School has started and there is a chill in the air, which means the fall season is right around the corner. If you haven’t already, now is an excellent time of year to optimize your work routine to help get you on the fast-track to achieving the professional goals you set for yourself. Having a strong routine helps bring clarity and focus to the pursuit of your goals, so that regardless of whatever your day throws at you, you know can you trust your plan to keep you on the path to success. Here are some simple ways to take your routine to the next level:
Set professional goals.
First things first; if you haven’t already, take the time to set your professional goals for the year ahead. It doesn’t matter where you’re at in your career – it’s always a great idea to plan to grow professionally. This often starts with thinking about new things you’d like to learn and experience, so that you can then seek out opportunities to do just that. There’s nothing wrong with being content in your career – that’s what we all strive for! But in a world of work that is constantly changing, it’s dangerous to be stagnant and let your skills and experience become outdated. Being adaptable and having the ability to learn new things are some of the most important traits you can have as an employee, so make sure your work routine reflects that by making professional development a priority. Depending on your goals, that could mean catching up on industry news, trying to learn a new software program, going to regular networking events, or some other enriching activity. No two career journeys are the same, so don’t worry if your routine looks different than everyone else’s – yours is designed for you.
Set personal goals, too.
Don’t forget the end-goal of all your hard work – enjoying a stable and fulfilling life. If you’re not taking care of you and making time to pursue things that ignite your passion and curiosity, you’re on a fast track to burnout rather than career success. Your happiness and motivation will be dramatically reduced if your days are all work and no play, which will almost certainly have a negative impact on the quality of your life and your work. So, it stands to reason that setting goals to look forward to in your personal life is a very important part of being effective at work. Looking to take things to the next level professionally? Then make sure you’re tending to your personal success by setting goals that challenge and excite you.
Time your work appropriately.
If your job offers any flexibility in how you structure your workday, think carefully about when you are at your mental best, and aim to complete your most challenging or detail oriented tasks during that window of time. It’s natural for your focus and motivation to fluctuate throughout the day, so if you take care of the tough tasks when you’re at your peak, you don’t have to stress about them at times when you might be feeling more tired or less focused. Your general, every day, less detail oriented work can be completed when you hit that temporary slump. Managing your workflow this way will help ensure you get it all done, while giving you more peace of mind knowing that you are maximizing your time and producing quality results.
Map out any important tasks.
Things like special meetings, project deadlines, or even busy periods have a way of sneaking up on us, which causes unnecessary stress when we’re scrambling at the last minute to try and figure out how to fit them in on top of the normal, everyday workload. Utilizing tools like calendars, planners, and alerts can eliminate this stress by keeping you in-the-know so that you can plan accordingly. Mapping out important tasks in this way allows you to better manage your workload by preventing surprises and giving you time to shift priorities if needed.
Take mental breaks.
When you’ve got lots to do and only so many hours in the day to do it, it can be tempting to skip those breaks. If you’re in a good flow and just have to wrap things up before you lose your steam, by all means, push that break a little later, but don’t skip it altogether! They’re there for a reason – they help you work safer and smarter. Breaks give your mind and body a chance to relax, so when you get back to your work, you can tackle it with renewed energy and a clear perspective, meaning it’ll get done more quickly and efficiently than if you just tried to trudge through your brain fog. So whether it’s lunch outside, a quick walk around the block, or listening to a song in the break room, take a few minutes to yourself to recharge during your day; your brain (and your workload) will thank you later.