Creating an Effective Work Schedule
At work, there’s always so many things to do and so little time. Meetings, emails, projects, proposals, reports, the list is endless. It can get overwhelming if you don’t have proper planning and attempt to complete your work without proper estimation of time needed to complete them. When crafting an effective work schedule, it is important to consider the kind of work that needs to be completed, the amount of energy that needs to be spent working on them, and your own capacity levels. The last thing you want to do is to have so many items on your plate, to the point where you are unable to focus on one task at a time, and you end up unable to complete your work. Or worse, you end up working overtime to complete them because you did not allocate enough time to complete them in the office.
Depending on the nature of your work, your schedule should be tailored according to your needs, and it should not follow the schedules of your colleagues. Here are some tips that you can consider to create an effective work schedule.
Create a List of Tasks to Complete
Monday blues can affect your productivity levels at work. One of the main obstacles that employees commonly face is getting over the feeling of being overwhelmed by the amount of work needed to be completed by the end of the week. A good idea would be to create a list of things that you need to complete even before you start working on them. This can be done at the start of the week, or early in the morning daily. From there, you can rank your tasks in order of priority based on how urgent the task needs to be completed, and the amount of time required to complete a task. By giving yourself some direction on completing your tasks at hand, and organising your time wisely, you might be able to complete your work more quickly.
Placing Health First
Your work schedule should be a reflection of your lifestyle. If you are constantly feeling stressed out, tired, or frustrated at work, you might want to review your work schedule to identify the reason why. It may be because your schedule is packed with things that you need to do, but there is little time allocated for you to rest or take short breaks. It could also be because you attempt to accomplish so many things within a short time period, more than you have the capacity to handle them, and you end up feeling overworked or having to work during weekends because you couldn’t finish them at work. Examining your work schedule can help you to identify whether you are placing your health first, and if you need to make a change in your lifestyle. This could mean setting clear boundaries for yourself between work and play, and striving for work-life balance.
When it comes to putting your health first, it is important to be realistic about the goals that you are setting at work. If you have a long meeting before another long meeting, consider whether you have enough energy to sit in two meetings within the same day. If you are not in the capacity to do so, a good idea would be to reschedule one of the meetings to another day. If all your meetings do need to be held on the same day due to reasons of urgency, you may want to consider factoring in time to rest before you attend the next meeting. A short break in your schedule can help you recover in time and stay focused on the next task that you need to complete. Thus, factoring in rest time in your work schedules and placing your health first will help you to be more productive in the long run.
Allocating Specific Time Slots for Specific Tasks
Allocating time for specific kinds of tasks is crucial in helping you to stay productive. The time that you are required to finish the job can sometimes depend on the nature of the task at hand. For example, if your job scope requires creative work, it would be good to buffer the time required for brainstorming, changes to the creative work, and mental blockage. If you are more productive at brainstorming in the morning, allocating time for that in your schedule also helps you be very aware of what you need to accomplish before noon comes. Creative work also often entails time needed to ideate alone, hence it would be great to let your colleagues know about your schedule so that they will not disrupt your creative thinking process. Without disruptions, you would be able to complete your task on time.
Reward Yourself with Time
Another way to be more productive throughout the day would be to factor in time that you can reward yourself with for all your hard work. In your work schedule, identify the days that you usually have a lot of work on your plate. If you are able to, you can squeeze in time to do things that you enjoy. For example, during lunch, make it a point to leave the office for your favourite cuisine at the cafe across the street, or spend some time buying desserts for yourself to enjoy. You can also allocate some time to do things that you love after work. Going for a run, reading a book, and playing video games are some ways that you can utilise your time for enjoyment. With time reserved for you to reward yourself for the hard work you put in earlier in the day, you would be more motivated to complete your tasks at hand.
Many people underestimate the importance of having an effective work schedule, and end up not having enough time for themselves, their family or friends. Having a schedule that allows you to work productively will help you to improve your performance at work, become more efficient in completing your tasks and frees up time for you to do other things that matter to you. Start working on your schedule today, you’ll see the fruits of working productively!
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