Many of you reading this right now are well into this annual season of Lent or know someone who is observing Lent. Lent is the penitential and preparatory season leading up to the Easter celebration and is traditionally marked by either giving up something that we enjoy as a sacrifice or adding activities that deepen our faith.
From a religious perspective, the sacrifices are meant to strengthen our resolve, identify with those who suffer, and/or allow us to give more of our time or treasure to our church. For example, someone may give up a daily coffee from their favorite high-end shop and donate the savings to a favorite charitable cause.
So taking a page from this idea of sacrificing from one area in order to do more good in another, here are three ideas to apply at work. Try and adopt just one of these right now and see the benefits in your productivity and satisfaction:
- Crack down on the email dependency. Are you one of those “always on” email users? Does the sight or sound of a new email completely take you off track? Regularly getting distracted by incoming emails is a huge time drain. It puts you in the reactive rather than proactive and creative modes. Sacrifice your desire to check every last message that comes in by scheduling email checking blocks of time such as 10:00 and 2:00 each day. This frees up your brain cells and your time to really focus on more important work activities during other blocks.
- Just say no. Is your tendency to respond “yes” to every request that comes in? This certainly seems like a positive attribute, but in order to provide quality work and keep yourself sane, you need to set priorities and limits. Your external and internal clients will certainly appreciate if you need them to set new priorities or be reasonable with deadlines so that they are getting your best effort.
- Take real vacations. Well, that doesn’t seem like much of a sacrifice! But for many Americans, really taking a vacation where someone completely unplugs can be a rarity. And it doesn’t benefit us back in the office if our vacations are spent tied to a laptop or the phone. So, plan well to be out, enjoy your time away, and come back truly invigorated.