Entrepreneurs

Council Post: Start The New Year Off Right With An Effective Back-To-Work Strategy

By Mary Harcourt, founder of CosmoGlo.

The prospect of getting back into the daily work routine after the holidays can be daunting, but the new year is actually the perfect time to reassess your work habits. It’s easy to fall into old patterns that don’t use time effectively or actually increase your workload. This can lead to mental strain and eventual burnout. Having a strategy you can refer to when you’re in a slump is vital to staying focused. Implement these tips daily to stay effective and lessen mental strain in 2023.

Task Management

The most overwhelming part of getting back into the groove is often the sheer number of tasks you need to get done. It’s easy to see them as one giant mountain to climb and wonder how you could possibly accomplish everything you need to. With proper organization, your perspective changes and the mountain gets much smaller. Here are three steps that can help you effectively manage your tasks:

Start the day by getting organized.

Write down everything you want to do in the next few weeks ahead. You want to have a tangible list to reference, and you can add to it and cross off as you see fit throughout the month. This can help free up mental space and help with feeling overwhelmed.

Prioritize your tasks.

Keep an organized to-do list. The tasks that were not completed the day before can be a priority for the next day. Prioritizing your tasks allows you to focus on the things that need to be completed first, as things fall lower and lower on that list, so can your stress level around feeling like you need to have it all done at once.

Delegate.

Take your task list and see which ones you can hand off and delegate to others to see that they get done. You may find that someone else enjoys doing that task more than you. We often think we must do it all, but using your resources allows you to complete more tasks with less burnout.

Time Management

Does it ever seem like your to-do list is longer at the end of the day than at the beginning? Or that you’re always in a rush but just can’t catch up? If you have a good idea of what needs to be done but can never seem to find the time to do it all, you might not be using your time effectively. Here’s how to better manage your time to make the most of your day:

Limit your time on social media.

Social media can indirectly rob you of important time and give you very little value in exchange for the time invested in apps. Save the scroll for times you need a mental break and give yourself a time limit. A few times a day for 10 minutes while waiting for your coffee to brew can act as a mental break. Aimlessly scrolling multiple times a day at your desk can encourage procrastination for the tasks that need to be tackled. A safe rule to apply is to not use apps while seated at your desk.

Be open to asking questions.

We don’t know it all. Do not claim to. When you are stuck, be OK with asking for help or finding the answers instead of trying to figure things out on your own. This can be as easy as asking a co-worker about their experience, finding a quick video tutorial on YouTube or finding the best-sourced answers on Google. If it is a larger topic to understand, a short online video course can easily give you all of the valuable information formatted in an easy-to-understand and digestible method. This can save you an incredible amount of time and annoyance of trying to figure it out on your own.

Take breaks.

A fresh perspective and rejuvenated spirit can conquer more than one suffering from burnout. Stop and take 10 minutes to go for a brief walk a few times a day to get your blood pumping and refresh your creative juices. Challenge yourself to leave all devices in the office and focus on looking at the world around you in a thankful manner. When you come back to the office, you should have a fresh perspective and feel invigorated to dive into your next task with fewer distractions.

Set time limits for how long you will work on a task.

Keep a daily time log and block out time for specific tasks you want to get done during that hour. If you give yourself two hours, it will take two hours; if you give yourself 20 minutes, you may find you can perform that same task in a shorter timeframe. This allows you to stay focused and complete the task. Elon Musk reportedly said, “If you give yourself 30 days to clean your home, it will take you 30 days. But if you give yourself 3 hours, it will take 3 hours. The same applies to your goals, ambitions, and potential.”

Be realistic.

Realize you will most likely never be able to complete all of your tasks by the time you need to, and that’s OK! You are only one person and you are allowed to stop working to enjoy the evening, even if this means you may miss deadlines. Prioritizing and delegating can be your best friend in accomplishing your very full back-to-work schedule.

Implement these tips on a daily basis until they become second nature. As you establish an effective work strategy, you can accomplish more with your time and avoid mental overwhelm, setting you up for a successful year ahead.

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