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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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        Last Updated on March 25, 2020

        How Systems Thinking Makes You a Smarter Person

        How Systems Thinking Makes You a Smarter Person

        There are several perspectives on the term systems thinking. The discipline goes beyond a collection of tools and techniques. A lot of individuals are fascinated by tools like brainstorming tools, structural thinking tools, dynamic thinking tools, as well as computer-based tools. They believe the system thinking tools can make them smarter and productive. However, it goes beyond that as systems thinking is more strategic and sensitive to the environment we find ourselves.

        So what is systems thinking and why is it good for you?

        What Is Systems Thinking?

        Systems thinking is a diagnostic tool that can help you to assess problems before taking action. It helps you to ask questions before arriving at conclusions. It prevents you from making an assumption, which is the lowest level of knowledge.

        A systems thinker is curious, compassionate, and courageous. The systems thinking approach incorporates the act of seeing the big picture instead of seeing in parts. It recognizes that we are connected, and there are diverse ways to solve a problem.

        Characteristics of Systems Thinking

        Systems thinking can help you in analyzing the connections between subsystems and understanding their potentials to make smarter decisions.

        In a soccer team, the elements are the coach, players, the field, and a ball. The interrelationships are strategies, communications among players, and game rules. The goal is to win, have fun and exercise. We all belong to several systems and subsystems.

        Some characteristics of systems thinking include:

        • Issue is important
        • The issue is familiar with well-known patterns
        • Attempts have been made to resolve the issue.

        Given these characteristics, systems thinking goes beyond an operational tool; it is a strategic approach and a philosophy.

        How to Use Systems Thinking

        Here’re 3 ways you can use systems thinking:

        1. Understand How the System Works and Use Feedback Points

        The first task is to know what system is all about and identify the leverage points or feedbacks that influence its functioning. This is what will help in adjusting the system.

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        If you want the system to be productive, enhance the feedback points. If you want it to be less productive, exhaust the same points.

        A good example is that of a bathtub. The leverage points are the faucet and the drain. If you forget to close the drain, having turned on the water, the water will never stop flowing, and the tub will never overflow.

        If you want more water, close the drain while you turn the water. If otherwise, turn the faucet off and open the drain. You can apply this to your personal development.

        Once you discover the feedback points in your life, find your leverage or feedback points, then enhance those points. If you want to be fit, get a trainer, find a mentor, or eat healthy foods.

        2. Discover the Patterns, Structure, and Events

        Trends and patterns could be compared to clues for a crossword puzzle. As you aspire to enhance the system, trends and patterns offer you hints and cause to shift your paradigm. Usually, they can direct you to unusual and unexpected aspects, to ideas, people, or places you have never thought about.

        Smart people watch out for trends and patterns so they can be conversant with changes.

        You can view the world from 3 different perspectives:

        i. The Event Perspective

        If you consider the world from an event perspective, the best you can do is to be smarter is ‘react’. You tend to be smarter by reacting quickly, becoming more lighter on your feet, and flexible as you advance through life.

        So how do you view the world from an event perspective? You ask a question like, ‘What happened?’.

        There is the possibility of becoming more aware and seeing more at this level. An excellent technique to achieve this is by telling a story to a group. If you can see beyond each event, see beyond patterns and trends, you will be empowered to anticipate, predict, and plan.

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        ii. Pattern Perspective

        To view the world from a pattern perspective, you need to ask, ‘What has been happening?’

        It is most times difficult to see the actual size of an iceberg (underlying structures that are the causes of events). The waterline dissects what’s visible from what’s not visible.

        A systems thinker does not assume from what’s visible only; he or she seeks to know what has been happening.

        Take a look at this video to understand more about the Iceberg Theory:

         

        iii. The Structure Perspective

        To view the world from a structure perspective, you need to ask, ‘what is causing issues?’ The answers will be the factors and forces responsible.

        If you find yourself in a traffic jam, you don’t blame the next driver as a smart person; you could ask, ‘what’s been causing the traffic jam?

        The usual answers could be a decaying road surface, careless driver, or high speed, but that would be the same things identified as trends. What makes the structure perspective different from others.

        The structure is what propels your energy. It is what affects happenings. A systems thinkers make deductions based on internal structures to arrive at a conclusion

        3. People Problems vs System Problems

        Several issues ranging from security breaches, product flaws, poverty, to transportation inefficiencies are systemic.

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        Even when you misbehave, there is usually an internal system to blame.

        If you are not productive in your business, it may not be caused by you. There may be a system that you need to enhance.

        Do you remember our feedback points? As soon as you assess the system, you can focus on people. Is a new hire causing lag in the packaging process? Is poor communication affecting the team’s performance? Reallocating job roles may be a perfect leverage point.

        In the traffic jam example, there could be a system-based solution such as installing traffic lights and subsequently enforcing traffic laws in the area to penalize reckless drivers.

        How to Foster Learning with Systems Thinking

        Systems thinking helps you to appreciate the interrelationships of people, organizations, policies, decisions, ideas, and relationships.

        Peter M Senge propounded five disciplines that foster learning in your DNA- whether you are leading an organization, starting a venture, or working as a freelancer.[1]

        1. Gain Mastery

        You can take online courses, attend conferences, read blog articles and books, listen to podcasts, converse with leaders within and beyond your industry, watch documentaries, learn from your team, and stretch yourself by improving your skills.

        2. Discover Your Assumptions and Biases

        There was this parable of four blind men who made different assumptions about an elephant. Their assumptions and biases hinder them from understanding how the animal looks like.

        Biases can rob you of innovation and prevent you from experiencing personal growth. To become aware of your biases, you have to take an internal trip and engage breakthrough thinking.

        3. Establish Your Vision

        Systems grind to a halt when the goal or mission is not defined. You will not have the motivation to complete the online course if you don’t know why you subscribe in the first place.

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        Is it for career advancement? To up your game or to gain general knowledge? Vision inspires you.

        4. Learn in Groups

        There is power in shared learning. There is a solidification of understanding when you learn in a group. You can have the lessons etched in your long term memory.

        For instance, you can join learning groups where information is shared weekly.

        5. Think in Systems

        Systems thinking is about lifelong learning and improvement. It has also been linked to the Iceberg principle, which affirms that visible events are insignificant compared to what’s visible. There’s more ice below the waterline than what you can see with your physical eyes.

        Anytime you are battling with a challenge, think in systems. Understand the details of the issue. Discover your leverage points. Assess, adapt, and keep improving your models.

        After all. If you meet a lion in the wild, you need to understand what you are facing.

        Final Thoughts

        You can foster systems thinking by modeling your own environment. Participate in training, watch TED Talks, and create time to connect with others.

        Also, practice critical thinking instead of making assumptions before you make a decision. The more you think systems, the more you will become smarter and productive in every aspect of your life.

        More to Help You Think Smarter

        Featured photo credit: Olav Ahrens Røtne via unsplash.com

        Reference

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