Juggling Tasks? 3 Ways to Filter Out the Nonessentials
In recent years, the term ‘burnout’ has been used more frequently when discussing work-life balance. Burnout refers to a state of total exhaustion that not even recovery phases (an evening, a weekend, or a vacation) can remedy. According to a study published in the Psychological Bulletin, work stress is not always the driving force behind burnout, however, once a burnout occurs, it can send your stress levels into a tailspin. If employees have more control over their workloads, both work stress and eventually burnouts can be avoided.
One way to keep stress at bay is to manage the important tasks we have on our plate, and minimize the nonessential ones. In his audiobook about productivity on Scribd, author Michael Hyatt observes that most professionals work as many as 70 hours a week, but leave little time for rest, exercise, family, and friends. Hyatt argues that the common understanding of productivity has failed these professionals, because they’re focused on being faster at getting more stuff done — rather than getting the right things done. In this article, we’ll discuss a few tips on how to filter out tasks for better time management:
Identify your value-adding tasks
In an article about juggling tasks on BBC Worklife, author David Robson discusses how multitasking isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The energy and excitement tied to the “rush” of doing hectic jobs can actually lead to a boost of creativity. The trick to unlocking this power is to be more deliberate in our task-choices. When you organize your to-do lists, try to explain the value of completing each task.
This will help you identify which tasks are value-adding, and which ones are not. For instance, you don’t have to check each email that comes your way; unless it’s work-related, most emails can be replied to at the end of the day. Then, you can organize your day so that tasks that need more creativity come after an energizing round of multitasking. Group meetings, calls, and errands in the morning, then settle down in the afternoon for brainstorming or drafting — your increased cognitive flexibility can spill over into idea generation.
Say no to tasks that don’t align with your goals
As social creatures, humans don’t like to disappoint others — so “no” is a word that threatens relationships. However, in a write-up on Smart Business Online, CEO Ethan Karp finds that saying “yes” non-stop is actually more harmful than helpful. High-achieving individuals never say “no”, but that becomes a liability because they take on more work than they can handle. As much as possible, we should work on tasks that meet our goals and provide meaningful value.
Say your goal is to learn a programming language for work. Your task list would probably include watching tutorial videos and practicing for thirty minutes each day. You can probably refuse an invitation to a pointless meeting (which could have been an email), or a big social event that doesn’t really allow you to catch-up with anyone. This strategy keeps your task list shorter, and leaves room for more important stuff.
Use your “down” time creatively
This blog post about work-from-home monotony talked about how our time shifted when remote work arrangements became the norm. Instead of spending 45-minutes commuting to work, you can now use that downtime for you, so don’t use it to work more. Spend that time on fun, exciting, or necessary tasks like cooking, reading, exercising, or bonding with your family and friends.
If you feel the need to be more productive, micro-learning can be an effective strategy for you. While preparing your coffee, brushing your teeth, or doing household chores, use elocance to multitask efficiently. By saving articles, PDFs, and Word docs into audio files, you can save time and listen on the go. Check out elocance today to learn more.
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