It’s a frenetic feeling not having enough hours in the day. Caught between work responsibilities and family commitments, we can often feel like we’re playing catch up in every area of our lives.
If this stressful scenario sounds familiar to you, there are some simple steps you can take to become more organised, improve your productivity and get on top of your day.
Work out what’s urgent and what’s important
The first step you should take to help reduce your workload stress is to prioritise tasks so you become more efficient. The trick to efficiency is being able to segment your daily tasks by urgency and importance. The Eisenhower matrix is a useful time management tool that has been developed with this approach in mind, and which allows you to prioritise your tasks in line with your goals and values.
This matrix allows you to work out:
- what you need to do now,
- what you can leave until later,
- what you can delegate to others, and most importantly,
- which tasks you can eliminate altogether.
Not only will this matrix boost your productivity both at work and at home, you’ll feel more in control of your day and experience less stress as a result.
Once you’ve planned out your day, it’s time to remove those pesky distractions that get in the way of actually getting things done. We all know this is easier said than done, so a bit of discipline is going to be necessary. Here are a few things you can do to help keep you on target:
- Remove clutter. This means in your physical and digital space. Before you get stuck into work, take a few moments to make sure the space you’re working in is neat and tidy. Equally, close all the open tabs and windows on your computer that are not relevant to the task at hand.
- Read/answer emails only twice a day. Rather than constantly checking your inbox, respond to emails all at once in twice-daily hits. If it is clear the message you need to communicate is going to take a lot of back and forward, either pick up the phone or set up a meeting.
- Turn off all non-essential smart phone notifications. While turning your phone off altogether may not be an option, you can certainly turn off notifications from your social media applications. It will stop the constant buzzing that makes you feel like you’re missing out.
Take a breather
We’ve all been there. Staring at the same sentence we’ve deleted and rewritten five times. Intuitively we know what we need to do, but we resist it out of a proud desire to push through. Often when we find it impossible to enter a state of flow, what we really need is a break. A little time out can do wonders for increased productivity. Even if it’s just five minutes in your lunch room. You might come back feeling totally revitalized.
If you are in a sedentary job, deskbound in front of a screen, it might be worthwhile stopping to do a few short stretches. Likewise, if your job relies mainly on your logical/linguistic left-brain, consider a right brain break – do a quick doodle or sketch.
Proceed with caution however. There is a difference between taking a breather out of necessity and simply using it to procrastinate. You’ll know the difference.
We all lead busy lives, juggling family commitments with heavy workloads and tight deadlines. It can become very overwhelming at times and may lead to undue stress. Taking a few moments to get smart about how you organise your time can make life so much more fulfilling and less exhausting. So, ditch the distractions and plan your day. You might just find your productivity goes through the roof.
The information and any advice in this article does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and so you should consider its appropriateness having regard to these factors before acting on it. When considering whether to acquire a financial product, before making any decision, you should obtain the relevant product disclosure statement.