You know, for someone who wrote a post all about taking breaks and getting R&R (aka this post), I sure do burn myself out pretty quickly lately. I need to start taking my own advice, I know I know, but it’s so much easier to see what you need to change than to actually change it. Take now for example, as I write this post it’s currently 12.16am on a Sunday night and all I want to do is crawl into bed but I had some setbacks today (see: most frustrating day ever) and this is the first chance I’ve had to just sit and write so that’s exactly what I’m doing.
Sometimes I feel like I’m a little hamster (bare with me) running on a wheel that never stops spinning and it’s like no matter how hard I try I can’t actually get an amount of work done that I’m happy with.
It’s frustrating to say the least but I know it all comes down to the way I’m working, so I’m making changes.
Make lists and stick to them.
I’m a flailing fish without my lists. What do I have to do today? Who knows. What time do I have to be at ‘x’ by? Who knows, so I’ll just lay here doing nothing. I’m extremely unproductive when I don’t make and stick to a daily list. I literally just make a list of tasks in the ‘Notes’ app of my phone and I can’t tell you how beneficial it is. Lists keep you on track, focused and they streamline your entire day. I’d recommend making your list the night before as well, that way you know what’s coming for the day ahead and you’ll feel prepared and ready to go.
Don’t think, just do.
I think I need to make this my life slogan because I could win awards for my procrastination tactics…so don’t think, just do. Don’t dwell on how much you don’t want to do something or how long it’ll take you, just start. Literally just get up right now and go (come back to the post later please) because the faster you start, the faster you’re done.
Go old school and set yourself time goals for achieving tasks (i.e, I’m going to have ‘x’ done in 1hr), it may sound corny but it does feel pretty satisfying if you beat the clock. It can make you feel a bit like a five year old to ‘race against the clock’ but hey, I’ll take motivation wherever I can find it. Because I’m keeping an eye on the clock I find doing this keeps me from mindlessly wasting time on one task as well.
Sometimes it seems like a good idea to try and juggle a couple of things at once but if I try and do a few tasks at a time I usually end up half-ass’ing them all and I’ll have to re-do them later anyway. It’s so much easier to just take things one step at a time and do things properly.
There are two kinds of people. The kind who love to get all their smaller tasks out of the way first and then there are those people who just prefer to bite the bullet and tackle the “Oh god no” tasks first and then deal with the little stuff. I switch between both of these but I think it’s always smarter to do your most important tasks first because then you don’t have to worry about them later.
I used to do work on my laptop with my phone next to me and then I’d wonder why I wasn’t getting anything done. Phones are distraction central and technology in general is addictive. To work smarter, try limiting yourself to using one piece of tech at a time. Less distractions = more productivity.
Note to self: it’s a myth that you need to work 24/7 and run yourself into the ground to accomplish the things you want in life. Even though I forget this sometimes, I don’t accomplish anything when I’m exhausted and everyone is probably the same. If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, take a break to refresh. Sometimes a 10 minute break will do it and sometimes if you’re really burnt out take a day to refresh (if you can). Going around in circles while you’re exhausted doesn’t get you anywhere and chances are that after your break you’ll be a hell of a lot more productive.