By: Jane Shersher, LSW & Founder of Ava Today
Tips on How to Save Time Throughout Your Workday/School Day
Let’s just skip the intro and get right to it, since you’re looking to save time and all…
Infuse proper nutrition, exercise, and sleep into each day
I cannot stress this enough. If you take care of your body, you are already half way through the battle. Do you really think you are at your best level of productivity if you are running on 4 hours of sleep or ate a hotdog for lunch? People who go to bed early and wake up early to have a quick workout and a power super-food smoothie get so much more done on average. Fuel your body and it will fuel your mind, which will power your ability to get that work done faster and better during the day. Even a 10 minute workout in the morning or in the middle of the day (or both) can be game changers in terms of getting things accomplished more efficiently.
Know your strengths & weaknesses
Delegate whenever you can! Use technology tools like “youcanbookme” to help take the mundane responsibilities off of your daily plate. Ask your coworkers to take up the occasional surprise if one of them is supposed to work a later shift than you rather than just staying later after work. Empower your clients by not just handling every responsibility yourself- Ask them to engage by doing relevant work which brings them closer to their goals as well. Talk to your boss about adding more of your strengths to your plate and delegating your weaknesses to other employees who may excel at your weak-side tasks. This way the work gets accomplished more efficiently and both you and your coworkers are happy. Be strategic about these tasks, know when to accomplish a task that day and when a task can wait. Plan ahead by setting priorities and staying organized in order to anticipate when obstacles will come your way.
Always Seek New knowledge
Read for both personal and professional development! If you aren’t growing you’re plateauing and that will eventually lead to burnout and unnecessary resentment. Podcasts and Audio book tools like Audible count as reading and can help you to multi-task while you are cooking or cleaning your home.
This is an incredibly crucial personality trait. It will help you to attain daily satisfaction and minimize friction amongst people that can serve as a support to you when you need it most. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t prioritize or stick to the principals that are needed in order to maintain your daily schedule (which is best executed when planned out in advance while also being true to healthy boundaries- think every morning for daily strategy and every week for monthly task reviews as well as being able to say “no” when you need to). Being flexible should not keep you from setting clear and challenging goals that have to do with your vision, it should help you to attain those goals most efficiently because you will be able to accomplish tasks that involved working with others and managing your frustration when things don’t go as planned by being resourceful instead of combative. Keep in mind here that taking informed risk (making knowledgeable choices based in solid research and thought process), not just any risk, is also critical.
Use the Pomodoro technique whenever you an
Our brain has a limited amount of focused attention span that can be capitalized upon at a given point in time. That chunk of time usually includes 20 minutes. Pomodoro helps users to visualize how much time is remaining from a 20 minute task and provides you with a set time in which to accomplish a task- this usually helps people to focus and afterwards plan a 5 minute break before moving on to the next 20 task.
Wake up early & meditate whenever you can!
Starting your day intentionally will help you to focus on what is important to accomplish as the day progresses and what can be outsourced, delegated, or eliminated from your to do’s list. When you are clear-thinking internally because you know what your personal objectives are and the incentives for doing what you do, then the process of accomplishing the work is more purposeful and meaningful, which helps us humans accomplish most tasks more effectively.
Invest socially in your community
It’s your biggest safety net! When things go wrong you want to be able to rely on the people around you to help out. Community counts for productivity. We humans require that social support to reinforce our efficacy, sense of belonging, feeling secure, and aware of our place in this world. Without that orientation, we would not only be less productive, but we would be lost. You can’t spend all of your time socializing however, so take a calculated effort with this step and approach groups thoughtfully with plans on achieving certain personal or professional tasks.
Pursue your passion regularly
Being Passionate is important. Driven people are often able to retain a forward momentum that helps them to achieve their goals… it is critical to ask yourself- “why am I doing what I am doing?” on a regular basis and engage in tasks that don’t always feel like work but rather fuel your fire.
Keep your goals clear & be respectful of other people’s goals
Your coworker’s need for productivity is likely related or equivalent to yours. Whenever you can, maintain a healthy balance between keeping true to your boundaries and respecting theirs in order to retain a consistency that can be predictable and therefore reliable.
Stop for 3 minutes to focus on your pattern of breathing–
Take conscious deep breaths in and out and keep a solid spinal sitting and standing posture whenever you can. An idea: you can set a reminder to check in on yourself every two hours are up and then take a minute to run up a flight of stairs or stretch your body… that will get your blood deoxygenated and your body pulsing with new energy. That’s way healthier than energy drinks which make you crash and effect the quality of your sleep and overall health.
Sometimes saying “no” will help you to get to your goals faster…
“No” is a crucial word in regards to social workers who don’t like to use it. Saying “No” is just as important for your growth as “yes”, maybe even more important. Make decisions that will help you to avoid stress (which is really just a productivity trap). Set priorities to support people that lead to your safety net or who really need your attention, but also get used to saying “no” a little more often because if you can’t help yourself, you can’t help anyone else either.
So to sum up, surround yourself with a supportive office workplace, be a part of the interpersonal growth, interact with your colleagues in a constructive manner, don’t overextend yourself, utilize technology to your advantage, and take care of your physical and mental health. Good Luck!
Callinan, A. (2015, June 9). Make Your Life Better By Saying ‘No’ More Often in These 3 Areas. Entrepreneur. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/247111