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10 Full-proof Ways to Improve Your Productivity and Balance

10 Full-proof Ways to Improve Your Productivity and Balance
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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 July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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