For just two weeks, do the following during your normal workday: look for something more to do when your present assignment is finished; stay with a job when others throw in the towel; show someone else how to do something; get things done instead of procrastinating; and generally make it a rule to do all your work and go beyond the call of duty. By completing these simple tasks you’ll experience the difference between feeling fulfilled and just getting through the day.Even if you don’t want to go that far, the following hints will help you organize your schedule at work. You don’t have to follow all of these suggestions, but you might ask yourself why you resist some of them. You may get insights into a weakness (or a strength) that you weren’t aware of earlier.
- Get an early start. By coming in just fifteen or twenty minutes earlier each day you can plan your list of activities for the day, write a memo, and get organized before the 9am flurry.
- Streamline paperwork. Handle all correspondence, telephone calls, and inquiries promptly and efficiently. Create form letters or form paragraphs for your email that falls into general categories.
- Start tomorrow’s tasks today. Even a few minutes work on a project before you leave for the day will allow you to start in the next morning without running the gamut of “can’t start” excuses. Another advantage is that during the break your subconscious will often work on it for you, bringing fresh insights, new ideas and sought-for solutions for the project.
- Keep a notebook handy. Jot down reminders of things to be done, ideas that might otherwise slip away, sudden insights, instructions, notes for your eyes only. In other words, jot down anything that you could possibly forget that might come in handy one day.
- Keep your time schedule flexible for top priority tasks. Schedule your most difficult work for times when you work most efficiently. Postpone meals, if possible, to gain stretches of uninterrupted work time. Begin earlier or work later in the day if that’s the best way to avoid interruptions. Obviously you can’t follow this kind of schedule every day, but don’t hesitate to rearrange your normal schedule if you must get an important job done.
- Vary Activities. For mental and physical alertness, be sure to vary sitting activities with standing ones, mental with physical activities, writing tasks with “social” tasks (telephone calls, meetings, etc.) It will help prevent fatigue and keep your efficiency high.
- Put a price tag on one hour of your time if you don’t already know your hourly salary. If you get in the habit of setting a mental price for the work you do, you may gain new respect for your efforts. This may also help you to determine the minor jobs that should be delegated. You may even find that a raise is in order.
- Take charge of your emotions. Many of us think that we cannot control the way we feel, but surprisingly, that’s not always the case. Fears, when faced, or even exaggerated to a ridiculous extreme, can often be reduced to a manageable size. irritation, when analyzed, is often found not to be worth the energy expended. Frustration is a normal part of the working day (and, in fact, a normal part of life), so expect a certain amount of it and don’t let it throw you. Worry and anxiety usually result when you mentally turn what “might happen” into what “will happen” and start reacting ahead of time. Try acting upon possibilities instead of nail-biting and worrying about the future. It could open up a whole new path for completing the project, as well as offering mental relief.
- Get regular exercise. Exercise will help keep you aware of priorities, relaxed and alert. Try jogging or jumping rope for ten minutes a day, take a yoga break or do a few stretches during the afternoon when fatigue strikes. It will do wonders for both your body and mind.
In general, the real secret to feeling as though you have accomplished something important at the end of a working day are virtues that many people think are out-of-date. They are working hard and working effectively. These virtues require two commitments on your part: make every minute count, and discipline yourself to get rid of the time-wasters in your life.