In today’s world it is easy to feel overwhelmed with never-ending to-do lists. Whether it is for home, work, or school, there is always so much to do and not enough time to do it. Many people get caught thinking that if they can just work a little (or a lot) harder they will catch up and finally complete the endless to-do lists.
But here’s the secret — the list never ends. There is always something to do, a task to complete, or a responsibility to meet. If you are living life there will always be things to do!
Working harder leaves you with less energy, less time, and less enjoyment of work, friends, relationships, and life. Instead use these three tips to guide you in working smarter and not harder:
- Stop multitasking! Research (UCLA Dept. of Psychology and Don’t Multitask) shows that focusing on one thing at a time is more beneficial than multiple tasks at once. Rather than doing two or three things at once pick one, finish it, and move on to the next thing.
- Schedule breaks throughout the day – Spending 10 or 12 hours working on a project is not only exhausting but you will not do your best work. Your brain and body are re-energized when you take breaks to eat, stretch your legs, and go to the bathroom.
- Get help and support – Ask for help when you need it. This may come in the form of sharing the actual workload or it may be soliciting a friend to remind you to take a break for lunch or dinner. You don’t have to do everything on your own!
Following these three simple steps will allow you to be more productive and less overwhelmed while taking good care of yourself. You will then have more space and energy for the things not on your to-do lists, like family, friends, and relationships!
Share your successes and challenges with us. What makes it challenging and what makes it possible to work smarter and not harder?