American culture has for years embraced the notion that the more hours you work, the more effective you are. There are studies out now which dispute that fact. According to Lou Babuaata of Zen Habits prioritizing your Most Important Tasks, doing them first thing in the morning and then moving on with all of the other work that pops into your life during the day is the best way to be productive. The post in Inc Magazine goes on to note that any number of hours we work in a week that surpasses 55 hours is mostly a waste of our time. The longer we work, the less productive we become.
If there is a way to delegate some of the work to a staff member or co-worker who is better suited to that task, then do it. Should things consistently pile up during your everyday work hours, consider outsourcing some of the work. Hire an IT service to keep your computers running and up to date. Hire an answering service to keep the interruptions to a minimum when you are working on important tasks.
When your brain starts to shutdown from overload, take a little break. Go for a brisk walk, get up from your desk and move around. DON’T go to the vending machine and get a candy bar. That is something which might seem like a good idea in the short run, but trust me, for most of us it will simply give a temporary boost and add stress to our lives in the form of an ever-expanding waistline.
Before you start your daily work, remember to take a moment and find a bit of positive inspiration to start the day off with. Not letting little things knock you off balance for an entire day, and sharing your bad attitude with co workers can make things go better and keep people running on good energy.
Communication is key. No one know what’s in your head if you don’t tell them. Save time and frustration by letting people know what you want and expect from them.
Start a routine. Get up at the same time each morning. Leave yourself plenty of time to accomplish the things you must do before you head to work. It may seem okay to keep slapping that snooze button in the morning, but does it really feel good to be running out the door, knowing you’re probably going to be late, and filling your body up with anxiety over not getting there on time? Wake up, take a moment to yourself, drink a cup of whatever gets you going in the morning, and perhaps take time for some exercise. Make a plan and do you best to execute that plan.
It’s a new year, and for years you have been making resolutions and not keeping them, so perhaps this year you can resolve to keep just one resolution, which is to take better care of yourself and work smarter, not harder.
Happy New Year.