Most of the time, it seems like we can never get ahead. Once one responsibility is off of our desks and onto the next unlucky one, you move onto the next project. That’s work, school, and life. It’s not like it was when we were kids; sitting out on our lawn chairs in the summer with a lemonade. These are the big leagues, and you’re not allowed to sit on the benches.
It gets overwhelming especially when we feel like there’s never enough time in the day to feel well-rested or focused. Even being overworked can make it impossible to do any of our pressing work. So, what do you do? Staying productive in the ever-constant flow of responsibility is a simple game of knowing how you work and how to maximize your efficiency. You can start accomplishing your goals quicker with these simple tips!
Make a To-do List
Making a to-do list can seem a little overwhelming to start with. Seeing all of your “to-do’s” grouped together can seem stressful, but it gets better! To-do lists can help you get more organized and avoid forgetting major deadlines. You’ve probably used a shopping list or a small chores list, so you already know that cathartic feeling you get when you cross a huge task out. After a while, you’ll find yourself doing more work than you thought! That little action of crossing something out is so incredibly rewarding.
In addition to weekly or daily to-do lists, you can also make monthly or bi-monthly to-do lists or goal lists. It’ll help you get organized and stay motivated when you’re feeling tired and overworked.
Take Some Breaks
Life can’t be all work and all stress. We need to find balance. Once we get overworked, we get frazzled. Our ability to function and accomplish even the smallest tasks is compromised. Even if you’re feeling like you want to keep going, you should never binge solely on work. You should take breaks every once in a while, so that you can recover.
If you spend one day pushing and pushing work, you run a risk of spending the next day with burnout. Most people in the workforce have experienced burnout. It makes it difficult to concentrate or work and many people can get irritable. Focus on the task at hand and once you’ve finished, you should always take a break even if it’s only five minutes to eat.
Find Your Best Time
Not everyone is productive at the same time of day. While many people like to say it’s only healthy to work during the day and some studies tells us that people are more productive at night, it’s hard to know the fact from the fiction. Who do you trust? It matters what you think is the most effective time for you.
Try doing work at both times (with ample amount of time to rest in between) and see when you get the most work done and feel your best. While science does in fact say that many people tend to be more creative and productive at night, this obviously isn’t true for everyone. It’s important to decide for yourself. Maybe you’re a night owl or maybe you’re an early bird.
Focus on One Project at a Time
Only set your focus on one project at a time. If you scatter your effort, you’ll have many finished projects, but none of them will be done. It is more difficult and time-consuming to start on a new task that to finish one that you’re almost done with. Getting back into it and remembering what you have to do next is also difficult. So, keep your focus sharp and your attention on only one thing at a time to avoid this.
Watch the Clock
When we’re racing to meet deadlines, we only have so much time to finish up our work before it’s time to turn it in. So, you need to keep your eyes on the clock and plan your time accordingly so that at the last moment, time doesn’t creep up on you. Pulling an all-nighter isn’t ideal and sometimes it still won’t leave us with enough time to finish all our work.
If it helps, use a calendar so you know when you have to work or spend time on each of your responsibilities. If you’ve never done something before, give yourself plenty of time and never wait until the last minute.
Keep it Clean
Keep a clean workspace. Before I start and end my day, I make sure my work desk is clean and tidy. A messy space can add to your distractions. Having bills and papers piled up on your desk can make it seem like the work you have to do is so much more overwhelming than it really is. By having just what you need in your workspace as well as maybe a cup of coffee and a scented candle, you can avoid the extra stresses a mess can put on your plate and focus on being productive.
Stress isn’t always avoidable, but if you can increase your productivity and get more work done in less time, your responsibilities won’t feel as crushing as they always do. So, take a deep breath, get organized, know when the best times to work are for you, and take time to rest and recharge. The burnout of stress isn’t worth it. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be sending your work off in no time.