Look around and you’ll realise you’re not alone. Everyone I speak to tells me they are desperate for a break, It’s been a mammoth year, I’m tired and am guessing that you are too.
Taking a break after every 90 minute work cycle boosts productivity … taking time off at the end of a busy year is vital for your sanity and the efficacy of your business in the long run.
So how do you bring closure when there’s still so much to do?
1. Do a mind-dump:
Take 20 minutes and literally dump down whatever thoughts and actions are swimming around in your brain. Resist using numbers and rather jot or type them one under each other as they come to mind. This will free up some brain space for taking action.
2. Consolidate your list:
Prioritise your list giving each action a 1, 2 or 3. Your 1’s should be the tasks that are high value, think: what on my list will help me bring in money? While you can’t ignore the 2’s and 3’s, you need to start with the 1’s early in the day when your energy levels are higher.
3. Delete, delay, diminish:
- Delete off anything on your list that is not essential. Seriously, if no one is shouting for it and it’s not critical to your business, just cross it off.
- If you are running out of time (and energy), assess what on your list can be delayed for another time. Make a note of this delayed action in your calendar so you don’t forget about it and take it off your action list for now.
- Diminishing a task is about making it smaller (check out point 6 below). Break overwhelming tasks down into smaller projects and save your energy for where it is really needed.
4. Crunch the time container:
Productivity levels peak before taking leave. Simply put, when you crunch the time container, you are left with little choice but to stop procrastinating and get things done. Set the timer, and get going.
5. Tie the knots:
See your tasks as a loose thread, if it doesn’t have a knot tied at the end, chances are it will soon unravel. Studies show that it takes as much as 20 minutes to get back to the same level of focus when you drop a task to hop to another, instead of multitasking, set a timer and work like crazy to bring closure to each item, one by one, on your list.
6. 80% is enough:
I can feel your disapproval but there is logic here that you just need to hear. Give 100% of your attention, energy and time to the tasks that are of high value to you and your business, but realise that for the better part, the many tasks still requiring action on your list are of lower value so devoting anything more than 80% would be wasting your time and therefore not quite as perfect as you’d imagined.
7. Organise your desk:
With your action list under control, clear the clutter on your desk so that when you return from leave you are not confronted with a debilitating mess but rather a productive space and a sense of clarity.
8. Declutter your computer:
So you’d cleared your physical space, your electronic files and folders possibly need a shuffle too. While this is usually the type of project that gets delayed for another time, a desktop declutter could take you all of 5 minutes and might be just what you need to bring closure to your year and clarity to your electronic world.
9. Get out of the office:
Taking a break from your physical office environment is not enough, to really recharge your brain batteries; you want to be able to disengage from work. Switch off … literally.
While you might not be able to do everything before you take a break, congratulate yourself for what you did get done. It’s been a big year, rest well, and come back in 2013 refreshed and renewed.