5 Tips to Maximize Your Office Hours (Minus Getting Burned Out)

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Simple yet overlooked tips on getting things done.

1. Make use of calendars and to-do lists.

Others download the Pomodoro app. I’ve tried that before and while it was thrilling for the first couple of tasks, it got old (and lost) on me. While I’m sure that app works well for others, I just wasn’t feeling it. So I coasted through a few (translated: a lot, a LOT of time spent just hunting around) tracking tools that I know will help me in the long run. And guess what? Ironically, I just downloaded a very simple to-do tracking list from this site here and whew! A mixture of relief and awe course through me everytime I click on “Closed” in the Status column.

2. Run a list of your top three priorities for the day.

I find this a very, very useful daily ritual. I do this at the start of my work hours. I skim my to-do list, choose the urgent ones and tackle those first. When one task is too much, I try to finish it by installment. Meaning, I finish about 30 to 40 percent of it first, switch to a couple of other smaller tasks and then get back to it to finish yet another percentage of it, unless I get all fired up and have it completely done. This way, I don’t spend (and waste) hours on just one task. Sometimes, I find that it’s better to get back to a humongous task after a few hours, when I have had some breather.

3. Know when delegation is necessary.

True story, this one. Don’t think you can do everything all at once and actually beat the deadline. Been there, got my ass handed back to me. I suggest that you ask for your co-workers’/teammates’ help on the minor tasks, the easy ones. That way, you can focus on that bear of a task while the others get to work on things that are not too difficult. It’s a win-win situation.

4. Tackle major tasks in bite-sized pieces.

What to do when given a task or project the size of all the galaxies put together? No, you don’t skulk or stall time. It won’t magically go away on its own. It’s a good idea to take a step back, really understand what is expected of this task and then plan your attack around what is necessary and what is wanted from it. Once you’ve wrapped your head around it and you have identified the key points AND you have your plan of attack, go at it for an hour or two. Then take a break. Seriously. Take a break first. After that, throw into the mix your other tasks, whether it is photocopying some legal documents for the boss or clearing out your calendar schedule. Then come back to that major task.

5. Stretch! (Your arms and legs, I mean. Not spreading yourself too thin. We want to avoid burnout!)

YES. Take the time to stand up from your chair, stretch your arms, your legs and heck, even your neck. If allowed, walk around your office. Even better, go take a brisk walk outside. This will not only make your body breathe a sigh of relief. This will also help clear your brain. The next time you come back to the office, you’ll be more refreshed and relaxed.

Simple tips, great rewards. Trust me. It’s better to get things done than be chewed out for poor work quality or sloooow turnaround time.

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