One productivity hack that has worked well for me in the past is monthly personal workshop, aka “archive day”.
The idea is simple – every month, take a day off from work to review and tidy up your work itself, so you can work better and more efficiently. It’s like working on the work itself, or meta-work.
Personal workshop day is not the same as vacation or PTO – it’s not about binge watching Netflix and eating ice cream, or going to a theme park with children.
What I typically did during personal workshop day:
Review my journal (which I kept pretty much every day) and get some think time
Go out for a long run or walk (which helps thinking)
Review calendar and meetings and see how I spend time and make adjustments if necessary
Review meaningful meeting I took in the past month, capture learnings and plan for additional reach outs / keeping in touch
Bang through admin/chore stuff that I had been kicking down the road forever
Somebody said the biggest source of stress for knowledge workers is knowing there’s unfinished work. We can all relate to the feeling of being so busy that we don’t have the time to actually think. This is where personal workshop days can help. By setting aside dedicated time each month to review and tidy up your work processes, you can alleviate some of the stress associated with unfinished tasks.
When we’re feeling burned out, it’s a human nature to think about a big vacation, such as a 10-day getaway to Cancun or Bali where we can be completely offline and unplugged. But realistically, how feasible are those vacations? If not the work, family and other commitments get in the way.
Try mini vacations; Personal workshop days, sprinkled throughout the year, can help knowledge workers avoid the feeling of getting burned out and falling behind. It worked for me at least.