Modern, working women are under constant bombardment with messages about having it all.
While this comes with a sense of limitless opportunity, it has underlying tones of stress, too. To have it all requires an immense amount of juggling!
Keeping on top of all the responsibilities of a professional life can be overwhelming in the extreme. Here are a selection of tips about how to stay calm and organised in the perpetual struggle for success – and a couple for how to take a break.
Even if everything you need to do seems second to none in terms of urgency, an objective look over your tasks can help you see things at different (albeit, possibly highly similar) levels of importance.
You cannot possibly do everything at once, so prioritising (even somewhat arbitrarily) will immediately make everything seem more manageable.
It’s a universally accepted fact that there is no greater feeling of accomplishment than crossing off an item on your “to do” list. Reducing the madness of the day into a bulleted list of feasibly accomplishable tasks immediately organises the chaos of your brain. And although this is the age of technology, in terms of lists, nothing beats an analogue copy.
Not only does writing things down by hand help absorb them into your brain, but you can underline, circle, cross, tick and signpost to your heart’s content.
Speaking of the age of technology, though, here is an area where one can really harness the benefit. The calendar and reminder function of a phone or tablet is an invaluable resource.
Get into the habit of using them, and say goodbye to double booked timeslots and forgetfulness.
If you have more to do than you can possibly manage, the first step is acceptance. It’s so disheartening to end the day with nary a dent in a to do list.
Set achievable goals, instead, and know when to let things go.
If you can see you’re doing a task that isn’t the best use of your time, stop and reconsider. Is there someone else who would be better poised to get on with it instead?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to admit you can’t get everything done by yourself. The sooner you do, the sooner the tasks will be in the right hands and you can be getting on with something better suited and more valuable.
Take tactical breaks
When confronted with an enormous bulk of tasks, it can be tempting to want everything done as soon as possible. But rushing from one task to the nest can mean everything ends up sloppily done, wasting time in the long run.
Set yourself little breaks as rewards after you’ve finished something. The mental rest and recuperation will mean the next task is more enjoyable to do and often completed more efficiently and to a higher standard.
Know your limits on multitasking
Multitasking often refers to undertaking multiple tasks at the same time. But it’s a really tricky thing to get right – often it results in two tasks being done slowly and in a subpar manner. Sometimes it’s better to omni-task repeatedly, rather than do a few things at once.
It’s all personal, so learn what works best for you, and stick to that.
Know when (and how) to switch off
After a busy day filled with many different goals and activities, it can be really difficult to get out of “to do list mode.” But it’s fundamentally important that you do – your productivity tomorrow depends on it.
Try to leave behind work commitments at work, or have a set time when all responsibilities are put on pause. Human’s aren’t machines, and the time spent relaxing is essential for both organisation and efficiency.
About the author
Annie Walton Doyle writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in finding candidates their perfect internship. To browse their graduate jobs London listings, visit their website. For senior roles, see the Inspiring Search page.