Work in high gear without burning out
EMAILS GUSH INTO OUR INBOX AT AN UNPRECEDENTED PACE, RESTRUCTURES REQUIRE US TO COVER THE JOBS OF MULTIPLE PEOPLE, WE SPEND THE MAJORITY OF OUR DAY IN MEETINGS, AND EVERYONE WANTS AN ANSWER ‘NOW’. WHAT’S GOING ON?
Isn’t technology meant to make our working lives easier? Well, yes, but in some ways it doesn’t seem to be working that way.
The ease of sourcing information and the potential for making instant connection has simply heightened professional expectations of rapid response, and quite simply, it’s stressing us out. We’re often driving in the fast lane with the parking brake on and the skid marks are signs of our overwhelm.
According to a survey by the American Institute of Stress, ‘workload’ was reported as the cause of 46 per cent of workplace stress, beating job security, life balance and people issues. Technology is here to stay, so what can we do to regain a sense of control over the daily barrage we’re confronted with? For once the solution is truly ‘all in our head’.
Here are five brain games to play that will help you work in fourth gear without burning out.
1. Debunk your myth
Your ‘time’ myth is that thing you believe about your workload that is not necessarily true. My myth was, “No one has as much to do as I do” (the poor me syndrome), but the simple truth was, I didn’t know how to manage my time. Identify your ‘story’. What do you hear your inner voice saying that is justifying your inability to get everything done within working hours? Once you drop the myth, the door opens for a look at potential solutions.
2. Know your ‘why’
When are you the most dynamic, inspired, vibrant, and energised? When do you snap through your to-do list with piercing goal-focus? For most of us, it’s when we’re working toward a goal that we value and that fills us with a sense of both purpose and passion. Examine your role at work. Are you in the right place to exercise your professional strengths, skills, and passions or are you a round peg trying hard to create a fit in a square hole? Take time to explore what gives you a buzz and work toward manifesting that kind of a role in your work life. Projects and tasks will flow and you’ll feel the stress lift.
3. Own your time
Empower yourself to take a stand when things move past the tipping point of being manageable. Stop being the ‘yes’ person. You can still be a supportive team player, by saying no to something that isn’t within your set of priorities as long as you contribute alternate solutions. Release the perfectionist in you. Give yourself permission to move through assignments without the level of analysis that creates time-wasting paralysis. Don’t bother procrastinating on important action items – you’ll end up carrying their weight like a racehorse with a handicap until you finally complete them. Drop the load and get it done!
4. Prime your brain
It’s difficult to prioritise when we’re drowning in chaos. Program yourself to think strategically. Create a list of the key objectives of your role then create a pie chart that demonstrates exactly what to spend time on. Working on anything else is working with that handbrake on.
5. Try new techniques
To up your dynamism and stress less, open yourself up to new ways of doing things. Try The Pomodoro Technique, Ken Hudson’s Blitz-It Technique, and email management best practice such as “How Harry got organised”.