As the proverb goes, ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’…
Work is a part of life, but when the work piles up, playtime seems to go out of the window, particularly when there are so many things to accomplish in a short space of time, that the option to switch off for a few hours is just a distant luxury.
But no matter what, there is a solution - by keeping up with your work schedule and working through tasks in a methodical manner, you can get the job done while still leaving enough time to enjoy a spot of well-earned downtime.
I think the first thing to consider is that everyone is different and one person’s methodology is another’s madness, so it’s important to follow a process that works for you (this may require a tiny bit of trial and error).
Anyway, if you’re reading this, you’ve probably not got a lot of time on your hands so I won’t keep you for too long, but just to lend a helping hand, here are 7 tips that may help when trying to keep up with your work schedule:
- Note down the things that always appear in your daily routine (cooking dinner, checking emails, filing etc.) and how long it takes to do them. Look back at it the following day and see where you can afford to trim off a few minutes to make way for the rest of your workload - a little bit of time here and there soon adds up!
- Group your workload into set categories (on paper, spreadsheet; it’s your choice) at the start of the week and colour code them. Once you’ve done this, prioritise the task in each category to see which is most vital, then allocate certain groups of tasks to certain days of the week in order of importance. This is an effective way of identifying, and subsequently keeping up with your workload.
- Allocate a certain time each day for those elongated work conversations. If someone approaches you for an impromptu work based chat (unless it’s completely urgent of course), politely tell them you’re busy and you’ll schedule a small meeting for the following day and set yourself a reminder.
- Make full use of your Outlook calendar to keep record of your work schedule and all of your comings and goings. If you need something a little stronger, check out these great organisational tools for the workplace.
- Get out of the habit of answering the phone every time it rings and answering every email as it comes through. Focus on the task at hand and use an allocated time to respond to work queries - this really helps focus and maintain productivity.
- During the working day, keep your personal phone stowed away, and unless it’s directly linked to your job, stay off the social media sites or instant messaging - all of these things provide unwanted distraction and can really derail your train of thought.
- Most importantly, schedule in breaks and time to relax. Eating well, relaxing, talking to others and gathering your thoughts are all essential components to a healthy, active and productive mind - something that is absolutely essential when it comes to keeping up with your work schedule.
The bottom line is, in order to keep up with your work schedule you must eliminate distractions and implement a system that works for you. However, no matter how heavy your schedule, please allow for some fun - otherwise, all that hard work will be for nothing.
Now, stop slacking!