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Managing Workload – the 3Ps

Updated: May 16, 2021

When thinking how to manage your workload, think about the 3Ps:

1. Prevent – What tasks can you avoid coming to you

2. Push Back – How to assess what tasks should actually come to you and how to push back when they are not appropriate

3. Prioritise – How to decide the order to tackle remaining tasks

I was recently developing a workshop on Managing Workloads and after reviewing the wealth of tips and advice that is out there it seems that most of this could fall in to one of these 3 groups. Firstly try to prevent tasks coming to you, secondly push back on those that are inappropriate, and thirdly prioritise your reduced list of remaining tasks.

A variety of things could fall under each ‘P’. Here are some examples:


  • Communicating what your team does/does not do (repeat and through multiple mediums). Some tools can help with this e.g. Responsibility Assignment Matrix (I think these can be really useful and I am eager to share more about these in a later post)

  • Documenting and agreeing what tasks you are responsible for and turnaround time e.g. will respond to y type requests in x days. A Service Level Agreement (SLA) might be appropriate in some instances

  • Writing guidance for reoccurring processes/issues

  • Amending systems to replace manual processes

  • Being clear when you are happy for other to make decisions and they don’t need to involve you

Push Back

  • Assess whether the task should actually come to you:

  • Understand the task

  • Is someone else more appropriate/can you share guidance

  • Consider what you can’t do if you take on the task

  • If it is not appropriate then push back with confidence, brevity, honestly and respectfully


  • There are many methods to help do this: ranking, MoSCoW, Eisenhower Matrix etc..

  • And many tools that can help: Microsoft Tasks, Trello, Microsoft Planner etc.

  • Different methods and tools work best for different people – try some out and see what works for you

I’d welcome your feedback on the 3Ps approach I have developed and any tips you want to share about what should be included under each ‘P’.

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