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One tip to double your productivity (or more!)

One tip to double your productivity (or more!)

When I first made the decision to start a career in freelancing, I was a mess. I’d go to bed every night full of excitement and plans for the next day. I was going to change the world. I had to-do lists that were miles long, and tomorrow, bright and early, would be the day I’d start to tackle them and really make a business for myself.

But then the next day would come, and I’d inevitably find myself frustrated. Looking at the clock ticking towards noon yet again, and wondering where the morning went and why I had so little to show for it. Desire wasn’t the issue. I had plenty of desire to do great things with my life. The problem was that I simply couldn’t seem to follow through on my big plans.

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Perhaps you can relate. Over the course of my life, I’ve met boatloads of people who have expressed similar sentiments; things like “there’s not enough time in the day,” “I wish I could be a morning person,” and “it takes me forever to get going in the morning!”

Feeling stuck?

It’s easy to feel stuck in a rut because there’s so much in your life that you’d like to change that you don’t know where to start. You mean well, but it’s just so overwhelming. And so the days of stagnation increase in a never-ending pile. That was me. I had plans to start every morning with some journaling, a healthy smoothie, and a workout. I’d follow that up with hours of time well-spent on writing, interviews, and business R&D.

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As a freelancer, I was the boss of my own schedule. Sounds wonderful, right? One problem – if you don’t have anyone to enforce your schedule, it’s often much harder to stick to it. When I first started this career, I was so unfocused. I would spend my mornings getting started late, then getting distracted throughout then morning, and then forcing out some mediocre work during the afternoon, my least productive part of the day.

I knew if I wanted to get more done, I needed to get going earlier in the morning. I had always prided myself on being a morning person, but in the last few years something had shifted. It now took a monumental act of will to get me out of bed in the morning.

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One evening, before I went to bed, I decided to try a very simple experiment. I moved my phone (AKA my alarm clock) from its usual spot beside my bed to my desk across the room. I wanted to force myself to get out of bed to turn the alarm off, rather than just hitting snooze and rolling back over.

The result was astonishing.

I saw an uptick in my productivity almost immediately. I felt proud of myself and accomplished before I had even done anything. This served to consistently spur me on to more action. Since I had so much more time in the morning than I was accustomed to, I went ahead and started working in regular exercise into my schedule.

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After my workout, fully immersed in the “I-am-woman-hear-me-roar” endorphin high of actually getting through a full workout, I found that I could easily conquer the unpleasant activities I’d been putting off for months. If I was fresh out of unpleasant activities, I could knock out a killer article in next to no time at all because I was just so focused. I no longer felt an obsessive need to check my email or link-trail across the internet.

I am not trying to oversimplify things. If you want to take your life down a different track than the one it’s currently on, you’re going to have to put in the work. Sometimes, though, that work isn’t as daunting as it feels. Failure often begets failure; but the reverse is also true. Success begets success. If you start your day off with success, you will find that successes will follow you throughout your day.

Getting out of bed is one of the simplest things you can do all day. You may be intimidated by all the changes you want to achieve in your life. But surely you can just move your alarm clock! Try it and prepare to be amazed by the changes that follow.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Published on October 14, 2019

10 Organizational Skills Training Techniques for the Overwhelmed

10 Organizational Skills Training Techniques for the Overwhelmed

Do you constantly feel overwhelmed by the amount of tasks you have to complete at work? If so, then it may be time to look into some organizational skills training techniques.

Organizational skills are an asset. They allow you to add structure to your day so that you meet deadlines, attend every meeting, and even have enough time to take your breaks (imagine that!). As transferable skills, they can also add value to your personal life.

So, if being organized and able to perform at your very best at work, even when you’re inundated with duties, sounds appealing to you, then read on.

Why You Need Organizational Skills Training

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, organizational skills refers to:[1]

“the ability to use your time, energy, resources, etc. in an effective way so that you achieve the things you want to achieve.”

When you’re feeling overwhelmed at work (or anywhere really) achieving anything seems impossible. This is why organizational skills training is crucial. The skills you learn can help you to overcome the feeling of defeat so you can take command of your tasks again.

The Benefits of Organizational Skills

Having organizational skills allow you to not only be more organized, but to also be more productive and more effective. You’ll have greater control of your tasks and be able to accomplish more things. It can also reduce stress-levels, and experiencing less stress means leading a healthier lifestyle.

Examples of organizational skills include:

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As previously mentioned, while a major benefit for the workplace, they are also valuable in your personal life.

Think about it, our personal lives are also filled with many tasks and activities. Whether it’s going to the bank or buy groceries, or doing household duties such as vacuuming or taking out the trash, each responsibility is basically a task that needs to be completed in order for our home lives to run as smoothly as possible.

How to Learn Organizational Skills

Many businesses and organizations provide organizational skills training, whether it’s a workshop, company presentation, online training course, or an all-out conference. Attending these events is a great start to learning organizational skills. Then, of course, you can set your own goals.

