Through Mary Harcourtfounder of CosmoGlo.
The prospect of getting back into the daily work routine after the holidays can be daunting, but the New Year is actually the perfect time to reassess your work habits. It’s easy to fall into old patterns that don’t use your time effectively or actually increase your workload. This can lead to mental strain and eventually burnout. Having a strategy to refer to when you’re in a slump is essential to staying focused. Apply these tips daily to stay effective and reduce mental strain in 2023.
The most overwhelming part of getting back into the groove is often the sheer number of tasks you have to complete. It’s easy to think of them as one giant mountain to climb and wonder how you could achieve all that it takes. With the right organization, your perspective changes and the mountain becomes much smaller. Here are three steps that can help you manage your tasks effectively:
Start the day by getting organized.
Write down everything you want to do in the coming weeks. You want to have a tangible list to refer to, and you can add and cross it off as you see fit throughout the month. This can help clear mental space and feel overwhelmed.
Prioritize your tasks.
Keep an organized to-do list. The tasks that were not completed the day before can be a priority for the next day. Prioritizing your tasks helps you focus on the things that need to be completed first as things move down that list, and your stress level can also make you feel like you have to do everything at once.
Take your to-do list and see which ones you can hand over and delegate to others to make sure they get done. It could be that someone else likes that task more than you do. We often think we have to do everything, but by using your resources you can complete more tasks with less burnout.
Does it ever seem like your to-do list is longer at the end of the day than it was at the beginning? Or that you’re always in a hurry, but just can’t catch up? If you have a good idea of what needs to be done but never seem to find the time to do it all, you may not be using your time effectively. Here’s how to better manage your time to get the most out of your day:
Limit your time on social media.
Social media can indirectly rob you of important time and give you very little value in return for the time invested in apps. Save the scroll for times when you need a mental break and give yourself a time limit. A few times a day for 10 minutes while you wait for your coffee to brew can be a mental break. Scrolling aimlessly at your desk several times a day can encourage procrastination for the tasks at hand. A safe rule to apply is not to use apps while at your desk.
Be open to asking questions.
We all don’t know. Don’t claim. If you get stuck, be okay with asking for help or finding the answers instead of trying to figure things out on your own. This can be as simple as asking a colleague about their experience, finding a short video tutorial on YouTube, or finding the best answers on Google. If it is a larger topic to understand, a short online video course can easily give you all the valuable information laid out in an easy to understand and digestible method. This can save you an incredible amount of time and aggravation when you try to figure it out on your own.
A fresh perspective and a rejuvenated mind can overcome more than someone with a burnout. Stop and take 10 minutes a few times a day to take a short walk to get your blood pumping and refresh your creative juices. Challenge yourself to leave all devices in the office and focus on looking gratefully at the world around you. When you return to the office, you should feel refreshed and empowered to tackle your next task with fewer distractions.
Set time limits for how long you will work on a task.
Keep a daily time log and block time for specific tasks you want to do in that hour. If you give yourself two hours, it will take two hours; if you give yourself 20 minutes, you will find that you can complete the same task in a shorter time frame. This allows you to stay focused and complete the task. Elon Musk reportedly said, “If you give yourself 30 days to clean your house, it will take you 30 days. But if you give yourself 3 hours, it will take 3 hours. The same goes for your goals, aspirations, and potential.”
Realize that you will most likely never be able to complete all of your tasks by the time it takes, and that’s okay! You are only one person and you are allowed to stop working to enjoy the evening, even if it means you may miss deadlines. Prioritizing and delegating can be your best friend in accomplishing your very busy back-to-work schedule.
Apply these tips daily until they become second nature. Establishing an effective work strategy will help you accomplish more with your time and avoid mental overwhelm, setting you up for a successful year ahead.