At Twill we understand that our industry is fast-moving and on any given day we are working with a number of customers to move their cargo all around the world. We are lucky at Twill to have a dedicated and insightful team that is always looking to support and help each other – but there are still times when we have to manage our own time or processes so that we don’t feel overloaded.
In the first of two blogs we asked a group of our Twillers, from various parts of the business around the world, for their experiences, top tips, methods and general advice in managing their workload and time; that helps them stay on top and meet their goals, short term and long term.
We hope some of these tips might help you in managing your own workload:
Manage your emails and utilise the tools you have
Jesper Frandsen, Implementation Specialist: I usually manage all my tasks within Microsoft Outlook. It is full of great tools for you to structure your work and maintain an overview of all the things you’re juggling – both work and private.
Barbara Peric, Head of Operations: I agree completely, I like to colour-code my calendar with categories like ‘stakeholder meeting’, ‘reminder’ or ‘development’ – so that at a glance I can see the theme of my week. If something I wasn’t expecting comes in, it means I can quickly see the flexibility of my week.
JF: The biggest time killer and stress factor for many people is emails in their inbox. I would really recommend people explore and utilise the tools that programmes like Outlook or Gmail provide to structure your emails and ensure you’re not overloaded.
BP: My inbox has a maximum of 25-30 emails at any given time and these are kept to ‘work in progress’ items. Anything else is categorised in other folders so I don’t get distracted by items that don’t need my immediate attention.
Communicate and give yourself time to work
Sanne de Vries, UI Designer: We only have five people on our product team and divide our resources between two development teams – so it’s important for us to keep our communication channels wide open. In some situations face-to-face communication is vital, so if you’re not sitting with/near the people you tend to talk to daily for work, see if you can change that.
BP: When I’m in the office I tend to do something similar to Sanne and prioritise interaction with my team and colleagues whenever I can, over emails or analytics. I get a lot of information from verbal interactions – which keeps my emails down and also is generally much quicker.
SdV: As well as this in-person interaction it’s equally important to know when to withdraw and have time to focus. At Twill, we work in a dynamic environment where something’s always happening. It’s great to be engaged, but sometimes I need to put on my headphones and get stuff done. It’s important that people respect a person’s need for quiet time.
Plan ahead and prioritise
Raju Kariya, Pricing Manager: I will always make sure I take time at the end of my week to plan my meetings for the following week. Planning my calendar like this is really helpful. I also estimate and block out time for my tasks (not just meetings) whenever I can; being sure to keep some buffer time to accommodate any surprises!
Guadalupe Fernandez, Customer Care: Planning ahead also means prioritising. In the Customer Care team in particular we work in different time zones so I only have a small window to talk to my colleagues in Asia, for example. I might also have a customer who wants to amend a delivery they have planned that day. It’s important that I understand what needs to be done and action those things first.
When you’re really busy you want to do everything at once but that will never be possible, so make sure you prioritise your workload and work through your tasks.
SdV: Old school pen and paper is essential to my process. It really helps me visualise my workload and then prioritise. For my birthday recently my team got me a stack of seven different notebooks – so I guess they know me well!
JF: Everyone has their own method of recording or prioritising – what’s important is knowing which works for you, even if it’s a little different. I personally prefer to use emails – sending myself little notes or pictures if I have an idea in the night, or if I’m in a meeting and know I have to action something later on. Having my inbox structured means these little notes don’t get lost amongst other emails.
Keep an eye out for the second part of this blog soon – where our Twillers will be discussing challenges they’ve faced with their workloads and how they overcame them!