How to Have More Time For Yourself

January 14, 2022
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Image credit: Thought Catalog

Five tips to having a more efficient work day

The daily hustle of getting more done tends to get us into habits of overworking, which leads to burnout at work and, in some cases, at home. According to the Mayo Clinic, job burnout is a type of work-related stress that can affect your mental and physical health. As reported in the Straits Times, the 2021 Work Trend Index found that “About one in two workers, or 49 per cent, feels exhausted, while 58 per cent feel overworked, according to an online poll in January of more than 1,000 workers here (Singapore).”  It’s a state of mind that should be avoided if at all possible.

Though work is a big part of our lives, we don’t need to be consumed by our jobs. It’s important to remember that “me” time goes a long way in boosting your morale and approach at work. Luckily, there are ways to carve out time for yourself while maintaining your productivity throughout the week. Try using these five tips to help you get more done in less time so you have better quality time to yourself outside of work.  

1. Get Organized

It seems like a no-brainer that organization will help you get more done in an efficient manner, but it needs to be said. Getting organized will help you get a good look at your long-term and short-term goals, as well as your daily tasks. You can do this by taking a few minutes before you set out on your day to prioritize projects and make a plan for how you’ll accomplish your goals. Whether you’re using a notebook, planner, color-coordinated sticky notes, or highlighters, this will help you reduce clutter in your day and your mind. Don’t forget to schedule time to eat, as well as short breaks throughout the day to refocus and re-energize yourself.

2. Reduce Distractions

Whether you’re working from home, in the office, or at a coffee shop, distractions are always looming on your phone, computer, or just a friendly conversation with a coworker. If at all possible, give yourself periods of uninterrupted time to focus on what you’re doing. That means no emails, scrolling through social media, or making unnecessary text messages or phone calls. Look at your workday and see where you can dedicate time to complete a task or project from start to finish, then put yourself in a “do not disturb” mode. You’ll get a consistent workflow going and that great sense of pride when you’ve crossed it off your list. With a more efficient workday, you’ll likely find you accomplish your tasks with time to spare and spend on yourself.

3. The One-Minute Rule

A recent Forbes article suggests a one-minute rule for some tasks. It suggests that you take a step back and look at your workload for the day. If something can be done in a minute or less, then do it right away. “You will quickly come to realize that you spend more time thinking about what you need to do rather than actually doing it. You will be shocked by how much “extra” time you find in your schedule by applying the one-minute rule,” the article says. So look at that to-do list you made for the day and see if you can knock a couple emails off the list with some quick replies. Those minutes will add up at the end of your day — and you can use them on yourself rather than wordy responses.

4. Cutback on Multitasking

If you’re a 24/7 hard worker, you may cringe at the idea of not juggling three things at once, but multitasking can actually hinder your overall performance. As noted in a CNN Business article, “there’s a difference between being busy and being productive.” When you’re multitasking too much, you aren’t always giving the necessary attention to your work. This can result in missed deadlines, forgotten details, and added stress trying to make up for your divided time. It’s best to devote your attention to one job and get it done the right way. By doing this, you’ve left little room for error and possibly freed up more time to take another glance at your work to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward. 

5. Relax, Recenter, Refocus

All of these tips are intended to help you find an efficient stride in your work day — not make time for more work. You’ve put a lot of time into restructuring your workflow and managing your tasks, so reward yourself with a little downtime and head to the coffee shop or have a healthy snack to let yourself relax, recenter, and refocus. Think about it as giving your mind some quality time so that when you return to your work station, the hours you put in are fulfilling and productive.