Sometimes it feels like there just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. The day starts, you drink your cup of coffee, maybe write a list, and you get to work. Then, either your list just keeps growing throughout the day, or you get hung up on item #2 for what seems like hours… and suddenly it’s dinnertime. Sound familiar?
So why don’t you have enough time in the day? Well, this is kind of a trick question. The day is just a day. It’s always been that way. Yet, our way of thinking has changed so much that we feel the need to produce ALL THE TIME. And if a particular day didn’t yield the proper results, we feel like we’ve somehow failed.
I’m here to say, stop feeling like you failed. You didn’t, you just need to change the way you think about a day. Here are a few ways to do just that.
1. Slow down
Success isn’t measured by your day’s accomplishments. Try setting longer term goals. I think that’s the beauty of innkeeping – a day of work is just one piece of the puzzle – but really this can apply to many other industries too. Life is not a rush! Innkeeping, for example, is one of those careers that really melds with your personal life – so the pace you choose for each day should reflect how you want to live your personal life too.
If your career is more separate from your personal life, consider this: whatever pace you end your day at is is going to carry home with you. If you absolutely must keep a fast-paced day, try introducing a wind-down period before heading home. Your heart rate will slow down and you’ll feel better about things!
2. Expect things to take longer
It’s good to have a baseline idea of how long different tasks take. Chances are, you’ve just been underestimating how long something should take, and therefore are disappointed when it goes beyond the time you expected. So until you’ve done a particular task, say… 5 times – just assume it will take double (if not triple) the time you think it should.
3. Celebrate the wins
In reference to #3, you should be feeling seriously ACCOMPLISHED when you finish a task, even a mundane one. And you should feel especially good if you finish a difficult or time-consuming one. Make a big deal (mentally) about checking it off your list. Be thankful it didn’t take longer. And pat yourself on the back for now being more proficient at whatever it is you just did. This positive energy will actually make you happier, more energetic, and more productive as you continue your day.
4. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Come on, you’ve all heard this one, but it’s true. Getting worked up over something small can have enough negative impact (mentally) to ruin a day.
EXAMPLE: Today, we needed to plow the driveway, but we couldn’t find the car keys to move our vehicle out of the way. We looked everywhere! Eventually, doors were slammed, voices were raised, and laundry was everywhere. (we thought the keys were in a pocket somewhere…) After destroying the house looking, we finally did find them. BUT – the reality is that it’s the dead of winter and we have no guests staying with us. A couple hours without plowing wasn’t going to hurt. Instead of freaking out and going Hulk on our house, we could have cleaned up while looking or chatted about our day. BOTH more pleasant and productive than what conspired.
5. Embrace the ‘Snowball effect’
The Snowball Effect is something typically talked about when referring to saving money/paying debts. But I like to think of it as general momentum that propels life forward. So in the morning, if you’re the list-making type, write out your list, then prioritize it by easy/fast on the top of the list, and harder/slower tasks towards the bottom. You might also try having every third task be a more difficult one, sandwiched in by two easier ones.
The reason is simple. The more you accomplish, the better you feel. The better you feel, the more energy you have to continue working, and the more motivated you’ll become to check off that next item on your list. Once you’ve knocked a few tasks out – you’ll feel like a rockstar. So don’t get stuck trying to do the hardest thing first – or else you’ll end up googling ‘Why can’t I get enough done in a day?’. Oh wait – maybe that’s why you’re here… 😉
Thanks for reading – I hope you’ll find this list helpful to increasing your productivity and feeling better about your workday!