We all tend to have the best intentions for our day's effort. We try to get as much done as feasibly possible, and maintain good relationships throughout. We're mostly all grown-ups, we are fully aware of our limitations and emotional background, so why do so many of us end up over-doing it, piling on the pressure, and ending the day a wreck? Sometimes our intentions are bigger than we are, and when this happens, we end up being in as many places as once doing a mediocre and frustrated job of it. It's not lazy to reduce your workload if it makes you more effective in the long run. Try these counter-intuitive techniques in your own life to see if they help.
Dilute The Diary. Three hours in the morning and five or six in the afternoon, then maybe another three after that and the day's over. No-one wants to be interrupted before 9am and after 9pm unless its urgent. It might be fashionable to scrawl all over the calendar and do as much as possible in the day however people are not routines and we often don't quite know how things are going to pan out. We don't really want to take the energy that's built up from person one to person two, there needs to be a pause to unwind, reset the mind, and allow a new personal experience. Give yourself a lot more time in between meetings and jobs, unwind, relax, do something unrelated.
Disciplined Break Time. We tend to plan our work time really well then switch off when it's time to stop. This stop time is actually time we could be using. We all need space to play computer games or read a decent book, maybe even sit in silence for a little while and let the world go by around us. Make sure that breaks are regulated and that you fill your spare time with tasks and activities that have a general purpose that goes into your desired end. Even if it's not really hard work, the little things all add up in the end.
Drink More. Water is like petrol for our engine. It makes the blood go around and delivers food and oxygen to our cells. We must drink regularly to remain at full effect. Our brains and bodies slow down when water is running low, even a tiny amount of dehydration can result in dramatic reductions in productivity.
Brace The Elements. Taking a cold shower or going out in just a t-shirt can really spark the body into being more active. Wake yourself up with a walk or a blast of fresh water.
Get A Good Soundtrack. The music we listen to is really important. It directly affects mood and productivity. Music that draws you in can reduce productivity where as music made for dancing to can do the opposite. It's been shown that white noise can help us to be more productive too. Maybe our favourite album is not a wise choice, but the stuff that all sounds the same from a distance will help keep a good work pace.
Tidy Up. Yes, the distracting piles of potential work and the stale glass of water need to go. Keep your space fresh and clutter-free. It's actually really important work to do this and it can take a day or two to get on top of if left for a while. Don't feel guilty if you need to do this! You'll work a lot better after.
Can't Sleep? Ride It! So you're wide awake at 2am and you don't know why. May as well bury your head in the work you need to do. It might even be just what you needed to finally fall asleep. It's not good to stay up late every night working hard but if your body is refusing to switch off then it's a good idea to make use of the extra energy.
Make Room For The Unexpected. Sometimes a kick start happens when we're taken by surprise. When our routine is challenged, when our ideas are made to look foolish, when we don't get the results we worked so hard for, when we discover our efforts are in vain, it can really shake up the bottle. That energy wants to make a mess of things but we know better. We can use it to make the necessary changes so that our hard work becomes more effective.
Exercise. Stand up and take a walk around, maybe even go to the park for half an hour. Switching from brain active to body active and back again can really help to maintain optimum effectiveness. It's not a break if it can be shown to be helpful to the over-all quality of work.
Work Around Hard Working People. We're all like the sun. We have planets who orbit us. These are the people we spend time with. They affect us, and we affect them. The people closest to us are the ones who have the most influence. Choose them wisely, surround yourself with people who give you a good feeling about yourself and life in general. Pick people who appreciate you for what you do.
Cut The Slack. It's okay to simply feel this way and unsubscribe, reduce communication with, and move on from these people. It's not mean to be choosy about who you connect with, it's wise. If a person isn't your cup of tea then simply let someone else drink it.
Listen To Yourself. We have on days and off days. We have times when we do loads of work and times when it feels like a pain to do anything. Don't fight these days, accept the tidal effects of emotions, the body-clock, life's stresses and strife, do what you can when you can. Make the most of your on days and don't feel bad about the off ones.
Most of all, Have Fun. We always do a better job when we're happy. Be prepared to entertain yourself and your colleagues with pleasant natured humour and games. Nurture a fun and easy going atmosphere to de-escalate work related stress.
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Rowan Blair Colver for Alternative Fruit
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