Always Feeling One Step Behind? Get Caught Up At Work!


Do you constantly feel the pressures of deadlines, disorganization, and playing catch-up at work? Are you stressed over the never-ending pile of papers on your desk? Because finding enjoyment in work while feeling overwhelmed is no easy feat, take the following tips to heart when getting caught up at work.

Written To-Do Lists
To-do lists are an excellent way to keep track of what you've accomplished and what needs your attention. There are several different programs offered on email, websites, and smartphones that allow you to create structured task lists that many individuals find extremely useful. However, consider hand writing your to-do list as a way to further focus on your tasks. Having a written list will force you to consider what needs attention and also what takes top priority. Studies show that handwritten notes actually help us remember key facts, which is imperative in the business world. Another perk of written tasks is the fact that you'll have your list with you wherever you go; you'll no longer be able to blame computer glitches, a dying phone battery, or forgetting your password for neglecting your to-do list.

Master Your Email
Don't let email control you. Proactively dealing with email will allow you to spend less time organizing your inbox and more time on actual work. When it comes to email and other communications, look over it and decide what to do with it right away: archive, respond, flag for follow-up, delete, etc. Regardless of how you process communications, just make sure you deal with them once rather than looking at them multiple times throughout the day. And remember, once a task or project is complete it's okay to delete or archive emails. If you have emails from three years ago in your inbox, it's probably a good idea to delete them.

Get Organized
In a recent survey conducted by Express Employment Professionals, 51% of business leaders who responded said they lose up to nine hours a week due to desk or office clutter. If chronic disorganization is taking a toll on your productivity, there is no better time to address the issue than now! Schedule time in your day to clean your desk, file papers, and take care of any other clutter in your office. Although it may seem silly to take time away from work to clean, consider how much of your time - and your company´┐Żs money - you will save in the future if you know exactly where all of your belongings are.

Keep it Simple
Both your career and personal lives should improve if you remember to maintain simplicity while at work. Look for ways to keep things basic and avoid spending time on complexity that doesn't add much value. Simple email formatting is a great example. Focus on the content that matters without getting too caught up in having elaborate font colors, backgrounds, and formatting that could create more maintenance problems later. When it comes to projects, focus on creating something that looks professional, crisp, and clean. The time you save by avoiding extravagant details can be spent on your next task.

Take Time to Recharge
If you work constantly, you'll look like you're busy, but you'll also burn yourself out. If you really want to be productive, you need to take time for yourself. Whether you workout, read a novel, or just take a long bubble bath, find something you enjoy and do it without any work, present including your cell phone, and paperwork from work. Once you take care of yourself and interests, you'll find you're reenergized and focused on work responsibilities.

Know When to Ask for Help
There is nothing shameful about asking for help when you're struggling. If you are spending the majority of your day trying to figure out the computer system, ask someone in your office who works with the same system for advice. The less time you spend trying to figure things out, the more you can accomplish. Make connections with people in your office and industry that you can turn to for guidance. However, avoid becoming the "employee that cried wolf." Only interrupt your mentors' schedules when you have a pressing, important question that you cannot handle alone. Also, be prepared to help others too and reciprocate the graciousness you've experienced from co-workers.

Work can be stressful enough without the added pressures of playing catch-up day in and day out. Although mastering the ability to stay on top, or even ahead, of deadlines may be daunting at first, the sooner you implement these steps the sooner you'll sense less stress and more productivity at work.

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Looking for more advice about your job search or your career? Check out Movin' On Up, the Express job blog, to find the tips and information you need to succeed.

Job Genius is a publication of Express Services, Inc. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
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