If you feel overwhelmed when you first get to work, you are not alone. Thinking of all the tasks you need to accomplish by the end of the week can be intimidating, and it’s hard to figure out how to manage your time. By prioritising the important stuff and leaving room in your schedule to take breaks, you can get your work done without feeling overworked or exhausted by the end of the day. You can make your day enjoyable by following these principles.
Make a to-do list:
You can’t tell what you have to do unless you write it down. Spend about 5 minutes making up a rough list of everything you need to do today so that you don’t forget anything important.
If a pen and paper seems a little old-fashioned, make a digital to-do list on your phone or computer instead.
Remember—don't overcommit. Take a step back before you agree to something so you don't get overwhelmed.
Check in with your co-workers:
This is especially important if you’re working from an appointment book. Meet up with your staff members at the beginning of the day to talk about the workload ahead of you.
This will also help them plan out their days, too.
If you’re the boss, checking in with your staff is a great idea. It can make them feel welcomed and like you value their input.
Attend important emails and phone calls first thing:
If you need an answer from someone, it’s best to ask your question right away. Before you start your work, send any urgent emails and make your important phone calls to hear back before you leave work.
If you wait until midday, there’s a good chance you might not hear back until tomorrow.
Finish difficult tasks right away:
It might sound counterintuitive, but it can make the rest of the day feel like a cakewalk. If there’s something you’re really not looking forward to doing, start with that so you get it over with.
If you do your most difficult or annoying task first, you’ll have your easier, less demanding tasks to look forward to.
Diving into a hard task can also make time go by faster.
Keep smaller goals and achieve them one by one:
You might not be able to finish an entire project, but you can get started on it. Make 3 to 4 goals that you can hit in your workday, then stick to them.
For example, you could make a goal to answer all your emails, start your new project, and file your paperwork by the end of the day.
If planning goals day by day is too minute, you can also make weekly goals to work on throughout your workweek.
Checking your to-do list to prioritise your goals will help a lot.
Assign time-slots for checking your emails:
Keeping track of an email inbox and your workload can be a lot. Instead, make a point to check your email every hour instead of watching it 24/7.
Checking your email every hour still gives you plenty of time to read and respond to important emails.
Block time to work uninterrupted:
Instead of leaving your day open for meetings and check-ins, make some time just for you. Try to carve out at least a few hours where you can work on your tasks without any questions from your co-workers, staff members, or customers.
You could even share your schedule with your co-workers or staff members so they know when to come and chat with you and when to leave you be.
Work in time-slots:
Our brains can only handle so much “on” time. Break up your day into 90-120 minute chunks, then take breaks to give yourself a rest.
If you focus all of your energy and attention on your task during those 90 minutes, you’ll be more productive overall.
Breaks only work if you’re really giving your brain a break. Stand up and stretch, go grab a healthy snack, or take a short walk to get your blood pumping again.
If you’re too tired to get up, even just zoning out can be a nice mental break.
Breaks should leave you feeling energised and refreshed.
Wrap up your important tasks by the end of the day:
You don’t want to come into work tomorrow and tie up a bunch of loose ends. As you end the day, wrap up any projects or paperwork you need to do before tomorrow (your future self will thank you).
If you don’t finish all of your goals or tasks, it’s okay. Make sure to prioritise them the next day so you can get them done quickly.
At the end of each day, take some time to get ready for the next day.