Perhaps you know someone who has two speeds – “On” and “Off.”
Maybe this even applies to you, or perhaps your work is so stressful your speeds are “On” and “More on.”
My personal work speeds seem to range between “On” and “Off-base,” and I’ve found the following tips helpful in improving my pace:
On Your Toes – Business experts have studied goal setting for years, and the general consensus is that the most effective goals are attainable, but require a stretch. Give yourself goals you know you can reach, if you try.
Divide It Up – Set goals for varying time frames. You don’t have to plan every minute or even every hour, but it is good to have an idea of what you want to accomplish in the long, medium and short term. When you take a long-term goal, determine how to achieve it by completing certain tasks in the medium term and then figure out how to accomplish those tasks by doing specific things in the here and now. By doing so, you’ve simplified the process of pacing yourself. The steps you’ve gone through will tell you right away which activities you need to tackle first, and that will help you allocate your time and energy effectively.
Keep It Going – Long-term goals do more than focus your attention – they remind you that you’re in this for the long haul. As any runner would tell you, the best way to go the distance is to find a pace you can sustain over time. Even college students can’t keep up their cramming habits for much longer than finals week, so don’t think you can build a career out of burning the candle at both ends. A steady pace might not feel terribly exciting, but it beats crashing and burning.
Don’t Kid Yourself – Be realistic when you estimate how long it takes you to do things. Sometimes I can make it from my house to the gym in 5 minutes, but that only happens when I get lucky with all the traffic lights. Just as it doesn’t make sense to plan your workouts based on perfect conditions, it’s not practical to do that at work, either.
Breaking Allowed – Even if you’re working at a sustainable pace, you can’t do it forever. It’s not good for your back, eyes and wrists, not to mention your brain. Schedule breaks throughout your day when you get up and move around, to clear your head and get your blood flowing. Make sure you’re conscientious and conscious about taking breaks. They are important, but you don’t want to sort of slack off and claim you’re doing the right thing by taking a breather.
Try following these tips for a month or so, and see what happens to your productivity.
by Danielle Dresden