Long hours and constant stress can wear you down until you have
nothing left to give. Your work quality suffers, you get burnt out,
and you increase your risk for depression. The trick is not to work
harder, but to work smarter. Here are some tips.
Don’t waste your best hours
Arrange your schedule so that you do the most difficult tasks when you
are naturally energetic. Everyone has a body clock, and while most
offices work on a 9 to 6 schedule, you can still control your time
within that. If you’re a morning person, then buckle down to that hard
report as soon as you step in, leaving the routine tasks like checking
emails or signing papers to your after-lunch slump.
Beware those useless breaks
We all need a break but many of our interruptions are actually
draining! We drift to the watercooler and engage in gossip that leave
us drained. Someone stops by to borrow a stapler and half an hour
later we’re still stuck in a boring story about her kids.
If you are going to take a break, make it conscious and meaningful.
Don’t let someone or something eat at your time, Tell a talkative
friend, ‘Love that story, let’s meet over lunch and you can tell me
about the rest.’ Or, if you’re feeling whoozy from hours of staring at
spreadsheets, 15 minutes of listening to your favorite meditative
music may be better than rehashing last night’s SNL episode with a
Get the right tools
Use email filters so you’re not barraged by useless messages. Keep
important papers filed in color-coded folders. Get an hour-by-hour
planner so you can realistically plot the day. These tools can help
you streamline your work process and save you hours of time looking
for lost papers or that email from a client.
Break down big projects into small tasks and start ahead so you’re not
cramming at the last minute. By inserting these tasks into your down
time, you can make sure you give quality work without having to deal
with the pressure.
Photo from brockblohm.com