I used to do this activity with some of my coaching clients from time to time. It is certainly something you can do on your own, but also worthwhile adapting this to team planning.
Allow one hour for this activity, so read through the instructions first and plan ahead, allocating a set time for each activity.
Brainstorm the major activities and tasks that are involved in your work
Write each one down on a post-it. Don’t be limited to what you actually do; include what you “should” do and what you want to do.
Group similar tasks
Cluster those tasks that fall into a particular type of work for example: administration, staff development, budgeting and finance, planning, special projects etc.
- Play around with these
- Name each of the groups or clusters with an over-arching title
Sit back and look at the map
- Is it an accurate reflection of the scope and diversity of your work?
- Talk about it with someone who knows your work. This could include your manager.
- Have you included contingency planning or problem solving or dealing with crises? Add these if you want to.
- Make some alterations to your own map if you want to.
Look at your own map again and think about or journal about the following. If you are working with someone else on this process, do this together.
- What groups or individual activities are people oriented? Or operational? Or managerial? Or engage you in leadership?
- Where is the time to relax and reflect?
- How do you prioritise? What criteria do you use to rank one activity above another?
- Can you prioritise the groups or the activities within groups? Number these in some way.
- Are there any activities that you can/should delegate? Mark these in some way.
Organise the work into its component parts
Sections and sub-sections or elements of whatever you want to call them. Sort it all out and group. Identify the priority work.
Play around with the amount of time you would like to allocate to each element of work in a week, a fortnight, or month or quarter. Is there anything that must be part of each and every day? How do you allow for flexible, non-allocated time?
Create a work map using pens and paper or your calendar. See how it works for a month or so. Make adjustments as you go. Try to get someone to support you through this. And enjoy!