It’s always concerning to read stories in the press about the cost of fatigued employees on business productivity. According to research by bed manufacturer Sealy UK, falling asleep at your desk or pulling a sickie due to tiredness costs the UK economy £453 million a year in lost productivity!

An alarming 21% of the 1,000 workers surveyed have recently called in sick or turned up late due to a lack of sleep, with men 6% more likely than women to do this. The cities where this is most prevalent in the UK emerged as Belfast (32%), Newcastle (30%), Birmingham (27%) and Leeds (25%). It appears that this could be costing our economy serious money, equating to a staggering £453m, based on average earnings and the average working day!

This is something we hear about all too often I’m afraid, and unfortunately, some people do get caught up in an activity trap. They confuse busy-ness with productivity, they feel they can’t say ‘No’ to others, and often like to feel indispensable.

Unfortunately, the more you agree to take on, the more people will expect you to do.

Productive people control their workload and make sure that all of their time and activity adds up to what’s important.

Try using these Top 5 Tips to help you to control your workload:-

1.Clear purpose

View every role as part of your overall purpose. Unfortunately, many people lose sight of this and easily get caught up in the transactional tasks that form part of their job.

Completing lots of tasks may make us feel good and look busy, but if those tasks don’t directly contribute to your overall purpose, it’s important to question why you’re doing them!

2.Plan your time

Many people feel it’s pointless to plan their day or week, especially when they work in a largely reactive environment.

However, a plan is important to keep you focused on the things that matter most. If you don’t schedule your time, you’ll end up simply reacting to other people and other events as they arise.

If you have a plan, (even if you need to change it), you’re remembering to take your own needs into consideration.

When planning your day or week, leave around 20% of your time unscheduled. This will allow you to fit in those unexpected or unplanned, reactive tasks without having a massive impact on what you need to achieve.

3.Be decisive

Once you have decided to allocate your time to something, then focus on it, and get it done.

Stop creating excuses to justify yourself why you should delay starting a task.

Make decisions and stick to them so you don’t need to keep revisiting the same piece of work.

4.Ask for help

It’s not a sign of weakness to say you have too much work on.

Learn to delegate if you can – and if you can’t, ask your colleagues or manager for help. Often, people don’t realise that work is distributed unevenly, and would be horrified to learn you are under pressure.

Going in with the right attitude and being specific about the sort of help you need and for how long, will usually be positively received. Simply moaning about how much you have to do, and how “it’s not fair” is far more likely to lead to your requests falling on deaf ears!

5.Take a break

Working around the clock may seem like the only way to keep on top of your workload, but it isn’t helpful in the long term.

Your mind and body need time to rest.

Taking time away allows you to relax, and while you are doing something else, your unconscious (and more creative) brain so often kicks into life and gives you the’ breakthrough’ you need.

If you can’t take a break, make a change. Work on something different. A change is (almost) as good as a rest.

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