Been staying late in the office for the past weeks, yet can’t seem to clear that ever-growing avalanche in your inbox? Here’s the reality — there’s no stopping work from flowing in, but you can certainly crank up your personal power dial. While there are only so many hours in a day, what you can do is capitalise on your brain when it's at its optimum and boost your performance. Here's how to take action now, in five simple ways.
1. Know when to tackle complex tasks
Schedule difficult jobs — brainstorming, number-crunching and such — for when your energy is at its highest. For most people, that would be in the morning, after you’ve had breakfast and your mind is clear. Bonus: It's relieving to know that you’ve already gone past the highest hurdle of the day by the time that dreaded post-lunch slump kicks in.
2. Give yourself a little time to daydream
It helps to give the brain a little rest now and then, so that you can revisit the task at hand with a clearer head. Can’t seem to come up with a great idea for that proposal? Don’t waste time being stuck. By all means, surf the web for a bit or make yourself a cup of tea. You might discover some new perspective when you get back.
3. Build routines around your work
Establishing a familiar pattern of work processes helps you do things faster. For example, set up e-mail rules by which you sort, archive or forward your mails to relevant parties or make sure your team adheres to a work plan to initiate and complete projects in strict order. No mess, less stress.
4. Give your emotions a breather
We are only human, and interactions with people are bound to affect our emotions in one way or another. There won’t be quality when you sit on your feelings and force yourself to produce a piece of work. Just got off a call with an angry client? Give yourself some time to get the frustration out of your system.
5. Get into a better mood with light exercise
Obviously, you won’t be going for a sweaty 30-minute run while in office wear. But there are ways to get your body moving — don’t put off that toilet trip, offer to make that 3pm coffee run for your colleagues… you get the picture. That will help relieve anxiety and drive some mood-boosting endorphins to your brain.