Our modern lives run at a faster pace than ever before! It never ends; it never slows down - and we are seeing more and more people suffering from burnout. The HSE reports that in 2018/19 no less than 12.8 million working days were lost due to stress, depression or anxiety.
How many things do you need to achieve in a day?
- Taking the kids to school
- Completing a full day in the office
- Booking that washing machine service
- Cooking dinner (or ordering a pizza if it's one of those days!)
- Remembering to fill up the car
- Face timing your parents
Let's take a step back for a moment, and look at what we can do to be a bit more proactive in our daily lives.
Self-care matters, and getting yourself in a position where you feel calm, organised and in control will make a substantial difference in how you think, and how you work.
Workflows - Why They Get Out of Control
Nobody - including you! - can be productive and deliver your best work when your mind is a ping-pong machine of things to remember.
Then there are those people who seem to achieve more in a given day than there is possibly time for.
Their secret is excellent time management.
We all get the same 24-hours in a day, and how we spend that time determines how well we can manage multiple pressures and obligations.
Here are our top five tips for managing your time well:
1. Audit Your Time
A time audit sounds complicated but is a simple and easy way to understand what you're really doing all day, and where you are spending your time.
For example, you might think you spend about half an hour per day browsing on social media - but what if that time is running away with you, and it's actually double that?
How long do you spend checking emails each day? Is it 20 minutes - or in reality, about two hours?
There are lots of apps you can use to help work this all out - and ideally, you should spend a week tracking your time, and working out where it's all being drained away.
2. Lists, Lists, Lists!
A list is a powerful tool that can help your mind focus clearly on the task at hand. It is tough to be present and concentrate your energy when in the back of your mind you are continuously telling yourself that if you don't pick up that anniversary present on the way home you're going to be in deep trouble.
Writing a list helps you to set priorities, with the 'essentials' at the top, the 'important but not urgent' next, and the 'would like to get done' further down.
Not only does this allow you to decide which tasks throughout your day should matter most, but frees up your mind to focus on what you're doing, safe in the knowledge that you've written it all down.
It's easy to say that planning is essential, less easy to cope when your car breaks down or your lock yourself out. Yes, accidents and disasters do happen, and often throw all of our plans out of the window.
However, they are few and far between, and if you wake up in the morning and have a clear plan to follow you're already setting yourself up for a successful, structured day with a clear set of objectives to achieve.
Try spending ten minutes in the evening jotting down all the things you need to do tomorrow, or in the morning, highlight those that are most urgent. This is also a secret way to get better sleep - relieve your brain from the pressure of trying to remember things, and it will be much easier to switch off!
4. Do the Hard Stuff First
Everybody does this; you have something you don't want to do, and it automatically slides backwards on your list of priorities.
You have the most energy and focus in the morning when you are rested, so crack on with the most challenging tasks first thing, and you will feel more relaxed for the rest of your day, with the problematic jobs out of the way.
The other phenomenon is 'half done' work. This happens where you are distracted, not focused on the task at hand, or get bored doing something and leave a job undone. This is a great way to spend more time on a project than it requires, so allocate your time and stick to it.
You don't have to achieve everything single-handedly, and one of the most powerful ways to cope with a heavy workload is to identify when it simply isn't possible to accomplish all of your tasks in the day.
Talk to your colleagues, decide which objectives to prioritise, and be honest about when expectations exceed your capacity. If you need help with something, see whether you can delegate some of the work to somebody else, or outsource to a professional who can help ease the strain of a massive to-do list.
Time is precious, and getting it firmly under control is the best way to ensure you can juggle your workload and all the other vital tasks that crop up every day, and take it all in your stride.
For assistance with outsourcing any aspect of your financial management, bookkeeping or payroll, contact SAS Accounting today.
Our team of friendly accountancy professionals are on hand to take the stress out of keeping on top of your finances, allowing you the freedom of time to concentrate on the rest of your busy to-do list!