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Come fall, the pace picks up at work: more meetings, calls, emails and deadlines. There are more people in the office and more competing priories, making it challenging to complete projects and feel in control of your schedule. You can find yourself in survival mode and just trying to keep your head above water.
1. Know when to say “no” and when to say “yes.”
There are times when requests come from your manager, peers and reports, all at the same time. You cannot do everything, so you have to make decisions. Before you respond, ask yourself key questions: Does it help you to achieve a professional goal? How time sensitive is it? Does it advance the organization’s financial goals? Is it an opportunity to build trust with a colleague?
Let’s say you are trying to finish up a project and leave for home, and your manager says she needs you to shift gears and help her prepare for a client meeting the next morning. You will feel less frustrated and out of control if you accept that additional, last minute tasks or shifts in priorities will occasionally occur. I help people advocate for themselves and leverage opportunities.
3. Work on a project you like.
Prioritizing and saying “no” to certain tasks can free up some time. Take time to work on a project that both interests you and will improve your company, whether that involves developing something new or fixing something that is broken.
4. Take breaks.
More work than you can handle is the norm, these days. Do not be afraid to press pause and take a break. You will be better off for it, as will the people around you. Taking the opportunity to unplug and recharge will help you to be more engaged and productive when you return to work. Leaders of their own careers know when they need to take time off to avoid burnout. Can’t take a week long vacation? Take a day off every now and then.