Whether you’re running your own business or leading a team of professionals at the corporate office, you need to have an action plan to get through those busy and stressful workdays without a hitch. A little bit of planning and preparation is all it takes to set yourself up for success on matter what the day ends up calling for. If you’re expecting a high-level performance, you need to take steps to help yourself become more productive and manage your time efficiently. Here are some of the most effective ways to prepare for a better tomorrow:
Work with Lists
You don’t have to be extremely detail-oriented to make to-do lists work for you but when you have several different tasks to manage in any given day, it does help to work with a list. Making a list of tasks can help you visualize what needs to be done so you can prioritize in order of importance. Whether you make this list using pen and paper or type up a list on your computer, the goal is to have everything outlined in front of you so you can tackle the tasks head on. And, this will give you a chance to break up some of those larger tasks into smaller projects so you can work on them on your own schedule or delegate them to other team members easily.
Clean Up the Workspace
Even if you work in a paperless office, you need to keep your desk and workspace organized — including your desktop. Clean up your workspace and file things away at the end of the day so you can mentally remove yourself from the work day. This is a healthy work habit that can reduce some of the stress that stems from mental clutter and disorganization. Even organizing folders and files to close everything out can be enough to help you ‘close out’ the day in preparation for the next.
Be Mindful About Food and Drink Choices
If you’re eating poorly or drinking excessively just to get through the work day, you may find it that much harder to stay focused and productive. Be mindful about the types of foods you eat and refrain from indulging in too much alcohol during the work week. Unhealthy food and alcohol can take their toll on your brain power and ability to perform at your best. Pack your lunches, say ‘no’ to happy hour after work, and eat healthy and nutritious foods that feed your mind and body right to power through your days.
Set Email Boundaries
How many times do you check email in a given day? If you find yourself compulsively checking email throughout the day, you’re distracting yourself from other activities. If you tend to check emails when you are away from the office in hopes of reaching the elusive ‘inbox zero’, you may be compromising your family time and personal time in your attempts to keep up with work. Set boundaries for yourself so you are only checking email during certain times of the day and inform contacts that you can be reached via phone in an event of an emergency or crisis. This way, you won’t always be trying to manage disruptions throughout the day and can focus on one task at a time.
Stick to an Exercise Schedule
Keep your body and mind in great shape to tackle the day’s challenges ahead. Sticking to an exercise schedule will help you focus and is also good for maintaining a high energy level. Commit to a daily routine or weekly schedule so you can stay active — especially important if you are chained to your desk all day. Also keep in mind that vigorous exercise releases endorphins, the feel-good hormone, so you will be in a more positive mood more often than not.
Don’t Compromise on Sleep
Sleep is critical to your health and a lack of sleep will affect your performance. Whether you’re a busy entrepreneur or established corporate executive, you need to get at least 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep every night to perform at your best. Even though it’s tempting to pull late night hours and force yourself to work on less sleep during busier weeks, that lack of sleep will catch up on you. Get on a sleep schedule so your body and mind can get enough rest and you are refreshed and energetic every single day.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or just can’t focus these days, a little bit of planning and preparation can help you get back on a productive track. Use these tips to get your work life in order so you can maximize your work days and perform at your best.