So it’s the middle of the day and while you’ve been running around like a busy bee, it seems like nothing is actually getting done. Tasks are only half way there, you’re jumping from one thing to another and then there are the interruptions, the distractions (aka, notifications on your phone). While your day has been super busy, it probably hasn’t been the most productive and now the dread of not being able to complete what you had planned starts eating you up inside. We’ve all been there but there is a way to avoid a day like this. Here are five steps that help me get through my busy days:
Step 1: Breathe
It sounds so obvious but it’s amazing how often we forget to breathe when we’re frantic. Take a step back and take a deep breath. Just a couple of deep breaths will help your brain refocus and recharge to get you back on track.
Step 2: Make your top 3
You may have a zillion things to do but start with writing down your top 3. By writing them down, you’re automatically prioritising and making space for what’s important. Plus it’s something to focus on when distractions try to creep in.
Step 3: Turn off distractions
Yes, turn them all off – your email alerts, phone notifications, online messengers. I know it can seem super hard in our FOMO world, but trust me, that cat video with 3 million views that your friend tagged you in, can wait. If you feel you may miss out on something urgent, maybe just leave your phone on for calls only. If you’re working in a shared space, try putting headphones on to listen to your favourite beat as you work while also draining out the background noise. If you continuously have people visit your desk or office, maybe politely request them to come back after some time. By shutting off as many distractions as possible, you’re giving yourself the best chance to cross those important priorities off your list.
Step 4: Focus on one thing at a time
We love throwing around the word multitasking, but let’s face it, often multitasking is less about getting multiple tasks done at the same time, and more about just jumping from task to task. I’ve always found that by giving your undivided attention to one priority at a time, you’re more likely to complete it at a superior quality and in less time. Give yourself the focus the task deserves and you’ll definitely be thankful later that you did.
Step 5: Treat yourself
This is my favourite step! Now that you’ve completed your urgent priorities, treat yourself. Maybe it’s a piece of chocolate with a cup of tea once the work is done, or maybe it’s a walk by yourself to clear your head or if you’ve been working on something major, then maybe it’s rewarding yourself with a spot of shopping. It can be whatever you choose. By taking the time to acknowledge what you’ve achieved, you can remember how it feels for next time.
I hope these five steps will help you as much as they help me and may we all beat the curse of “too much to do”.