How to increase productivity without burning out

Yes, it’s possible to work really hard (even be a workaholic) without sacrificing your health in the process. By Priya Prakasan

It has been noticed that there is a growing number of professionals who seem to ‘have it all’ but are burning out at work.  A recent study conducted by Harvard Medical School faculty suggests that at least 96 per cent of senior leaders reported feeling burned out; that’s a staggeringly high figure. Long 14-hour workdays, late night work calls and minimal sleep all take a toll on your health. It’s important you listen to your body and heed the warning signs before you head towards a major health issue. Use these strategies to work smart so that you achieve your goals while avoiding burnout and taking care of your health.

1. Delegate smartly
The first step to get things done efficiently is to do a serious evaluation of what you are doing, identifying what routine tasks can be delegated and assigning them to the right people. Assign on the basis of task-relevant maturity, and specify the outcomes clearly so that you set clear goals, standards, and deadlines for the delegated task. Delegating is the key to freeing yourself up to look after top priorities and other larger aspects of your role.

2. Learn to say ‘no’
An important part of productivity is focusing on the prospects that fit with your current business focus. It’s tempting to say ‘yes’ to another exciting project that’s offered to you. But first evaluate what’s already on your plate; are you straining your team’s resources by saying yes? Is the new project in line with your business objective/focus? If it’s likely to derail you and your team’s schedule then you need to politely decline the opportunity. In their effort to accommodate everyone executives often say yes to potentially unwieldy and troublesome situations. Remind yourself it’s okay to say no at times.

3. Break up goals into smaller ones
Challenging work can be overwhelming, so instead of tackling a huge project at one go, try to break it up into smaller goals/milestones. This way you will be more motivated to accomplish them. When you breakdown big goals into achievable steps, it becomes easy to prioritise them, and accomplish them in a set time frame. You’ll also feel a sense of achievement when one of them is done, which will spur you on. This step prevents you from feeling overwhelmed and at the same time helps the tasks get done quicker.

4. Reward yourself
Working at breakneck speed 24/7, 365 days of the year never helped anyone. Just like your team needs incentives and rewards, so do you. Take a quick break, engage in something relaxing, something you enjoy. It could be a mini-vacation, a new hobby, or a game of golf with friends. These are a great way to reward yourself as well as prevent burnout, which will eventually lead to improved performance.

5. Accept your limits
To forge ahead, you also have to know and accept your limits. It is not admirable for a leader to push even when the body and mind are begging to stop. We all have our mental and physical constraints and limits. If you see yourself reaching well past them, it is time you stopped. Accept your strengths and weaknesses for what they are and asked for some help. Success is a team effort.

6. Make smart decisions about your time
To cope with the increasing demands of modern life, you need to not only prioritise your work but also make smart decisions when it comes to managing your work hours. Try to schedule extra help for predictably hectic times. Peaks and troughs are inevitable, so figure out a way to minimise exhaustion and maximise control. Practise daily habits that help you take control of your day, promote better focus and get more done. Avoid multi-tasking and constantly checking emails, use note-taking apps to get rid of mental clutter, and tackle bigger tasks at the beginning of the day when your brainpower is at its peak.

Photograph: Ijeab – 

Categories:   Lifestyle, Work Buzz


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