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10 Simple Productivity Tips To Organize Your Work Life

10 Simple Productivity Tips To Organize Your Work Life

Have you ever come home late, exhausted and tired after spending your whole day at work, but when you asked yourself what was the result of your day, you didn’t have an answer? You just feel like your productivity was around zero.

If so, ask yourself this: Was that day all about checking your emails, answering the phone, and spending time in marathon meetings? Such situations can happen often in this fast-paced world. It is so full of different distractions. This is why we must take care of our productivity.

Productivity is not about working more. It is just the opposite: working less, in less time, with more effect.

Time

Organizing your time is the first crucial step to take in order to boost your productivity. Using your time wisely means that you have time for work, leisure, along with also having time for your family and friends.

At the end of the day, we all have 24 hours in each day. It is up to you how you are going to use them.

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1. “Eat that frog”

“Eat that frog!” simply means you do your most important task first. After completing your most important task, you will fill fulfilled and satisfied for the rest of the day.

By practicing this habit, you will also avoid one of the biggest enemies of productivity — procrastination.

2. Put time limits on your work

No matter what I do, whether writing an article, shooting a video, or working on a marketing campaign, I always put a time limit on my work. That means that I decide in advance how much time I am going spend writing an article: I set it to a certain number of hours and not a minute more.

If you want to increase your productivity before you start writing a letter to your customer or learning online skills or any new task you start, put a time limit on your work. You will see how effective you will become after setting a specific amount of time to do the job.

3. Break your work down into sessions

Your brain and your body are impressive machines — but don’t overuse them. Studies show that your brain’s effectiveness significantly decreases after 45 minutes. Make a habit of having five- or ten-minute breaks every 45 minutes. Stretch your body and allow your brain to regenerate. Doing so will help you to start each hour fresh and increase your productivity.

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Space

There are many studies that show how the right lighting, the right temperature, and a clean workplace affect your productivity. But don’t limit your thinking just to your physical space. Think of space as your entire working environment, including your virtual space.

4. Don’t be addicted to your mailbox

Checking your mailbox every 30 minutes or setting an automated email checker makes you completely reactive — as opposed to being proactive — and thus significantly decreases your productivity.

Tomorrow, when you go to work, resist checking your email as the first thing you do in the morning. Instead, work on your most important task first. After that, you have plenty of time to do all the little things.

5. Write it down

What I learned from reading the biography of Sir Richard Branson years ago is that he always carries an old-fashioned paper notebook with him. Why is this habit so beneficial and why it can greatly affect your productivity? When a new idea pops into your mind, you can quickly write it down in your notebook.

So, write those ideas down in your paper notebook. That means all of your ideas — otherwise you will just forget them (yes, your smartphone will also get the job done). These little ideas can make a big difference in your work.

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6. Choose five priorities each day (and no more)

Multitasking is another thing which can greatly decrease your productivity. The best way to avoid it is to choose only five priorities each day and stick to them strictly. This will make you a proactive person — you won’t be distracted by 100 other “urgent” things.

Mindset

Your mindset can do wonders for your productivity. With the right mindset, you just know what’s the right thing to do and what has the best effect on your life. Mindset can have the biggest impact on your productivity, so it is well worth working on.

7. Use affirmations

Actually, we all use affirmations all the time. Different thoughts are crossing our minds constantly. The question is: are you using positive ones?

Start telling yourself things like: “I am successful,” or  “I attract ______________ (insert whatever it is that you are dreaming of).” Use these affirmations first thing when you wake up and repeat them throughout the day. They will affect your confidence — the more confident you are, the more effective you are.

8. Imagine your end result

Before you start your workday, don’t just rush into your work. First, imagine the end result you wish to have. By doing this, you will tap into your subconscious strength and empower your productivity.

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9. Read inspirational books

Inspiration is food for your mind. Just as you shower every day to cleanse your body, you should shower your soul with inspiration every day. Read inspirational books, watch inspirational videos, and listen to inspirational audio. When you are inspired, you work with an ease and your productivity will rise substantially.

10. Think good thoughts before you go to sleep

I am sure you have already experienced having bad dreams after watching a horror movie before you went to sleep. Why? Because your subconscious mind is very receptive to your thoughts in the last 45 minutes before you go to sleep.

So, before you go to sleep, think of your next day’s goals, your life dreams, or read a good motivational book. In that way, you will fill your subconsciousness with positive thoughts. Your subconscious will reciprocate by helping you to have increased productivity.

Featured photo credit: Steve wilson via flickr.com

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Published on January 16, 2019

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

  • Are you a great strategist?
  • Are you an effective planner?
  • Is Project Management your strength?
  • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
  • Are you the ideas person?
  • Is Implementation your strength?

Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

4. Take Time for Planning

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

You can take the time to think about:

  • What’s the purpose of the project?
  • How Important is it?
  • When does it need to be delivered by?
  • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
  • What are the KPIs?
  • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
  • Who is working on this project?
  • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
  • What tolerances can I add in?
  • What are the review stages?
  • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

5. Focus on Priorities

Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

  1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
  2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
  3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
  4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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    The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

    If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

    If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

    6. Take Time Out

    To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

    If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

    Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

    In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

    Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

    7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

    Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

    I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

    Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

    If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

    8. Stop Multitasking

    Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

    So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

    When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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    If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

    9. Work in Blocks of Time

    To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

    I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

    Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

    Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

    Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

    Then take another 10-minute break.

    Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

    By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

    10. Get Rid of Distractions

    Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

    “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

    Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

    If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

    11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

    You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

    Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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    Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

    12. Take a Time Audit

    Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

    Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

    You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

    Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

    Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

    At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

    If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

    13. Protect Your Confidence

    It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

    When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

    Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

    When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

    Final Words

    A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

    The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

    If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

    Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

    Reference

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