If you’re a woman and you work, chances are that you put almost everything on the backburner that’s related to fun and self-care because, more often than not, you run out of time.
Although you have a spectacularly busy work and personal life (working, taking care of family, pets, and significant others all while chugging copious amounts of caffeine and trying to not to finally go off the deep end), taking a little time to prepare for and organize your work week can be life changing. It can be the difference between having a breather at the end of every day and time to smell the roses or having only 5 minutes of “you” time which you spend sobbing into a pillow.
You can easily achieve the first option with these easy tips and tricks for a calmer mind and a more specific plan of action for slaying your goals.
1.Create a Morning Routine to Clear Your Mind
Your mornings set the tone for your whole day, so if you’re running around from the moment you get up like a big stress ball, the rest of your day will probably be pretty stressful as well.
Because how you start your day can make or break it, it’s so helpful to have a little “you time” in the mornings to set your day on the right track. Even though it might not be fun at first, try to make it a priority to get up just 20-30 minutes earlier a day. Being in the moment, in your own space, and being present in the morning will absolutely set you on track for the day because not only are you not in a frantic rush, but you also have time to clear your head.
Some awesome morning activities can be as simple as sipping your coffee in the quiet, meditating (there’s tons of free apps to help with your meditation), reading 10 pages of a personal-development book, stretching, or going on a walk.
2. Try Time Blocking Your Calendar
While it may seem like a drag at first, taking just a few minutes at the end of every day to plan your next day will end up being a lifesaver for you.
Planning out what type of tasks you will be doing during your work day by dividing your day into 2-3 hour chunks can be so refreshing. This simple action will help you feel a lot more on track with your goals, causing you to stress less. When you see your game plan laid out to complete tasks at certain times, it will enable you to be in the present and focus on the task at hand and not dwell on what will be next.
Ending your day (or you can also prep your whole work schedule just once a week) by planning ahead will give you work days that flow smoother and where you’re productively flying through the day like a boss.
3. Pick 1-3 Must-Do Activities a Day and Do Those First
According to the Pareto Principle, we get 80% of our results from 20% of our output, which means that very few of the many things that you think you have to do give you outstanding results.
When planning your to-do list, don’t panic when the tasks you need to knock out seem endless. Make sure you know what you want to accomplish ahead of time (instead of deciding on the day of) and write down (just thinking about them doesn’t help) 1-3 vital things that you definitely want to get done that day. Then, do those first.
Sure, attempt to do all of the other tasks on your to-do list, but if you don’t get to them, you’ve already finished the most important results-getting and goal-tackling items of the day! There’s no need for a mental breakdown.
There’s so many great tools to help you and make this easy, including this productivity planner that specifically helps with analyzing and choosing your most important tasks.
4. Batch Your Work to Simplify Tasks
Even if you’ve already time blocked your calendar and already have a few blocks set aside for certain tasks, you can step it up a notch by batching together your similar tasks within those time slots, instead of switching back and forth between different things.
For example, if you’re a freelancer and want to take the time to do outreach to new clients through emails, try researching potential clients all at once, writing up the outreach emails/templates all at once, and then sending the emails all at once instead of jumping back and forth and driving yourself crazy.
This will help you really get into the zone and finish that super repetitive work you’ve been dreading.
5. If You’re Overbooking Your Days, You’re Planning for Frustration
First of all, we’re all guilty of trying to do 50 or so things in one day and planning out a meticulously thought out schedule where every minute is devoted to some perfect plan to be as productive as possible.
Just take a second, and think about this.
By overbooking your schedule, you’re just asking for the not-so-fun end-of-the-day option (remember, our goal is to not end up sobbing into a pillow). By feeling like you need to tackle any and everything that comes to mind like superwoman after 10 coffees, you’ll end up neglecting self-care, both physical and mental, and just ending up really frustrated and burnt out most of the time.
The most simple way to avoid burning out and feeling absolutely drained and awful after a long work day is to just schedule less.
Yes, it’s hard at first, but just try it for a week and see what happens.
6. Schedule Breaks and Remember to Breathe
Schedule breaks! Your mind and body will thank you.
Be realistic about trying to make a schedule with no breathing room and no breaks because life happens - meetings go longer than expected, people are late, traffic exists, and you don’t need to be running non-stop to get lots of important stuff done.
In fact, you will get more done if you have breaks in between what you need to do.
On top of that, if you feel yourself getting extremely irritated, worked-up, or overwhelmed, hit the pause button for a sec - you’re not in a great headspace to be productive.
When stressed, you forget to breathe. Because breathing and productivity go hand in hand, this is a really excellent way to mess up your day if you don’t address it.
Breathing exercises don’t take long at all and are a spectacular way to push the reset button on your day. There's so many great apps to guide you through some breathing exercises.
7. Spice up the Monotony of Your Work Day
If you’re feeling stuck and just can’t seem to focus, try using a timer. The perfect way to break up the monotony of tasks that you really, really don’t want to do is to set a timer for 10-15 minute increments. You’ll move faster knowing that there’s an end in sight. In between the increments, take a quick (timed) break, and then tackle your task again. This is amazing for improving focus.
If a timer just won’t cut it, try bribing yourself! There’s nothing like rewarding yourself at the end of a long day after accomplishing everything you set out to do. Whether it’s allowing yourself to have a much-needed glass of wine or dessert, watching an episode of a favorite tv show, or just relaxing in the bath, give yourself something to look forward to at the end of the day as a reward for staying on track and being awesome.
Simple and yet amazingly satisfying is also just checking tasks off of a list or putting them into a completed folder. Although it’s not as fun as bribing yourself, it works because when your brain recognizes a project or a task as completed, it releases a load of dopamine, giving you a feeling of satisfaction and a boost to go on.
We hope that you try out at least one or two of these methods and that they help keep you on track with your daily tasks and leave you feeling accomplished and happy at the end of your work day.
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