What does your typical work day in Lebanon look like? We can imagine that it is not easy working through the power cuts, Delta variant paranoia, the fuel crisis, economic crisis and perhaps one crisis too many. Plus, the summer heat is upon us and many of us need a much deserved break, but cannot take time off just yet.
All these factors can negatively impact motivation levels, and dampen productivity and efficiency rates. So how can you navigate and achieve your professional goals? Here are tips from BDD:
Know that you are not alone
What can give you some solace, is knowing you are not alone in enduring these challenges. Some colleagues and friends may be more vocal about it and others may keep to themselves. But the entire country, to varying degrees, is suffering from these challenges. What matters is where you choose to expend your energy…
So where should your energy go?
We all have that energy draining friend when it comes to matters of electricity, the economy or the general situation, or that lunch hour that turns into a venting session. If these situations are demotivating and draining you even more, set boundaries. You do not need to be reminded of the dark clouds all the time. Plus, taking a social media and national news break and can do you some good. It doesn’t mean you don’t care about all that is going on, it just means you have a limited energy source that you need to protect.
What can you do instead?
If your energy levels are dipping during the workday, for obvious reasons, take a solo walk in the neighborhood, or listen to your favorite music while sitting on a bench. Call up a friend or sit with a colleague who you always share a laugh with. Pick up an uplifting book and read a chapter or two, or stare out the window (provided there is a good view). You can also meditate, even 5 minutes can do wonders to calm the mind.
But then, back to work…
Set your daily to do lists
Your weekly and monthly to do lists may look like you have to climb a mountain, and you may most likely not know where to start. So, set yourself smaller goals that you can achieve every work day. Write down the deliverables in order of priority and urgency, or start with those that need less brainpower and time. Then actively tick them off the list and do a little happy dance at your desk every time you accomplish a task.
Time block your tasks
Any adept professional knows how long a task should take, if you really concentrate. Set a goal to complete the task at a certain hour or within a defined timeframe. Then give yourself a buffer zone (after your mini break) to review the document, proposal or project. Pretty soon, you will have allocated time slots and a more structured workday.
Take mini breaks
After every period of intense concentration, or after completing one deliverable, take a mini break. Walk around the office, or turn away from your screen (laptop and phone) to re-center. Research a topic that inspires you or just sit still staring into space. Once you are ready, get back to your list.
Limit your distractions
We all get calls, Whatsapps, messages, social media alerts, emails around the clock… downtime seems like it’s a thing of the past. We often do not realize how connected we really are. So when you need to focus, turn your phone on silent and place it with the screen turned down, and put your email alerts on do not disturb. It is easy to get sidetracked with all the influx of messages, calls and emails. You can even ask that one colleague who strolls by your desk to gossip, not to do so.
And if you are really not feeling it…
Provided that you do not have a deadline in an hour or are lagging behind your work schedule, if you are not feeling inspired, it is better not to force it. Inspiration doesn’t stem from stress and productivity levels are worsened if you can’t think straight. In such circumstances, do something that inspires you and gets your mind off of things. You can try doodling, journaling, listening to music, going for a walk, watching a TED talk, pinning things on your vision board… After all, you need to refuel.
We are passing through some of the most challenging years of our lives, with so much happening every single day in Lebanon. Work can provide an escape, if you know how to structure your schedule and write down achievable to-do list, then feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of each day.