So I’m heading back to work soon. I’ve had a few interviews so fingers crossed. I’m looking forward to it, but one thing I’m not, is the time side, especially in the afternoons. Don’t you just find the afternoons become this fuzzy mess and you have no idea where time goes, and work piles up and suddenly your productivity plummets? Well there are things you can do to combat this, and make your life just that little bit easier. Here are my top 5 tips to reclaim your afternoon.
Cut back on email.
Emails are an amazing invention but my god do the inboxes fill up fast! Emails come in thick and fast, especially when you’re cc’d on everything and then a conversation chain starts and before you know it 100 emails have come in, in less than 30 minutes and you can’t actually see if anything important is in your inbox.
If it’s not relevant to you, ask to be taken of the cc, and then just get the summary from a colleague if you need it. Also use folders like a boss. Set up rules in your inbox that anything from a certain person, or anything with so and so in the title goes into a certain folder, so those big long chain emails don’t clutter your main inbox. Finally, set back from emails entirely. Block out 3 times per day when you check emails. First thing in the morning, give yourself half an hour to read what’s new and deal with. Then half an hour after lunch, and then around an hour before you leave, check again. If you constantly do it on the fly, you’ll find the day go and only emails answered.
Clear out your schedule.
If you find yourself inundated with meetings, then it’s time to trim the fat. I remember in my old job I actually had back to back meetings all day, most days. Sometimes with only half an hour free where I’d desperately run to grab some coffee. But you know what? I was so unproductive on those days. I’d come away with some much work from those meetings, but not have any time left. Plus let’s be honest, some of those meetings were like, was there a point in me needing to be there?
Look at what you have in the diary. Can someone else from your team attend and update you? Do you really need a meeting, or can you really just discuss over email? Can you postpone to another week? Have a real hard look and be a bit ruthless. But then once you start clearing out time, you have all this time to do your actual work.
Learn to say no.
I have to admit, I’m a people pleaser. I say yes way too much. I think I’m being helpful and will gain brownie points, which yes I may, but as soon as the work piles up and I can’t deliver, I can tell you all those times you’ve been helpful won’t matter now!
Of course you want to be nice to your colleagues, but you have to think of your own work and peace of mind first- because that’s what they are doing. Write down everything you have to do, with a realistic time it’s going to take you. Do you have any free time? Even if you do, keep some for yourself, as unexpected things are bound to crop up.
Take some time out.
It’s important to take some time out during the day to clear your head, recharge and then go back in fighting. 100% make sure you take your lunch away from your desk. I know it’s now the common thing to eat whilst you work, but everyone needs a break, otherwise you’ll become drained and resent what you do.
Also I personally always took 15 minutes to half an hour at around 3/3:30pm to go get a drink and sit down for a few minutes and just relax. At my old office we had a Starbucks in our office (Massive corporation perks!) so I’d always head there.
Now that it is autumn, Starbucks have launched their new warming Teavana range. There is Chai latte and Citrus Green Tea Latte with Macha. Oh boy, is the green tea latte amazing. I’m being so serious, it is delicious! The lemon flavour really burst through, and the macha, which I’m already a fan of, gives it a further sweet, but not overly sugary taste. It’s really warming and just has that comforting factor. I’d highly recommend you try it.
Just take a few moments away from the pressures of work to regather your thoughts over a warming drink, and then head back to face whatever the office troughs at you.
I truly believe having a work life balance is really important. Once work is over, and you leave the office, I do believe in disconnecting and having your own time. It’s so tempting to check your emails once you get home, but I urge you not too. Separate your home life from your work life, and give yourself time off. It’s the same with weekends, unless something super urgent needs to be done, do not open that work laptop. We don’t live to work. So don’t make it your whole life.
This post is sponsored by Starbucks Teavana range, but all words, views and ideas are my own.