1. Know what you want in the long run and plan ahead.
Some of us get a job and try to climb the corporate rungs. Others, though, have their ambitions elsewhere, and only look at their job as something to fund other endeavors. If you’re part of this second group, don’t lose focus. Be efficient in the office, so when you’re out of it, you only focus on your true goal. Plan out the things you need to do to achieve that goal, and stick to it.
2. Figure out what you need to do now.
Be clear with your priorities and know which tasks should be done immediately and which ones you can push back. When you do this, you’ll get the right things done at the right time, and be effective in the right areas. You’ll also end up having more time for yourself.
3. Schedule your distractions.
Distractions affect your work badly; you’ll feel like you have so many things to do at the same time, so you’ll get frazzled. If you’re getting messages from friends or other people who aren’t important for your current task, reply to all of them at a later time.
4. Know your rhythm.
Part of planning ahead is knowing how you work best. Do you start slow and need to meditate first? Do you work best when you just take the plunge? Are you nocturnal? Granted, you probably won’t get your ideal schedule when you have a desk job (unless you manage to persuade your bosses), but you’ll have your rhythm to fall back to when there’s downtime.
We all hear this a lot when we’re stressed out to the point that it’s cliché. But having a clear mind is the only way you can make smart decisions. So to have this clear mind, do something unrelated to your tasks. Exercise. Cook. Read a book or watch a movie. Clean your room. Have a soothing bath—the best ideas do come to you when you’re showering.
6. Set your limits.
If you’re working nearly 24 hours a day or you’re losing sleep because of 3 a.m. calls to work and you really can’t take it anymore, it might be time to leave your job. The point is that a demanding job will always be demanding. And it’s up to you whether or not you’ll live with that.
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