10 quick tips for surviving a long workday
Long working days are reducing across the industrialised world, but trainee CAs might have occasion to work a bit later as you tackle a training contract and studies at the same time. You need our survival guide for avoiding burnout!
1. Plan with precision
Proper time management and a carefully planned schedule will go a long way towards cutting down on unnecessary stress in a crammed work day.
Allocate time for each important task and don't be afraid to mark the slot as 'Busy' in your calendar. Have a look at CA Today's recommended to-do list apps to help you stay on track. You can also use CABLE's diary to plan your class and study time against training contract requirements.
2. Take frequent breaks
Breaks from work aren't lazy: they are proven to improve focus and boost productivity. Aside from giving your eyes a break from a computer screen every so often, stepping away from work throughout the day can be highly beneficial.
One popular method is to work in intervals of 90 minutes, with short breaks in between. Try making a cup of tea to stretch your legs.
3. Get your priorities right
It may be tempting to put off big tasks but looming deadlines don't just disappear. Prioritise important projects that are due soon, followed by lower value contributions and saving 'busy work' like non-urgent email for the end of the day.
Check out these tips for being more productive and start ticking things off.
4. Stay hydrated
Coffee and tea may provide the all-important caffeine dosage you need in the mornings but it's also a good idea to keep drinking water throughout the day.
Being properly hydrated will help keep you focused and avoid headaches.
5. Eat well
Staying energised and healthy during lengthy work days will also depend heavily on your diet. Sources of protein, fresh fruit and vitamin-rich salads are all good choices. Brain food at lunch time will serve you a lot better than a heavy load of tempting sugar and starch.
6. Indulge in little things
Keeping your mood and motivation levels up can be hard by 6pm on a Wednesday evening. Treat yourself to favourite snacks, wear something fun or even start thinking about planning holidays to break out of the day-to-day. You are working to live!
7. Keep things tidy
Mess equals stress, especially if piles of paper just offer a visual representation of all the work you need to do. Have a reliable, organised system and don't hoard things that have out-lived their usefulness.
Digital clutter can be just as detrimental to mindfulness and should get a good clear out too.
8. Store up sleep
Working through the night isn't exactly advisable but, if necessary, it can be made a lot easier by taking a nap at some point in the afternoon or evening. Between 30 and 90 minutes of sleep can help keep your cognitive functions in gear. Use your free time efficiently and get a decent amount of sleep on the weekends.
9. Stay positive
No matter how passionate you are about your work, a constant weight can drag you down. Being happy at work contributes to job satisfaction, colleague relationships and lessening stress levels.
10. Know your limits
Finally, the most important thing you need to survive a heavy workload is self-awareness. If long hours and stress are having a detrimental effect on your health and wellbeing, then talking to your manager about where you can streamline tasks can be the best option. A problem shared is a problem halved!