Learning the art of working

It’s normal to go through burnouts. It happens to writers too; ever heard the phrase ‘writer’s block’? That’s when no inspiration hits, and it involves procrastinating. You’re not alone when you feel like all you do is work hard but the payoff doesn’t seem or feel so good either. For the most part, a lot of people feel the same way. However, it’s important to realize that what’s lacking is your approach to your work – you need to work smarter, not harder.

Here are a few tips on how:

– Walk away
Whenever you feel like your workload is too much to bear or too overwhelming to deal with, take a quick break. Don’t just sit there, crowded behind a computer screen and let the feeling of a headache attacking your head get to you. A pile of tasks to complete on a Monday morning isn’t the way anyone wants their day to begin, but it can be done, if you tackle it the right way. Start slowly and by tackling one task at a time. If this continues to overwhelm you, take another break. Its okay to take breaks to refresh and relax your mind in-between getting your work done. Go outside and grab a couple of breaths of fresh air.

– Eliminate distractions
In today’s day and age, it’s easy to fall prey to simple distractions like your phone buzzing with a hundred notifications from the multiple social media apps you’ve downloaded, or the noise around you or even with having a disorganized workspace. If you’ve got some interesting projects and tasks lined up, that need your fullest attention, then it’s about time you eliminate your distractions. Switch your phone to silent mode for a few hours, ask your colleagues to keep it down in a polite manner and get your workspace cleaned up. There’s no harm in having a phone on silent; you can always respond to the notifications when you take a break. Your colleagues need to be supportive of you. And it’s always a good idea to have a clean desk and space so as to not clutter your mind and concentration.

– Create habits
Make habits out of routine things that need to get done and also boost your ability to work smarter. This can differ from industry to industry but the basics are similar. The moment you come in to work in the morning, make sure to check your email and respond to everyone. Task complete! Next, separate what needs to get done right away and what can be done a little later. Thereafter, tackle the immediate tasks. Take your breaks and then come back to finish what’s left to do. Be in the habit of keeping a clean workspace too. Always return missed phone calls. Small habits like these can change the way you work.

– Let someone else do it
Not every one of us would be brave enough to admit it, but sometimes, it’s okay to let someone else do the job if you are unable to. It doesn’t mean you’re any less better than the other person, but its okay to admit defeat when you know you’ve tried. This saves you a lot of time to work on the tasks that you can handle on the other hand.

– Work when you feel motivated
Nobody is going to get any work done by not feeling motivated. If you aren’t passionate about what you’re currently doing, then you need to re-evaluate a few things in your career journey and make a few changes. If you aren’t going into work feeling challenged and motivated, do something about it instead of moping and wading it out for the wrong reasons. You will produce the best of work and your abilities only when you are motivated; don’t ever forget that.

– Spend time outdoors
A change of scenario is always good for the mind and soul. If you’re constantly stuck in an office and around computer screens and people and walls, the occasional break from work and breath of fresh air won’t hurt. How about you take your work outside for an hour or two? It doesn’t hurt to ask, especially if it allows you to work better and smarter. You’ll find that your mind is refreshed and re-energized after 15 minutes of being outdoors. Imagine what it can do, if you spent an hour or two.

– Communicate regularly
Always let your colleagues and even boss know what you’re doing. Keep them up to date on the progress of your day to day tasks, just so that they know the effort you put in is an actuality. It’s easy to be overseen in a sea of people, but be informative and keep your boss in the loop. That way, even if something goes wrong, they’d already know you’ve made your best attempt at making things right.
**As published in the Ceylon Today Newspaper**

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