Between the year 1970 and 2006, the average number of hours in a working year has increased by 200! Workaholism is increasingly becoming a hard problem to tackle worldwide. Workaholics are voluntarily shrinking their lunch breaks, taking less vacations, not relaxing during vacations, their marriages are suffering, they are more likely to suffer from job-related illness – and despite all this, if you ask, many workaholics at the end of the day will feel that they weren’t able to accomplish as much as they could.
Many get confused between hard work and being addicted to work. You can still achieve a lot of work without putting in those long hours – after all, ‘productive time at work’ should matter more than ‘time in office’ – right?
So here are some simple ways which can help you transform from workaholic to a super productive mindful knowledge worker-
|Challenges||Tactics to Overcome|
|Multi-Tasking||Emails to check, text messages to respond, phone calls to return, reports to prepare, meetings to attend – when the day is flooded with lot of ‘activities’ it is natural to do multiple things at a time and try to finish them early. How about ‘writing an email while making that call’ or ‘getting done with the phone calls while driving’ – it will save time? Wrong. Human brain is not trained to work on two tasks simultaneously. What you are doing here is switching ineffectively and inefficiently between two or more tasks.||Effective multi-tasking is a myth. Period. Take up one item at a time. Whenever you think of multi-tasking – STOP. Focus on just one task at a time and you will be surprised to see that you have finished the task faster, better and with a lot of less stress.|
|Breaks||“There is so much to do during the day that there is no time to take a break...I even prefer having lunch on my desk so that I don’t waste time…” sounds like you? Well, it’s time to think seriously about it. Research has shown that a small 30-second break can increase your productivity up to 13%. Take a break of 15 seconds from staring at your laptop screen every 10 minutes and your fatigue levels will reduce by 50%!||Treat yourself with a 10-15 minute break after you complete an important task in the day. Refresh and rejuvenate your body and mind. Think of doing quick things like grabbing a coffee, checking social media profiles or chatting with colleagues during the break – it is one of the great ways to sustain concentration and energy levels during the day.|
|Medium oDistractions||There is information overload - social networks, text messages, emails, news, updates and constant notifications. It is becoming increasingly difficult to remain focused and concentrate on tasks. An average employee spends 28% of their time dealing with unnecessary interruptions followed by "recovery time" to get back on track. (2009, Basex)||Follow Golden Hours during the work day – these are the hours when you will completely unplug yourself. No messages, no emails, no notifications. Use this time to concentrate and complete the crucial tasks to be done during the day.|
|Discipline||You are so caught up in meetings, emails, errands, personal tasks that it gets overwhelming at the end of the day. You don’t have time even to pursue any hobby or take a lavish lunch break or plan your next vacation.||Follow a routine - having a routine reduces the decision fatigue. Get into a habit of creating an exhaustive to-do list every day (of personal as well as professional tasks), finish off items on the list which take less than 2 minutes, follow Golden Hours, revisit the to-do list frequently and clean it up regularly so that unnecessary items don’t pile up.|
|Meeting Overload||Having to attend too many meetings is one of the biggest time wasters for knowledge workers. Unnecessary meetings are costing $37 Billion Salary cost for U.S. businesses! But, you can’t avoid meetings at a workplace.||Whenever possible, have stand-up meetings (they tend to be shorter), start meetings on time (don’t wait for late comers), don’t allow cell-phones and laptops during meetings, start with a fixed agenda (which is circulated to all meeting attendees in advance). At the end of the meeting, make sure that each agenda item has an action item and a person responsible for it.|
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