Posted Under: burnout and stress management,burnout and the workplace
- Stop chewing over it
I am getting better at identifying what's worth pulling apart and thinking about deeply and what demands an instant decision. Regarding the latter, the trick for me has been making a fast decision but giving myself time before I act. During the lag time an idea can pop up from my subconscious about the decision which has been much more useful than if I thought long and hard about it. Sounds trippy, but it's working for me.
- I am not a Chinese acrobat
'But I can do more than one thing at a time!' No, you can't. Not even if you are a woman. It's that jumping around thing from checking emails, to liking someone on facebook, to working on a project to ringing a friend in need to planning dinner for that evening. This is a one-way ticket to self-created stress. Let it stop, for god's sake.
God-saver tip from a friend: Check emails only at 11am and 4pm
(this is on my e-signature so everyone knows, and that they can call if urgent)
- Knowing my three amigos
I have no more than three main priority tasks for each day…or in my language: 'The Three Amigos' (which makes me feel warm 'n fuzzy about hanging out with these guys). Yes, the unexpected can change the plan. But when that happens, I'm immediately clear on what I'm sacrificing if I change tack. I'm making better decisions based on these circumstances – sometimes instantly.
- The sounds of Bach and the marimba
I got the tip of playing Baroque music while working from Siimon Reynold's book Why People Fail. Something about the 4/4 time beat of the music that has been shown to increase work productivity. I'm just enjoying the music. It's calming and actually makes me want to stay in my office. I also use my marimba alarm on my phone to set regular break times. This means I sit for no more than an hour, which from the beginning makes the task feel more manageable. A marimba break is on the way…
- Rounding up free range bibs & bobs
I do my best to keep focused on the three amigos I've set myself. If distracted by minor but valuable thoughts about other things, I jot those thoughts onto piece of paper or into a text file and attend to it at the end of the day or first thing next day. I don't stop in the middle of my important amigo like I used to because 'this will only take a few minutes, then it's done.'
- Give myself time and get it done
I now realise that I've been setting crazy deadlines for myself and then procrastinating because of the insane pressure I've put myself under. This is a lose-lose situation. I now give myself more time and tell myself that I can now get the task done in the time given (because I talk to myself all the time – don't you?).
- I'm not perfect
Shocking I know. For all this very efficient-sounding advice, I still get distracted and procrastinate. When that happens, I gently draw myself back to the amigo at hand (knowing I'll be having a cuppa soon enough). Before long, I'm absorbed in my work anyway – and surprised when the marimba sounds begin…
There's actually an eighth thing I've learned, but it requires a post all on its own – so stay tuned…
In the meantime, what works in work for you? Leave a comment, I'd love to know.
This post was written by Megan Hills. Megan is a writer and cartoonist who is controlling, chaotic, creative and clichéd. Find out more about Megan