Project Management

How to avoid those last minute requests at the end of the day

June 4, 2022
1 mins 40 seconds
Ben Willmott

A typical working day is filled with requests, whether face-to-face, by email or on your messenger app. ⁠

When the requests come in randomly, or at worst, at the end of the day, your day and sometimes evenings can be taken over. ⁠

Questions and requests for your help are fine, but it doesn't matter how well you plan and structure your day; these ad-hoc requests can kill your productivity and your evenings!. ⁠

To fix this, each morning before you get started, think about who's most likely going to need your help today? ⁠

This could be someone you're working the most with or someone who often asks for your help; you'll know who these requesters are most likely to be.⁠⁠

Then ask them, 'What do you need from me today?" or something similar. ⁠

By doing this, you're doing two things. ⁠

⁠You are forcing them to plan ahead as they'll need to think about their day and when they might need you. ⁠

Plus, they're less likely to ask you for something they could do or find out themselves later that day. ⁠

This is because if they think of something they would typically forward to you, they'll feel bad, as you've already asked earlier that day and are less likely to do it.⁠

Depending on who you work with and how busy you're, it will vary who you need to ask. ⁠

You don't want to ask the same person every morning what you need from me today, so use your judgment on who to ask and when.⁠

To help you be consistent with this approach, add a reminder in your diary to make sure you do it daily.

Another benefit of doing this is you start to change the habits of the most consistent last-minute requesters without them even realising! Over time, they'll begin to come to you without you having to ask.

Ben Willmott
Ben is Delivery Director at the London based creative agency Wunderman Thompson where he creates bespoke ways or working for his clients and teams. Ben is also the founder of The PPM Academy specializing in coaching Project Management, Agile Delivery and how to be more productive at home and work.

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