Have you got the whole work thing sussed? Are you in the driving seat or being whipped mercilessly?
If your job is the boss and you’re struggling to cope with its demands, here’s 13 common sense ways to make your working life easier.
Take your natural rhythms into account. If you’re an early bird, start early and you’ll get a whole load of stuff polished off before your phone starts ringing and you get distracted. If you’re more of a night owl, start later and enjoy some invaluable ‘quiet time’ after five when things are much less manic
Work eight hours max… then pack up and go home. You might think working long hours means you get more done. But because you’re knackered, you don’t. When you’re tired it takes longer to make decisions and you make more mistakes. And restricting your working hours to a sensible level forces you to be more efficient – and less fluffy – within those hours
Make a massive list of all the stuff you need to get done. Then pick your top 3 and tackle them today. Pick three more for tomorrow and so on. A list of three essential jobs is much less daunting than a list an arm long containing twenty must-dos. You’ll enjoy a sense of real achievement every day and your list will slowly but surely get shorter.
Be honest and admit what distracts you from work. If you can’t stay away from Twitter, diary five times a day to Tweet but otherwise leave it alone. If you can’t get going because you feel you have to keep a constant eye on incoming emails, diary to deal with them 3 times a day; first thing, before lunch and last thing. Set aside a specific time in your diary to read blogs. Be firm with yourself and your working day ultimately become a lot calmer, more organised and more productive
Cut down your emails. Some people swear by limiting themselves to writing three or four sentences, drastically cutting the time taken writing and responding to emails
Take a common sense attitude to meetings. Unless it’s imperative for you to meet people face to face, do it by phone or email. It’s faster and encourages everyone concerned to get to the heart of the matter more efficiently and effectively
Automate repetitive tasks wherever you can. Make your website is the first port of call for customers, provide electronic ordering and create autoresponder messages, set up auto-payment and shipment systems…
Ditch the paperwork and go 100% digital. It is almost always a faster, more efficient and greener way to work.
Keep it tidy! Only keep stuff on your desk when you’re using it. Otherwise file it. Psychologists have proved that a tidy desk aids efficiency and helps keep your mind clear Speed up your decision making process.
Make decisions fast… then get back to work
Get away from your desk at lunchtime. There’s no benefit in missing lunch or eating at your desk. Give yourself half an hour minimum and go for a walk, head for the shops or just sit on a bench and watch the world go by. You’ll return to work feeling refreshed, incisive and business-like. Stay at your desk and you’ll just feel sluggish. Getting out is a great way to un-block your imagination, feed your creative side and refresh your spirit
Try working from home if you’ve got something mega important to do and need proper peace and quiet. It’s often easier to what’s what when you’re away from your desk
Take breaks or invent some other kind of ‘focus ritual’ to help you refocus on the tasks at hand if you go off-piste and get distracted. Get up every 20 minutes or so and take a walk around the office, or take five outdoors to breathe deeply, stretch your legs and take the numbness out of your bum! When you get back to your desk you’ll feel fresher and full of energy… and you’ll get more done as a result.