I’ve been enjoying The Cooper Review, the satirical blog of Sarah Cooper that features weekly original articles, videos and cartoons on workplace humor. I happened to catch the above cartoon from a recent medium post called “9 Cartoons To Help You Avoid Any Work.” It really spoke to me about our culture of overwork, especially in the nonprofit sector.
The header to this cartoon in the article is “Be Realistic About Your Productivity Goals.” And, of course, we have all experienced attempting to get a task down and not allocating enough time. It isn’t so much about time management perhaps, as energy or attention management and also being able to prioritize what is really important. How important are all of the 50 things on your to do list?
But if we put this cartoon into a nonprofit workplace setting where is there is collaborative overload (too many meetings and too much email), by Friday afternoon you might feel exhausted, but yet you have some big projects that require concentrated solo thinking that you did not get to during the week. That’s why some we start to think of our weekends (and evenings) as time to work on the tasks that require solo concentration. Work begins to invade our downtime. But, when Sunday rolls around, you have not recovered and are so exhausted that you sleep instead. Monday morning arrives and the cycle continues.
How can you stop it?
Here’s one simple tip: Schedule power hours with yourself.
Block out time on your calendar from 60-120 minutes and take on a particular project that requires high concentration like writing proposals or reports, or creative thinking and planning. Scheduling regular power hours in your calendar in advance each week will keep you from overworking on weekends and evenings. You’ll avoid burnout too. Try to schedule a power hour every day if you can. If scheduling one power per day each week feels impossible, start with just one per week and increase gradually.
Establishing this as a regular work habit will keep you productive, less stressed, and feeling like you are accomplishing something. Here’s a few more tips for nonprofit professionals who want to avoid being overwhelmed at work . What are your tips?