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Optimizing Your Crazy Workday, Without Going Crazy

The dirty truth of emergency management work is that there is no such thing as an 8 hour workday, and there is always a little more to do. Have you ever left work feeling burned out and overwhelmed by your to-do list? You are certainly not alone. We chose the first-responder field because of the excitement and the fact that there is rarely any two days alike. Unfortunately, along with this, we are going to have a to-do list a mile long. How do you make this very full schedule work alongside your personal life?

There are ways to optimize your life and create a space for efficiency. There are steps we can take to unpack out jam-packed work schedule.

  1. Don’t roll out of bed and begin answering emails and making calls. Take some time to get moving and to develop some morning ritual that you follow each morning.

  2. Spend the first hour each morning conducting face-to-face meetings and building relationships. We may spend the rest of the day in front of our computer, so take advantage of these times.

  3. Try setting up specific times each hour to respond to emails. I would suggest hollowing out the last 15 minutes of each hour.[1]

  4. Take a break and eat some lunch. As I noted earlier, the face-to-face time is vital for relationship building and this directly correlates with effective organizations.

I am not saying to neglect your job, but trust me, we spend a lot of time each day working on things that really don’t require as much time and attention as we give them. With this in mind, we can spend less time each day “working” because we are being deliberate about the time we spend on each thing. If we spend 8 hours a day doing our job inefficiently, when we put some structure to it, it now only requires 2-4 hours, cutting out the wasted effort and replacing it with effectiveness, and increased personal time.


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