Have you ever encountered a work day in which you wonder how you’ll get everything done? If you have, you’re not alone. Many of us face days where the number of projects and tasks on our to-do list feels overwhelming.
When you’re faced with a day (or an entire week or month) that seems insurmountable, how should you proceed in tackling each task on your to-do list? Here are a few tips to help you work smarter:
- Determine your most urgent priorities. You may have 50 items on your to-do list, but the best way to attack your projects is to focus on the ones that are most in need of your attention. Too often, we focus on the easy to accomplish tasks and set aside the more difficult ones. This can be problematic if a more difficult task has a due date that is looming. Completing small, less important projects may make you feel some accomplishment, but in the long run, it will not make you feel any less overwhelmed if you continue to put off tasks that will take longer to complete.
- Set realistic timelines for completing your assignments. The most successful people have a realistic timeline in mind when they start a project. If you have a big presentation to do, don’t set yourself up for failure by not establishing an accurate time frame for preparation.
- Keep yourself focused on the task at hand. Once you’ve scheduled your priorities, don’t let your mind wander to the other items on your to-do list. It can be hard not to think of everything else that needs to be done, but staying mindful of the task at hand will lead to fewer mistakes and less stress. If you find your mind wandering, take a moment to refocus your attention on the job in front of you.
- Set aside time to take breaks. This may seem counterintuitive when you have a lot on your plate, but by taking mental breaks throughout the day, you will recharge your focus and reenergize your willpower. Take five minutes to drink a cup of coffee and think about things you enjoy outside of your workday. A few minutes here and there will recharge and refresh your brain and allow you to retain focus on what needs to be done.
Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long by David Rock
Work Smarter, Not Harder: 18 Productivity Tips That Boost Your Work Day Performance by Timo Kiander
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey
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