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4 Ways to Start the Day Right and Boost Productivity

4 Ways to Start the Day Right and Boost Productivity

We all know that how a person starts the day will impact what they achieve for the rest of the day. Getting off to a good start sets the stage for a very productive day while a slow start can mean not achieving your objectives.

If you want to boost your productivity, you need to get off to a good start. Follow the steps below and you should experience a noticeable increase in productivity throughout the day by, ensuring your mornings are focused on your most important objectives.

1. Create a To-Do List the Day Before

One of the best ways to get a good start on the day is to take the last 30 minutes or so of the previous day to plan ahead. Simply put, creating a to-do list before you go home establishes your plans for the following day. The list will immediately put you on track when you arrive for work the next morning.

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Arrange your tasks in order of priority for a more concise and productive plan. This will save additional time by not requiring you to organize your priorities first thing in the morning. You can walk in and get right to work.

2. Do Not Open Your E-Mail First Thing

Checking email in the morning constitutes the biggest productivity destroyer at all levels of business. According to an Accountemps survey of 2,100 CFOs, 58% started the day reading e-mail rather than working on projects. Doing so harms productivity because the vast majority of e-mails are routine and do not require immediate attention, yet workers are distracted by these routine issues instead of concentrating on more important tasks.

Do not open your e-mail inbox when you first arrive at work. Instead, spend the first hour or so of your day working on the most important task on your to-do list. Only when you have made significant progress or completed the task altogether, should you even think about checking your e-mail.

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The problem with e-mail is that your inbox is essentially an electronic can of worms. Once you start reading e-mail, you end up dealing with insignificant things that only hinder your productivity. You may believe you need to check your e-mail first thing in the morning, especially if you work with external clients, but for most, it is unnecessary. Anything that requires urgent attention will instigate a phone call from your client rather than an e-mail message. If you do have clients sending urgent requests via e-mail, you might want to communicate to them that the telephone is a more effective way of making you aware of anything urgent.

3. Do Not Attempt to Multitask

Contrary to popular belief, multitasking is not the best way to achieve maximum productivity. Multitasking takes longer, reduces productivity, and increases the likelihood of making mistakes. One need only step back and observe someone trying to walk down the street and text at the same time. Multitasking does not work well. By contrast, a single task focus is the best way to ensure your work meets high standards and make maximum use of your time.

Believe it or not, your co-workers make multitasking necessary by approaching you and asking for assistance while you are in the middle of something. You might be requested to join a meeting just getting under way, or having to stop what you are doing in order to solve a problem a co-worker deems a higher priority. In either case, you need to learn to say no.

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Block out specific times on your schedule, based on your daily to-do list, when you will be unavailable to your co-workers. Share your schedule with them so there is no temptation on their part to interrupt your productivity. Then stick to that schedule. If they see you working hard and making good use of your time, they will be less likely to distract you.

4. Turn Off or Mute Notifications

The mobile age has exposed us to all sorts of notifications that constantly distract us from the tasks at hand. Notifications may seem helpful, but they actually destroy productivity. Turn them off or mute them; do not allow notifications to continue to hinder performance.

Like controlling e-mail, turning off or muting your notifications does not disconnect you from your co-workers and the outside world. It merely allows you to control when you are exposed to incoming messages. Make a point of checking your e-mail and notifications during your breaks. This will keep you up-to-date with what’s going on without distracting you when you are working on important tasks.

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Productivity is everything in the modern workplace. You can increase yours by getting off to a good start first thing in the morning and then sticking to the steps outlined above throughout the day.

Featured photo credit: Nolan Issac via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on December 17, 2018

Read this and stop feeling overwhelmed…for good!

Read this and stop feeling overwhelmed…for good!

We live in a time of productivity overload.

Everywhere you turn are articles and books about how to be more productive, how to squeeze 27 hours of work out of every 24, how to double your work pace, how to do more and more all in the name of someday getting out of the rat race. Well this is about the side effects of those ideas. If we aren’t multitasking, we feel lazy. If we aren’t doing everything, we feel like we’re slacking. We compare ourselves to others who we think are doing more, having more, getting more and achieving more, and it’s driving us crazy. We feel overwhelmed when we think we have too much to do, too much is expected of us, or that a stressor is too much for us to handle. And we respond by lashing out with emotions of anger, irritability, anxiety, doubt and helplessness.

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This season especially is the most stressful time of year. Between the holidays, final exams, family gatherings and general feelings of guilt that it’s the end of the year, it’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking of all the things you still need to get done. But if you use these tips, not only will you get the important stuff done, you’ll keep your sanity while doing it!

    Is this you?

    Change your thought pattern-stop thinking negatively

    When you feel overwhelmed, the first thing you do is start thinking negatively or begin to resent why it’s your responsibility in the first place! The first thing you have to do is to stop! Stop thinking negatively immediately. Instead, focus on the positive. If you’re stuck in traffic, think of how great it is to have some time to yourself. If you’re rushing trying to get things done by a deadline, think how lucky you are to have a purpose and to be working towards it. If you’re stressing about a final exam, think of how fortunate you are to be given the opportunity of higher education. After you’ve changed your thought patterns, you must then say to yourself “I can do this.” Keep saying it until you believe it and you’re more than halfway to ending feeling overwhelmed.

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    Take a deep breath/change your body posture

    When you’re stressed certain things happen to your body. You start to breath shallowly, you hunch over, you immediately tense up and all that tension drives your feelings of stress even more. Relax! Straighten your posture and take at least ten deep, cleansing, breaths. Force yourself to smile and do something to change your state. It could be as simple as giving yourself a hug or as silly as clapping your hands three times, throwing them up in the air and shouting “I GOT THIS!” Think to yourself, how would I sit/stand if I had perfect confidence and control of the situation?

    Focus on right now

    Now that you are in a better state of mind and are no longer thinking negatively, you need to focus on the here and now. Ask yourself this question: What is the most important thing I have control of and can act on right now? Keep asking yourself this until you have a concrete next step.

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    Take Action

    Now that you know what’s most important and what to do about it, do it! Start with the first step and focus on getting that done. Don’t worry about anything else right now, just on what your first step is and how to get it done. Once that’s done with, determine the next most important step and get that done.

    Let go of what you can’t control (the gambler’s theory)

    Seasoned gamblers understand the importance of due diligence and knowing when to let go. The Gambler’s Theory is that once your bet is placed there is nothing you can do, so you might as well relax and enjoy the process. The time to worry is when you’re figuring out the best odds and making the decision of what to bet when you can actually take action. I used this one a lot in college. After an exam, there is absolutely no point in stressing about it. There’s nothing you can do. And the same goes for feeling overwhelmed. If you can do something about your situation, do it, focus and take action. But if you’ve done what you could and now are just waiting, or if you’re worried about something you have no control over, realize that there’s no point. You might as well relax and enjoy the moment.

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    yoga-422196_1280
      Relax and enjoy the moment

      Stop feeling guilty

      Finally, stop comparing yourself to others. If you are at your wits end trying to keep up with what you think you should be doing, you aren’t being fair to yourself. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t strive for improvement, just don’t go overboard because you feel like you have to. Only you know what’s really important to you, and your personal success journey so focus on what your top priorities are, not someone else’s.

      Everyone feels overwhelmed sometimes. The important thing is to realize it’s normal and that you can do something about it by taking focused and deliberate action. Happy Holidays!

      Featured photo credit: Stress Therapy via flickr.com

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