Why (and how) I don’t work myself to death
One of the most difficult things about working at a TV station and one of the main reasons I quit was the thick fog of stress that constantly surrounded me. My coworkers were always rushing around, drowning in work, freaking out over tiny errors, yelling at each other about who was busier or more in the weeds. And I would just sit there, calmly kicking my to-do list right in the ass, and think “If you’re so stressed out…then change it.”
I was a great worker, but a terrible employee. I was always the last to arrive and the first to leave. I walked into the station well rested, I got through my work in a couple hours with enough time left over for my own projects. And then…when I was tired of working…I went home. CRAZY, right?
I just never bought into the idea that running around like a chicken with my head cut off was an effective way to get things done. I know if I’m stressed out, the designs I create or the circus routines I build will not be the best they can be. And so, I work when I’m full of energy and ideas and when I’m not, I give myself a break.
And this is not to say I don’t have a ton of work on my plate or looming deadlines or I never get stressed, I do, I’ve just honed my eagle-eye focus and my time management skills. Here are some things I’ve found helpful…
+ FOCUS Are you actually getting work done or are you doing 10 things at once? Multitasking is highly overrated – I recommend conquering one task at a time. Try the Pomodoro technique to help keep your focus. Spend 25 minutes on each item until they’re all complete.
+ TRACK YOUR TIME There are 24 usable hours in each day – how are you spending your time? Try an app like Toggl to see where time is being wasted and then use that time to do something productive instead.
+ LISTEN TO YOUR BODY When you’re tired of working and things are starting to come out like crap, your design isn’t meshing or you’re making a ton of errors…it’s time to stop.
+ LET IT SLIDE You do not have to do everything. You can ignore that email from your annoying coworker. You can say no to a client you don’t really want to work with. You can do it tomorrow. No one will die, the world will not end, someone may yell at you and then you can apologize and be happy that you are not stressed.
+ STOP PUSHING YOURSELF Do you know what I’m about to do? It’s 12:55 AM and I’m tired. I’m not done writing this post and I’m totally going to shut my computer, get in bed and read a book.Which leads me to my next point…
+ PLAN AHEAD I wrote this post a week in advance, so now there’s no spazzing out because I can’t think of anything good to blog about. I plan my days so I know when I’m rehearsing, when I have show and when I’ll stay home to design.
How do you keep your head above water when you’ve got a ton to do?07.03.12 in freelance, work