Welcome to the age of the chronically overworked. Here people sleep at desks, work through lunch breaks, and binge on stale coffee and sugar boosts. The days still remain 24-hours long and our office grind never subsides. In the current workforce, employees are expected to work more than 40 hours a week. Despite science-backed research that shows a steep decline in productivity after 40 hours, employers continue to push for more effort, more hours, and more diligence from their employees. So how do you counteract the curse of the overworked? Keep reading to find out our top time management tips for the overworked.
Know When To Say No –
As an employee, you have the right to have your duties clearly outlined before you sign on. If your to do list doesn’t match the responsibilities laid out outlined early on, it is okay to discuss that with your boss. You may be able to delegate some responsibilities to another person on your team or take more time to finish tasks you’re not necessarily familiar with. It is always better to ask for the space and time to do the work right the first time rather than to go in blind. It can be difficult saying no to your boss, so instead of going into their office with a list of problems make sure to also go in with solutions. That way they’ll see that you care about the work and are being proactive about finding a solution.
Take Your Schedule Seriously (even for off time) –
If you are overworked you’re no stranger to the hyper-specific schedule. You schedule everything to the minute, conference calls to coffee breaks making it to your desktop calendar—so use this to your advantage. Schedule breaks and follow them like you would any other meeting or deadline.
Negotiate For Work-life Balance –
Making space in your schedule for work-life balance can be difficult, especially if you are high in the ranks. You may have found that with each promotion you have a little less free-time. A great way to reconcile this is to negotiate for work-life balance. When you’re in for your annual review, take the chance to ask for a late start on Wednesdays so you can workout, or the promise to leave early on Thursdays for your weekly basketball games. Asking for a flexible schedule as a part of your benefit package, even if you have to make up for the time on the other end, will help ensure you’re getting the time you need to take care of yourself and enjoy life.
Find a Team to Trust –
A key to minimizing your workload is by finding people you trust to do the job just as well. If delegating is available to you it’s important to recognize when you need a break, and when someone can help ease your duties. Divvy up responsibilities early so no one is surprised with a crushing to-do list, decide at the beginning of the week, or set up a system deciding who will handle what. That way, at the end of the week, no one is rushing to finish items they can’t complete. Perhaps the hardest part about delegating is letting go of some of your control, overcome this mentally by scheduling your free time with activities you’ve been putting off for awhile.
Find Ways to Unwind –
It’s easy to let work responsibilities extend way past the 5 pm deadline but a separation of work and life is important to easing your workload. On your commute, rather than powering through dozens of email, shut off your cell phone and listen to an audio book or some music. A distinct departure from your day at work will help you use your hours off to truly unwind and recharge. It’s also important to limit your time in front of a screen. Too much time in front of the TV or computer, even if you’re watching endless Seinfeld reruns, will leave you feeling more exhausted than relaxed. Opt instead for walks around the block, drinks or dinner out, game nights or an evening with friends.
What’s your antidote for being overworked? Let us know by commenting below or on our Facebook page. As always stay up to date with all Wishlist news by following us here or on any of the social media outlets.