As we adjust to the new face of the workplace, lines between work, home, family, and play are starting to become blurred. Whether your hours at the office have become shorter or you are working from home for the foreseeable future, we have all had to readjust certain habits to find a balance within our altered routines.
It is not surprising to hear that most people have experienced a down tick in their productivity as of late. Here are some helpful steps to ensure you are still getting the most out of your day, your week, and yourself.
1. Start Strong at the Beginning of the Week
Set yourself up to succeed! Pick the day that falls right before your work week begins – for most people this will be Sunday. Plan to spend about 30-45 minutes looking at what is coming up for the week ahead. Use this time to allocate the day, time, and duration for each task you must accomplish. Merge any digital and physical to do lists and calendars together so you can easily access your week plan in one convenient place.
2. Plan According to Your Life
Be realistic when scheduling tasks. Chances are, you are at different energy levels on Monday than on Thursday, and you may feel motivated at 10am vs 5pm on any given day. You probably do not want to start a new work project at 3pm on a Friday afternoon, but you may be willing to do your weekly grocery shop on Sunday morning. Look at your past habits and plan accordingly – design your weekly calendar so that it works for YOUR life.
3. Resist the Urge to Over Plan
We have all been there: You start your week mapping out all the tasks and to-do’s you will complete throughout the week and you are positive you will finish them all, no questions asked. Perhaps, with the best of intentions, you optimistically over book yourself. However, sometimes life just gets in the way – it can throw you a curve ball that derails your well placed planning, an emergency can come up out of nowhere, or you can simply tire yourself out by trying to do too much. Looking at unfinished weekly goals can make you lose your motivation for the days to come. Leave room in your planning for life to happen because it will!
4. Make Your Own System
Are you someone who likes to write things out by hand, or do you prefer a computer? Do you need alarms throughout the day to prompt you from one task or another? Or do you prefer a workflow that allows for less rigid guidelines? Be honest with yourself about how you best work and set up the actions you will need to be successful in your goals.
5. Set Daily Goals
Three tasks in one day may not seem like much – but it can add up and lead to a very rewarding feeling. Sometimes a single task is quite time consuming and you will need to mark off the whole of your workday to complete it (while leaving time for personal time in between). Spend your beginning of the week prep time measuring the urgency and time constraints of each task and parcel them out accordingly. Give yourself extra time for larger tasks while making hard and fast deadlines for anything easily checked off your to do list.
No one can run the world on their own! Ask for help when possible. If you are able – delegate any overflowing work task to team members. In your personal life, assign household tasks to the entire family. Share the cooking, cleaning, and other responsibilities between yourself, your partner, children, roommates, etc. Shared responsibility is extremely beneficial for your personal relationships, helping to build confidence and accountability between families and partners.
7. Set Morning and Evening Routines
Even if it is just a small action, having a clear marker of when the day is beginning and when it is ending can do wonders for your mental and physical health. Instead of turning to your phone and emails first thing in the morning, take some time here to pause and do something for yourself. Go for a run, move through some morning yoga stretching, or take some time to write in a journal. Find something that activates your mind and allows you to move smoothly into the hustle of the day. At night, do something that begins the shutting down process. Turn off your devices, read a chapter of a book, or have a cup of tea and do a little meditation before bed. Use the end of the day to give your self a leg up on tomorrow!
8. Do Not Let Work Outshine Personal Health and Happiness
Productivity is a wonderful skill to have and we all would like to become the best, most productive versions of ourselves. However, this means nothing if we cannot maintain a healthy work/life balance. When you are planning your goals for the week, make sure they include activities that feed into a happy and healthy lifestyle. Make time for your workout, catching up with friends and family (even if it is a zoom catchup instead of a dinner party), and spending time doing the things which are important to you. Learn to prioritize yourself and all the rest will fall into place.