Click here to read the article as published in the Femina September 2023

In today’s fast-paced and demanding work environment, the line between productivity and burnout can be dangerously thin. Juggling multiple tasks, deadlines and responsibilities often leads to overwhelming stress and exhaustion. Burnout is a level above stress; it is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion often accompanied by feelings of cynicism and detachment from work. Burnout can lead to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism and even long-term health issues.

“To maintain a healthy work-life balance and prevent burnout, it is essential to prioritise not just physical, but also mental wellness,” says Christopher Roberts, Managing Director, Engaged Strategy and Creator of the Total Engagement Model®. As a brand interventionist who has achieved record NPS increases, helping brands grow their Net Promoter Score by 80+ points, he helps organisations capitalise on their potential by harmonising their CX performance metrics and brand strategy via highly critical actionable insights and recommendations. The secret? The simple-yet-powerful Eisenhower Matrix that categorises tasks into four quadrants based on their urgency and importance:

1. Urgent And Important: Tasks in this quadrant demand immediate attention. They are often associated with tight deadlines, emergencies, or critical issues.
Recognise that not all urgent matters require your direct involvement. Delegate tasks when possible. Reducing workload can significantly alleviate mental strain.

2. Important But Not Urgent: These tasks are essential for long-term goals but don’t require immediate action. They include strategic planning, skill development, and personal growth.
Your mental health and well-being are important, while the urgency depends on how healthy you are. However, if you do not invest in these important issues at the right time, you may end up pushing it to the Important & Urgent quadrant. Allocate time and energy to prioritise your physical and mental health, just as you would for any critical work task before it becomes important and urgent.

3. Appear Urgent But Not Important: Tasks in this category are often distractions. They seem urgent, but they don’t contribute significantly to your long-term goals or well-being. They can include interruptions, excessive meetings, or minor issues such as responding to an unimportant email immediately when it can be left for a later time.
Often, workplace stressors fall into this quadrant. Be mindful of interruptions, excessive meetings, or trivial issues that can hijack your focus. Set boundaries to protect your mental space and time.

4. Not Urgent and Not Important: These tasks are neither pressing nor beneficial. They are time-wasters and should be minimised or eliminated.
Activities such as indulging in office gossip that neither benefit your well-being nor professional growth belong here. Instead, invest this time in self-care, skill development, or relaxation, fostering mental resilience.

Practical Steps for Mental Wellness

1. Begin each day by categorising your tasks into the four quadrants. Pay special attention to tasks that contribute to your mental wellness.

2. Be comfortable declining tasks or commitments that fall outside your priorities. Saying ‘no’ is a crucial skill for preserving your mental health.

3. Allocate time for self-care rituals such as meditation, exercise, or simply taking breaks. These activities should be treated as ‘Important but Not Urgent’ tasks.

4. Establish boundaries for work-related interruptions and non-essential meetings.

5. Periodically review your tasks and adjust your priorities to stay aligned with your mental wellness goals.

6. Don’t hesitate to seek support from colleagues, supervisors, or mental health professionals if you feel overwhelmed.

NPS®, Net Promoter® and Net Promoter Score® are registered trademarks of NICE Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company and Fred Reichheld.

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