Finding yourself only playing catch up at work? Here are easy ways to make the most of your time.
How often have you found yourself being overwhelmed with the work at hand? How often have you found yourself having one long day too many and very few productive ones? Having a long day rarely ever means having a productive one. Here are some steps that will help you best utilise your hours at work.
#1 Mark pockets of your day as DND
As a manager, you are often the go-to person for several problems. Everyone wants an answer and everyone wants it now. This typically leads to loss of productivity. The best way to get out of this situation is by marking specific pockets of your day as Do Not Disturb slots. Explain to your co-workers that you will not be available for clearing any doubts or meetings during those hours. And make sure you focus completely on your tasks at hand during this time.
#2 Avoid checking emails when you come in
This is perhaps the most difficult thing to do but also the most effective. We know the temptation of constantly checking emails and we also know just how much it puts us off gear. Several successful people are known to turn off their email for the first hour of their day. It helps them catch up on pending tasks and plan better for the day ahead. The first hour of the day can be spectacularly productive if you put your mind to it. With no distractions, you will be surprised at the things you can achieve.
#3 Accept that multi-tasking is a myth
Sure, it sounds great on your CV but most industry leaders have acknowledged something that is true: multi-tasking is a myth. And it isn’t just us saying it, Stanford professor Clifford Nash has said that multi-taskers tend to be terrible at every single aspect of multi-tasking. “They’re terrible at ignoring irrelevant information, they’re terrible at keeping information in their head nicely and neatly organised, and they’re terrible at switching from one task to another,” he has been quoted as saying. So don’t try to answer that email or send out an SMS when talking to someone. While your brain might be able to successfully switch from one task to the other, but there is a significant loss in efficiency.
#4 Structure your day
In several ways, this is an extension of the previous point. Rather than scattering a single task throughout the day, focus on getting one task done before moving on to the next. Focussed and consistent efforts can help you achieve a lot more in the same amount of time.
#5 Take regular breaks
Research has proven that taking regular breaks throughout the day doesn’t just help you recharge your brain but also help increase your physical and emotional resistance to stress. This doesn’t mean you need to hit the gym every few hours but rather just get out of your seat, take a walk around the office or just step out for a change of scene. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.