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Do you know the feeling? September is almost halfway. Summer holidays seem to have occurred in a distant past. You are more or less drowning in your work already. Old commitments are still waiting on your desk to be picked up. Your family is complaining they don’t see enough of you in spite of your good intentions. It feels like everyone is pulling at you. Every bit of spare energy you’ve been building up during your holidays has already been used up.
Or on the contrary. You are still in holiday modus. Not productive at all. So many thoughts, ideas and To do’s in your head but you can’t seem to get anything done. The weight of your responsibilities is piling up on your shoulders.
Two different scenarios. One conclusion: you find yourself stressed-out and frustrated. And that’s without thinking about how we’ll be entering the final quarter of 2015 soon. You urgently need to establish a better rhythm. Private and/or professional.
Whether you are struggling to get any work done, or feeling overwhelmed and working like a dog, here are four basic ideas that can help you find your most productive (and happy) rhythm:
1. Schedule your time based on your internal rhythm and personality
Call it an internal rhythm, natural, biological or circadian. Truth is we all have different preferences when it comes down to organizing our day. I am an evening person, although I love working out in the morning when my mind is still rebooting. But above all, I’m not the organized type. My productivity level has many ups and downs. A pattern that is mostly depending on the status and pressure of my current deadline. And although I understand that not everybody has the liberty to leave the 9-5 completely behind, schedule your hardest work when your energy level is at it’s best and insert daily breaks with no should or must do’s when it’s not. None!
2. Take care of your body
Since a few months I’ve discovered the positive impact of eating healthy and regularly on my energy level and overall productivity. And probably the best investment of time I have made was making time for regular exercise. My biggest challenge: fitting more sleep into my daily routine. When I’m working late (at my highest productivity level) I tend to lose track of time and make it impossible for myself to get enough sleeping hours. When I was younger, it didn’t bother me as much. Now it does. With negative impact on my next day productivity. But whatever your challenge is, know that it’s worth the effort. There’s a 100% correlation. Take care of your physical body and you will feel the difference.
3. Stick to your goals
No matter how well organized you may be, since we’re not living and working in a vacuum, we can’t plan everything upfront. We can’t always say “no” either. And sometimes the thing your environment needs from you is not what you had in mind for today. That’s why it is important to have a clear view on what your overall priorities are. Whether they are personal or professional. Keep your end-goal in mind and take time to reassess your progress. If you’re no longer on track, decide what needs to be done. If your goals seem unreachable, break them down into small manageable steps. And don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments.
4. Be fully present in the NOW
This has become one of my favourites. Don’t frustrate yourself with what has happened, might happen or undoubtedly will happen. Focus all of your energy on being right where you are. Laugh more. Enjoy more. See the beauty in everything and be grateful. And if you don’t like where you are, step up and make a change. You àre the CEO of your own work and life. To read more on this topic see one of my previous posts: This is it. You are already there.
Take a look at the checklist below and see where your challenges might be.
And please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts!
☐ I am aware of my energy level during the day
☐ I schedule my hardest work when my energy level is at it’s best
☐ I am organized or can accept that I am not
☐ I insert daily breaks with no should or must do’s
☐ I eat healthy and regularly
☐ I make time for working out
☐ I fit enough sleep into my daily routine
☐ I have a clear view on my overall priorities
☐ I take time to reassess my progress
☐ I adjust my plan when needed
☐ I celebrate my accomplishments
☐ I am fully present in the NOW
☐ I am grateful
About the author
Sofie Varrewaere is the founder of BigFish4.me. After studying a Master in Psychological and Pedagogical Sciences, she ogled into the magical world of Recruitment, Selection and HR Services. Working for the world leader in HR, she has always been in an advisory role in relation to the larger goals of several multinational organizations. In 2013 she started her own company in International executive Coaching. Doing what she is good at, challenging others as well as herself.