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Feeling stuck at work? Frustrated that you’re not able to get everything done on your checklist?
The real question is: Who isn’t?
In that spirit I’ve listed 6 key concepts that I’ve developed over my career that I hope will help you too. Here’s some methods I’ve developed to alleviate the stress associated with job burnout and accomplish more during a regular work day:
1. Taking frequent breaks is EXTREMELY important. Every hour, set aside ten minutes to get up, stretch out, walk around the building, whatever. Use a digital timer as it can help. These little breaks will reduce stress and help you be more productive at work.
2. Consider taking a 30-minute nap during the middle of the day. Again, a timer works great here. You can get one at Radio Shack for around ten dollars. But many successful people have gotten into the habit of completely zoning out for thirty minutes while taking a nap to recoup lost energy.
Winston Churchill is a famous example – all throughout World War II he was known to take a 30-minute nap in the middle of the day. He said that he could never have made it through the war if not for his daily nap.
3. Cluster your calls / emails / meetings all together. Don’t simply react to interruptions, turn off the phone when you’re working on a task of known priority and avoid randomly checking e-mails. You’ll find that frequently checking messages or e-mail will create a constant state of preoccupation and stress for you. Inner friction robs you of productivity and burns your energy very inefficiently.
4. Tie up loose ends. Open loops or things that are “unfinished” are a great source of work stress. Create a list and write down everything that’s on your mind – this is an exercise called “Clearing off your mental desk” and associate the items listed by priority. Cross out the things that you need not worry about or cannot resolve. Then complete the tasks of known priority one by one, and don’t leave things open-ended or unfinished.
5. Clean the grill. At the end of the day, close up all of your open windows or tabs on your computer. Clean off your desk and make it easy to begin working right away in the morning. Leave “tickler” files or documents on your desk to remind you of what you need to accomplish tomorrow. This practice is similar to restaurants in that when they close each night they clean off their grill so that it’s clean to begin cooking with tomorrow. You should do the same for yourself. You’ll find your stress reduced and your productivity multiplied.
6. Remember the digital timer that I recommended you use in Tips #1 and 2? Keep that little guy handy as you should always use it when it’s time to focus on an activity. Set aside a block of time, and as soon you set that timer, force yourself to work against the clock. You should train yourself to work faster in this fashion. You’ll accomplish more and you’ll get so much more done.
As Dan Kennedy says, “Working faster makes you smarter.” It’s definitely true!
Do you have any other ideas about how to be more productive at work?
Please share in the comment area below.