For many of us, the eight-hour day can seem like an insurmountable challenge. Tasks pile up, and the feeling of overwhelm can take over. However, this doesn’t need to be your career. There are several easy techniques you can implement to help stay on track and conquer your workload!
Write a List
The first step when you’re feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to start is to make a list. Get everything that needs to be done out on paper. Don’t feel like you need to organize it- just get everything down. Then, rank your tasks in order of urgency and rewrite the list in that order. Sometimes, just a simple list can be all you need to get yourself started and organized. By ranking importance, you can make sure you’re tackling things in order of due date, not just pushing off the least pleasant tasks.
Make It Visual
List not working? You may need to visualize your tasks in a way that’s harder to ignore or shove in a drawer. Get a wall calendar and write out exactly when everything is due. Use multiple marker colors, a pretty whiteboard calendar- anything you need to make it motivating for you. For the visual learners out there, it can be a great way of prioritizing work. You can see exactly what needs to be done and when it is due. It also serves as a visual reminder to stop procrastinating and get your tasks done.
Use the Pomodoro Technique
This technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the ’80s and involves working in short bursts, followed by breaks. You might set a timer for 30 minutes, focus on one task, then at the end of the walk to grab a cup of coffee, play a game of solitaire, or have a snack. After the break, you work for another uninterrupted 30 minutes, break, and repeat. By employing this method, it helps to break your work into reasonable chunks that are easier to handle than a looming eight-hour workday. It makes your to-do list less overwhelming and helps to keep you on-track throughout your day.
Every time you finish a task that you don’t want to do, celebrate it! While you can’t have cake every day, small victories deserve to be recognized. That might be taking a walk, reading your favorite blog, or even eating a piece of chocolate. This neuropsychology trick helps your brain associate these unpleasant tasks with the reward, which makes you more likely to do them in the future. You’re training your brain to do what you want and it works!
By implementing these four tips, you can overcome the overwhelm, tackle your tasks, and juggle your workload with finesse. Even the busiest executive can benefit from employing these methods and will find that it helps to reduce stress, increase productivity, and better manage even the heaviest workload. You and your boss will thank you!
Julia McKenna has spent the majority of her career in management, starting in the wellness industry and then moving into libraries. She’s passionate about staff development, leadership theory, and ensuring that workplaces are functional, professional, and happy! You can read more at her blog.