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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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Last Updated on April 17, 2019

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

1. Communication Skills

Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

2. Flexibility

Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

3. Being a Team Player

Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

4. Positive Mental Attitude

There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

5. A Strong Work Ethic

People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

  • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
  • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
  • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
  • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

6. Public Speaking

Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

7. Integrity

From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

  • Always doing what you say you will do
  • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

…even when no one is around to check up on you.

There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

8. Managing Your Time

Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

9. Assertiveness

In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

  • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
  • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
  • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
  • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

How do you use this information for yourself?

It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

10. Creative Thinking

LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Final Thoughts

The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

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Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

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