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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 October 16, 2019

Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

Do you like making mistakes?

I certainly don’t.

Making mistakes is inevitable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be at ease with them?

Perhaps there is a way to think of them differently and see their benefits.

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Why Mistakes Feel Dangerous

Mistakes often feel dangerous. Throughout human history, our errors have often been treated as dangerous for a variety of reasons:

  • Our vulnerability. We have limited and fragile support systems. When those systems fail, people often lose their lives.
  • Real dangers. Nature can be dangerous, and making mistakes can put us at the mercy of nature and its animal residents seeking a meal.
  • Ignorance. Many cultures scapegoats someone whenever there is a failure of some kind. Scapegoating can be serious and deadly.
  • Order. Many societies punish those who do not conform to the prevailing orthodoxy and treat difference and non-conformity as a mistake. Even our brains flash an error message whenever we go against prevailing social norms.

We have a history of handling mistakes and failure in an unpleasant way. Since each of us carries our human history with us, it can be a challenge to overcome the fear of making mistakes.

If we can embrace the reality of mistakes, we can free ourselves to be more creative in our lives and dig up some interesting insights.

Why We Can’t Avoid Making Mistakes

Many people operate under the notion that making mistakes is an aberration, a mistake if you will. You can call it perfectionism but it is a more substantial problem. It is really a demand for order and continuity.

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When we think we can eliminate mistakes, we are often working from a perspective that sees the world as a fixed place. The world, however, is not so obliging. Like it or not, the world, and everything in it, is constantly changing.

Change is more constant and pervasive than we can see with our own eyes which is why we often miss it. Our bodies are constantly changing. The natural conditions of the earth change constantly as well. Everything, including economic and cultural systems have life cycles. Everything is in a constant state of flux.

We cannot see all of the changes going on around us since rates of change vary. Unfortunately, when we try to create a feeling of certainty and solidity in our lives or operate from the illusion of stability and order, we are fighting reality and our natural evolution which is built on adapting to change.

It is better to continually bend into this reality rather than fight every change we experience. Fighting it can cause us to make more mistakes. Finding the benefits in change can be useful and help us minimize unnecessary mistakes.

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Lessons Learned from Making Mistakes

Life has so many uncertainties and variables that mistakes are inevitable. Fortunately, there are many things you can learn from making mistakes.

Here is a list of ways to harness the mistakes you make for your benefit.

  1. Point us to something we did not know.
  2. Reveal a nuance we missed.
  3. Deepen our knowledge.
  4. Tell us something about our skill levels.
  5. Help us see what matters and what does not.
  6. Inform us more about our values.
  7. Teach us more about others.
  8. Let us recognize changing circumstances.
  9. Show us when someone else has changed.
  10. Keep us connected to what works and what doesn’t work.
  11. Remind us of our humanity.
  12. Spur us to want to better work which helps us all.
  13. Promote compassion for ourselves and others.
  14. Teach us to value forgiveness.
  15. Help us to pace ourselves better.
  16. Invite us to better choices.
  17. Can teach us how to experiment.
  18. Can reveal a new insight.
  19. Can suggest new options we had not considered.
  20. Can serve as a warning.
  21. Show us hidden fault lines in our lives which can lead us to more productive arrangements.
  22. Point out structural problems in our lives.
  23. Prompt us to learn more about ourselves.
  24. Remind us how we are like others.
  25. Make us more humble.
  26. Help us rectify injustices in our lives.
  27. Show us where to create more balance in our lives.
  28. Tell us when the time to move on has occurred.
  29. Reveal where our passion is and where it is not.
  30. Expose our true feelings.
  31. Bring out problems in a relationship.
  32. Can be a red flag for our misjudgments.
  33. Point us in a more creative direction.
  34. Show us when we are not listening.
  35. Wake us up to our authentic selves.
  36. Can create distance with someone else.
  37. Slow us down when we need to.
  38. Can hasten change.
  39. Reveal our blind spots.
  40. Are the invisible made visible.

Reframe Reality to Handle Mistakes More Easily

The secret to handling mistakes is to:

  • Expect them as part of the process of growth and development.
  • Have an experimental mindset.
  • Think in evolutional rather than fixed terms.

When we accept change as the natural structure of the world, our vulnerability and humanness lets us work with the ebb and flow of life.

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When we recognize the inevitability of mistakes as part of the ongoing experiment which life is, then we can relax more. In doing so we may make fewer of them.

It also helps to keep in mind that trial and error is an organic natural way of living. It is how we have evolved over time. It is better to be with our natural evolution than to fight it and make life harder.

When we adopt an evolutional mindset and see ourselves as part of the ongoing human experiment, we can appreciate that all that has been built up over time which includes the many mistakes our ancestors have made over thousands of years. Each one of us today is a part of that human tradition of learning and experimenting,

Mistakes are part of the trial and error, experimental nature of life. The more you adopt the experimental, evolutional frame, the easier it becomes to handle mistakes.

Handling mistakes well can help you relax and enjoy all aspects of life more.

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Featured photo credit: Sarah Kilian via unsplash.com

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