If you’re in a high stress-working environment, short time limits may make it feel like it’s impossible to get things done. For example, you may feel like it’s pointless to try to accomplish anything during quick breaks in between meeting with clients. However, one of best ways to lower your workday stress level and maximize how well you do your job is how you make full use of your entire day. Here are seven ways to make the best use of those short periods of time you have throughout the day.
Put away your smartphone
While you’re at work, leave Facebook, personal email, text messaging, and everything else turned off. Even if it’s just a quick break, there’s probably a better use for that time. You might just be doing this to give your brain a break, but your time could be spent accomplishing one of the other items listed below.
Check your work e-mail
Checking e-mail in the midst of things can often ruin your productivity because there’s a risk it will suck you in and prevent you from getting other things done. If you check your work e-mail during those brief down times during the day, you make good use of that time as well as ensuring that there’s a definite end to e-mail checking time.
Catch up with a coworker
Many office workers are familiar with the phrase “not working,” which is when workers use networking as an excuse to not do actual work. This is especially pronounced when two coworkers are having a slow day with no pressing needs. Whether you need to talk about a project or just catch up to maintain a good working relationship, consider dropping by when you have something coming up in the near future. It will give you a chance to have a productive conversation, but also a way to ensure you won’t spend so much time with them that it keeps other work from getting done.
Plan the rest of your day or week
Just because you don’t have enough time to check something off your to-do list doesn’t mean you can’t use what time you do have to get you closer to your goal. Sometimes the key to getting through a busy time is through proper planning. Take a few minutes to figure out everything you need to accomplish in the upcoming day or week. Come up with a prioritized to-do list and set aside time for accomplishing each task if you can.
Go for a change of scenery
Sometimes the real obstacle isn’t necessarily the amount of time you have, but that for some reason you’re dragging and not making the best use of your time. If you’re able to, take your work to a different room, a coffee shop, or even a park. The new surroundings will help give you a higher level of focus and let you get more done in a shorter period of time.
Check in on subordinates
If you’re a supervisor, you may find yourself frequently interrupted by subordinates who need guidance before they can continue with their projects. Instead of waiting for them to come to you, use your short down periods to walk around and see how they’re doing. Your proactivity will pay off later in the day when you’re able to have uninterrupted time to work on the project you need to finish before you go home.
Just do one thing
Another big obstacle to getting things done in a short period of time is thinking that you don’t have enough time. Instead of thinking about the project as a whole, think about one small piece you can quickly accomplish. Do this enough times and those late Fridays trying to catch up on work may disappear from your life.
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