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How to get the most out of your working day

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Finishing your day tired and overwhelmed? Stressed or frustrated? How you manage your work day can make a huge difference to how you feel at the end of it. Take on board these tips to help you make the most out of your working day and feel a lot more positive and satisfied at the end of it.

Prioritise

Sometimes it doesn’t matter how well you’ve planned your day, new tasks will always appear. The imporant thing is knowing what needs to be done first, whether it be what you’ve needed to do for a while, or something that has only just come in, but may be more urgent.

Using the ABCDE method can help:

A – tasks that must be done the same day or in the next few hours, or there will be serious consequences
B – tasks that really should be done the same day, or there will be mild consequences
C – tasks that would be good to do today, but no consequences if not
D – tasks that you should delegate
E – tasks that you should eliminate

Make lists

Doing this can really help free your mind of worrying whether or not you’re going to remember everything you need to do. Use this list to help prioritise, too. Note down deadlines next to each task and batch similar tasks together, like small administrative ones. Check off each one once it’s complete, then move systematically to the next. Make the list acheivable and place it somewhere where you can see it!

Have a healthy breakfast

It’s true what they say – breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Think about it logically – why have your largest meal in the evening when you’re (hopefully!) winding down, relaxing and then going to sleep. Is that when you need fuel? It’s so important to have a substantial and healthy meal in the morning to fuel up until lunchtime. This is brain fuel too. Just because you may be sitting at a desk during the day, doesn’t mean that you don’t need energy for concentration. Oats are great. A bowl of porridge with some fruit added is perfect. If you need your caffeine fix too, go for it, but don’t over-do it.

Take breaks

However busy you may be, it’s vital that you take breaks throughout the day. Try to get an hour for lunch, if possible. Have a light but substantial lunch, nothing too heavy which will make you tired in the afternoon, but definitely something that will keep you going. Leave the office, even if it’s for only part of the time. It’s really important to get out of that work head-space for a bit. Clear your mind and you’re more likely to come back invigorated. Take short 15 minute breaks during the morning and afternoon too. If you’re at a desk for most of the day make sure that you get up and stretch your legs now and then, and get your eyes off that screen for a bit.

Eliminate distractions

Get rid of clutter. The fewer bits ‘n’ bobs you have around you, the less you have to distract you. Try not to respond to personal texts and calls unless there’s an emergency. Switch your phone off if you can. Unnecessary email is distracting too. Ask colleagues to please only copy you in on emails that are relevant to you.

Learn how to say no

If you find that unreasonable requests tend to head your way, then it’s time to start saying no. Some of the most successful people are the ones who are really good at saying no. You only have 24 hours in your day. Every time that you say yes to something, it means that something else isn’t getting done.

Find out when you’re most productive

Are you an early bird or a night owl? If you work flexible hours, think about when you’re most productive. If you find that you take a while to get going in the morning, get up a little later and work into the evening instead. If you find yourself lagging by the end of the day, start a bit earlier when you’re more productive and stop when you’ve covered your hours.

Don’t put off the hardest/most boring task

It’s very easy to procrastinate on what you’d rather not do. But the fact of the matter is, there are some tasks, that no matter how boring or difficult they are, must be done. As a kid, in what order did you finish the food on your plate? Wasn’t it so much nicer when you ate what you weren’t so fond of first, and then were able to finish up with what you found the most delicious? The longer you put the harder tasks off for, the longer you spend not looking forward to doing them! You probably won’t be so productive with the other tasks that you’re putting first either, as you’ll have that constant nagging feeling at the back of your mind. Do yourself a favour by getting the worst of it out the way.

 

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