Got a lot of work on? Feeling a bit stressed?
In this day and age, it’s not uncommon for a lot of employees to feel swamped at work.
In fact, millions of Brits say that they often feel overwhelmed by mounting work pressures, busy social calendars and financial worries.
Further studies found that a majority of workers believe that the UK is a nation with its nose to the grindstone, with 22% struggling to cope with the overtime that they have to put in at the office.
One of the most common ways of combating these feelings is to write out a to-do list.
For some strange reason, it just feels super satisfying when you can tick something off. (I’m smiling just thinking about it!)
However, 3 out of 5 workers have admitted that their to-do lists aren’t realistic nor achievable, which is probably why a lot of us feel stressed or overwhelmed.
The truth is, a to-do list and handling stress levels are just the tip of the iceberg.
To get your work done efficiently, without jeopardising your mental health, requires a strategic approach to working.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
Make things visible
Are you guilty of storing all of your tasks in your head?
Doing this will make it harder for you to switch off at the end of the day and set yourself realistic targets.
Put it this way, how can you plan the execution of a project with all of its sub-tasks, if you don’t have a system in place?
While organising isn’t always fun to a lot of people, it will give you the visual aid to work from and will stop you from filling your mind up with copious amounts of needless bits of information.
There are loads of apps you can download for this that allow you to check items off like Asana. Handy apps like this are also useful if you want to create a level of transparency between you and your colleagues.
Handy apps like this are also useful if you want to create a level of transparency between you and your colleagues.
Or if you’re old fashioned, you may prefer scribbling things down on a notepad.
Pro recruiter top tip
Got a lot of distractions to compete with at work?
Staying productive in a busy work environment isn’t always easy.
However, there are a few simple and proven ways you can keep your mind focused and sharper for longer.
For instance, you could try:
– Exercising before work – this helps your body and brain wake up.
– Setting yourself targets – having an end goal can help your brain establish an end goal.
– Rewarding yourself – there’s nothing wrong with incentivising the completion of your work with a few cheeky treats.
– Going to bed earlier – it’s simple but so effective. Get at least 7 hours sleep and there’s a high probability that you won’t wake up feeling groggy and moody the following morning.
You can find further examples in our previous blog: ’10 Tips to Help You Become More Productive’.
Do a commitment check
Sometimes simply putting a to-do list together won’t solve the fact that you’re swamped with too much work.
If this is the case, either ask your manager if there are any colleagues of yours that could help you out or capture all of your commitments on one page.
For the latter, this is a great way to prioritise certain tasks and manage expectations better.
Once you give your manager or client some transparency on timescales, you’ll be surprised by how accommodating they can be under certain circumstances.
Go into further detail
One of the biggest rookie mistakes when putting together a to-do list is to be too vague with the task description.
For example, if you need to do a Q1 budget, don’t just write that. Instead, state what sort of details are required so you can start gathering information.
Failing to include enough information is a common way of incorrectly miscalculating project timescales, as putting a larger 2-day project next to a half an hour task can be misleading to the naked eye.
Once you have included extra details, you’ll be able to start ticking off these smaller tasks and hopefully, stop yourself from procrastinating.
Take a moment before starting your day
If you’re guilty of diving into your inbox at the start of the day, try changing the record.
After a long weekend away or even on a weeknight, it’s not unusual to turn up to work the following day and have dozens of unread emails waiting to make your day one big living nightmare!
It’s hardly surprising why a lot of employees are looking angry and reaching for their stress balls within the first few minutes of arriving.
My top tip is to take a couple of minutes to review your calendar and current to-do list first.
Then once you’ve reflected on the day ahead, you’ll be in a better mental place to handle any new tasks that have magically appeared in your inbox overnight.
End your week with a review
Ideally, your manager should be carrying out a review for employees at the end of the week. However, finding the time to do this is another issue altogether.
So instead of waiting around, do one yourself!
By reviewing what you’ve done every Friday, you can evaluate where you are with your workload, align your goals for the start of next week and take a moment to realise that you’ve done an awesome job!
It’ll help you relax more on the weekend too.
So there you have it, now I can tick this blog off my to-do list!
Hopefully, these tips can help you manage both your workload and stress levels more effectively moving forward.
Just remember, there’s always an end to a day, so if you can’t finish everything before the end of your shift, don’t panic.
You can only work as fast as your mind and body will physically allow you to.
Also, always find time for personal downtime, otherwise you won’t carry the right mindset into the following working day.