Let’s talk about something that can truly boost your work happiness – feeling in control of your day! Life can get pretty hectic, but with a little planning, you can turn the chaos into a smooth sailing journey.
Investing some time in planning your day properly will not only slash your stress levels, but will also fire up your motivation to be great at your job and the master of your work life balance.
Embrace the Interruptions
If you work from home or have a solitary job then you are lucky enough to be the master of all your working time. However, for those who are part of a busy workplace the interactions with colleagues can eat away at your time. Work out how many interruptions you experience during a typical working week and calculate the average time you spend dealing with other people. If you have an open door policy then you may spend a huge portion of your time putting out other peoples fires, so it’s vital to know how much time you actually have for your own work.
In doing this analysis you may discover that you spend much more time than you expected dealing with interruptions. For example if you find that your time with colleagues is 60% of your working day, this is powerful knowledge. You now know that you only have 40% of your time to complete your own work. There is nothing more disheartening than making a ‘to-do’ list and only ticking off the first one or two things. If you know that you only have a few hours available to yourself in a working day you can actually plan effectively and deal with other peoples problems better without the pressure of knowing your ‘to-do’ list is calling.
Be single minded
The word “multi-tasking” has been around since the 1960s and it’s now a very common skill requirement in job adverts. Everyone expects us to be multitasking pros in our busy work lives. But surprisingly, there are studies that show when we try to do two things at once, our reaction times and focus go downhill. So, make it your mission to do each task during your workday without taking on anything extra or trying to do two things together. We humans are not built to handle that stuff well.
Remember to recharge
In some businesses overtime is a virus that spreads and becomes part of the culture, but the truth is that staying late is overwhelmingly bad for your stress levels and mental well-being. This is especially true if you are looking at a computer screen for most of the day. Getting enough down time and switching off from the worries of the working day will rejuvenate and refresh your enthusiasm and make you a better, more efficient worker.
Learning when to say no
Do you often find yourself trapped in pointless meetings that could easily be handled via email? Perhaps you’re juggling too many projects, leaving you buried under a pile of paperwork. Learning to say no is undoubtedly challenging. Society places great emphasis on politeness, making it difficult to defy this convention. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to ask yourself why you find it hard to say no. Is it due to a desire to be helpful, a tendency to please others, or a struggle with delegating and wanting to maintain control?
To master the art of saying no, consider taking gradual steps if the idea seems stressful, but remain resolute in your decision. If others perceive you as a pushover, the problem will persist. Keep in mind that saying no doesn’t mean rejecting everything; it’s about declining the extra tasks that could overwhelm you.
Break it down
Tackling a big project can be overwhelming, leaving you feeling daunted and prone to procrastination. However, there’s a simpler approach to help large tasks feel achievable: divide the project into manageable chunks.
Imagine confronting an overgrown garden filled with tangled weeds and no clear starting point. Now, consider breaking it down into smaller tasks: clearing the pathways, trimming the trees, pulling out the big weeds, and mowing the lawn. By treating each job as an isolated task, the project immediately becomes more approachable. The same principle applies to work projects. Create a list, breaking it into bite-sized portions, and suddenly you’ll regain a sense of control. Additionally, you might even discover opportunities to delegate some tasks, making the entire endeavour feel even more feasible.
Create time for emails
The constant interruptions that email creates can easily sabotage your concentration. It is not designed as an instant messaging service. It’s predecessor was the postal system, so don’t feel that you need to be on high alert to answer queries the second they fall into your inbox.
Turn off notifications and give yourself a portion of the day where you deal with emails. If you feel better doing them first thing in the morning, give yourself a cut off time and leave them alone until the start of the next day, or give yourself two timeslots for emails. It may be tempting to immediately respond to messages that elicit a reaction, but doing so can give your colleagues the impression that you’re always available.
Instead, keep your responses within your own schedule and pace. If someone requires urgent assistance, they can always reach out via phone. Over time, as your colleagues become accustomed to waiting for your response, it will become the new normal, fostering a healthier work environment where interruptions are minimized.
Time management is the cornerstone of success, and by investing in these practices, you can strike a balance between work and personal life while achieving your goals with greater ease.
Remember, time is a finite resource, but with the right approach, you can make every moment count. Embrace the power of great time management, and you’ll see how work satisfaction and happiness are within your reach.