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8 Clever Ways to Level up Productivity in Your Office

8 Clever Ways to Level up Productivity in Your Office

With so many distractions, it’s not a mystery why we’re not getting any work done. It’s more than easy to get seduced by the internet (naughty little devil) and forget all about your tasks, just because you found something interesting and went down the information rabbit hole.

My office is quite dynamic and there’s always something interesting (or dramatic, possibly) going on and it can be really hard to for me to maintain my focus and stay productive throughout the whole day. Once I realized I’m not getting any work done, I decided to do some experimenting of my own and see what works for me.

1. Help!

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    Don’t hesitate from reaching out. If you’re anything like me, you’re capable of spending hours trying to learn how to do a bit of work that the rest of your task depends on without asking for advice. Being stubborn, or persistent as I like to call it, can be good on occasion, but not in this particular one.

    The chances are at least one of your colleagues had experience with a problem you’re trying to deal with, and if they don’t seem to be able to help you figure it out they can point you in the right direction and give you a base to work on. Swallow your unreasonable pride and communicate with your office – that’s what the teamwork is all about.

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    2. Getting Nowhere? Move on

    Creative jobs can be particularly troubling, especially on those gray days when you can’t find anything to be inspired by. If you continue to bang your head over one single problem for a while, it will create even more obstacles for you to solve.

    Frustrations like this make the whole thing worse – you end up doubting your skills. In order to avoid this blockade, you should simply move on to the next task unrelated to the problematic one if possible. This way, you’ll give your mind enough time to work without you pressuring it to come up with a solution and you’ll get there in time.

    3. Be a Busy Bee

    The very moment you catch yourself doing nothing productive, find something to do – anything that can benefit your overall performance. Procrastination is one deep abyss and you shouldn’t allow yourself to get anywhere near it because it’s really hard to get out of it.

    Therefore, don’t lose time on meetings that are irrelevant to your area of business, make sure you’re keeping up with your schedule and keep track of time – and this is very important – because it can get away from you without you even realizing before it’s too late.

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    4. Listen to Your Body

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      Let’s be honest – you can’t expect your mind to be capable if your body is yelling for nutrients – this is one snooze button you shouldn’t press (this is quite ironic coming from me because I really enjoy my beauty sleep).

      Many people are prone to energizing drinks and junk food because they believe it’s a way to intake a lot of energy for a short period of time. This isn’t healthy, which is why it’s not a solution. Traditional wake-up drinks like coffee work just fine for me, although there was a time when I had to cut back for a bit because I was exaggerating, to be frank.

      If calories are your concern here, you should read up on the subject – the numbers are fairly insignificant and you shouldn’t be bothered by them at all.

      5. Move Those Muscles

      A great way to make your mind work a bit faster is to move your body. Simple exercises like squats will get your blood going faster and help your mind become significantly more productive. The secretion of happy hormones that your glands produce while you workout will make your body more healthy and yourself more useful, and you don’t have to do them for everyone to see – a bathroom or lunch break will do here.

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      6. Challenge Your Mind

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        I already mentioned how troubling lack of inspiration can be, and if you don’t seem to be able to start your engine in the morning, you shouldn’t consider the whole day lost. What you should do is take the matter into your own capable hands and light up your brain with an intellectual challenge such as Sudoku or a quick mind puzzle. There’s a bunch of these games online and you’ll be able to find the one that works great for you.

        7. Don’t Go Nowhere Near Social Networks

        Entering Facebook just to check something that won’t take more than a minute or two is one nasty lie you tell yourself and you know it. It won’t take less than fifteen minutes and that’s the best version – we all know how easy it is to get distracted, so this is a huge no-no.

        It’s not just Facebook but other social platforms as well, so my sincere suggestion is to steer clear of them. Check your messages (email included) while you’re taking a break; this way you won’t miss anything and you’ll stay disciplined simultaneously.

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        8. Aesthetics is Helpful

        Instead of looking at a blank wall in front of you every time you have a blockade of any type, you should do something nice for yourself and decorate your desk with something you like – a family photo, a nice plant, a dear ornament, or something that’s just pretty to look at. Your office and aesthetics around you have a major impact on your performance and you should do something about it.

        The best thing for your productivity would be to try each of these eight things I have listed so you can test them all in order to find the one (or a couple of them) which works best for you. Professional stagnation will eventually lead to you going backward and this isn’t something you should make room for in your career – the sooner you deal with it, the sooner you will keep moving forward.

        Featured photo credit: great-action.com via great-action.com

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        Published on June 30, 2020

        What Is Unconscious Bias (And How to Reduce It for Good)

        What Is Unconscious Bias (And How to Reduce It for Good)

        Many conversations are being held nowadays regarding unconscious bias, but what does it really mean and how can it affect your life and the people around you? With many types of biases, it can get quite confusing. In this article, we’ll touch on cognitive bias, and then zero in on unconscious bias. Both types of biases have an immediate impact on your life because they relate to how you and others think about yourself and other people.

        If you want to protect your relationships and make good decisions about other people, you need to know what these biases mean[1]. Once we have clarity about that, we can explore in more depth unconscious bias and how to address it[2].

        Cognitive Bias

        Let’s start with cognitive bias[3], a predictable pattern of mental errors that result in us misperceiving reality and, as a result, deviating away from the most likely way of reaching our goals[4].

        These mental blind spots impact all areas of our life, from health to relationships and even shopping, as a study recently revealed[5]. In other words, from the perspective of what is best for us as individuals, falling for a cognitive bias always harms us by lowering our probability of getting what we want.

