If you constantly feel overwhelmed with the demands of work, life, school and business then you are not alone. Research by the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology posits that burnout is prevalent among people with higher education and socioeconomic status.
Learning to manage your time can really help reduce overwhelm thereby increase your productivity. Although there are apps for enhancing productivity and time management, they are sometimes not pragmatic since professionals have varied routines. It is easy to become distracted with all the chaos that is occurring around you, that you feel mentally and physically exhausted.
A study suggests that burnout positively correlates with depression. When this occurs the motivation to take action diminishes thus, developing unique lifestyle habits can help with finding your balance. Often times, the working class are either grinding in multiple jobs to sustain their livelihood or working a highly stressful job, therefore, inundated from working 40+ hours a week. Further related research has revealed that many people get overpowered in attempts to juggle everything. Hence, I’d like to share a few hacks on how to curtail overwhelm to organize your life.
My #1 tip to organize your life and become more impactful in 2020 is to change your mindset. It’s all in your mind. I’d like to share just FOUR (4) tips on how to organize your life in order to be more efficient going forward:
TIP #1. CHANGE YOUR MINDSET:
How we think can either enable our growth or be our biggest setback. The battle starts in your mind, whether it is your response to criticism, what you think daily and how you behave.
What do you tell yourself when it comes to being productive? Are you a go-with-the-flow person or a planner like me? What are your goals? If you want to be taken seriously as a professional and business owner you must develop positive habits to progress. How? Well, it starts with your mind and drives to get things done.
For instance, two people might have the same tasks, the same level of education and time but one will accomplish more.
Why? Simply because one person’s mind is set on faster delivery and results whilst the other believes in doing things at their own pace.
Now do not get me wrong. This is why I asked, “what are your goals?” You can organize your life to do more only if you have goals of running a business or building a successful career that requires a system.
3 ways to change your mindset to get more done:
- Start treating your to-do list as top-priority – if it’s on your list then it matters;
- Stop doing things based on mood – you will experience days when you are tired or demotivated but still set deadlines;
- Plan your day the night before – the worst thing is getting up and doing random things. Routine helps with focus and organization.
TIP #2. AVOID DISTRACTIONS AND DEVELOP NEW HABITS
Many times, it is not the quantity of tasks to be done that overwhelm us but our daily habits that hinder our progress. For instance, you know what is urgent but keep procrastinating and before you know it your day has passed, and you have only accomplished 1-2 tasks.
Action item: List 3 – 4 things/people/events that distract you (be very honest about this).This could be your phone, your roommate, children, partner or just the environment.
With that said, identify what you can do to reduce or eliminate them. You can:
- Put your phone on “do not disturb” for a specific period;
- Inform the relevant people of your most productive times and that you would need some private time;
- Choose a quiet location where you can focus with no one around.
Adopting these habits will be tough at first but over time you will thank yourself. This will allow you to be laser-focused.
Some positive habits to develop to stay focused:
- Be intentional with your morning routine and reduce maintenance tasks – Your morning routine will vary each day. Instead of scrolling social media or responding to messages, emails and comments, engage in activities that will fuel your mind and increases your focus level such as exercise, prayer, reading, journaling or meditation. In addition, do the tasks which are more difficult first.
- Set deadlines – By giving yourself a deadline you will know how much time is required to work on particular a task or project. This will allow you to estimate how much you can accomplish. Avoid open dates like “two weeks” – be very specific. For instance, “I need to complete the paper by December 27th, 2019.”
TIP #3. PRIORITIZE
Everything cannot be urgent. Some things can either be:
- Urgent – have a specific deadline
- Can wait – can be done later but are important
- Can be delegated – outsourced to allow you more time to focus on your money-making ideas
- Can be done in your spare time
Focus on one project at a time. If you find yourself double-booked most of the time, then it is an indication that you have a hectic schedule and that’s where prioritizing comes in.
I was trying to do several tasks per day. I would wake-up early then list about 10 things to do then ended up disappointed with myself when I only got through with 1 – 4. It was just too much.
Action item: Make a list of the top 1 – 3 urgent tasks which can be your daily non-negotiables. (these are tasks which must be accomplished regardless of how you feel).
TIP #4. CREATE A CALENDAR BLOCKING SYSTEM:
Your smartphone can be a resourceful productivity tool. If you do not already have it, download the google calendar app. Start to block out specific times to work on urgent and important tasks and even leisure time. To truly gain the most of your day, you need to schedule things.
“If it’s not scheduled, it’s not important” – Holly Sutton
Calendar blocking is simply assigning times to tasks based on your main list of tasks. Before doing so, you would need to know how long it will take you to complete certain tasks.
- Make a list of all the tasks that need to get done;
- Use a timer to estimate how long it will take you;
- Schedule them daily using your Google calendar. This way, you will get reminders including times and dates (you can add notes as well);
- Adjust where necessary since you are not a robot.
Start by tracking your time to see how much time you spend then set up realistic time frames. For instance, I had to send an email invite to interview some women for a particular program. My first task was to establish the goal of the email, followed by identifying the women who would fit the profile. I then drafted the email (customized a bit) and included my calendar booking link before hitting send. I estimated fifteen (15) minutes but it took me more than 15 minutes. Therefore, the next time I will try will be twenty (20) minutes.
Some of these can work differently based on your lifestyle but the general techniques will help keep you organized and less worried about what needs to be done. The important thing is to do these a day in advance.
Juggling life, school, family and is possible with the right mindset and tools. I used the above to stay on track. I’d love to hear what works for you.
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Disclaimer: The tips outlined above are views of www.merlindafrancois.com and does not infringe on what you may know. They have worked for me and I am not guaranteeing that these will work magic. However, they serve as just guidelines and can vary based on your implementation. In addition, I adopted some from coaching sessions, research and simply observing my habits.