At one point or another, we’ve probably all wished that we had more hours in the day. It can often feel tiresome and almost impossible to balance all of the day-to-day tasks that are required of us, from being involved members of our family to key role players at work, and even finding time in the midst of everything to make sure that we’re okay too.
Burnout is a very real struggle—and it’s one that’s been made even more complicated after this year, when our shifts to work primarily at home have blurred the line between our professional and private lives even more. As we transition into the winter season—where the shorter daylight hours will likely only exasperate our desire for more time throughout the day—it’s important to understand not only how burnout happens, but also how we can make decisions to avoid it and reclaim time for the things that actually matter.
For this week’s “Wellness Wednesday” feature, we’re breaking down four ways that you can better invest in yourself, and reclaim your time in the process.
4. Optimize your to-do list.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by everything that you need to accomplish, to-do lists often act as a great, tangible tool that can help us to make sense of exactly what needs to get done. Thinking too much about things in our heads can actually just cause more stress.
And while to-do lists are important, it’s even more imperative that they’re organized in an effective manner too. Start by writing your list the day before. Setting time aside at the end of a work day to simply lay out your strategy for how you will approach the next day, will help you walk into situations more prepared.
Next, it’s important to make sure that you break down your list into action items that have more of a “call to action” than just simply being a task. If your to-do list is made up of 15 different items with no plan of how you can actually get them done, you’ll likely just end up feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated to tackle any of them.
Break down your tasks into action-oriented steps that will feel more digestible and easier to conquer, so that you can ensure you’re maximizing the most of your given time each day.
3. Learn to better delegate tasks.
We’ve been raised in a culture that values competition more than collaboration—and as a result, many people have a hard time asking for help when it’s needed. As much as you might prefer to have things done a certain way—or you fear entrusting other people with large projects—part of being a great leader is knowing your bandwidth as a human being, and understanding that enlisting other people for help will actually strengthen relationships and cultivate a more collaborative culture at your work or home.
There are only so many hours in the day—so don’t be afraid to ask for help. If involving others in your day-to-day tasks helps things run more efficiently at the company and will help you to have more time to focus on the action items that matter, what do you have to lose?
2. Remove distractions.
This is easier said than done—but it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. When we’re distracted by other, unrelated things, it can be tricky to maintain focus and invest our full attention in something. Even if you need to turn the notifications off on your phone or step away from a hectic environment, it’s worth it if it means you will have more time to work on what needs to get done in that moment.
1. Take time for yourself.
And finally, set time aside for yourself each day. It is so important that you give yourself the necessary time to think and feel without distractions from everything else. A huge part of why burnout occurs in the first place is because we prioritize a million other things above our own wellbeing, and by the time we finally get around to thinking about it, the day is already over.
Consider waking up before everyone else in your house to enjoy a quiet breakfast or go for a walk. If you’re looking for a mid-day getaway, consider taking your lunch break outside of the office. Even an hour getaway can be enough to recharge our batteries and get us to think more clearly about what we need in order to accomplish everything on our to-do list.