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Success is often built on certain corporate wellness habits. This is according to Laura Vanderkam, author of a new mini e-book, What the Most Successful People Do at Work, who outlines the ways in which successful people approach their work.
Firstly, before you can get the most out of your hours without overdoing it, you need to discern how long your activities actually take. Keep a time log for a full week so you also capture the weekend, as this is when people tend to be less conscious of what they’re doing. Vanderkam explains, ‘The goal is to be helpful, not to make you hate your life.’ The author updates her time log twice a day, but you might have another way of doing it – just make sure you keep up to date.
Once you have an idea of the things you dedicate your time to, you’ll be more able to plan out your hours, and trim down unnecessary stressors. Vanderkam writes, ‘People lament that they’d love to have strategic-thinking time, but they’re just too busy!’ Have a planning session at least once a week, or start with a big one and then move down to smaller ones as projects get finished. Vanderkam advises planning for long periods of time, with goals you want to achieve over the year, and then you can make sure you are steadily working toward those goals in your weekly planning sessions.
However, when setting your goals for the year, don’t become to over-excited and plan for the impossible. You’re much more likely to be successful if you set discrete, doable tasks for yourself, for which you are held accountable. Break down big projects into small steps and tackle three to six of them a day. Then, make sure someone knows this is the plan, so that you’ll actually stick to it. This may be an accountability partner, or on Stickk, a web site in which people can set goals and then promise to do a forfeit, such as donate to an organisation they loathe, if they fail.
Finally, distinguish what is work, and what isn’t. Vanderkam notes, ‘According to a 2012 McKinsey Global Institute report on the social economy, knowledge workers spend 28% of their time wading through their inboxes.’ She explains, ‘Email expands to fill in the available time. Give email less time, and it will take less time.’ The same goes for meetings: ‘The reason you have a meeting is that you want something to change in the world by the end of it. The problem is that people have meetings to check that everyone is still doing their jobs — but hopefully you hired people good enough where you don’t have to check.’