6 Essential Productivity Tips for Any Chaotic Work Schedule

We are all familiar with the concept of an unpredictable and often overwhelming job that makes us feel like we have no control over our own schedules. The ideas of “pulling your hair out” or having a minor panic attack in the office bathroom are well-known clichés, but the truth is that no position should ever be so chaotic that it affects our inner peace and productivity.

Despite these exaggerations, many positions can be hectic—and it’s the way we choose to handle the chaos that defines us. While some employees will continue to pull their hair out and cry internally, with a tiny bit of forethought and planning, you can put this stress behind you and handle any situation with grace and ease. After all, there is certainly a particular set of skills every entrepreneur needs to perfect and, through this list of essential productivity tips, you can do just that—and more.

1. Schedule Your Day Around Your Breaks

With a relatively unpredictable schedule, you may find yourself feeling rather overwhelmed with the continuous additions of extra work and projects. However, being able to have a somewhat set schedule in this chaos is sure to help with this stress exponentially.

According to the Wellness Council of America, “when employees become overly stressed, it takes a toll on both them personally and the overall health of the company.” With this said, finding structure to alleviate stress is a great first step for forming a more productive system in the workplace.

For this, start by analyzing when you normally have your breaks and schedule your day around this when you first arrive each morning. Breaks are also essential to your mental state at work and help you to refresh your mind during the day. By establishing these breaks, you can plan the add-on projects around these time blocks and avoid feeling overworked or overwhelmed during the workday.

Related: How to Clear Desk Clutter & Organize Your Workspace

2. Create a Structure That Works for You

Structure is so essential for stability and overall productivity in the workplace. However, with an unpredictable and ever-changing schedule, it can be hard as an employee to create a structure that suits this schedule.

That being said, you musn’t forget that your needs should always come first. No one can ever expect to be productive if they are overwhelmed, negative, or exhausted. For this reason, the best way to create a structure is to tailor around you and your needs specifically.

Start by not only analyzing your breaks but also the things you need from your work day to stay happy and productive. Whether it’s how you take your meeting notes, organize your calendar or a morning routine you adhere to, tailor your structure around something that gives you a foundation to stand on and see how much easier it is to be productive.

3. Utilize To-Do Lists

There are many ways to make a to-do list to power up your productivity, but every one of these guides always begins by stressing the importance of a to-do list for productivity specifically.

The reason for this is that to-do lists are the perfect way to keep track of your daily tasks, feel a sense of accomplishment as you complete and cross them off, and avoid feeling overwhelmed during the process.

You wouldn’t go grocery shopping for several items without a list to keep you on track—you’ll never remember all 15 things. In the same way that writing down a shopping list helps you to remember what you’re buying, writing down your daily tasks helps you to succeed and stay productive no matter how hectic the day becomes. Find a system that works for you and stick to it.

Related: Finding a Work-Life Balance When You Work from Home

4. Limit Social Media Usage in the Office

Did you know that, according to Social Media Today, “the average person will spend nearly two hours (approximately 116 minutes) on social media everyday, which translates to a total of 5 years and 4 months spent over a lifetime.”

Imagine how much of this unpredictable excess work could be completed in those two hours. Instead of spending your time on social media in the workplace and further overwhelming yourself with work, perhaps it is time to try a mobile productivity tool like Buffer, which allows you to automatically schedule your company social media posts for an active presence whenever you have the time to schedule out.

This will remove a lot of the potential distraction on social media and significantly limit your social platforms in the office. It will also help you to stay relevant and constant in your online posting. Through this, you can ultimately save hours of time every day and reap the benefits of this newfound time in the workplace accordingly.

5. Create Manageable Personal Deadlines

Perhaps the project your boss just gave you is expected to be complete by the end of the week but you know it can be done by Wednesday if you try hard enough. This will also free up your schedule and give you more time to work on other aspects of your workload.

With these situations in mind, being able to create manageable personal deadlines is a great way to stay productive and always ahead of the proverbial “game.” Although these personal deadlines don’t have to be drastic (and can even include personal projects and daily tasks), they are a great way to keep track of them is by using a task making tool such as Asana to your benefit.

By using a task maker such as this, you can schedule out every day, have clear deadlines set, know what is due when, and also separate your work into manageable blocks to eliminate unnecessary workplace stress.

Related: 4 Organization Tips for a Stress-Free Year

6. Declutter Your Office Space

One of the ultimate time management techniques for busy professionals is organizing your space. Although you may not realize it, a cluttered workspace is a major source of stress and unproductive behavior.

With this said, decluttering your office space is the perfect way to gain control of your workspace and daily tasks as well as keep track of everything added onto your plate with no warning. This will allow you to be significantly more productive and also create a workspace that induces productivity even on the most hectic of days as well.

In the end, the key to being productive despite an unpredictable work life is organization, structure, and management. By keeping track of everything, staying organized, and completing projects ahead of time, you can watch your productivity skyrocket and your once hectic and chaotic position become more and more easy over time.