The digital age has brought stress, overwhelm, and mind-clutter to extravagant heights with 70% of U.S. employees, and 97% of senior leaders saying they feel burned out. Fuck that! This is likely one of the driving forces behind the millennial mind-shift and digital nomad movement. Both a blessing and a curse, the irony isn’t lost that all would not be possible in a non-digital age. But the price of freedom often carries with it a different type of struggle, and paradoxically, the desire to avoid the rat race might just have you working harder than ever.
While stress appears to be normalized and accepted as a part of daily life, there is nothing normal about the crippling amounts many endure today. So, from an evolutionary standpoint, while we wait for our minds to hurry the fuck up and get a better grip on this absurdity—stress management is hugely beneficial in every facet of life.
By implementing a few proven strategies to organize your day better—you will experience greater mental clarity along with a boost in productivity, creativity, and efficiency. Here are five tips to help you achieve just that.
At the end of each workday, take 5 minutes to write and evaluate your day. There is so much going on in our heads that it’s almost impossible to process and gather thoughts without some form of outlet. A study by UCLA psychologists revealed that verbalizing your feelings — whether you speak to someone or write them down — will help ensure any associated negative emotions are much less intense. So puke all that shit out on a page to avoid carrying it around with you and allowing it manifest.
2. Plan ahead
Now that you’ve released all anger and frustration—you’re in a position to plan some smooth sailing for the day ahead. Write down your tasks for tomorrow in order of importance before closing your computer for the day. This will allow your subconscious to work through any stresses while you sleep, so you’re two steps ahead of yourself tomorrow. Challenges and distractions will always arise so be realistic in your goals — and if you fall short — don’t beat yourself up. Just bump it to the top of tomorrow’s list.
“We overestimate what we can achieve in a year and underestimate what we can achieve in a lifetime.” – Tony Robbins
3. Organize your computer and workspace
Structure pays. If your files and everything are all over the place—your mind will most likely be all over the place too. The most successful people I know are highly organized and have a structure to everything they do. It might take more time than you want to give but you’ll gain that time back with interest for your efforts.
4. Don’t multitask
Fuck multitasking—it doesn’t work! According to a study by the University of California Irvine, it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to a task once you’ve taken your concentration away from it. So, when you set out to complete a task, be sure to free yourself from all distractions. That means no social media, email, internet, etc. until the task is complete or the allotted time to work on it has passed. Wash any distractions away with some music or noise canceling headphones.
5. Obey the 80-20 rule
Most of what we do is not that important, but because it’s easier, and can provide us with that instant hit of dopamine, we tend to spend too much time on simple tasks (social validation sound familiar?) while procrastinating on the more demanding, critical ones (sales). This creates unnecessary struggle. By tackling the more important stuff first, when it comes to completing the other less meaningful tasks, you will be able to do so with a greater sense of accomplishment and contentment.
By applying these simple tips to better organize your workday, you will experience a range of benefits to help ensure you can separate work and play. Unless tasks are of the utmost importance, don’t take your work home with you. That time to decompress, have fun, and do what you love is just as important as the time required to pay the bills. You will most likely meet resistance from yourself starting out, but if you stick to this — in time — you will see your stress diminish and quality of life shoot up. A win-win for everybody.