I never take vacations, but went on a sudden trip to the Dominican Republic this past October.
Before getting on the plane, I was having trouble managing tasks and priorities at work. I found it difficult to break it down, divide and conquer each issue. The problem was that every day was different from the next and it seemed impossible to “trim the fat” of confusion to see really required an adjustment. Leaving my element and taking a step back was exactly what I needed and I didn’t even know it.
Fear of this task caused procrastination on this posting, but writing here is helping me get further!
On the island, I was able to see the whole picture and notice the bottom line: I wasn't taking care of myself. No matter how burned out and overwhelmed I felt, I smiled through it and said "yes" to every request thrown at me. I also gave myself an endless to-do list with unattainable goal of getting it all done today. Without consideration of how exhausted I felt, I'd get through my list, even if it was after hours and even if this could have been taken care of in the morning, or next week. Giving myself these hopeless plans, left me looking and feeling like hell. People were beginning to notice.
During the vacation, I paid visits to family I hadn't seen in years, visited tourist attractions and local spots. In between these excursions, I slept well, went to the hair salon, nail salon, and a spa for massages. Since prices were so affordable compared to American prices, I re-cooped in a manner I've never encountered. I reflected on how the women of the Dominican Republic take care of their appearance and prioritize family over working overly long hours. On a weekly basis, you'd find the salons filled with women, beautifying themselves with well rested eyes. I can incorporate a bit of this habit into my life.
As much as people like New York, the state of mind can burn people out. It’s interesting to take a beating and then learn a thing or two from another culture.Time yourself.
Although each workday is different than the last, some tasks repeat each day or week.
1.) Get a notebook or piece of paper and keep it in a top drawer or next to your computer.
2.) Every time you do the specified task, write down how long it took in a notebook or sheet of paper.
3.) The next time, try to beat the last clocked time and keep it up until you’ve reached a satisfactory timing.
Organize your day the night before. As I’ve said in my previous posting, your workday starts the night before. Clear off your desk at the end of every day. Jot down a list of items you want to accomplish the next day and number your top three priorities. Tackle those three priorities before doing other items.
It's ok to say ‘not right now’. Although very similar to the above, this can help keep you away from distraction and focused on priority tasks. Write requests down on a separate sheet and sort into your ‘to-do’ list.
Be realistic about the ‘to-do’ list. Get the urgencies taken care of first. Staying after-hours to prep meeting materials for a meeting can wait until the morning. instead of focusing on the finishline and becoming frustrated, mindfully pay attention and enjoy the task to completion
Tell colleagues you’re going home. This was the biggest help for me. One of my bosses seemed to appreciate when I admitted I was tired or said I had to leave at 6PM. She understood I can finish tasks quickly, with a clear mind, in the morning.
Get at least 8 hours of sleep. While we’ve heard this many times, I haven’t been able to go to bed earlier than 12:30 my whole life. I now go to bed at 10PM Sunday night-Thursday nights. My body, and boss will thank me. More energy=efficient workflow.
Here's an articale that might be helpful:
My boss is taking me more seriously and I've discovered even more "me time".
Do you have time management tips to share? Post them below!