During the holidays, one of the biggest things most people lack is time. With so much extra squeezed into these weeks at the end of the year, it’s hard to finish up all the tasks on your list let alone find time to enjoy yourself.
But all that holiday hectic rush can seep into your work day making you feel like you are on a hamster wheel. At work you worry about everything you have left undone on the home front, and at home you worry about all the things you need to finish up at work.
How can you calm this cycle and make your work day more efficient? Here are a few tips to keep you on track.
State Your Intention
As you transition from work to home or home to work, make a conscious choice to refocus your energy. It might sound silly, but stating your intentions for the day out loud can help you shut out all the nagging details of one area of your life to focus on the details at hand.
As you walk into work, you can say, “Today I am going to focus on being the best nurse I can. I especially want to _______ (fill in the blank with your intentions—comfort my patients who are melancholy because of the season, nail my big presentation, mentor the student nurse who will be on the floor).
When you head for home, review your day and then bring your home life to the front. State your intention with a simple, “I am going to give my home life my attention now. I will use my time tonight to ________ (reconnect with myself or my family, enjoy time with friends, focus on my classwork, finish my holiday shopping).
Make a List
Leaving one place behind to focus on the other is a lot easier if you feel like you aren’t forgetting something vital. Keep a list of what you want to accomplish each day, each week, and even each month if that’s possible. At the end of your day, review your list and cross off what you managed to get done. Break it down into an order that works for you. You can accomplish one big task (finishing the unit’s schedule) and five small tasks (booking a conference room for a meeting, checking your vacation balance, remembering to tell a patient a funny story) or you can choose two big tasks. Maybe your day needs to be filled with lots of tiny details that need to get done, but understand that a big task will be impossible to fit in. List even the small tasks like booking a dentist appointment or the long-range ones like thinking about your upcoming annual review. Those are the details that get lost in the shuffle and can cause you to feel less in control.
Use a Timer and a Calendar
Being realistic about what you can accomplish means being able to manage your time efficiently and effectively. It’s unrealistic to devote 30 minutes to shopping for presents and visiting a friend. At work, you can’t expect to write a thorough report in a four-hour block if you have two meetings in the same time frame.
For a while, time how long you spend on a task so you can more accurately plan your time. Have no judgment or expectations about being faster or doing more. Just knowing how you work can make your life easier.
When you have that down, start using your calendar to plan blocks of time when you can realistically get things done. Book specific time to accomplish the smaller things and use your calendar to remind you.
Staying on track and on top of all you have to do at work and away from work can be overwhelming. But there are plenty of ways you can take control and make your life easier. See what works best for you and stick with it.