Published Date: 09/22/2014
By Reneé Watkins
Can you remember the last time you were actually “caught up” at work? Too many nights and weekends are being spent working, just trying to get ahead and stay reasonably close to the bottom of your inbox. Technology is now such that we have the ability to continue working at home, long after the office has closed.
Even if you ever do catch up, which is unlikely, there are always more emails and more phone calls, more meetings and more hours. So, are there ways we can work smarter to keep from falling behind further, while working to get caught up?
Here are nine tips that may work for you:
Get Some Sleep – studies show we need sleep to perform at our peak levels and therefore accomplish more each day.
Take A Break – recharge your batteries during the day by just walking away from your desk for a few minutes. Leave the cell phone behind when you do.
Outsource – assign some of your activities to others. Outsource your lawn care. Outsource your house cleaning. These are things others can do to free up more of your time.
Rely On Others – if you are involved in a task or project where you need help, ask your colleagues for help. You will learn from their experience and be better prepared next time.
Focus – pick two or three things each day and make sure they get done before the end of the day. Start with the items that are most urgent or most important. Do not get wrapped up in the non-important items just because they are simpler.
Learn To Say No – it can be difficult to set boundaries and say “no” to a co-worker when they try and give one of their tasks to you. You will be expected to complete your assignments and doing something for someone else will not be an acceptable excuse if your tasks fall short. Offer your expertise but encourage the co-worker to complete their task.
Reward Yourself – set weekly goals to accomplish and decide how you plan to reward yourself when you meet your goal. Treat yourself to a nice dinner. Buy something you have been wanting for a while. Plan a weekend trip.
Single Pass – process your emails and messages in a single pass. When you read an email, decide to respond, flag or delete it. Then, act on it. Do not read 15 emails to then return to the first one and have to read it again. Process them as you go through them and move forward. Avoid the trap of spending all day on your emails.
Catch Up Day – arrange your weekly work schedule so you have one entire day with no meetings or travel. Use this day to “catch up” on things you need to get done without any interruptions. Avoid phone calls and only process urgent emails on this day. Push “new” business to tomorrow where you can so you can scratch off a number of things from your current list.