I recently had a client I worked with in the past call needing to figure out why she was feeling so out of sync and becoming disengaged at work. As we talked, I learned her organization had two vacancies that were just filled and she had to train the new personnel. At the same time, two very well performing staff members had took promotions elsewhere in the organization and she had to assume a portion of their workload until new staff was hired, screened and completed orientation; this could take a few months. She was already behind on some paperwork and the added workload was not helping. She had even become very short tempered with close friends and family.
The first thing I asked her to do was to spend time observing how she spent her day. Not to change anything but how does she actually spend her day. What we discovered was she spent a lot of time taking impromptu meetings, spent 90% of her day at her desk, was doing other people’s work and was taking a lot of work home. Needless to say she was exhausted, didn’t see her friends often and found taking care of her dog more as a chore which was something she use to love to do. She was sleeping poorly, did not exercise, etc. Does any of this sound familiar?
Fortunately she was able to recognize something different about herself. So many people are dealing with the increased demands at work and in life. When not handled effectively, it can lead to high levels of stress leading to emotional, mental and physical problems. These problems can manifest in many ways to include changes in behavior such as increased spending (debt), infidelity, loss of job, etc. A simple way to begin to restore balance is to learn how to take control of your day. Here are a few steps you can try to get started.
1. Observe how you are spending your day. How much sleep are you getting? How has your diet changed? Do you spend all day sitting at your desk? Are you willingly and unnecessarily taking on the work of others? Are you spending quality time with friends and family? What are your friends and family saying about you and to you? As you observe your behavior, also be aware of your feelings and emotions throughout the day. Journal what is taking place and ask yourself what can I do differently.
2. Clarify your vision and goals. Take time to review your vision and goals and remember what is truly important, what you truly value you in life. If you have not done so, write them down and review them often. When you’re sure about what you want, then you can diligently work toward those goals.
3. Before going to bed or first thing in the morning write down your daily goals. Be realistic about what you want to accomplish in a day. If you set a goal of completing 20 tasks in a day and you only finish 5 of them, you probably won’t feel very productive. Your goals should be achievable and make sense within the parameters of your life.
4. Create a morning routine. A good morning routine takes a little effort to develop, but the reward is definitely worth it. Include things like eating a healthy breakfast, scheduling some quiet time for prayer or meditation and reviewing your schedule for the day. A morning routine can give you that great start, every day, like clockwork.
5. Use a schedule. No matter what your goal, consistently schedule the time to work toward it. If you don’t keep a calendar now, start. On the schedule include not just work related activities but personal as well. Put your family commitments, vacations, etc. on the calendar and color code them. Statistics show, when you put it on your calendar you are less likely to overbook yourself and more likely to actually make the events. With technology being what it is today, most cell phones have apps for schedulers. Google Calendar is what I use and I love it!
It’s important to learn how to work more efficiently so you have enough time to focus on your regular responsibilities and your future goals too. These are just a few tips to get you started. Try them today and begin to make the most of your day!
If you would like additional tips and strategies for rapid success email Carolyn at email@example.com.
Carolyn R. Owens is a Career Strategist, Leadership and Life Coach and Chairwoman and CEO of Infinity Coaching, Inc.