As a high achiever, you juggle significant responsibilities throughout the day. Despite your best efforts, there will be days when you find yourself distracted by interruptions and handling unexpected issues. As a result, you won’t be working on everything you planned to. Fortunately, you can take steps to turn around your day and get things done. Here are two ways to regroup amid an otherwise unproductive workday.
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Prioritize Your Tasks
Determine which items on your to-do list are most urgent and important. Make a separate list of what needs to be done today, how long each task should take, and what time you will work on it. Set aside your master list to avoid thinking about other responsibilities, feeling overwhelmed, or trying to accomplish too much. If you’ve been putting off a large task, work on it first. You’ll feel less stressed knowing it’s started and getting closer to completion. You’ll also feel energized and motivated to complete the rest of the items on your list. If you feel stressed about tackling a complicated project right away, finish a simple task first, such as cleaning or organizing your desk. This provides the momentum you need to focus on bigger tasks. Or, set a timer for 25 minutes, work on a task, and take a five-minute break when the timer goes off. Repeat four times, then take a longer break. At the end of the day, review what you accomplished, what still needs to be done, and when you will work on it during the week. Realistically scheduling your time helps you stay more focused and less stressed.
Customize Your Ambience
Set up your workspace in ways that help you be productive. Perhaps you need music, a healthy snack, water or tea. Maybe you have to close your office door or move to a conference room or coffee shop to avoid coworker interruptions. Perhaps a walk, meditation, or yoga session to clear your head is in order. Ask a coworker or friend if you can periodically check in to update them on your progress and gain encouragement. Take regular breaks to remain energized. Put off answering personal phone calls, checking personal email, or viewing social media until after work.
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