This mistake is causing you stress at work. You walk into the office, take off your coat, grab a cup of coffee, and sit in front of your computer. The first thing you do is look at your calendar. What do you see on your calendar? Is it full of meetings you’ve scheduled and set-up to maximize your productivity for the day? Probably not. Your calendar is probably full of meetings others scheduled and planned. This post contains affiliate links.
Not Controlling Your Calendar Is Causing You Stress At Work
When your calendar is full of meetings mostly scheduled by others, then you are in reactive mode majority of your day. You are reacting to the needs of others and focusing on the projects they are working on rather than ensuring your projects and initiatives are your first priority. You may be allowing others to use up your most productive time. You may have meetings scattered throughout the day with small breaks in between which don’t allow time for you to focus on your projects reducing your productivity and focus. You aren’t in control of your day and that causes feelings of stress at work. Read below to learn how you can reverse the way you are currently getting through the day at work and reduce feeling stress at work.
Use Time Blocking To Plan Your Time Efficiently
Time blocking is an approach to get control of your calendar and reducing your stress at work. The concept of time blocking is to set-up a few blocks of time on your calendar to focus on your most important priorities. By pro-actively blocking this time on your calendar, you are able to set aside time to focus on your priorities during the times you are most focused and productive.
Find One Hour For Your Most Important Priorities
Many time management experts such as Brian Tracy will recommend the very first hour of your day is blocked to focus on your most important priorities. In his book Eat That Frog, he encourages readers to focus the first hour of every day to an hour of learning and becoming the expert in your field. Focusing the first hour of the day on your most important priorities ensures you accomplish your tasks for the day before you are reacting to and meeting the needs of others. You might consider arriving to work an hour early or even spending an hour at home prior to leaving for work to ensure nothing interferes with you having that hour.
Block Time To Read And Respond To Email
In a typical day, you are in a meeting while reading email, responding to instant messages, texts, and having side conversations with other attendees. The research proves multi-tasking doesn’t make us more productive, but significantly less. To prove my point, how many times are you in a meeting and you realize the other attendees are waiting for your thoughts or opinion on a topic and you weren’t listening?
Setting time aside a few times per day to focus on email will improve your productivity and reduce your stress at work. Turn off the notifications on your email and allow yourself to focus on the meeting you are attending or the project you are working on.
Block Time To Take A Break
Are you working through your lunches? Many of us are. In order to be productive and have the ability to focus on our projects, you need to make taking a lunch break a priority. If you don’t, you most likely will find you wander more often. Notice when you check the news, Facebook, job postings, etc. and see if it might be because you thought you didn’t have time to take a break.
Time blocking and taking control of your calendar will help you to reduce stress, increase productivity, and feel more in control of your workload. However, you also must be flexible. This approach isn’t perfect. Obviously your boss or large functional project meetings will probably overlook your schedule and schedule meetings at the time most convenient for them or the team. Cal Newport, author of Deep Work, has a great quote to keep in mind “Your goal is not to stick to a given schedule at all costs; it’s instead to maintain, at all times, a thoughtful say in what you’re doing with your time going forward—even”