        Cognitive biases have to do with judgment, not mood. Ironically, cognitive biases — such as the optimism bias and overconfidence effect — more often lead to positive moods. Of course, the consequence of falling into cognitive biases, once discovered, usually leaves us in a bad mood due to the disastrous results of these dangerous judgment errors.

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        Unconscious Bias

        Unconscious bias is different from cognitive bias. Also known as implicit bias, it refers to unconscious forms of discrimination and stereotyping based on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, ability, age, and so on[6]. Despite cognitive biases sometimes leading to discriminatory thinking and feeling patterns, these are two separate and distinct concepts.

        Cognitive biases are common across humankind and relate to the particular wiring of our brains, while unconscious bias relates to perceptions between different groups and are specific for the society in which we live. For example, I bet you don’t care or even think about whether someone is a noble or a commoner, yet that distinction was fundamentally important a few centuries ago across Europe. To take another example, most people in the US don’t have strong feelings about Sunni vs. Shiite Muslims, yet this distinction is incredibly meaningful in many parts of the world.

        Unconscious Bias and Discriminatory Behavior

        Organizations often bring me in as a speaker on diversity and inclusion to address potential unconscious discriminatory behavior. When I share in speeches that black Americans suffer from police harassment and violence at a much higher rate than white people, some participants (usually white) occasionally try to defend the police by claiming that black people are more violent and likely to break the law than whites. They thus attribute police harassment to the internal characteristics of black people (implying that it is deserved), and not to the external context of police behavior.

        In reality – as I point out in my response to these folks – research shows that black people are harassed and harmed by police at a much higher rate for the same kind of activity. A white person walking by a cop, for example, is statistically much less likely to be stopped and frisked than a black one[7].

        At the other end of things, a white person resisting arrest is much less likely to be violently beaten than a black one. In other words, statistics show that the higher rate of harassment and violence against black Americans by police is due to the prejudice of the police officers, at least to a large extent[8].

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        However, I am careful to clarify that this discrimination is not necessarily intentional. Sometimes, it indeed is deliberate, with white police officers consciously believing that black Americans deserve much more scrutiny than whites. At other times, the discriminatory behavior results from unconscious, implicit thought processes that the police officer would not consciously endorse[9].

        After becoming aware that unconscious bias does exist, the next step would be learning how to recognize it in order to reduce it. I’ve outlined three crucial points to keep in mind below while further exploring the unconscious prejudice discussed above.

        How to Reduce Unconscious Bias

        Remember these three important points if you want to work on reducing your unconscious bias.

        1. Unconscious Bias is a Systemic Issue

        When we understand that unconscious bias is ultimately a systemic issue, we understand that internal cultures need to be checked and addressed first.

        Interestingly, research shows that many black police officers have an unconscious prejudice against other black people, perceiving them in a more negative light than white people when evaluating potential suspects. This unconscious bias carried by many — not all — black police officers helps show that such prejudices come – at least to a significant extent – from internal cultures within police departments, rather than pre-existing racist attitudes present before someone joins a police department.

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        Such cultures are perpetuated by internal norms, policies, and training procedures, and any police department wishing to address unconscious bias needs to address internal culture first and foremost, rather than attributing racism to individual officers.

        In other words, instead of saying it’s a few bad apples in a barrel of overall good ones, the key is recognizing that unconscious bias is a systemic issue, and the structure and joints of the barrel needs to be fixed[10].

        2. There Is No Shame in Unconscious Bias

        Another crucial thing that needs to be highlighted is that there is no shame or blame in unconscious bias as it’s not stemming from any fault in the individual. This no-shame approach decreases the fight, freeze, or flight defensive response among reluctant audiences, helping them hear and accept the issue.

        Unconscious bias is prevalent and often doesn’t match our conscious values. Everyone holds unconscious beliefs and prejudices stemming from our tendency to categorize people into social groups. This developed naturally as a way for our ancestors to quickly size up a possible threat. Unfortunately, it doesn’t translate well in modern life.

        3. It Takes a Sustained Effort to Prevent and Protect Against Unconscious Bias

        After being presented with additional statistics and discussion of unconscious bias, the issue is generally settled. Still, from their subsequent behavior it’s clear that some of these audience members don’t immediately internalize this evidence. It’s much more comforting for their gut reactions to believe that police officers are right and anyone targeted by police deserves it; in turn, they are highly reluctant to accept the need to focus more efforts and energy on protecting black Americans from police violence due to the structural challenges facing these groups.

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        The issue of unconscious bias doesn’t match their intuitions, so they reject this concept, despite extensive and strong evidence for its pervasive role in policing. It takes a series of subsequent follow-up conversations and interventions to move the needle. A single training is almost never sufficient, both in my experience and according to research[11].

        Conclusion

        The examples and points raised illustrate broader patterns you need to follow to recognize unconscious bias. Only by doing so will you be able to determine if, and what type of, intervention is needed to address it.

        Unfortunately, our gut reactions lead us to make poor judgment choices when we simply follow our intuitions. Unconscious biases are systemic and need to be addressed in order to make the best decisions[12].

        We need to learn about the kind of problems that result from unconscious bias. Then, you need to develop the right mental habits to help you make the best choices[13]. A one-time training is insufficient for doing so. It takes a long-term commitment and constant discipline and efforts to overcome unconscious bias, so get started now.

        More Tips on Overcoming Unconscious Bias

        Featured photo credit: M.T ElGassier via unsplash.com

        Reference

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