If you commonly find yourself juggling endless to-dos, trying to squeeze every drop of productivity from your day, only to end up feeling burnt out and tired, you’re not alone at all. It’s a common struggle that millions face day to day, but here’s the good news – maximizing your productive time without succumbing to burnout is not just a lofty goal; it’s entirely achievable too.
Sure, the ideal might be a day where you conquer tasks with a sense of purpose, seamlessly transitioning between work and personal life, all while maintaining a healthy dose of focus. But life can be unpredictable, even on its most boring days. You can’t always be full of energy, but you still need to work and focus on your responsibilities.
But how can you achieve that flow state in which you might expand your day-to-day capability to progress more than usual? What if you hope to advance your career while studying at the same time, or work while having a family to look after?
It’s not solely about working harder; it’s about working smarter too. Let’s consider what that might look like:
Prioritizing Tasks Effectively
Sure, you need to prioritize. That’s not entirely a new concept for most people. But how exactly should you prioritize them? What balancing act needs to take place here? Well, tracking your activities can be a great start.
Using apps like Notion or other timeblocking software can help you plan exactly what you’ll do at each time during the day, while also staying as regimented as possible. Time blocks are unique in that you can easily switch them around based on need, and instead of balancing many things at once, you isolate time in which you get to relax and work on a single task, or set of tasks, at once.
This way, you can count your productivity not by how much you get done, but by how much time you invest in a good job, well prioritized. That also means you’re less likely to take a shortcut, while also being better able to gauge how long things will take. This is a fantastic outcome to reach in the long run and does help.
Rejuvenate Your Break Time
You may be surprised, but often taking breaks can be just as effective as anything else. If you can reliably bake-in fifteen-minute breaks into your schedule, then you get to enjoy a refresher even during your most productive moments.
With efforts like “focus sessions” which have been integrated into Windows operating systems, you could also relax and focus on twenty-minute work periods followed by a five-minute break. This allows you to always feel rejuvenated while still spending most of your time working. In the long run, such a focus allows you to avoid burning yourself out, because you’re repeatedly offering yourself a breath.
Setting Realistic Goals
When phrases like “maximizing productive time” come to mind, it’s easy to overshoot what you’re used to. Put simply, you don’t have to be a top 1% elite individual in your industry overnight. If that’s your goal, then it takes a little time to get there. If that’s not your goal, you can still benefit by enjoying balance, too.
Setting realistic goals means generally progressing, in an incremental fashion, how much and what you’re able to do in the long term. Setting realistic goals also allows you to curate a bigger and better ambition over time, which is more important. This is because the incremental steps on the way there become more manageable, and so larger projects, ironically, become something you can handle when you get used to this process.
If You Can, Reflect
Many people think work is about output, and it can be, but that’s not necessarily the case. Of course, that doesn’t mean that your doctor will need to prepare for your appointment with a ten-minute yoga session, but it does mean that for most of us, being able to remain creative means having downtime periods.
This is why some of the greatest authors found inspiration in walking when they could writing their thoughts down in freehand, or simply meditating where possible. If you can do this, then you may be surprised just how your brain and subconscious actively work away at problems in the back of your mind. After all, it’s not just how much work we do as a professional, but the quality we put out, and having the space to reflect is part of that journey.
Of course, such an approach helps you let off steam, which remains an essential part of the alleviating burnout.
Streamlining Work Processes
Many business leaders and managers will try to streamline their approach to managing departments, and you can take the same principle towards how you manage your work in general.
But how does streamlining a business process even work? Well, you can establish a streamlined sequence of operations, eliminating superfluous steps to enhance your efficiency. Specifically, you can adopt project management software to plan your daily tasks.
Streamlining may also mean outsourcing certain necessities such as paying a templated website host to keep your online portfolio attractive and presentable. In some cases, automation means setting up systems to help you, like an out-of-office work email response.
Work On Boundaries
Sometimes, having a boundary between work and personal life can make a massive difference towards being able to focus on multiple efforts at once, such as the example between professional efforts and studying we mentioned above.
In some cases, this can be an actual physical boundary, such as a home office you cultivate and a study space you arrange for separate uses. But you can also turn your work phone off when you’re at home, or decline overtime when you need to work on your own life instead of being at the beck and call at your boss. Even remote work helps. Little things like this really do make a significant approach towards your productive perspective, and help you avoid burning out in an unceremonious fashion.
With this advice, we hope you’re much more likely to maximize your productive time without burnout.