I’ve seen many people whose attitudes are to grind, grind, then grind more. They may have a relentless work ethic and an extreme drive to get things done. It’s almost as if they need to feel like they’ve exhausted themselves in order to feel like they’ve accomplished something. They need to burn the midnight oil all the time. However, I am here to tell you that that is probably not the best way to get things done. You’ll probably end up with poor quality work if you constantly exhaust yourself. In fact, there is a much easier and efficient way to finish your work.
When Are You Most Creative?
Ask yourself this question, “When are you most creative?” For me, it is in the morning after a good night’s sleep, a fulfilling breakfast, and a few sips of coffee. At this time, I have the most mental energy, can think the most clearly, and am the most creative. This is when I write my best material and get the most difficult tasks done at work. Whatever this time is for you, carve it out and reserve the tasks that require the most amount of creativity for this time. Try your best to ignore everything else, especially non-urgent emails and requests. Don’t waste it on Facebook or agonizing over the news. Use it creatively and productively.
After you have determined the right time to expend your creative energy, carve out another chunk of time for mundane, non-urgent tasks. Perhaps it is responding to emails, organizing your folders, or filling out mindless paperwork. These tasks are not as energy intensive and do not require as much focus. Therefore, save them for the time of the day when you don’t have as much mental focus and energy.
It is important to take breaks to recharge. If you have important things that pop up during the day, don’t hesitate to take a short fifteen minute break before tackling an urgent request. Those fifteen minutes are a very short amount of time that can drastically improve the quality of your response. Your natural instinct may be to jump at the task at hand, but taking that extra break may be the best decision you can make.
If you are hungry, eat something healthy. Your body can’t function nearly as well if part of your brain is thinking about how hungry you are. Eat something that will fill your stomach and give you energy without all the sugar.
Focus On One Thing At a Time
Most people tend to multitask. In fact, they can’t help themselves. We’ve been programmed to spread our attention between people, social media, text messages, email, etc. However, when you multitask, you disperse your attention all over the place. You take away your ability to focus deeply on the important things. Therefore, I recommend that you try your best not to multitask. Instead, get one thing done at a time with all your attention and ignore the rest.
The bottom line is, you can do amazing things when you are energized and focused but may not even be able to handle the most mundane tasks when you are mentally exhausted.
For more ways to improve your work performance, check out my post on non-traditional ways to improve work performance.
Professional Development and Personal Finance Blog