In today's world, it's really hard not to feel overworked. You literally have your inbox everywhere you go and it seems like there is always a new project to complete. But what if working more than six hours is actually bad for you? Shane Snow, co-founder of Contently, indicated that working less is actually more productive. So what gives?
At the end of the day, you want to feel like you've accomplished your tasks without feeling completely and utterly exhausted. While your job should be keeping you busy, there's no reason it should be draining the life out of you. But what if your job isn't the one to blame? What if your lifestyle is actually causing you more stress than you realized? When it comes to having a good work ethic, some people believe that staying on top of their emails, always saying yes, and not taking a break means they're killing it in their career. And while that might be the case, they may also actually be one step closer to burning out completely.
Believe it or not, there are ways for you to pump out effective work without working around the clock. If you're done feeling tired all the time and want to feel inspired again, here are some tips on how to change your work routine so you can produce better work without feeling burnout.
1. Focus On One Task At A Time
It might seem counterproductive, but you're actually accomplishing less when you're trying to multi-task. Plus, it might even be harmful to your health. According to Health, Guy Winch, PhD, author of Emotional First Aid: Practical Strategies for Treating Failure, Rejection, Guilt and Other Everyday Psychological Injuries, said, “When it comes to attention and productivity, our brains have a finite amount.” Essentially, when you think you're multi-tasking, you're actually just task-switching. “It’s like a pie chart, and whatever we’re working on is going to take up the majority of that pie. There’s not a lot left over for other things, with the exception of automatic behaviors like walking or chewing gum,” Winch said. Instead of trying to focus your energy on more than one thing, try to solely focus on one project at a time. You may complete it faster and make fewer mistakes, too.
2. Take Breaks Throughout The Day
The next time you head into work, make sure you take your lunch break. According to Fast Company, Kimberly Elsbach, a management professor at UC-Davis who studies the psychology of the workplace, said, "Never taking a break from very careful thought work actually reduces your ability to be creative." Naturally, your brain is going to feel exhausted after working so many hours straight. And if you take a 15-20 minute break, it will sustain concentration and your energy levels.
3. Take Care Of Yourself
You'll never be able to do good work if your mind and body are not taken care of. By eating well and surrounding yourself with a positive environment, you're allowing your mind to be at its peak performance. According to Buffer Social, brain researcher Leigh Gibson said, “The brain works best with about 25 grams of glucose circulating in the bloodstream — about the amount found in a banana.” The type of nutrition that you put into your body will determine how quickly glucose goes into your bloodstream. Essentially, you want to eat foods — oats, bananas, soy — that will allow glucose to enter your bloodstream over a slower period of time, so your brain won't burn out quickly.
4. Plan Ahead And Prioritize
Staying organized is a great way to prevent work from piling up and keeping you relatively stress free. Try to use a planner to help notify you of future projects. By doing this, you can see what your week is like and work accordingly without stressing out too much. According to INC, try to reset your calendar when something new pops up during the workweek. Before reorganizing your planner, ask yourself, "Is this really necessarily?" Sometimes you need to prioritize your tasks so you can do your most effective work without being overwhelmed with less important tasks.
5. Work Smarter
There might be a chance that you're feeling overworked because you're not working as well as you could be. Working smarter has nothing to do with how smart you actually are, but with how well you're actually managing your workload. To perform your best, try to prioritize your top three goals for the day. According to Forbes, David Rock, director of the NeuroLeadership Institute and author of Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long, said, “There are so many potential distractions and detailers that can take our attention, we need to be really clear about the most important things. As a rule of thumb, you can remember three ideas relatively well.”
6. Learn To Say No
Don't feel guilty for telling your boss or employees this magical word. Sometimes people feel they have to do everything to be considered good at their job. But it's OK to have limits. By saying no to certain tasks, you can accomplish your goals much easier because you're not being distracted by other things. According to Entrepreneur, Jacqueline Whitmore, author of Business Etiquette Expert, explained that when you're saying no to things that won't help you grow, you're actually saying yes to yourself. You know your limits and what you want to achieve. Even though you might be saying no to a task now, this doesn't mean you can't help that person out later when you're able to. Learning to prioritize what is important may help you be a more efficient worker so you won't feel overworked, which may also benefit you and your boss in the long run.
While going to work every day might not be the most exciting thing you'll do every week, you never want your job to make you feel completely brain dead. By following a few of these tips, you may feel more in control of how you produce work and may actually feel satisfied when you head home. Always think ahead and don't be afraid to say no when you're already feeling stressed. Take care of yourself first, so you can be the best employee to your team.
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