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7 Principles to Keep Calm when Work Gets Insane

7 Principles to Keep Calm when Work Gets Insane

Work can be hectic some days. No matter how well-oiled a machine is, we all get swamped every now and again. Some system glitch, field trip, flu, or act of God may hit your workplace, and you’re going to have to roll up your sleeves and clean it up. If work is bogging you down and you’re online to ignore it, you’re doing it wrong. Here are the seven principles to keep calm no matter how crazy work gets.

1. Remind Yourself It’s Only Temporary

Life is temporary. Everything in life is temporary. You are temporary. No matter how bad things are right now, it is only temporary. Suck it up and make it through, and you’ll be that much stronger, wiser, and more beautiful for it. You’ve been through worse than this.

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2. Meditate and/or Medicate

In the holistic view, meditation is the answer to every problem. Your problems become easier to overcome if you sit still long enough. I’ve used meditation to great success to keep myself calm at work, and you can too. All it takes is to close your eyes for a minute and listen to your breath. Feel your chest expand and contract as you breathe in…and out…in…and out…In as little as five minutes, you’ll be refreshed and renewed, making the work a little easier.

Most holistic teachers ignore the benefits of medications, but Western medicine is prescription-based and I would be doing you a great disservice to not recognize this. If things are really getting to be too much and your stress or anxiety just won’t go away, go and see a doctor to discuss accessing therapy or anti-anxiety medications. Also know your limits if you decide to self-medicate, or you’ll end up hurting yourself more than helping.

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3. Stop Multitasking

Sometimes you bite off more than you can chew. Just because you’re facing a mountain of paperwork doesn’t mean you have to reach the summit in one shot. Having more work doesn’t mean you have to do more at once – it’s not like you suddenly gain superpowers when the work necessitates it. Continue at a pace you’re comfortable with. Splitting your focus will just tire you out faster.

4. Accept Failure

No matter how good you are at what you do, no matter how much you practice, you will fail in life. It’s unavoidable. Accepting the possibility of failure makes it easier to get through the work. Things may be bad if you fail, but unless you’re in the military or a bomb squad, few deadlines lead to actual death. Do your best to deliver results, but if it doesn’t happen, you at least know you did your best.

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5. Take a Hike

Sometimes you need to walk away from the office for a moment to gather your wits. Don’t be afraid to take a 15-minute stroll to keep your sanity despite the insane workload you’re facing. It may feel like slacking off, but it’s better for you in the long run. I love taking walks to invigorate my mind and body while giving me time away from the heat to formulate plans to get through it all. Try it out.

6. Stop Surfing the Internet

Let’s be honest – you’re procrastinating right now. There’s no real business purpose for you to be online. You’re avoiding work. If you weren’t avoiding work by surfing the Internet, maybe work wouldn’t be so insane. You’d get your tasks completed, and you’d have time later on to surf the Internet. I live online, so I can assure you nothing is happening right now that can’t wait another hour or so to read about. If anything important does happen, you’ll hear about it. Focus on work.

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7. Know When to Fold ‘Em

Some workplaces are always insane. Think about what the hiring manager told you: did they say there may be occasional overtime, and suddenly you’re finding out “occasional” means 12-hour days seven days a week? Temporary (i.e. 3–6 months) bouts of insane workloads are normal, but if you constantly feel like work is insane, maybe this isn’t the job for you. Take a moment to really look at your life and decide if this is worth it. If it’s not, don’t be afraid to leave; just do it in a professional manner.

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Last Updated on November 18, 2019

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

Everyone of my team members has a bucketload of tasks that they need to deal with every working day. On top of that, most of their tasks are either creativity tasks or problem solving tasks.

Despite having loads of tasks to handle, our team is able to stay creative and work towards our goals consistently.

How do we manage that?

I’m going to reveal to you how I helped my team get more things done in less time through the power of correct prioritization. A few minutes spent reading this article could literally save you thousands of hours over the long term. So, let’s get started with my method on how to prioritize:

The Scales Method – a productivity method I created several years ago.

How to Prioritize with the Scales Method

    One of our new editors came to me the other day and told me how she was struggling to keep up with the many tasks she needed to handle and the deadlines she constantly needed to stick to.

    At the end of each day, she felt like she had done a lot of things but often failed to come up with creative ideas and to get articles successfully published. From what she told me, it was obvious that she felt overwhelmed and was growing increasingly frustrated about failing to achieve her targets despite putting in extra hours most days.

