There are many reasons why people feel like they are falling behind in their workday or feeling overwhelmed throughout their workday by everything in front of them. They then look for outlets to relieve that stress which can set them farther behind, becoming cyclical.
We believe in staying on task and helping to eliminate stress when possible, so we decided to break down some of our tips on how to do that.
1. Make And Follow Your Mental Checklist.
When undertaking anything, it is always a good idea to have a plan moving forward. Conducting your workday is no different. Try to have your day generally planned out if you can. It doesn't have to be hyper-specific, but an overall checklist will help guide you throughout your day and help plan.
Having this checklist available will allow you to be able to comfortably and confidently move on to the next task at hand after you have completed one. Most tasks have what is considered a “startup time” when you are working on them. This is how much time it takes for an individual to feel completely focused on this new task once they've made that switch for maximum efficiency.
If you commonly have things come up in your workday that pull you away from your main tasks, build some extra time into your schedule if you can to accommodate this.
2. Focus On One Thing At A Time.
One thing that we understand is feeling overwhelmed when you look at a busy schedule with a ton of overlapping events and appointments. This can lead to feeling very flustered, and at some points, just feeling like you want to throw your hands up for 20 minutes and take a step back, which can be appropriate if given the proper context.
However, a key component to resolving some of the anxieties that you're having is to focus on one thing at a time. This allows you to be very efficient at a task, provide a high-quality service or product, and leads to a feeling of accomplishment after successfully completing this to the utmost of your ability.
Any employer would rather have your service be as good as you are capable of than having multiple products that all fall below the company’s baseline standard or practice.
3. Keep Everything Organized.
Organization is key.
That's probably a statement that you have heard a lot over the years, but it still rings true. Organization is applicable to many aspects of your workday. Staying organized can be from the mental checklist that we stated previously to the physical workstation you workaround.
It is widely argued that when you are surrounded by disorganization, you start to feel overwhelmed and disorganized just by being within proximity. You should give yourself every chance to be able to stay on task and feel good about staying on task. That's why it's so important to make sure that you keep everything throughout your workday as organized as you possibly can.
4. Remember To Take Your Small Breaks.
It is unrealistic to expect anyone to be going at 110% for 7 to 9 hours straight. Maintaining such a high pace for an extended period of time will lead to an overall decrease in your work product and service due to you being unable to focus as efficiently as you could before. So remember to work in small amounts of time to take an appropriate break.
This can be as small as 5 minutes after every four or five tasks are completed off your checklist. While on these breaks, make sure you are trying to decompress and refocus your mind because overloading it with more stimulus may not reach the desired effect of taking a break.
5. Don’t Keep Your Personal Phone In Reach.
This is a problem that most people run into but typically don't recognize how much of a distraction it genuinely is at work. You may think checking your phone for 5 minutes intermittently throughout the day doesn't provoke too much of a problem, but let's say you check your phone at least 6 times every day for 5 minutes, then that's An entire half-hour each day that you could have spent on task and not falling behind.
It's important to balance this with the small breaks that we mentioned previously. The main difference is that the small breaks are planned for, and during those, you can use your cell phone, and it's acceptable considering that was already more or less built into your schedule. Just checking your phone intermittently throughout the day sets you behind when it's not on those allocated times that you have set for yourself.
6. Split Up Large Tasks.
Splitting up large tasks is important to illustrate your own progress regarding larger tasks on your own checklist.
Let's take a basic example like having to do the dishes. We can separate that out into three smaller actions that we can show our progression through. This can be: cleaning the dishes, then drying the dishes, and then putting the dishes fully away. All of these allow us to see progress.
No matter how small, it functions as a self-encouraging factor to keep you focused and keep you moving towards the end goal of completing the overall task.
It is important to remember that there are certain days when the last thing you will ever want to do is work, and that's completely understandable. So on those days when you find it significantly harder to focus or stay on task, it's highly recommended that you read back over these tips and try to implement them in your daily work life.
The goal of all of these is to assist in eliminating the stress coming from being off task, falling behind, or even feeling overwhelmed from the cyclical cycle of falling behind in feeling like you can't catch up.