This short article is part of the series on time management. You can view the previous article here. I have a particular interest in this subject, as I am sure that time management is crucial for being successful. The desire to achieve greater results is quite understandable, and most people try to work more to get more done. However, this has nothing to do with time management and does not automatically increase one’s productivity. Working too much can lead to frustration and nasty health issues, something which I know from my personal experience. That is why I want to share what I’ve learnt from my mistakes.
There can be several reasons why we can feel frustrated when trying to be more productive.
All work and no play makes Jack a frustrated boy
In other words, our frustration increases when all we do is work. Once I have made a mistake of taking too much work at once due to a terrible misunderstanding. I tried to please everyone, and every day I woke up thinking how I could be more productive than yesterday. I ended up sleeping under 6 hours a day, walking one hour to my office and back – and working through the rest of the day. That went on for over three weeks. I did manage to deliver high quality translation, but at a terrible cost. My beloved family members suffered, because I became irritated and did not devote any time to them. I’ve also developed a nervous tic and had to see a doctor. Thank goodness, I’ve managed to get rid of it, but those blue stains under my eyes stayed there for a long time. So, never again!
Too much effort and no results
In this case frustration stems from the lack of motivation and having to get the work done. This is our bodies and minds virtually screaming and begging for rest.
Lack of energy
Don’t forget about your lunch! We tend to become frustrated when we don’t have enough energy to do the task at hand, so it’s a good idea to have a bite of some healthy food from time to time. This also concerns the lack of sleep – you need to develop healthy sleeping habits.
Sometimes we get stressed over our mistakes. In this case, try to analyze the situation and think of something good you can learn from the experience. This is a great chance to prevent making the same mistakes in the future.
What can be done?
- I’ve shared a number of tips in my article on time management. Feel free to check them out! Good time management skills let you forget about work-related frustration and should increase your productivity.
- Organize your space. And I don’t just mean your working desk. Organize your files, so that you can find everything you need quickly and easily. Don’t be like the Ukrainian tax service, be efficient!
- Create a realistic schedule and stick to it. Of course, we all would love to do as much as possible, but remember about your physical limits. When some daily tasks are left undone, you will feel stressed.
- Regular physical exercises is a must. If you take a pause to exercise in the middle of your working day, your brain gets the much needed rest and is able to recharge quickly.
- If you get to write lots of emails every day, use templates whenever possible. Certainly there are situations when this can be done. You’ll save time and won’t need to get frustrated over the necessity to write the same thing over and over again. On the other hand, there are cases where you might want to put more information into your emails to prevent any unnecessary follow-ups.
- Prioritize your tasks. Do the most important ones first. Or if you don’t feel motivated enough, do a couple of small easy tasks and then move on to the important ones (but don’t make this a habit). This also means that you should remove unimportant tasks from your to-do list. Just cross them out and experience an involuntary sigh of relief. (In fact, I’ve just crossed out mine!) This extends to email subscriptions, podcasts, etc. The idea is simple: don’t waste your time and don’t clutter your mailbox with waste.
- In case you still multitask, please stop. You can always achieve more by doing one thing at a time, because our brains are rarely capable of true multitasking. Moreover, trying to do several tasks at once requires extra efforts on concentration and increases your stress level. If you generally tend to procrastinate a lot, try StayFocusd browser extension to block out the websites you shouldn’t be visiting while working.
- Remember to rest! Use the infamous Pomodoro technique or whatever suits you, because without some rest you are sure to get an extra level of stress.
- If you don’t feel motivated, try to spend half an hour reading a motivational book. When you feel inspired, there is no room for frustration. A positive side effect to motivational books is that you may enter a different state of mind where you can become very productive.
- The most recent thing I’ve tried is mindfulness. I can tell from my experience that it can work marvels. Being present in the moment can help you clear your mind, so that you can concentrate on the task at hand better.
So, these are a few pieces of advice on how to increase your productivity without getting frustrated. I hope you will put them into practice and see the results for yourself. Take care!