If you’re anything like the rest of the world, you probably have wasted a little more time at work than you normally would like. Between looking at social media apps, having conversations with coworkers, and answering emails, it can be easy to throw away a few hours at work that you could’ve used to get things done. But instead of beating yourself up over the lackluster workweek, here are eight tips you can incorporate into your daily routine that other successful women usually do to stay on track with their tasks.
1. Organize your work week on Sunday
What you choose to do with your Sunday can sometimes determine how the rest of your week will look. While it’s never a bad idea to enjoy a three-hour brunch with your besties, you could end the day by organizing your work week so you can get ahead of the curve.
Figure out what tasks are most important to complete and what events and meetings you need to attend, then write everything down in your calendar. This simple task will help alleviate the Sunday Scaries by allowing you to envision what the week will look like. You’ll feel more prepared and less overwhelmed the minute you head to work come Monday morning.
2. Use the right tools to help you succeed
Staying on track with your tasks will be a lot easier when you have the right tools to help you propel forward. Instead of scrambling for random pieces of papers on your desk or scrolling between miscellaneous notes on your phone, you can have a few designated places that will keep all your ideas, events, tasks, and meetings all in one spot.
For instance, digital calendars like Asana will help you keep your tasks all in one place, allow you to communicate with your other team members, and notify you when a deadline is approaching. Or go the old-school route and invest in a pretty journal — like this Rifle Paper Co. one — that will allow you to write all your random ideas down while organizing your day-to-day tasks. Whatever you prefer, make sure you incorporate these items into your everyday work routine so you continue to keep organized and stay ahead of your deadlines.
3. Take breaks throughout the day
No matter how much work you have ahead of you, it’s imperative that you take breaks. Not only will taking breaks allow you to look away from the computer screen, but it’ll also allow your brain to recharge and prevent you from burning out.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should close your laptop and look on your phone — doing this will only make you more exhausted and keep you distracted. Instead, do things that will force your mind to dump any stress you may be feeling. Meditation, taking a walk outside, talking to a friend, or even mindfully eating a healthy snack without any distractions are all great ways to recenter yourself. Just make sure to not lose track of time with your break — eventually, you do need to come back to work.
4. Start working on your hardest tasks first
As exhausting as this might sound, ideally, you want to begin working on your hardest task so you can just get it over and done with. Avoiding completing it will only make you anxious and prolong the thing you ultimately have to complete — no matter how much you wish for it to just disappear.
However, instead of dreading the inevitable task, think of a way that’ll entice you to complete it. Treat yourself to a 30-minute show if you work from home, or reward yourself with a guilt-free Instagram scroll for 15 minutes. These little treats might not seem like a lot, but they could switch your outlook when you need to complete a task that’s impossible to ignore.
5. Check your email strategically
Trying to get your inbox to zero is like trying to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a tug boat. You’re not really going to get anywhere, and it’s going to feel like it’s never going to end. Instead of trying to answer every email that comes into your inbox at the exact moment it comes through, schedule a time slot once or twice a day for you to check it so you can put your attention on more important things that need to be completed so you don’t lose focus.
6. Manage your workspace
It can be easy to get distracted when your workspace isn’t the oasis you know that it can be. Decluttering your space and incorporating things that will only bump your productivity could give you the boost you need to stay on track with your work.
When you’re at your desk, try to put your phone away, add a few plants and candles to give your desk some zen vibes, and incorporate a few pictures or side-desk objects that’ll instantly make you smile. When you’re surrounded by things that make you happy, it can be easier for you to look at the positive of your work situation and give you the intention you seek to push through even the toughest task.
7. Know when to stop working on a project
One of the best and worst qualities that a successful woman may have is not knowing when to end a project. She may want to continue to work on it until it’s absolutely perfect, but honestly, that day may never come. Perfection doesn’t exist, and instead of trying to spend those couple of hours beating yourself up, trying to make the project “perfect,” you could be putting that time into getting ahead of the rest of your workload instead.
8. Put yourself first
As scary as it may sound, you won’t be able to succeed and stay on track with your work if you don’t take care of yourself. Period. When you put yourself first, you’re giving yourself the permission to be in charge of your work-life balance. Work will and should always come second to your physical and mental health. Think about it: you won’t be able to complete everything that you want to and stay on track with your schedule if you’re feeling sick or burnt out.
All you need to do is give yourself some lovin’ at least once a day. This could mean cooking yourself a delicious meal, going to that yoga class, or eating that drool-worthy ice cream sandwich that’s been sitting in your fridge and writing in your journal. When you put yourself first, you’re able to evoke that happiness you feel to everything else in your life — including your work.