By DeVry University
Balancing a busy schedule can be challenging, no matter how much you enjoy your job. The demands of work can lead to stress or burnout from time to time. A recent study of 1,136 employed adults in the U.S. by New Spring Health found that 76% were experiencing signs of burnout. Fortunately, there are a variety of useful hacks you can incorporate that may not only help you simplify your workday but help reduce stress and increase productivity at the same time. Even if you only end up using one of these tips, it can still have an impact on making your workday easier.
Create a Morning Routine
Your morning routine is an important habit to develop that sets the tone for the day and can be a huge factor in boosting your mental health or helping you balance work, family and your personal life. By following a morning routine, you are shifting your mind’s focus from your home or personal life and signaling the transition into the workday.
Everyone's morning routine looks different, but here are a few ideas to help you get started:
- Make your bed
- Read for an hour
- Get to work early to center yourself before starting your day
Set One Main Priority
Many people keep a running to-do list of tasks that only seems to get longer as the day goes on. When your list doesn't end, it can understandably start to feel overwhelming and like you're not getting anything done. To help keep yourself focused and feeling accomplished, set one main priority for the day. Write it down in a visible spot and enjoy that sweet feeling of accomplishment when you cross it off.
Schedule Meetings in Chunks
When your meetings are scheduled intermittently throughout the day, it can be challenging to find a good amount of time to spend, undistracted, on any one task. Bouncing around from meetings to short work stints and back doesn't give your brain enough time to settle in and start something, let alone finish it. By scheduling your meetings in chunks in the morning or afternoon, you leave yourself blocks of time that can be used to focus on one task, uninterrupted.
Review Your Recurring Meeting Schedule
Whether it's weekly, monthly or quarterly, we've all got those recurring meetings that gobble up time. Review your schedule and see if there's any overlap between teams or projects. Consider the way the last few meetings have gone. Does the frequency still work? Could the discussion be handled via email instead? When meetings stand for weeks or months, it can be easy to keep the routine going even though a lot may have changed since they were first initiated. You may find meetings that you can eliminate or delegate to other teammates to be more efficient with your time.
Make Your Lists at the End of the Workday
This one may sound counter-intuitive, but hear us out. At the end of the day, you'll have a better idea of what items on your list are the most pressing and what can be saved for later in the week. By creating your to-do list before you leave, you can go home and relax knowing you have an actionable plan to tackle the things that will need your attention tomorrow. In the morning when you get to work, you won't have to waste valuable time planning your day and assessing what's important, because you'll have a list of items to get you going right away.
Schedule Personal Breaks in Your Day
Working non-stop without a break is a sure way to build stress and anxiety. By scheduling personal breaks, you can help avoid burnout and physically or mentally refresh yourself to be more productive for the rest of the day. Taking a break after 75 or 90 minutes of work may help your brain consolidate information and retain it better. Breaks don't have to be long, even 15 minutes is helpful, but they can be an important part of a healthy routine.
Some options for a break could be:
- Coffee with a colleague where you don't talk about work
- A phone call to your family or friends to catch up on life
- A walk outside for fresh air and a physical change of environment
- Working on a sudoku or crossword puzzle
- Reading a few chapters of a book
Some of these tips may work for you and some may not─ but even making one small change can help you work on simplifying your workday.
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