Some days are better than others at work: you’re engaged in what you’re doing, you’re crossing things off your to-do list, and you can’t believe it when 5:00 rolls around. Other days, you feel like nothing is going right, and the hands on the clock are dragging. Here are several tips that will help you pace yourself, organize yourself, and make every day go by smoothly.
- Leave your problems where they belong.
This isn’t always easy to do, but focus on work when you’re at work, and on home when you’re at home. It makes no sense to dwell on things you can’t take care of right now.
- Set small, achievable goals each day.
If you’re trudging through a project and feel like you’re not making any headway, set some milestones for yourself to make sure you’re getting things done at an acceptable, even pace. You’ll feel more accomplished as you reach each goal and, therefore, more motivated to reach the next one.
- Reward yourself.
After you reach each goal, reward yourself. Get up and get a fresh cup of coffee, take a trip to the water cooler, or just step outside for some fresh air. This will recharge you for reaching your next goal. Allow yourself a moment or two to applaud yourself for what you’ve finished.
- Develop camaraderie.
If you don’t have friends at work already, foster some social relationships. If you do, maintain those relationships. You don’t have to be best buddies, but finding common ground with co-workers and sharing a laugh or two can make the day go faster.
- Listen to music.
If you can do so without bothering anyone around you, see if it’s okay to listen to something you like. It will make you more comfortable and happy and help engage your brain–as long as it doesn’t become a distraction.
- Break up your work with a little “you time.”
Even the most focused people will notice the need for a break after every 45 minutes or so of concentrated activity. Once an hour, take a few minutes to check your email, make a quick phone call or look at some pictures of your last vacation–just a few! The object is to give your mind a break.
- Don’t just sit there.
Give your body a break, too. Especially if you’re starting to get bogged down, get up and walk around the office for a few minutes. Changing the scenery can help re-center your thoughts. If walking around the office isn’t quite working, excuse yourself and go for a quick walk outside. Enjoy the weather, clear your head, then get back in there and finish up your work. You’ll feel much better when you return.
- Take notes.
Writing down your activities–and occasionally your thoughts–throughout the day is a great way to keep track of how you spend your time. Schedule five minutes in the morning to write down your plans for the day, then check in at the middle and end of each day to reflect on what you’ve done and what you still need to do. It will help you stay focused on what you have to do, even if you follow steps 6 and 7.