Ask 10 random people if they have ever had more on their plate than they could handle. Chances are, 10 exhausted people will answer with a resounding YES. Everybody feels this way at some point. Knowing that you have more work than you do hours to complete it is incredibly overwhelming. Especially if you have deadlines to meet and a reputation to uphold. So, what do you do?
You could continue to push yourself to just get the work done. While this might sound like it’s the best answer, the truth is, if you push yourself too hard the quality of your work is going to take a serious hit. However, on the flip side, if you just roll over and say “it will get done when it get’s done” your likely going to see a large amount of overdue work begin to pile up. Of course, this is only creating more of a problem. You need balance.
Here are our best tips for getting more work done and reducing your work week stress.
To-do lists are effective. They allow you to visualize everything that you need to accomplish and are a great way for organizing your workload. The problem with to-do lists is that they are typically a list of problems with no particular priority. Tasks become misplaced or overlooked when they are of less importance and more visible issues arise. Eventually organizing your list turns into a task itself.
Avoid this confusion and the possibility of work falling through the cracks by putting action behind those items. To be more productive you must CALENDARIZE THEM. Working from a calendar eliminates the wasted time you use to constantly reassess your priorities. When you have completed a task, check it off the list and consult the schedule. This will keep you on track for meeting your deadlines and keep things moving forward.
Understanding what you can do exceptionally well with little energy output, is a powerful tool for increasing productivity. Loading your week with tasks that drain you is a great way to guarantee you are frustrated by the end of each day. As you become more aware of what tasks you can accomplish without mentally or physically exhausting yourself, the better you can delegate tasks to maximize your energy and efficiency.
Limit yourself to a certain number of attainable tasks per day and give the rest to someone who is capable of getting the job done the right way. It is important to be clear on your expectations of each task, as failure to do so will result in reworking tasks and killing productivity. That being said, if you delegate the right task to the right people (and they know exactly what is expected of them) you’ll see a major increase in productivity.
Rest and Recovery
While this may seem counter-intuitive in the face of your busy schedule, the opposite couldn't be truer. Brief mental breaks are key to sharp brain awareness. Focus on the quality of your breaks. If you take a moment to stop, but you’re contemplating the task at hand for the entire duration of your break, did you really rest at all? Let your mind wander, even for just a few minutes, and you'll return to your work pleasantly refreshed and ready to tackle your work. Trust us on this one. Your brain and your boss will both appreciate it.
While on the topic of rest, we want to stress the importance of sleep and recovery. Productive people maximize their energy by making self-care a priority. The biggest bang for the buck on self-care comes in the form of great sleep. Great sleep is more than a set number of hours. It also includes setting boundaries for when you go to sleep and how long before you go to sleep that you are preparing your body to idle for the night. Learning to help your mind settle out of "work mode" before sleep ensures that you’re getting quality rest and recovery. Being sharp when you arrive to work is the main component to being productive during the workday.
There is, always has been, and always will be the same amount of hours in a day. And the reality is, some weeks are just going to be busier, more difficult, and more stressful than others. We hope that these tips may offer you insight into how to better organize and prepare for the stress and help you get it done.
Would you like more information on how to be more productive? We have created a conveniently printable download for you to post in your workplace to help keep you on task.
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