Although the average workweek in the US is 38 hours, it is not uncommon for many to work much more. Even if those extra hours are well compensated, it can easily take a toll on mental and physical health, leaving you unmotivated and sick.
Here are ten tips to cope with those long hours while taking care of yourself.
- Prioritize and make a schedule: having a clear vision of how you’ll be spending your work day, what needs to get done, and how much time will be spent on a task will help you feel at ease about the day ahead. Checking things off a list also helps you feel good about the work being accomplished.
- Automation: take advantage of all the online tools and delivery services to take some of the weight off. Create templates, program automatic responses, etc.
- Track time: keeping track will tell you how much time you really need to finish each individual task and how much time to assign to these tasks in the future, as well as identify “time wasters” and which tasks take up most of your time.
- Avoid distractions: aside from taking needed breaks, doing your best to avoid distractions (social media, your phone, etc.) will keep you on track and you’ll be able to finish earlier. Also identify any time slots that are distraction free and can be taken advantage of.
- Take power naps: everyone knows sleep is crucial for our brains to work efficiently, and many studies show that 20-90 minutes of nap time during the day helps with memorization, creativity, perceptual processing, and alertness.
- Eat enough and nutritious foods: fuel your body and brain with the right stuff to keep you focused and going strong. Remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
- Take breaks: even if it seems counterproductive, taking regular breaks helps you make better decisions, sparks your creativity, helps retain information longer, as well as keeps your focus on long-term goals.
- If commuting, use that time wisely: compile your to-do list for today, or brainstorm ideas and record notes that will help you organize your work better later that day, or catch up on emails.
- Delegate and ask for help: contrary to what is celebrated in society, no one is capable of doing everything perfectly at once.
- Inspire yourself by learning from others: Mary Barra, the first female CEO of General Motors got a job at the company when she was only 18 – her dedication and swift decision-making helped her go from Pontiac parts inspector in 1980 to CEO in 2014. During her career, she has built her reputation by having the habit of arriving at the office first, and still replying to emails as late as 11 p.m.