We’ve all been on projects where setting the right work pace is an issue. The most common problem is finding a pace that will allow you to get your work done on time. Usually, your work is tied into that of others, so you don’t always get to set your own pace. Getting the right rhythm can be key to a happy off-work life, where you’re not always worrying if you got everything done that you needed to.
If you find that you’re not pacing yourself at work, here are some ideas you might try to get you back on track:
Set aside daily planning time.
We all love to jump in and feel the rush of getting things done. However, sometimes working for work’s sake gets us into more trouble than it’s worth. A little pre-planning can go a long way to making sure you’re not only getting work done, but you’re getting it done in the right order.
Try to get to work earlier than your co-workers.
Having an extra hour at the beginning of the day can allow you to get a lot of one-time tasks done before you need to interface with others. It also helps ease into your day, rather than having to immediately rush in and put out fires. Use this time to remind yourself what you need to get done today. Sometimes, just checking your work email at home before you go to work can do the trick.
Make a list of priorities.
Not surprising coming from a founder of Fellowstream, but keeping a list helps me get through my day. Even if I have 15 minutes of down time, I always have something to do, even if it’s further down on my list. I always make notes as I go when I’m in meetings to see if I need to add to my list, and priortize it appropriately.
Take time for long-term vs. short-term planning.
Most people focus their day on what needs to get done now. Make sure you also schedule some time for long-term goals. That might mean researching for an hour, or chatting with people about something that may not happen for weeks or months. You won’t have the luxury to do this often, but when you do schedule in some long-term planning, it usually eases off fires that arise in the immediate term.
Check in early with your teammates on dependent tasks.
A “dependent task” is one that you need to rely on someone else to do. If you’re in charge of sending out a newsletter, you may need to get art from your graphic designer first. Be sure to let these people know early when you need items from them, and then check back at least a day before it’s due if it doesn’t look like progress is being made. This will help you troubleshoot dependency issues early.
Use the last bit of your day to review what needs to be done tomorrow.
Before you walk out the door, it can help to look over what you plan on doing the next day. This will set your mind at ease that you’re prepared for the future and you can enjoy your non-work hours in relative peace.
If you have any other advice on how to set the right pace, please add it to the list!
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