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Conquering Stressful and Time-Consuming Work

Tackling procrastination in your personal and career life

            Stressful and time-consuming work can often lead to procrastination which can cause clear negative impact on a person’s comfort and satisfaction. In life, there are many personal habits you can do to improve yourself and diminish the impact of stressful and time-consuming work. Sometimes it can be a small, 5 seconds task that can save hours of hassle later on, or an hour-long task that makes life feels more fulfilling. This 2-part series will look at a variety of habits that you can take today to deal with stress at work and time-consuming tasks to improve your personal life and your career.

Organization

            Itemize: start with a list of 5-7 points and expand on it as time passes. To ensure that you accomplish all of your tasks, determine a set of items to do each day. As time passes and you start to feel that you have been able to accomplish your weekly goals, you can expand the number of items every other day until you reach a personal bottleneck. Be mindful that working at 110% capacity at all times can lead to overwork when emergencies of new key tasks are added to the plate. Not all items have the same level of effort, so take that into account. This will help to create a habit and habits are easier to maintain over a longer period.

            Think of medium and long term goals:  determine a set of goals for both personal and career advancement. Some will start with improving basic administrative work in the office while others may think of keeping their house clean. Figure out what activities and outcomes will be able to additively or multiplicatively add value to your life in the short, medium and long term. Remember to add smaller, manageable tasks to the list, they may seem unnecessary at first, but it can help you feel better for completing a task, it can also add up to something bigger in the future. Building medium to long term goals can be the difference in getting a valuable career certification that can land you that promotion, or learning about that new hobby that you always wished you knew but never put the time to learn. Aim to have a balance between everyday tasks that needs to be accomplished such as laundry and 1-3 hours per week practicing something new or studying for a new certification/ skill for your work.

SMART Goals

            Make your goals SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely):

  • Specific: be sure to not make your goals too general, like “I want to be a millionaire” because frankly, that’s just wishful thinking without clear steps to achieve it. Yes, everyone wants to build wealth, but what are the specific steps that you need to take to achieve? Some can benefit from acquiring a degree, others from better investment and financing decisions.
  • Measurable: attach some kind of measurement to goals (numbers, competition time, etc.) so you can pat yourself on the back. For instance, for the millionaire example, you can start by chasing a 5% increase in your salary coupled with a certification that will allow you to attain a promotion.
  • Attainable: again, on the millionaire example, let’s say you concluded that you needed a degree to reach your goal, can you afford to go to university? Do you have the time and energy to do so? If not, sometimes a compromise would be doing a part-time degree, but for some that would be too long. Sometimes, the compromise would be learning a new skill that is sought after in the workplace like machine learning, data analytics, web design, or trades, which can increase your chances of reaching your targeted goal.
  • Relevant: is your goal relevant to reach your overall goal? For instance, your goal is to become a millionaire, buying the newest cellphone every year might reduce your chances of saving money and achieving your goal.
  • Timely: give yourself a timeline to accomplish your goals, but make sure it’s a realistic timeline. Not too long, not too short. For instance, to learn a new designation, research how long people require on average to study and set up a plan to accomplish it.

Nourish Your Body and Soul

Feed your body and your soul: don’t leave other aspects of your life behind. It is important to be healthy and have some peace of mind now and then.

  • Fitness and diet: of course, you don’t need to be a hardcore fit person, but you can make sure that you can run after your kids for more than 10 minutes or go up the stairs without being out of breath. Know what you are feeding your body, that’s going to ensure that you have enough energy to go on about your day. Sometimes we feel really tired and the last thing we think about is that we are experiencing sugar crash. So, put some time to research a diet that can help you have more energy to achieve your goals. 
  • Peace of mind: there are tasks and environments in which one feels more fulfilled and can in turn lead to better productivity. In COVID-19 times, where work-from-home has become more common, consider keeping the workspace decluttered and clean. Take out the notifications from social media throughout the day to provide valuable uninterrupted time and peace of mind. Set the alarm clock a little earlier to give you some time to mentally prepare for the day. It is key to build habits that enhance one’s quality of life and experience.

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