With busy fall months quickly approaching, it's easy to forget to take care of yourself. We've got tips to help you survive and thrive.
- Get away. While a vacation may not be possible, step away from your desk and take a short walk, or go outside and enjoy fresh air. Within your day, finding a change of scenery can lend a fresh perspective to problems when you return to your desk. If you're working extended days, plan to flex time so you can make it to other life commitments such as a child's school program or your book club. Productivity suffers when you give everything to work.
- Use a to-do list. Having a realistic list ensures critical tasks aren't forgotten, and helps focus your overtaxed brain. If you prefer electronic task management, consider using a free app such as Wunderlist, which allows you to break down your task list by category, and then by day and week. If you're a visual person, plot your day's tasks using sticky notes on a white board to ensure you're getting necessary tasks done first. At day's end, update your notes for tomorrow so your path is clear when you come in. It's satisfying to check things off as you complete them, and it lets you see how much you accomplish.
- Find effective help. Consider hiring help. Choose from recent financial aid employees who may be interested in part–time work, such as recent retirees or those who just began parenting or returned to school. When hiring work–study students, find freshmen and provide lots of positive reinforcement to make it tempting for them to stick around. You'll reduce the amount of time you spend on training, and provide them with more opportunities to make a difference in your office's productivity over the years.
- Get organized. Members of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) can log in to the Policies & Procedures Builder and use an online template to create a policies and procedures manual for your office. NASFAA also offers a Compliance Engine with checklists to ensure your school's compliance with federal laws and regulations. Tools like these can help your office work smarter, faster, and with more confidence.
- Remember basic self–care. Drink water. Eat healthful food. Get rest. Stay hydrated for productive functioning, and make sure you take at least a few minutes for lunch. It's a great idea to have a supply of energy–sustaining quick snacks at your office so that you can easily grab something between meetings or tasks. For an easier time falling asleep at night, make sure you get at least a little physical exercise or a short walk during the day, and take a break from electronics at least one or two hours before bed.
For More Information
While stress is a part of our lives, the key is to learn how to identify, manage, and thrive with it. A Survival Guide to Stress: Identifying, Managing, and Thriving is a SmartSessions™ training designed to provide you with important tips for handling stress, preventing burnout, and striking a balance.
Want more ideas? Great Lakes has resources designed to ease your workload and reduce stress. Contact your Great Lakes representative. We've created easy–to–use loan servicing resources; effective default prevention tools, resources, and reports; and private loan processing solutions that simplify your work life—because we understand the challenges you face.