“I feel absolutely overloaded. No matter what time management strategies I employ, no matter what anyone tells me – I can’t see the end of it and it’s making me feel stressed and anxious.”
Yes it’s a big issue with too many people. Here are six tips for managing overload:
Get your physical environment right
Surprisingly sometimes the way you are set up at work or at home or wherever you work – the environment is not quite right. Get some expert advice on your chair, your screen and their positioning. Maybe you are not getting enough fresh air during your work time, or enough light, or perhaps the temperature is too hot or too cold for best work outcomes. It could even be the colours around you are not ideal for your work.
- Larger computer screen: Helps increase efficiency – enables easier navigation between documents.
- Right chair: Good posture reduces discomfort from prolonged sitting. Right angles for arms for example.
- High performance buildings: Designed to enhance indoor air quality and thermal comfort, and reduce “sick building syndrome” (allergies, respiratory ailments, asthma).
- Temperature affects performance: Optimal performance is supposedly at 22°C. Too hot or too cold has a negative impact on your productivity.
- Natural light impacts our performance: Not great to be away from daylight!
- Use of colour in our environment, and in our work: Some colour can add a positive effect, or muted tones of a colour – not bright colours and not white.
- Font size and type: For some people working with a size 12 sans serif font makes them more relaxed… Whatever the case – work out what is best for you to keep you working effectively.
Get your desk and work habits under control
Clear and organised work space usually makes people more relaxed and calm – as they feel more under control. It helps to stop when you are overloaded, file everything, clear the top of your desk, organise essential reference tools to be within reach and well organised.
- Focus on completing tasks to get a good feeling, rather than doing bits of everything and not completing anything.
- Create rules for streamlining – sucg as e-filing strategies.
- Restrict interruptions when doing concentrated work.
- Study the habits of those who are under control, working efficiently and managing their time effectively.
Make one new time management habit
- Plan the day before you start – this always helps.
- Bunch similar tasks, such as calls to make, then leap through them efficiently, early in the day.
- “Do it now” mentality – tackle the top priorities and get them done.
- Learn to say “no” upfront, not when it becomes obvious you will fail to deliver.
- Compete against yourself – set targets, milestones and rewards.
- Stand up to go, and while standing complete one more quick task.
- Commit to the blocker tasks – like tax returns! Clear backlog tasks bit by bit – focus on completion and satisfaction.
Look after your body
- Stretching. Don’t sit all day. Add variation. Use arms to stretch, hang over a ball.
- Stand while calling, between calls, even while on the phone, every hour.
- Move while you are sitting, in car or at the desk – straighten and slouch – this improves circulation.
- Straightening up and bending backwards – if driving stop every two hours at least and stretch.
- Drink plenty of water (not soft drinks and caffeine). Avoid dehydration. Often people don’t know they are dehydrated yet they are tired, have headaches, and their eyes hurt.
- Exercise – walk to work or walk at lunchtime, try pilates, yoga, gym, tai chi, a team sport – something that gives back energy.
- Don’t kill your neck wearing bifocal glasses at the PC -I have seen so many people tilt their heads up to look at the screen. Get the right glasses for your computer work.
- Set specific times to check email, and filter the junk.
- Manage your inbox.
- Read once and act.
- How to survive email overload – that’s a whole other topic!
Break the 24/7 addiction
- Distinguish between work and private life.
- Time out, more holidays, often revives us, and can even give us a new perspective.
- Avoid a 24/7 approach to work.
- Enjoy quiet time just for you every day – somewhere, somehow – not just in the toilet!
To see the video 6 Ways to Manage Overload… click here.
Eve Ash is a psychologist and co-author of Rewrite Your Life! And co-creator of the DVD 6 Ways to manage Overload (from the TAKE AWAY TRAINING SERIES).Eve is founder of SEVEN DIMENSIONS www.7dimensions.com.au
To see all Eve’s expert advice, click here.
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