The lifestyle of the writers at Floating Coconut is very relaxed, although we occasionally run into stressful situations, we always seem to be able to snap back into our relaxed lifestyle.
Being busy is part of life and working life, but to feel overwhelmed, or work more than you imagined for yourself can give a lot of stress. And too much stress is not good for your health and you enjoy life less when you are stressed out.
Working online is not always without stress, sometimes the internet is not available or slow, or because of different time zones there is a miscommunication about deadlines. However, the main goal of working less and enjoying life more is always within reach if you follow these 7 steps.
1. Focus and diminish all distraction
Once you focus more on your schedule and tasks for the day or even the whole week you have a better perception of what needs to be done. You can work much more focused and be more productive when there are less or no distractions.
For example when you work from your laptop shut down email applications and communication apps like messenger and hangouts.
If you are a nomad and work from a hub, co-working-space or restaurant, use your earphones to disconnect from the world around you. Nothing is as annoying as a jelling child, a phone call made from the table next to you or music playing in the background.
I have a special selection of music in a playlist that helps me focus and be much more productive each time I listen to it. My fingers get wings and my energy flows.
2. Make a list of what needs to be done and prioritise tasks or projects
When you have multiple tasks scheduled, make a priority list. Is there a deadline lurking at the end of that day, put that task on top. If there is a demanding client among the tasks, make sure you have plenty of time to satisfy that client.
3. Choose that one most important item in that list
The one that needs to be fixed first comes first, simple as that. Unless there is no time limit to any of your tasks you might want to consider to make a different priority and chose a project that inspires you and from which you know you work with pleasure and get energised. After finishing that project you have plenty of ‘flow’ to take on another one.
usually once you have made a priority list and work through it one by one, it doesn’t take as much time as you imagined beforehand.
4. Work only on that task
Finish a project first. Do not get side tracked or work on multiple projects. That is why it is so important to shut the rest of the world out for a while. Make sure you can focus on that one task or project without getting distracted.
5. Give yourself a break
When you’re focussed on work, time flies. Before you know it you have worked a few hours and made great progress. Time to step away for just a few minutes. Take a little break. Get yourself a drink, stretch a little, walk around for only a few minutes before you set yourself to finish the task.
Do NOT go on social media or any of the communication apps! Before you know it your focus is gone and you’ll be distracted for too long.
It is important that you only do some self care and go back to the task you need to finish.
You can promise yourself something nice as a reward when you finished your work. Like me, I promise myself a swim on a white beach or a good lunch in a resort once I have accomplished all that I wanted to do that day.
For me a working day is 4 hours maximum. Usually at a time that is convenient for me. So it is very difficult to have self discipline and setting myself to work. Especially when the sun is out and the beach calling.
6. Keep your schedule as flexible as possible
You want to work less and have less stress it is important you keep your schedule flexible. For me it is important to do so because the internet is not always working as it should. Often times there is a brownout which makes working sheer impossible. I am able to cut tasks in little parts, I can work both offline and online for the most part.
The preparations are done offline and when the internet is back on I work online. This is extremely important to teach yourself when you work remote or work and travel. Use waiting time at bus stations and airports to work or do research and take notes.
But also – I live in a beautiful country and sometimes I simply do not feel like working. I want to be able to move tasks around in my schedule. Some days I work longer hours other days less. Sometimes I work mornings other days in the evening.
My calendar is a colorful appearance of dedicated blocks per project and I can move them around. In the end what counts is that tasks are finished in time.
7. Make sure you communicate your circumstances to your clients
When working as a freelancer it is very important that you communicate about your circumstances to your clients. I tell my clients when I am away on a trip, but they should also know that there is a huge time difference and that my internet may be unreliable.
In my terms of service is a section that voids all potential complaints due to internet failure. Just to be on the safe side.
When you are employed and working in an office, there is not so much to communicate about your circumstances, they are quite obvious. However, you can still be conservative about promises and be honest about achievable goals and appointments.
The reason why I was a wanted project leader was that I always informed all participants on the project about my whereabouts, my time-schedule and progress. What I was expecting from others and at what time and when things stagnate due to circumstances I would communicate the reasons clearly and reset goals or readjust promises made.
A few extra tips from the work field
- Are you the type to postpone? Fix that behaviour. Make a task list and work with that. Get disciplined.
- When this is the first time you feel overwhelmed with work, make sure you take a break after you finished your tasks and projects to sit down and reflect on where you can improve and prevent it from happening again.
- When you feel busy, you probably are doing something wrong, figure out what that is.
- Learn to say ‘no’ without feeling guilty.
- Try not to think in like and dislike of tasks and project. It is just what it is – a task you do. Nothing more nothing less.
- Realise the amount of pleasure and relief you will experience once you start to tick of finished tasks from your priority list.
- Don’t lose your perspective, tasks and projects will come and go but you are only you. And your health is the most important thing.