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10 Full-proof Ways to Improve Your Productivity and Balance

10 Full-proof Ways to Improve Your Productivity and Balance

It’s 2017! Time is sure running fast and before you know it, it’s already the second month of the year! Better keep up with it and go with the flow, as 2017 is sure to offer more opportunities and room for growth.

Feeling slightly overwhelmed and a little bit apprehensive on how fast the time is flying? Do you have the inkling that things are spinning out of control, and before you know it, the day is over? Do not fret. Do not worry. All you need is time and balance to improve your productivity. This 2017, efficiency is the name of the game.

This is the Millennial age and every Millennial knows that with the proper mindset, everything is possible. Including a balance in work and productivity. From the moment you wake up till the time you turn off your night lamp, you need to have a balance. That is to make sure that your sleep will be peaceful and your waking hours productive. You wouldn’t believe how much you can accomplish if your mind is in balance. You can never run out of time.

So let us all encourage each other to make things work efficiently, effectively, and with technology.

Take a look at these full-proof tips to get you started on the art of productivity.

1. Write Everything Down

Early in the morning, or while at breakfast, make it a habit of writing everything down. It helps you be organized and on track. This classic move is full-proof and works for everyone. Even big bosses do it – or at least their secretary does – but you get the picture. There is a certain sense of accomplishment and joy in crossing out notes you made on your notepad. It measures up your productivity and gives you a sense of priority.

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Not a fan or note taking? Then you may download apps on your phone and you can scribble from there. These apps come with alarms too, so that you are always on schedule.

Start your productive day right by organizing your daily tasks. You don’t have to be over compulsive for this; a simple note or reminder is enough. A timetable for your tasks can beat the procrastinator in you. The pressures of deadlines make you practically an expert in getting things done.

2. Jazz Is Good

Every time you feel lazy, go and pump up the volume. It may just be the thing to wake your productivity. Play some music and refresh your mindset. Your favorite song can be more effective than your latte.

3. Fuel Up and Rest Well

Busy people tend to skip breakfast because they cannot wait to start the day. Listen to your mother. There’s a reason why breakfast is the most important meal of the day. How can you face your boardroom battle on an empty stomach? Or how can you finish that long list of duties if it’s not even noon and you’re drained already?

Eat up and fuel up. A fifteen minute breakfast goes a long way. You can be very creative and productive if you are energized. Just remember to eat foods with essential nutrients so that your mind and body can perform at its best.

Also, do not underestimate the power of a quality sleep. Having the right amount of snooze can do wonders for your brain. It can boost creativity and that much needed mental awareness. Do not even consider that sacrificing sleep is a good productivity hack . This is never the case. It will just leave you tired, mentally blocked, and irritated for the rest of an otherwise productive day.

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4. Exercise As Much As You Can

Quality exercise does not always mean hitting the gym. You can have the benefits of a workout even in your office. How? Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go out and buy lunch instead of dialing delivery. Heck, you can even walk over to your officemate’s cubicle to chat instead of sending that instant message.

A little walk, stretching of legs, and moving around your workstation can do wonders for your productivity.

5. Not Multitasking is the Way To Get Multiple Things Done

At one time or another, we all multi-task. We do it in the morning while reading the newspaper and cooking breakfast. We do it in the afternoon, while chatting with co-workers and finishing a report; we even do it on our way home, while driving and talking on the phone.

We cannot help but multi-task, even if we have all the time in the world to finish our tasks. Some of us are even proud to be a multiitasker. Well, there’s really no harm in being a multi-tasker, as long as you deliver consistent and quality results, which very seldom happens. When we multi-task, our brains are wired to finish as many tasks as possible at the same time, instead of to accomplish one quality job at a time.

Regardless of how people think that it’s a cool way to work, psychologists don’t advise it, as most of the time an attempt to do several tasks at once can just result in lost time and productivity. Most of the multi-tasker “experts” tend to start numerous jobs, then ran out of time to finish them all.

So quit multi-tasking and just channel your focus in finishing your task one step at a time. That way you can have more productive results.

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6. Trust Apps To Help You Track

Studies show that on average, a person checks their phone up to 85 times a day, and spending approximately 5 hours browsing the web, checking social media and using apps. What if we can convert that 5 hours of leisurely browsing into 5 hours of productive work? Now, nobody can accuse you of spending precious work hours playing around with your smart phone.

Be as smart as your phone, and start using it for work-related duties like time tracking! Specially designed for field work, which we all know is the most difficult type of job to track, time tracking apps save you a lot of time, money, and effort, helping you to be the most productive you can be. With an app that can monitor your fieldworkers anytime, anywhere, it surely is a non-discriminating method to make sure the job is done on time. Trust technology to help you level up your productivity and achieve a life/work balance.

7. Establish A Healthy Relationship With Your Boss

Being on speaking terms with your boss is not enough. Try harder to reach out to them. You are not playing “teacher’s pet” by trying to understand your boss. You are simply being respectful. The closer you can get to your boss, the higher the chances of understanding them. When you know their taste, style, and expectation in a project, then you will spend less time doing revisions, and produce reports.

Disliking your boss, or even hating how they run things will not get you anywhere but a trip to the HR office.

8. Love Yourself

You can only push yourself harder in achieving your goals by loving yourself. Blaming yourself for every little mistake will just distort your balance, and can ruin your self-esteem. You never produce good results with a low self-esteem. Instead of wallowing over failures, treat them as opportunities for improvement. You can be your very own support group.

9. Go On A Vacation

You have worked hard, so it’s now time to play harder. Companies have vacation leaves as benefits for one reason: to avoid burnout. Go out and have fun! You have earned your vacation and it’s high time to reward yourself.

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Sometimes the best way to be more productive is by leaving everything behind.

10. Smile

Clichéd as it may sound, life is always better when you smile. Your work will be a whole lot easier if you put your facial muscles to good use. You look good, too, with your pearly whites shining.

So the next time you are at work, don’t look at the time, don’t count the minutes. It will just stretch your work hours longer and slower. Your work is not a trap or a burden. It is your key for a better life. The basic way to live your life is to take things one at a time, be calm, and be positive that you’re going to finish whatever you put your mind into.

Remember that you are working to live not living to work. In this age, a smart worker is way more effective than a hard worker!

Have a great and productive year!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash.com via pexels.com

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Published on September 16, 2020

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

1. Organization

When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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2. Flexibility

You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

3. Collaboration

As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

4. Poise

Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

5. Communication

Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

6. Good Computer Hygiene

Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

8. Respecting Feedback

In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

9. Project Management

Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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10. Staying up to Speed

Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

“Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

12. Teamwork

Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

Final Thoughts

Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

More Tips to Improve Your Interview Skills

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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