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Commentary Suzanne Collier

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Suzanne Collier on surviving the fallout from book fairs

How do you survive the fallout from a book fair? At this time of year, you may be struggling with extra workload from at least one book fair or outside event, added to the fact that whilst you’ve been out of the office the work still came rolling in. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. Even if you have extra staff resources at hand, what you really want to do is replicate yourself, or hide under the desk.
Here are some key points to remember.

  1. Relax. Stress will send your body into fight or flight mode, and whilst some of us might feel we work our best under these conditions, long-term they take their toll health-wise. Notice how you always get ill on the first day of any holiday? It’s probably due to your stress hormones going a bit awry after working full-on for a while.
  2. Make a list. Not a complete list of everything you need to do, as some productivity experts will tell you, as a complete list is often counter-productive; no matter how much work there is, there will always be more work that needs to be done. Instead make a list of the things you know need to be done; those projects and thoughts that are keeping you awake at night or distracting you during the day as you remember them.
  3. Stop the interruptions in the office. Every time you are interrupted it takes your brain minutes to refocus and get back into concentration mode.  An interruption might be your colleagues, email notifications, your mobile, social media. No one will notice if you disappear for a short while. If you have to, book an appointment with yourself in the office diary to make this happen.
  4. Balance the workload. If you have to maintain a busy inbox and urgent projects with immovable deadlines all due at the same time, then split your day into slots and spend time on each, so you can progress them all, or at least progress the one that you feel is stressing you the most.
  5. Keep to regular hours. You might need to do an extra hour here or there during a busy period, but working longer hours doesn’t make anyone more productive. The work expands to the time we allow to fill it. Having time out from work is critical to being more productive when you are at work, as you are more refreshed and relaxed. Which brings us back to point 1.

© Suzanne Collier 2017

Suzanne Collier from solves career problems for publishers. She covers everything from career guidance through to workplace issues and drives change for people at all levels – senior publishers wishing to realign their career or do their current job better to those just starting out.
Twitter: @suzannecollier @bookcareers

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