Busy schedules are not atypical for those who work full time in offices. So much so that the phrase “I hate working” may be a common thing that goes through your mind if you find that work is consuming your life, and that you have no time for anything else.
But what if I told you there was a way to make more time?
Modern day workers live in a world where being busy is put on a pedestal. There is a common misconception that the more work you agree to take on and the more occupied with tasks you are, the more it will demonstrate to your boss and colleagues how much of a dedicated worker you are.
However, most times, it’s simply a misconception. Just because your schedule is busy, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being productive. And how much value are you bringing if you’re not productive?
Knowing the difference between “busyness” and “productivity” is the basis of being able to tackle your busy work schedule to create more time.
While being busy refers to having a lot on your plate, being productive means achieving effective results in as minimal time as possible. The latter can lead you to a higher chance of more time to enjoy freely.
Having a busy schedule can not only leave you feeling overwhelmed and stressed, but it can also leave you feeling defeated and without the motivation to carry on and complete your tasks to the best of your ability.
While most of you may not be able to control the amount of tasks assigned to you, there are ways that can help you manage those tasks so that you aren’t spending all of your time preoccupied with them.
Creating more time doesn’t require a magical genie or time machine. It’s easier than that. All you need are techniques that you can apply so instead of being overwhelmed and inundated with tasks, you can tackle your schedule productively. Here’re 5 techniques to tackle a busy schedule.
If you’re not already prioritizing your tasks, then you’re doing it all wrong!
Prioritizing the tasks on your schedule is a good way to tackle it as it highlights what needs to get done first. And knowing this information can help you manage your time and ensure you meet all your deadlines.
A prioritizing approach you could try is “eating the frog”. A method popularly coined by Brian Tracy in his book, Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time, it doesn’t require you to consume amphibians, instead, it encourages you to tackle your biggest task first.
The idea behind it is that once you get the biggest task out of the way, the feeling of accomplishment will be so great that you will be motivated to complete the rest of your tasks for the day without a hitch, creating a type of domino effect.
2. Don’t Overcommit
If you’re the kind of person who says yes to every request thrown at you, then it’s no wonder you’ve got yourself a busy schedule. Finding yourself taking on more tasks and obligations than you can deliver can lead you into that “I hate working” mentality.
While saying no may not come naturally to some people, it’s a skill that should be developed if you want to ensure you are working within your limits. Overcommitting to things can stretch you out thin and cause added pressure and stress.
You may find it hard to say no to your boss, but, trust me, saying no initially will disappoint them less than if you take something on and not deliver it to its full potential.
Although turning down tasks and obligations will create more time for you, it’s always good to keep in mind that before you automatically say no to every request, you should first assess what is being asked of you. You never know, there may be some things that won’t take up too much of your time that would be worth your while.
Learn Leo Babauta’s advice on The Gentle Art of Saying No.
3. Stay Organized
Planning, coordinating, and having a system in place is pivotal for tackling a busy schedule productively.
How you stay organized is, of course, completely up to you. Whether this means having an all out task management system implemented or a simple daily to-do list written on a piece of paper, visualizing your schedule can help you stay organized and keep on top of it all.
It can also ensure you don’t forget an important task. Being preoccupied with a busy schedule can mean that you may accidentally overlook things. It can also help you be prepared for unexpected surprises or any last minute changes so that it doesn’t slow down your workflow.
Remember that what may work for your colleague may not work for you. So just because you don’t have the latest, state-of-the-art scheduling system, it doesn’t make your way of organization any less valid.
If you have the ability to do so, then delegating tasks is another way to manage a busy schedule. Knowing how to effectively delegate is an essential skill that everyone in any leadership position should possess. Not only will it lighten your workload, but it will also free up your time so that you can spend it on something you enjoy.
There’s more to effective delegation than yelling out orders. For instance, you have to identify the type of skills that are needed to complete the task and then determine who will be best to do it. This requires you to know your employees and/or colleagues. You also have to ensure you give clear instructions so that you avoid having to redo the task because it wasn’t done correctly the first time around.
Task delegation doesn’t only benefit you. It can help someone else acquire new skills that can be useful for them in the future. But before you start delegating, always look to see if there are tasks that you can eliminate completely. There’s no point in giving someone else the responsibility if it really doesn’t have to be done in the first place. You want to create more time for everyone in the company, not just for yourself!
5. Take Breaks
The perils of a busy schedule is that it can lead to stress, exhaustion, and a decrease in productivity; which is why it’s important to include breaks in your schedule. This especially refers to people who work in front of computers as they are at risk of leading sedentary lifestyles.
Taking regular breaks is crucial for maintaining your health and wellbeing. Too much stress and exhaustion can lead to serious health issues such as suffering from an occupational burnout, which is now recognized as a legitimate syndrome caused solely within the workplace.
The benefits of taking regular breaks while you work is that while it may seem like you’re being counterproductive in trying to create more time, by maintaining your health and wellbeing, you are actually boosting your energy and productivity levels.
It only takes as little as a 30 second microbreak to improve mental sharpness by 13%! Plus, you are also reducing the chances of catching an illness that can result in a substantial amount of time away from the office.
The Bottom Line
Having a busy schedule can make it easy to get caught up in work and forget about the other things in your life. Where busyness refers to the amount of stuff you’ve got going on, productivity is about how well you tackle your tasks so that you can achieve as much as you can in as little time as possible.
By applying the above 5 techniques, you can manage your schedule more productively; you are also one step closer to eradicating the notion of “I hate working” completely from your mind as you’ll notice your schedule freeing up.
You’ll be able to spend the created time on the things that matter to you most.
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