If you’ve been feeling like you cannot focus on any one thing because of all the stresses of life piling up, one thing you can take solace in is the fact that you are not alone. Work, naturally, is one of the things that you end up lacking at.
The good news is that there are some simple actions that can help you up your productivity levels and make your work more efficient and satisfying. Productivity experts share 8 of their best tips to follow when you fall behind on work and are feeling overwhelmed.
Ask for Help
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work you have in front of you, there’s nothing wrong in asking for help. Many of us feel like we have to single-handedly be good at everything we do or else it may reflect poorly on us, but that’s not the most efficient way to deal with anything. Ever heard the phrase “jack of all trades but master of none?”
Instead of trying to juggle everything by yourself, ask your co-workers or colleagues to help you out with whatever you feel you cannot deal with on your own. Organize your task from most important to the ones that can wait and get to work. If there is something that you feel like you need more time for, make sure to negotiate a later deadline for it as well.
Take a Break
When you’ve got a mountain of work in front of you that needs to be completed, taking a break is probably the last thing you have on your mind. But it’s a good idea to take yourself away from the chaos in your mind so that you can focus better once you come back.
Having a clear head will help you prioritize the important tasks and give them the attention needed instead of trying to get everything done at once, and therefore, not doing any of them to the best of your ability.
Write it Down
You’ve probably got a mental list of all the things that need to be done, but when there are one too many thoughts in your head, it can all get jumbled and difficult to sort through. A simple solution is to write down all the tasks you have to complete on a piece of paper. Section it off into categories such as “high priority”, “critical”, “additional”, and so on. This way, it is a simple matter of ticking the jobs off one by one when you get through them. Plus, you’ll get to see all your must-dos at one glance and you’ll feel motivated to keep going once you see everything that you’ve already managed to accomplish!
Delegate the Workload
If you find yourself falling behind on work, chances are that you have bitten off more than you can chew. Instead of trying to do a sub-par job on all of them, it would be a far better idea to delegate some of the tasks to others so you can focus on the ones that need your attention the most.
One of the most important things when delegating is to trust the person that you assign the task to do a good job of it. If you are constantly checking up and supervising them, you are not delegating but micromanaging. Seeing as the entire point of delegation is to reduce your workload and not increase it, it wouldn’t be very practical to do so!
Do One Thing at a Time
Being a multi-tasker has always been touted as this super skill, but research has shown that it is actually a productivity killer. In fact, did you know productivity can fall up to 40% when you are so-called “multi-tasking”?
It all makes sense when you think about it. It takes some time for the mind to ease into a task, so how can it function at its full capacity when you keep switching between tasks regularly? There will be a delay each time you change from one job to another before your brain settles into it and this undoubtedly eats into your productivity. That’s why it’s better to give your undivided attention to a certain job and see it through before moving on to the next.
Limit Your Distractions
There are times when you would rather be doing a number of other things than work, and this feeling always seems to hit when you actually have a lot of work to be done. And it doesn’t help that there are an endless list of distractions out there, whether you’re working from home or are at the office!
However, one of the most important ways to get your productivity up is to limit these distractions as much as possible. For starters, find a location where you can focus solely on work, especially while working from home. This could be a home office or a quiet coffee shop, wherever you feel comfortable. You should also put your phone and electronic devices away so that you don’t get tempted by social media and the like.
Part of being a productive worker is to be a worker that is good at communication. You cannot work in a bubble because working with others means that your actions affect them as well, including your work. For instance, if your work involves someone else, your first course of action should be to loop them in. They should be as aware of you of all the critical parts, deadlines, etc. so that they can work alongside you instead of being a step ahead or behind.
And if you feel like you may not get certain jobs done by their deadline, it’s always better to inform the parties involved that you might not be on time. That would be better than making them wait until the last minute and disappointing them!
Calm Your Mind
Having a calm and clear mind is key to being productive at work, but you cannot look for a one-stop solution for this. Calming oneself is a skill that has to be learned through patience and practice over time. Yoga, meditation, and other mindfulness practices are a great ways to help yourself develop a calmer mind. Once you have trained yourself to these practices, you will find yourself better equipped to deal with stressful situations in a manner that is efficient and productive.