These days it’s incredibly hard to stay on top of things at work . The ease of communication means everybody keeps telling us everything – even when we don’t need to know! And as we move up that success ladder, because we are good at what we do, the increase in responsibilities eats into what little time we have even further. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. It’s easy to feel we are always reacting rather than taking the initiative. And then when we get home, we have to drop it all and make sure our attention is on the family because, after all, they are the most important people in our lives. But it does cause stress, it does make it difficult to sleep at times and it does take the fun out of life.
If you are feeling exhausted and that you can’t get on top of things there are a number of simple things you can do to get back on top:
- About an hour before you go to bed, write out a schedule or task list of what you have to do tomorrow.
- Prioritise them: put the ones that have an absolute deadline at the top, like get kids to school at 8.30 or prepare for my meeting with the boss at 10, and make a note of those things that don’t have an absolute deadline of tomorrow.
- Make the decisions you have to make, and not the ones you don’t! What has a deadline that makes it essential the decision is made now? What doesn’t? We often struggle over decision making, and I will be posting a blog shortly on this. But for now, understanding what we have to do and what can be done at another time, or, perhaps more properly by someone else, is an important part of getting on top of decision making.
- What do you have to take responsibility for? If you have delegated something and you know that person clearly understands the outcome needed and has the skills to achieve it, you don’t have to be responsible for every step they take! Let them do the worrying – that’s what they are paid for. And they will only develop if they take responsibility. So, what are you assuming responsibility for that you don’t need to?
- Emails – you don’t have to answer them the instant they come through! Learning how to filter your emails into different and relevant folders, and fixing times through the day to look at your emails instead of whenever they arrive in your inbox, are the first steps toward making emails work for you, instead of you working for your emails! I will be writing another blog shortly on ways of managing your emails so that they become a valuable asset to your work instead of a massive burden.
- Write down three good things that happened to you today. Research shows that if we write down three good things that happened to us, just three times a week, there will be a significantly positive and lasting impact on our happiness. Doesn’t have to be much – I have even written something like “The sun bouncing off the frost this morning.” But it works. Try it.
So if you are desperate to be able to breathe again, to smell the roses and to feel, to have energy for your family and that you can actually enjoy your job, taking these simple steps will help you get there.
Here are some additional resources that are enjoyable, insightful and helpful:
- Ann Marie Slaughter’s fabulous insights on work/life balance for women in the workplace – her 2012 article in the Atlantic was the most read article in that magazine of all time.
- Nigel Marsh’s talk at TED Sydney is a thoroughly enjoyable 20 minute – both amusing and helpful.
- For those of you interested in enriching your lives further, the Authentic Happiness website is a wonderful resource to learn more about your strengths and values and how you can put them to work for you in your everyday life.