Some practical strategies for accomplishing more by doing less…

En route to a new dancing experience – contra dancing --- Jeannine and I were talking about practical ways of coping with overwhelming work demands.  Jeannine is teaching 3rd graders online for the first time and there's just a lot to do in August and September to prepare.  While all the HV tools are  helpful in changing lifestyle, sometimes you need some healthy quick fixes. Here's a list of strategies we came up with for coping in the short term with a high work load.

  1. Take the time to nourish yourself.  If I don't have energy, I'm not able to get the work done, and my work isn't the best quality.  To make sure I get exercise, I take walks in the morning before I turn on the computer.  On days when I don't manage to do this, I definitely feel the difference.  Making a date with someone else to walk or go out dancing or something fun is also a good way to make sure you are taking nourishing breaks from work.
  2. Have healthy snacks on hand.  This is particularly important for those days with back-to-back meetings.  Almonds, walnuts, raisins, hummus and washed carrots from the farmers market, almond butter (by the spoonful or on rice cakes), and hard boiled eggs are some basics. 
  3. Set good boundaries. We often expect more of ourselves than other people do.  When someone says to me I'm not working this weekend so I'll work on it Monday, I'm fine with that and it sounds very reasonable.  I've started to mark time in my schedule that is my "unstructured" or free time, and don't schedule meetings or work in those times. I also find it helpful (even though I don't always remember to do this) to set a timer for an hour or so when working at the computer and when it rings taking a break.
  4. Done is good enough. This one came from my friend Holly and it's a great reminder that completing a task is "good enough" which helps to avoid getting caught up in spending more time than is justified on making it "perfect".
  5. Start your day by doing some small non-work task that needs to get done. I have found that when I do something small that needs to get done – reply to a personal email, pay a bill, do the dishes – then when I get to work I feel like I've already accomplished something I needed to do and I'm on track before I've even started!  This gives me a little boost to start my work day.