Dealing with an increased workload during a pandemic is a combination no one asked for, but it’s the reality for many people working in tech as businesses adapt to the economic impact of the coronavirus.
Companies are adjusting their business strategies to changes in their markets and the needs of clients, which means product roadmaps are shifting and teams are having to reprioritize or fast-track certain projects. Seemingly overnight, some marketing teams are spinning up new campaigns and providing the sales organization with the tools and content they need to be successful in a precarious time.
As a result, employees may be dealing with more substantial workloads. And in order to maintain their mental health and prevent burnout, it’s important that these individuals practice workload management techniques that work for them.
For Ben Firn, who works at property care and operations company Breezeway, one of those techniques is the ICE framework. The marketing director uses this strategy to prioritize new projects based on expected impact, confidence and ease.
In addition to using the project management tool Asana to assign duties and monitor progress, Firn recommended incorporating physical exercise into each day and knowing when to ask for help.
What is the very first thing you do when your workload increases?
I size up the project. I determine aspects like what we’re trying to accomplish, how long I think it will take, whether there are any dependencies on other departments and which team members are best positioned to take the project on. I then try to coordinate these expectations to ensure everyone is aligned on the strategy and internal deadlines. While this approach isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, I’ve found that it helps me execute on quality work in a timely manner.
I do my best to combat professional stress and pressure by following a ritual each morning.”
How do you manage your “to-dos” in a way that minimizes stress?
I try to prioritize my team’s initiatives through a product-based “ICE” framework. Each project is graded across three components: impact, or the degree to which the initiative will move the needle; confidence, or the certainty that the project will have the predicted impact; and ease, or the level of effort and resources needed.
These three grades are multiplied to produce a final prioritization score which helps guide the marketing sprint agenda for the coming weeks. Tactically, I use Asana’s project management tool to assign, track and execute on this agenda.
How do you know when to ask for help, and what steps do you take to protect your mental health when your workload increases?
I know it’s time to raise my hand and ask for help when I answer “yes” to either of these questions: Am I spinning my wheels on an initiative? Am I questioning the strategy or impact behind the work?
I do my best to combat professional stress and pressure by following a ritual each morning. Exercising and meditating every day are critical to my process and help me keep perspective, clear my headspace and boost my productivity.