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Tips for balancing a heavy workload

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Tom Fox is a guest writer for On Leadership and vice president for leadership and innovation at the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service. He also heads up their Center for Government Leadership. For this week's column, he answers a reader question:

I'm being asked to do my regular work plus a major increase in additional work with implementation of the Affordable Care Act on the horizon. How do I set my priorities and best manage my time? - GS-14 federal leader, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Whether I'm talking to emerging federal leaders or executives, I hear more questions about time management than any other topic. Leaders at all levels are feeling the pressure about how to get their work done and deliver vital services to the American public, particularly with sequestration and the possibility of furloughs.

Leadership books like Stephen Covey's "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," David Allen's "Getting Things Done," Scott Belsky's "Making Ideas Happen" and Robert Pozen's "Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours" have a wealth of advice on setting priorities and time management. But some of the best management techniques may come from someone you already know and admire. The breakthrough for me came after talking with a highly productive executive assistant who shared her secrets for managing a CEO's calendar.

To help get you started, here are a few of the techniques that I share with leaders.

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