How Self-Awareness Improves Work Quality

Whether it’s new, last-minute projects or impromptu meetings, it can feel like a workday is never long enough to accomplish all we need to. This ponderous sensation that we’re strapped for time can lead us to pushing ourselves too hard to get things done, and that’s when tasks fall to the wayside, details are unconsciously overlooked, and we generally wear ourselves to a nub.

It’s important to understand our capabilities and limitations. The most efficient of us know when to snap shut that laptop and take a break, because burning through our energy reserves can have serious repercussions on the quality of our work.

Quality of Work Decreases When We’re Overextended

Functioning off the fumes of last night’s four hours of sleep, and temporarily amped on multiple cups of coffee, denies our brains the chance to rest. Consistently insufficient amounts of sleep causes our mental processes to malfunction and runs us at serious risk of sabotaging our immune systems.

It all boils down to a question of priorities: would you rather take the necessary amount of time to show clients a product that is 100 percent, or rush when you’re at your weakest, physically and mentally, to produce materials that are hardly reflective of the finished product’s potential? The answer should be obvious, and the solution is simple: know when to call it.

Breaks are Natural and Necessary

If you feel mentally fatigued and that you can’t distance yourself from work enough to enjoy some personal time—or simply function outside of work—that’s a strong indication that you need to cut loose (footloose!) for a little while. Remind yourself that taking a break will improve your overall productivity; if you’re rested, with an uncluttered mind, those refilled reservoirs of strength can be reappropriated back into the task at hand.

If you’re producing high quality goods, there’s no shame in putting things off for later or rearranging your priorities to accommodate the realities of your workload. Because once you’ve burned out, it’s hard to recover—so avoid burnout the best you can!

Consistency is Key

Pick up what you can here and there, do your best, aim for consistency, and remind yourself you’re only human. Overextension sets unrealistic expectations, both for ourselves and for others. Of course you want to boast your best each and every day, but that doesn’t require sacrificing your health or potentially building resentments with your employers.

When it comes to our workdays, thinking (and behaving!) realistically will set for ourselves achievable goals; and those, in turn, will make us better, more efficient producers. What more could one ask for?

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