This year, I was really looking forward to taking a holiday break and not feel stressed about deadlines, tasks, or the never ending parade of meeting requests and emails. I’m overwhelmed getting back into the daily grind, how about you?
Last week, Aliza Sherman and I published a guest post, “Three Techniques To Avoid Getting Overwhelmed in 2017” on Nancy Schwartz’s Getting Attention Blog, based on some ideas in our book, The Happy Healthy Nonprofit: Strategies for Impact without Burnout. Over the holidays, I did an assessment about how handle a demanding work flow and wanted to share some additional thoughts. The assessment is based on a framework to maintain top performance while sustaining your well being. It uses the four p’s of time management: planning, people, priorities, and being present. My score was 25 out of 30, but I’m always looking to improve.
Yesterday, I shared one big tip for not getting stressed out: Schedule Power Hours. Here are two more tips for productivity routines:
- Daily/Weekly/Monthly/Quarterly Looking Ahead Rituals. I use the technique of Bullet Journals, a hand-written system to manage your to-do lists. My bullet journal also incorporates “looking-ahead” rituals linked to my calendar. I use the looking ahead to see what is coming and make sure there is time in my schedule to accomplish it. I look ahead on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis. The daily look ahead is a five-ten minute morning ritual to identify the top tasks and scheduled meetings for the day – and make sure I’m prepared. I hate the stress of dashing from one meeting to another without prepping for it, so this also reduces stress. My bullet journal allows me to keep tabs on how long particular tasks take me to accomplish, so I have an accurate sense of how much time it will take — and not just raw time, but power hour time. This reality check helps with realistic work flow scheduling which also helps me avoid getting overwhelmed. I’ve also use the looking ahead technique to block out vacations, schedule medical appointments, and family occasions.
- Use Free Time Wisely: Sometimes I find myself with a free hour or half hour in between meetings or tasks or someone reschedules a meeting at the last minute. It is all too easy to use that time to check Facebook or scan Pinterest and fritter it away. Later, we realized we wasted that time. Because I keep a bullet journal, I can always refer back to my lists of tasks that need to done that week. Another idea is to keep list of resilience activities or activities that can help you feel satisfied. For example, this might be a good opportunity to read that great article about a professional topic that you bookmarked but never have time to read. Sometimes I use part of that free time to take a little walk around my desk to reboot my brain.
How do you manage your time so you are productive and not overwhelmed?