Last week we looked at the first four steps to creating balance in your work life, these being:
- Manage expectations and reduce perfectionism
- Break up big tasks and set manageable daily goals
- Do important and urgent tasks first and prioritize
This week we look at the last five steps to finding greater balance at work, including focusing on one thing at a time and tips to avoid procrastinating.
Step Four: Focus on one thing at a time
Many people believe that multi-tasking is more efficient however this is usually not the case. It can actually take twenty to forty percent longer to finish tasks when we multi-task compared to when we complete these same tasks sequentially. With this in mind it is worth focusing on one thing at a time wherever possible.
Step Five: Delegate where possible
If you are fortunate enough to have an assistant delegate the time consuming tasks which they could do that are a drain on your time. If, like most of us, you don’t have such a luxury think who could assist you with the unskilled tasks that take up a lot of your time. For example, could you ask a colleague to double check your work for you or forward an email to them that they could reply to instead of you when you are too busy?
Step Six: Take breaks and eat lunch
To maximize efficiency and productivity it’s vital you take regular breaks. Whilst I don’t have any official breaks at work beyond my one hours lunch I ensure every couple of hours I get up and make myself a coffee so I feel I’ve had a short rest. It’s also important that you eat at lunch so your body is having the necessary nutrition to boost brain performance.
Step Seven: Avoid procrastinating
Procrastinating is a vicious cycle – the more you do it, the worse you feel about the task at hand and the less time you have to do it in. As mentioned before, breaking tasks up into more manageable goals can work to reduce anxiety surrounding particular tasks, making them seem less daunting.
Another good strategy is to reward yourself when you complete a task you wanted to procrastinate on, for example, when I do the monthly sales report I reward myself afterwards with a coffee and five minutes to drink it. And if I’m really dreading the task and I complete it, I ensure I treat myself to a coffee at my favorite coffee shop after work.
Step Eight: Don’t define yourself by your job performance or status
In a society where our status is usually measured by our salary or job title, it can be hard not to have our career impact our self-esteem, using our performance as a means by which to define ourselves. However this is very dangerous to do, as then you are a willing participant in a game that will often lead to over working in order to boost self-worth.
Instead try to measure your self-esteem by the by the culmination of the positive qualities you possess, the values you live by and your ethics. These things combine to make up your overall character as a person – something which you have complete control over and are a truer and healthier measure of self-esteem because it cannot be changed by external factors.
If you would like to strengthen your self-esteem please read my Tiny Buddha article ‘Learning to love yourself: 3 steps to instantly boost your self-esteem’.
Stay tuned – next week we will begin looking at the eleven steps to creating greater balance at home.
Do you try to focus on one thing at a time at work or do you multi-task? Do you ever skip lunch? Have you resolved to adopt any of the steps listed this week? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, support and insight from our community, we’d love to hear from you.