5 Steps to Supercharge Your Week
The phrase “work smarter not harder” may be a cliché, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good advice. Finding strategies to boost your focus and productivity can help you get more done with more satisfaction in the same amount of time.
Make the most of your limited energy by adopting helpful routines, proactively organizing your time, and pursuing exercise and rest to recharge. Use the following five steps to “supercharge” your week.
1. Design a centering morning routine
What morning routine will help you ease into the day with strength and optimism? It’s a personal question: a five-mile run may energize one person and deplete another, while a hearty breakfast can be either a treat or a drag, depending on your preferences.
There are as many potentially helpful morning routines as there are people, but in each case the habit should meet two standards: it should center your own needs before the rush of the day, and it should be something you can do every day (or most days) without stopping to debate its benefits.
Design your routine around things that bring you energy, joy, and a feeling of self-care and nourishment. And remember that seemingly small things, such as getting out of bed before looking at your phone, can make a big difference.
2. Make your calendar your ally
While it’s not glamorous, organizing your time is one of the most vital ways to supercharge your week. After all, it’s difficult to be streamlined and productive if you keep wondering what’s happening next or navigating confusion and panic as you make plans at the last minute.
Productivity guru David Allen, author Getting Things Done, advises filling your calendar only with “date-specific appointments,” not with tasks you need to do; scheduling appointments with yourself for things that have to happen at specific times; and conducting a weekly review of your calendar to ensure your schedule is clear and up to date.
3. Use the Pomodoro Technique
Having a strategy for time management while you work can make a massive difference, turning potentially unproductive, disorganized hours into targeted, productive ones. One of the most popular and effective methods for ensuring you stay on task and mentally sharp during work hours is the Pomodoro Technique.
Named after the inventor’s tomato-shaped timer, this technique has you focus on a specific task for 25 minutes at a time, followed by a short break. After every four 25-minute work sessions, take a longer break of 20 minutes or so. The method minimizes interruptions; if you think of something you need to do immediately while you’re in the middle of your 25-minute focus time, add it to your to-do list during your next break.
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4. Get active on most days
There’s a well-established relationship between being active and being more focused and productive at work. One study showed that workday exercise improves time management and productivity by 72%. Another showed that sitting less and moving more results in better workplace productivity. Exercise improves memory and brain function, and also boosts mood.
You don’t need to run a marathon to get the benefits of exercise. In fact, even low- to moderate-intensity exercise has great benefits. And even short exercise breaks—such as a walk around the block—during the day can help you return to your work tasks with more energy and focus. Moving for some amount of time on most days will help you supercharge your week.
5. Really rest on your days off
As a supercharged individual, you might find it tempting to let your supercharged week spill over into your time off, whether that’s the weekend or some other breaks built into your week. You may want to do extra work for your job, catch up on yardwork or house projects, or take on a side hustle. While some—or all—of these might have their satisfactions, none of them are one thing you really do need: rest.
Make sure to include some true, restorative rest periods in your time off, whether that means taking a nap, swinging in a hammock, enjoying a movie, or doing a favorite activity like cycling, baking, or reading. The key is for the restful activity to be something you want to do for its own sake simply because it makes you feel calm or happy. Doing this will help you return to your work with fresh energy.
The bottom line
Getting the most out of your workweek takes a more subtle approach than simply knuckling under and never coming up for air until your to-do list is wiped clean. That’s a recipe for burnout.
A better approach is finding ways to center your own needs, manage your time well, and move and rest when you have the chance. These strategies will help you supercharge your week without exhausting yourself in the process.
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