workload. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that everything is in place to minimize this.

As humans, we can only store a limited amount of information in our brains, so don’t bother trying to remember everything. By using the tips explored here, you’ll be well on your way to effectively managing your own workload, and over time it will become second nature.


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