Whether you’re slumming it at a temporary job, or going all out at your new, full-time gig. There is one important thing to remember: job burnout is real. The secret to avoiding this is simple. Finish your work as soon as you can, so that you can leave work on time.
However, this is a task that is easier said than done. Since we’re ushering in the new year, why not make this a healthy resolution to follow through? Singaporeans love to work. In 2019, Singaporeans worked an average of 44 hours per week. A staggering number, especially when you compare it to American employees, who clocked in an average of 34.4 hours per week.
As a recruitment agency in Singapore, we often hear the all too familiar excuses on why employees decide to quit a good-paying job. “I’m tired” or “I feel burnt out and needed a change”, are just some of many.
Read: How to Avoid the Dreaded Job Burnout
But before you jump the gun and leave for greener pastures. Try to make your work more enjoyable by leaving on time. Below are 5 habits you need to develop, to help you leave work on time:
1. Plan your workload at the start of the day
You’ve heard the saying, “Milo, the breakfast of champions”. Well, did you know that you can apply this saying to your deskbound job as well?
Like Milo, you’ll need to start your day off with a bang! Knowing which tasks to prioritize throughout the workday is the key to completing your workload on time. The first step to planning your workload for the day is accepting the fact that you cannot complete it all in one day. Instead, it’d be much more productive to focus on tasks in order of urgency. Take one hour of your week to effectively plan the tasks for your day.
Some questions to help you prioritize tasks include:
Is the project part of your Key Performance Indicator (KPI)?
What’s the purpose of the project?
Is there a deadline you’d need to deliver the project by?
How important has your supervisor ranked this task?
Learn more about planning and prioritizing your workload for the day here.
2. Stop Procrastinating
If you constantly find yourself stuck in the office late at night, it might be a good reason to step back and reevaluate your work habits throughout the day. Where are you wasting the most time? Are you constantly updating your colleagues on various messaging apps? Or are you distracted by those addictive games on your phone?
The truth is, it is hard to stop procrastinating. As a procrastinator myself, I find that I’m constantly lying to myself throughout the workday, just to justify my distractions. “I need to watch this one music video before I start working on that long ass article”, or “Watching this YouTube video won’t hurt because I’ve just finished writing three emails, and I need a break”. These are just some excuses that I find myself telling myself throughout the day.
But it’s hard to go cold-turkey on procrastination. The thought could be so daunting to some that they might even procrastinate, stopping to procrastinate. One thing you can do though is to lessen the amount of time spent on being distracted. Try blocking fun websites (e.g. YouTube, Instagram, Facebook) on both your mobile and desktop. A good tutorial on how to do this with Google Chrome can be found on Hubspot.
Or if possible, set a timer for 30 minutes. The aim would be to complete as much as you can about a task, without getting distracted. And yes, taking toilet breaks to scroll through your IG feed is procrastinating.
3. Tackle the Most Important Tasks No Matter How Time Consuming
We get it. Sometimes, it’s a lot more fun to tackle a less important project just because of how much more fun it can be. Composing an email might seem just as productive as compiling the numbers needed for that annual report. But it isn’t. And it won’t help you finish the tasks needed to complete your annual report.
But as someone who spends some of their nights in the office, tackling projects due the next day. It is hard to know when you’re not spending time on the right tasks. One way to tackle this problem is by creating a simple list with two columns. On the left, write down the important tasks due within the week. However, on the right, you should jot down all the different activities you’ve completed that is unrelated to your job. This should help you visualise the different activities that you were either distracted with or have completed.
Alternatively, you can create a simple daily or weekly “to-do” list to help you get through the different tasks for the day! Simply write down all the tasks that you need to complete before the end of the week and strike out the ones you’ve completed.
4. Phone Over Emails!
As millennials, we are naturally averse to phone conversations. Emails can be an awesome tool to communicate with. However, it can turn into a time consuming task, when you’re spending your day going back and forth with someone on email. You can save much more time by making a phone call instead. Or, if the person works within your organization, walking up to them directly might also work a charm.
5. Wrap Up Early
Finishing your duties and getting ready to leave early is the key to...well leaving the office on time. Ideally, you should be done with your work tasks 10-15 minutes before the workday ends.
I mean, no one dashes out of work as soon as they’re done with their tasks. They take time to shut down their computers, or wash their cups, or even run to the bathroom before the long commute home.
You can remind yourself to wrap up early by including your “end-of-work” routine in your daily to-do list. Don’t forget to set yourself an alarm reminder 10-15 minutes before the end of your work day as well. That way, you’ll be packing and out the door by 6pm.
6. Be Kiasu
As a true blue Singaporean, it shouldn’t be too hard for you to tap into your inner kiasu-ness. We ask you to do this, because you’ll need to change your mindset in order to be able to complete your day-to-day duties on time.
Think about it - how many times have you managed to wrap things up early, when you have appointments planned after work? We tend to leave the workplace on time when we have plans with our friends. Make getting home, the same priority.
So if you feel the rush to complete your daily projects instead of engaging in a conversation with your co-worker. Do that! The rest and relaxation can wait.
What are some of your coveted habits that help you leave work on-time? Share them with us in the comments section below!
Read More: New Year, New Me, New CV!