We are always trying to fit more in to every day. We are overscheduled, overworked, and busy being busy. This working style adds to our stress and anxiety of life every day. If this is not managed, it can get out of control and start to have the opposite effect-you will get less done. It is time to maximize your efforts and declutter the rest. These nine tips can make every day a little easier, and honestly more fun.
- Take Breaks!
If you are sitting at your desk for eight hours straight, you are exhausting your mind, eyes, and body. You must take some time to look away. Walk down the hall. Give your body and mind some time to refresh. When you are just pushing through something to get it done, you usually aren’t at your best. That five-minute break can usually be enough to refresh you to think more clearly. Break up the work; break up your sitting time. Trust me on this one…it will make a difference in how you feel.
- Focus Time.
We are all guilty of it. We all have tried to “multitask.” It doesn’t work. You cannot do your best on more than one task at a time. Limit your distractions for periods of “focus time.” Set a timer for 50 minutes, close all the distractions (other open programs, emails, phone etc.), and just work on that one thing for the 50 minutes. Then take a 10-minute break. You can check in on your distractions, walk away, or get a drink, but take that break. Those uninterrupted focus periods allow you to put all your efforts in to one spot. You will get more done just working on that one thing. You can then come back to that task for the next focused period or move on, whatever the case will be, but give you undivided attention to a task for a set period.
- Done Is Better Than Perfect.
We sometimes all get hung up on the details that don’t really matter. You have to find that line where is this really going to improve the final product, or are you spending more time on something that isn’t important at this phase. Let go of the image of perfect. You can always tweak and improve, so make sure you are not crossing a line of perfection that isn’t being efficient.
- Schedule Your Phone and Email Time.
Calls and emails are the biggest distraction for many people. You can spend a lot of time just putting out the fires that come in on email and take that unexpected call. It also means that you didn’t get your tasks for the day completed with focused, uninterrupted time. Find the time best for you and schedule in your day an hour here and there to just return emails and calls. You can use a focus period just to respond to email.
- Value Each Minute.
You used your focused time, and you rocked it. You spent 37 minutes that you had booked 50 minutes for. Great! That doesn’t mean that you get to waste those 13 minutes. Quit thinking that everything has to be done on the hour, half hour, or 15-minute increment. I know you have other things on your to-do list. Continue on with something else productive.
- Increase Your Weak Point.
We all have a time of the day that is the slump. Some people are early morning people, some of late night people, some are guaranteed to be napping after lunch. Know where your weak point is and plan for it. If you are an afternoon slump person, know it and own it! Prepare for it by having that cup of coffee, or schedule your passion project during that time. If you aren’t prepping and working on something you don’t want to do at that time, you will not work efficiently.
This one sounds easy. Say no to things that you shouldn’t be doing, but that isn’t always the case when you work on client work. If it is part of your job, you can’t just say I won’t do it. But do you have a team mate who is better suited? Can you trade a task? For those things that you can say no to, remember it is ok to say no. Don’t accept work you can’t deliver on. Don’t set yourself up to not be able to keep your word. This goes hand-in-hand with setting expectations.
- Set Deadlines.
They say however long you give yourself to do something is how long it will take. Put a little pressure on yourself to get things done. You might surprise yourself what watching the clock will do for you. Set a deadline for yourself to wrap up a project and hold yourself to it.
*Bonus Tip* Track your time. We talked about times and setting focus periods, but doing some basic analytics around where you spend your time can be very eye opening. Find where you are losing time and work on it!
9. I know this doesn’t sound like it is increasing your efficiency if you aren’t working, but truly it is. If you aren’t avoiding burnout and exhaustion, you are not functioning at your best. Make sure you take the time off and walk away to be with your friend and family. Engage in the hobby that you love. Take care of yourself. Remind yourself of the things you love so when you are at work, you can have the desire to go do these things. The more efficient you are at work, the more you can enjoy your off time. For more ideas contact me today!