Is there such a thing as balance at work? Or is it the biggest oxymoron you’ve ever heard? Luckily, I’ve found out there are things we can do to help us save time and sanity at work, and not feel tied to the cubicle.
It’s time to work smarter.
1. Work Smarter.
To work smarter means working more efficiently. Prioritize tasks on your to-do list. I’m a fan of tackling the tough stuff early on and getting it off my plate. Think about it. If the small things are done first, no matter how fulfilling, they’ll leave you with a sense of dread when tackling the larger project later in the day.
2. Stop working overtime.
Unless mandated, or you have an insane deadline pressing against you, stop. I remember the days when I “worked” 14 hours per day. It sucked. In my mind, I was taking one for the team and showing my peers and supervisors what a dedicated employee I was. I had time for elaborate rewrites, spent a ton of time pushing papers around and made myself look, and feel, insanely busy. I wasn’t working smarter, but I was wasting a lot of time at work.
I’m left with small items on my list at the end of the day and amazed how quickly I plow through them.
3. Stop Multi-tasking.
Seriously. Stop. There are so many moments during the day I have to force myself back on task. I’m like a squirrel, and a shiny object has caught my attention. This when I hit my personal danger zone and waste time bouncing around different Social Media networks. Even worse? Getting sucked into Words with Friends.
When I stay on task, I work smarter, better and produce much better quality content. Believe me, employers aren’t complaining.
4. Prioritize your time.
If projects are taking more time than you first estimated, it’s time to reevaluate. Before they become a pressing deadline, it’s time to reach out and touch someone. Pick up the phone and check in regarding the deadline and discuss if you need an extension. Follow up with an email. Not only will this save time, as emails aren’t flying back and forth, you can make sure you’re on the same page.
5. Take breaks.
I’m not talking about a bathroom break, although those are important. When taking a break, it’s imperative we step away from our desks. Eat lunch with other people. Step outside of the building and watch the world go by, even if only for a few minutes.
Not only is that working smarter, that’s smart work.
It’s not always serene or pretty. However, when you find yourself on an even keel, the balance you find might have always been there. If not, keep looking, and you’ll find it.
Do you have any tips or tricks for staying balanced at work or working smarter? If so, please share in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.