If you feel like you’re constantly playing catch-up, you are probably experiencing the stress that goes along with it. But guess what? The reality is that catching up never ends. There will always be more to do and not enough time, so it’s important to recognize what deserves our attention and what can wait.
I’ve outlined three simple strategies to help you refocus and start tackling your to-do list in a new way. Use this as your guide and I promise these last couple months of the year will be more enjoyable.
1. Cut Out the Clutter
It’s time to stop the madness. It’s easy to get overwhelmed just glancing at our email inbox, but it’s important to remember that a lot of what we respond to each day is clutter.
- Email: Checking email can quickly become a time suck. Set aside one or two times a day to check and respond to messages. Email responses should be short to save time. Don’t dissect your responses, no one else is!
- Social Media: How many times a day do you pick up your phone to check Facebook or Instagram? You may need to set limits for yourself. During “work hours” make social media off-limits. If you’re using social media for business, stay off of your personal profile and focus on the task at hand. Social media should be limited to a set amount of time a day because scrolling can waste hours of your day.
- TV and YouTube: Set aside time outside of your working hours to indulge in your favorite show or YouTube video. It can become a slippery slope!
2. Maximize Your Time
My favorite way to make the day efficient is to start out by making a list of the top three tasks to get done. You can add a few additional if you knock the first three out of the park. This is different than writing a to-do list of everything that needs to be done in a week; that can be overwhelming. Instead, focus on what has to get done and don’t take on any additional tasks until you’ve crossed all three off the list.
Put down your phone. If you’re constantly responding to text messages, then you’re interrupting yourself on the regular. Sadly, we’ve come to believe that we NEED to respond immediately when someone reaches out to us. Unless it’s an emergency, it can wait! Similar to social media, set aside a few minutes a day where you respond to phone calls and texts.
3. Take a Break
This might seem counterproductive, but taking breaks and letting your mind reset is key to a productive day. Don’t skip lunch, get up and walk around, take a few minutes to chat with co-workers. Taking a break helps get your creativity flowing and it gives your mind a much-needed rest.
This is especially true for the weekends. Don’t bring work home on the weekend. Finish your biggest tasks Monday through Friday and let the weekend be for you and your family. This can reduce anxiety and leads to a happier work week.
Lose the stress and anxiety of playing catch-up by focusing on what is necessary. The rest is just clutter! If you like this article, you also might like Working 24/7 is Not the Answer to Success.