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How to Tuesday: How to get back into your routine after the Holidays

Published Bernice on Tuesday, January 3, 2023 7:12 AM

How to get back into your routine after the Christmas Holidays

Our 'How to Tuesdays' are back and this year we're going to kick things off with a light listicle to help you get back into your routine as most of you get back to the office after their Holiday break today.

According to Forbes magazine featured thought leader Idowu Koyenikan, "Time management is about life management", and very often, when people find it hard to manage their time during the day, it tends to be a question of learning how to prioritise. For this reason, we've decided to get your first day back into the office started with some useful tips on how to plan your day in an efficient and effective manner.

1. Make a plan for the day

Floating through your day with no plan whatsoever might work initially when things aren't too busy yet. However, when things do get busy (and we hope this happens quickly for you!!) you are not going to manage to just "take it as it comes". Therefore we suggest making a plan, whether it is on a rough piece of paper, or in a more sophisticated manner on your phone or computer. The important thing is that you know what's coming, because if you do, you can plan when to take your breaks too....which leads us to the second point below.

2. Plan your tasks depending on your energy levels

Not everyone functions in the same way. Some people are more energetic in the morning, while others tend to function better after lunch or in the evening. Having a to-do list helps you plan your day depending on your energy levels, so if for example, you have a task to do which requires a lot of focus and you concentrate more in the morning, you might want to go into the office a bit earlier to get this task done before things get super busy and people start knocking on your door disrupting you every few minutes.

3. Remember that it's OK to say "No"

Our intention is always to start the year on the right foot and we always have the best intentions to be nice to those around us. However, it's also important to not lose track of our priorities and sometimes, saying no or deferring tasks does not necessarily contradict our good intentions. If you feel that right now you need to concentrate on writing a particular report or replying to a specific email, and someone knocks on your door to speak to you, it is perfectly ok to ask them to come back within an hour or so when that task is completed. That way you finish whatever it is you're working on without losing your concentration by pausing to do something else, and at the same time you also make a plan to deal with the issue that needs seeing to.

4. Focus on things that matter

One of the things that disrups our concentration spell is the many time wasters that surround us - and by that I don't necessarily mean people. Some of the main time wasters could be social media, the phone, your inbox and also doing too many things all at once. Our suggestion at the start of the year is to concentrate on one thing at a time whenever possible. One method that works is the 'Pomodoro Technique' where you get to work on something in time chunks. The trick, however, is that if you choose to work in 25-minute chunks, you make sure to eliminate as many distractors as you can during that time. So you turn off notifications on your phone; you close off all your social media tabs; you close your inbox; if there is music in the office, turn it down; and if necessary, put your desk phone off the hook and close your office door. Once the 25 minutes are up, you reward yourself with a short break and then get back to it once again. 

5. Manage, Focus, Delegate, Eliminate

Whenever you are faced with a task, make sure to put it into one of these four categories. Decide whether this is something that needs to be delegated. If this is the case, pass it on to the person who needs to deal with this. It could also be that this is something that doesn't require your attention at all, in which case you just eliminate it from your to-do list. If the task is something that requires you to manage it or focus on it, then you need to go back to step 2 and plan it into your daily schedule.

We hope that with these tips you feel more equipped to take on the first day back into the office :) Have a good one!

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