6 Work habits that’ll get you home on time this holiday season

6 Work habits that’ll get you home on time this holiday season

Healthy work habits help prevent work place burnout and reduce downtime due to stress and illness. When a person becomes over-stressed, they can get physically and mentally run-down. Research shows that the psychological and physical effects of burnout in employees accounts for billions of dollars in U.S. healthcare costs a year. There are several useful ways to manage a daily workload, avoid potential career changes, and restore work-life balance. One of the easiest ways to do this is to leave work on time, and these best practices help make sure this happens this holiday season and all year long.

1. Set realistic goals and make a list

Create a list of tasks to accomplish before the day is over. Setting goals establishes a feeling of control, which translates to decreased performance pressure. List priority tasks first, complete items in order, and cross each task off upon completion. Remember to schedule adequate time using appointment books, calendars, or personal organizers so there’s enough time to do each task properly.

2. Ask for help

Individuals should ask coworkers for help instead of staying after work if they are having trouble completing a task. Communicating issues about workloads or deadlines, and asking for help or extensions, is acceptable in the work setting. Feeling overwhelmed can lead to procrastination, so it’s better to request help before the situation gets out of control.

3. Just say no

Saying no is harder than it sounds for most people, and feelings of guilt and obligation can lead people to overbook their time. A constant feeling of pressure to perform more at work, even when on overload, can lead to dreading a job and potentially quitting. The truth is coworkers and managers have limits too, so it’s normal to set boundaries as long as it’s done respectfully. If the boundaries set aren’t being respected, follow the company chain of command to resolve the issue.

4. Avoid distractions

Distractions can be unavoidable, but try to stay on schedule as much as possible. Remaining focused is a major part of maintaining effective work habits. Instead of chatting in hallways or catching up on personal emails during work time, use lunch hours and breaks to socialize and check emails. Most businesses expect staff to avoid using social media and mobile devices at work that are unnecessary for their jobs, or at the least to silence notifications. As a general rule, it’s best to keep attention on completing goals to avoid a potential pile-up of tasks that can make it difficult to leave work on time.

5. Take all scheduled breaks

Taking scheduled breaks helps individuals to stay on task, and they’re a big part of refocusing energies toward the middle of the work day. When workers jump from one task to the next too quickly, there is no time to switch modes, which can cause stagnation in the flow of ideas. Breaks clear the mind for the next task and essentially make everyone more productive and efficient in the long run. This increases the chances of leaving the building on time.

6. Set a wind-down time

Schedule time at the end of each day to wind down and create tomorrow’s plan of attack. This prevents the need to stay after work and wrap up. Planning ahead at work helps begin the next day on target. Setting a reminder on a phone or laptop computer makes it easy to remember when it’s time to start winding down. Once the time comes, complete the current task, but avoid the temptation to start another one. If tasks remain, add them to the next day’s list.

With a little planning, it’s easy to leave work on time each day and complete more projects, leaving you more time to spend with family and friends. Remember not to take tasks home, no matter how tempting it is to finish just one more. The point of finishing work in a timely manner is to reclaim personal time, especially during the holiday season.