    After she listened to my advice – and I introduced her to the Scales Method – she immediately experienced a dramatic rise in productivity, which looked like this:

    • She could produce three times more creative ideas for blog articles
    • She could publish all her articles on time
    • And she could finish all her work on time every day (no more overtime!)

    Curious to find out how she did it? Read on for the step-by-step guide:

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    1. Set Aside 10 Minutes for Planning

    When it comes to tackling productivity issues, it makes sense to plan before taking action. However, don’t become so involved in planning that you become trapped in it and never move beyond first base.

    My recommendation is to give yourself a specific time period for planning – but keep it short. Ideally, 10 or 15 minutes. This should be adequate to think about your plan.

    Use this time to:

    • Look at the big picture.
    • Think about the current goal and target that you need/want to achieve.
    • Lay out all the tasks you need to do.

    2. Align Your Tasks with Your Goal

    This is the core component that makes the Scales Method effective.

    It works like this:

    Take a look at all the tasks you’re doing, and review the importance of each of them. Specifically, measure a task’s importance by its cost and benefit.

    By cost, I am referring to the effort needed per task (including time, money and other resources). The benefit is how closely the task can contribute to your goal.

      To make this easier for you, I’ve listed below four combinations that will enable you to quickly and easily determine the priority of each of your tasks:

      Low Cost + High Benefit

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      Do these tasks first because they’re the simple ones to complete, yet help you get closer to your goal.

      Approving artwork created for a sales brochure would likely fit this category. You could easily decide on whether you liked the artwork/layout, but your decision to approve would trigger the production of the leaflet and the subsequent sales benefits of sending it out to potential customers.

      High Cost + High Benefit

      Break the high cost task down into smaller ones. In other words, break the big task into mini ones that take less than an hour to complete. And then re-evaluate these small tasks and set their correct priority level.

      Imagine if you were asked to write a product launch plan for a new diary-free protein powder supplement. Instead of trying to write the plan in one sitting – aim to write the different sections at different times (e.g., spend 30 minutes writing the introduction, one hour writing the body text, and 30 minutes writing the conclusion).

      Low Cost + Low Benefit

      This combination should be your lowest priority. Either give yourself 10-15 minutes to handle this task, or put these kind of tasks in between valuable tasks as a useful break.

      These are probably necessary tasks (e.g., routine tasks like checking emails) but they don’t contribute much towards reaching your desired goal. Keep them way down your priority list.

      High Cost + Low Benefit

      Review if these tasks are really necessary. Think of ways to reduce the cost if you decide that the completion of the task is required.

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      For instance, can any tools or systems help to speed up doing the task? In this category, you’re likely to find things like checking and updating sales contacts spreadsheets. This can be a fiddly and time-consuming thing to do without making mistakes. However, there are plenty of apps out there they can make this process instant and seamless.

      Now, coming back to the editor who I referred to earlier, let’s take a look at her typical daily task list:

        After listening to my advice, she broke down the High cost+ High benefit task into smaller ones. Her tasks then looked like this (in order of priority):

          And for the task about promoting articles to different platforms, after reviewing its benefits, we decided to focus on the most effective platform only – thereby significantly lowering the associated time cost.

          Bonus Tip: Tackling Tasks with Deadlines

          Once you’ve evaluated your tasks, you’ll know the importance of each of them. This will immediately give you a crystal-clear picture on which tasks would help you to achieve more (in terms of achieving your goals). Sometimes, however, you won’t be able to decide every task’s priority because there’ll be deadlines set by external parties such as managers and agencies.

          What to do in these cases?

          Well, I suggest that after considering the importance and values of your current tasks, align the list with the deadlines and adjust the priorities accordingly.

          For example, let’s dip into the editor’s world again.

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          Some of the articles she edited needed to be published by specific dates. The Scales Method allows for this, and in this case, her amended task list would look something like this:

            Hopefully, you can now see how easy it is to evaluate the importance of tasks and how to order them in lists of priority.

            The Scales Method Is Different from Anything Else You’ve Tried

            By adopting the Scales Method, you’ll begin to correctly prioritize your work, and most importantly – boost your productivity by up to 10 times!

            And unlike other methods that don’t really explain how to decide the importance of a task, my method will help you break down each of your tasks into two parts: cost and benefits. My method will also help you to take follow-up action based on different cost and benefits combinations.

            Start right now by spending 10 minutes to evaluate your common daily tasks and how they align with your goal(s). Once you have this information, it’ll be super-easy to put your tasks into a priority list. All that remains, is that you kick off your next working day by following your new list.

            Trust me, once you begin using the Scales Method – you’ll never want to go back to your old ways of working.

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            Featured photo credit: Vector Stock via vectorstock.com

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