For most people, organizational skills don’t come naturally. However, fortunately, just like any other skill, they’re learnable. Once you acquire an understanding of a skill, the more you practice it, the better you’ll get at it.

If you’re completely new to all of this, your best bet is to start small. Set yourself one goal, select one thing you’d like to improve on, and repeat it regularly until it becomes a habit. Once you’re confident in maintaining the habit, you can add to your goal or expand on it.

Starting small and gradually adding as you progress is a good course of action, as it can ensure that you actually achieve what you set out to accomplish. If you dive straight into the deep end, you risk being even more overwhelmed than before and may fail to meet expectations completely.

Surrounding yourself with people that have particular behaviors is another way to learn organizational skills. Having a super organized team leader, manager, or head of business can greatly influence your own actions and behavior.

10 Organizational Skills Training Techniques

If you’ve noticed yourself feeling overwhelmed and stressed at work recently, then perhaps you could try out one of the following organizational skills training techniques. They could help you to get back control, focus on your tasks, and reduce stress-levels.

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1. Make a List

If you’re feeling swamped with tasks, creating a to-do list is great for taking back control of the things you need to do.

By writing down your tasks in order of importance (make sure you prioritize your list!), you’ll have a visualization of what needs to get done.

You’ll also get to experience the feeling of great relief when you get to cross a task off your to-do list when it’s completed!

2. Don’t Rely on Your Memory

Even if you have superhuman memory, it’s always a good idea to write everything down.

From project deadlines, to customer details, to product prices, writing things down can serve as a reminder so you don’t forget the important things when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

And with most of us carrying around smartphones, you’re never far from a tool where you can write something down.

3. Schedule

A huge part of being organized is knowing how to plan, and expert planning involves a lot of scheduling.

Scheduling is taking a step further than creating a to-do list. Not only do you have the things you need to do recorded, but you have a timetable when you should complete them. This helps you to develop your time management skills as you’re expected to coordinate tasks and activities so that deadlines are met and everything is done on time.

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4. Learn to Delegate

Learning to delegate tasks is a valuable skill that will help to keep you organized. Not only will it lighten your workload, but it will sharpen your planning and prioritization skills as you will have to learn which tasks should be done by you and which tasks are okay to be given to someone else.

5. Avoid Multitasking

While the idea of attempting to do more than one task simultaneously may seem brilliant, in practice, it’s the complete opposite. Multitasking is known to actually lower your productivity as it diminishes your focus and attention and things become more difficult and take longer to complete.

6. Minimize Interruptions

It’s impossible to control every aspect of your environment but it doesn’t hurt to try. By minimizing interruptions while you’re at work, it gives you a better chance of completing them as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Investing in noise-cancelling headphones or installing a social media block on your desktop are examples of ways you could reduce distractions.

7. Reduce Clutter

A notable organizational skills training technique is to create a filing system for your documents. Whether it’s at work or at home, we all accumulate documents that we may not currently need but are too afraid to throw away in case we will need it in the future.

Having an organized system can allow you to locate necessary documents any time you need them. It also keeps them safeguarded which reduces the chance of losing something important. This filing system applies to both actual paperwork and digital documents.

8. Organize Your Workspace

Where we work greatly influences how we work. If you have a cluttered and messy workspace, then the chances of you working in an unorganized fashion can be very high.

Keeping an organized workspace ensures that you’re able to perform at your most productive. You won’t waste time looking for things that have been misplaced and working in a clutter-free environment can be soothing for your mind.

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9. Get Rid of What You Don’t Need

Clutter is known to lead to stress and anxiety.[2] If you’re already feeling overwhelmed, then the sight of clutter can increase that feeling.

Getting rid of things you no longer need clears out your environment and, hopefully, your mind as well.

Done with that sticky-note? Throw it away! Inbox is filled to the brim with unread emails? Unsubscribe to newsletters you no longer read! Whatever you no longer require in your physical and digital life, get rid of it.

Here’s a guide to help you declutter: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

10. Tidy up Regularly

While working, it can get easy for your desk to get untidy. You’re focused on work and so keeping everything at your desk in order is probably a lower priority. But it’s something to be conscious of. Doing a regular tidy up can ensure the mess on your desk doesn’t go overboard.

Whether it’s a quick clean up every day, or a deep clean every month. Being aware of tidying up and fitting it into your routine will help keep you organized and less stressed.

The Bottom Line

Possessing organizational skills enables you to get back control of your tasks when you’re feeling overwhelmed and perform better at work. They can make you more productive, more efficient, and of course, more organized.

Remember, they’re not only valuable at work! Because of their transferability, they can be beneficial in other areas of your life. And really, it doesn’t hurt to be organized at home and socially, as well as at work.

Featured photo credit: Jeff Sheldon via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Cambridge Dictionary: Organizational Skills
[2] Psychology Today: Why Mess Causes Stress: 8 Reasons, 8 Remedies

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