There are few things that can ruin a person’s day like realizing they overbooked themselves with work. Unfortunately, many people double-book their calendar, push off necessary work until the evening hours, or even work on the weekends to catch up. In many cases, this can be avoided with just a few habits.
Set Aside Admin Time
Many jobs have paperwork or other administrative tasks that need to be completed on a regular basis. However, these tasks are usually pushed to the end of the day, week, or month, only to be hastily completed. Remember that these tasks are on your plate for a reason; you need to devote time to them. If you are cutting corners when getting them done, you may have mistakes that could cause problems in the future. Instead, set aside a block of time each day or week to chip away at them. Even if you can only spare 15 minutes at a time, make those 15 minutes your focus time for these tasks and you will no longer scramble when the deadlines are approaching.
Prepare For Mental Resets
Studies have shown that up to 40% of one’s productive time can be spent shifting between tasks. That is a major part of your day! Although it is impossible to account for all of that time, as it will be less for some people, it is important to include mental reset time in your schedule. So, rather than having two meetings back-to-back with no break, schedule the first one with an extra 5 minutes to allow for switching between tabs, pulling up necessary documents, and mentally preparing yourself for a new topic. Expecting that you can work on multiple tasks in a row without any mental disruptions is just setting yourself up to get behind. Adding in a few extra minutes for each task will ensure you are able to work through those necessary resets.
Be Honest About Priorities
There are often many meetings in a week that could have been done just as effectively via email. There may also be projects that do not really need your input. When your schedule is already full and you are asked to work on something else, be honest about prioritizing the work which does need your attention. Setting boundaries is completely fine, as long as you are getting the work done that is necessary.
Overloading your work schedule is common, and it can be easy to do it without giving it a second thought. However, begin to add these habits to your life and you will notice that your days have much less stress and much more time.