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Published on April 1, 2020

How 30 Minutes of Daily “Me Time” Improves Your Productivity

How 30 Minutes of Daily “Me Time” Improves Your Productivity

Living in the twenty-first century is fantastic. The things we have access to every day allow us to live lives of immense convenience.

We can now talk to our friends across the seas in real-time, and we can order our favorite food via a phone app and have it delivered within 30 minutes. This is a far cry from 50 years ago when it would have taken up to a month for a letter to go from London to New York. And if you lived in London in 1950, you probably have never heard of pizza.

We have a lot to be grateful for, but with all this convenience comes a few downsides. As it is so much easier to contact other people, we are have now become more dependent on our electronic devices, demanding our attention every minute of the day.

Long gone are the days when if you wanted some quiet time, you would take the phone off the hook. Or if you decided to go hiking in the hills on a weekend you could enjoy complete solitude.

Now, not having your phone on you would attract weird looks from other people. We have to make an excuse like the battery went dead or your phone was stolen.

All You Need is 30 Minutes

All these interruptions and demands for our attention destroy our ability to focus on ourselves. Instead, we are pushed to focus on other people. But if you were to set aside a bit of time each day to yourself, you would be able to identify and focus on your priorities and the things you want for yourself.

It is when you focus on your priorities that you start to achieve the things you have always wanted to achieve. This can also make you a positive beacon for other people. You start to lead others instead of just following.

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Robin Sharma has spoken and written about what he calls The 5 AM Club. This is where you wake up at 5 AM, do twenty minutes of exercise, twenty minutes of planning, and twenty minutes of learning. Giving yourself this one hour each day to focus on yourself helps set up a fantastic day.

This may not be for everyone, but if you can go to bed early enough, you will wake up every morning feeling better.

You do not need to spend a whole hour on yourself each day to get the productivity benefits of solitude and “me time”.

All you need is 30 minutes.

There are a lot of things that you can do in 30 minutes, and most of them can give you a boost in productivity. Here are a few:

Focus on Your Priorities

Many people have goals and aspirations they claim they never have time to work on. But if you give yourself enough time to reflect on your day and plan the next, you will be able to focus on your priorities better and plan how you will spend your time doing them.

There is a simple method that can help people focus on their priorities called the 2+8 Prioritisation System. In this system, you set two objectives that you absolutely have to accomplish within the day and set eight other tasks related to these objectives that you will try to complete.

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It only takes ten minutes to do, but the results can be incredible. It means you begin the day with a plan and an intention, and this helps you resist the urge to give in to other people’s priorities.

As the late Jim Rohn wonderfully said:

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”

Your productivity increases dramatically when you begin the day with a plan. When you do not have a plan, the least important things may hijack your day.

Me Time Gives Your Mind a Chance to Rest

With so much going on in the world, it is easy to get caught up in the drama and fears of everyday life. The reality is that very few of these dramas and events have any real impact on you.

Your mind is designed to seek out dangers and make these perceived dangers seem more important than they really are. This is how our ancestors survived on the savannahs hundreds of thousands of years ago.

Yet the dangers we are pre-programmed to avoid no longer exist. However, news organizations discovered that sensationalized news sells. They fill the void by feeding us scare stories that make us react in predictable ways—panic buying toilet paper, for example.

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Giving yourself a little time each day to jump off this cycle and to focus on your priorities gives you some much-needed perspective in this volatile world. This will help you get your most important works done without being caught up in other less important things.

Scheduling downtime for yourself and your mind is very important. It keeps you focused on the here and now and the things that matter the most for you.

Anchors Keep You Grounded

Having a few anchors in your life keeps you focused on the important things. Have a morning routine dedicated to self-care, make time for daily exercises, and spend quality time with your family. These are essentials that should be non-negotiable.

Your boss, customers, friends, and colleagues should never be allowed to take that time away from you, and the only way that can happen is if you let them.

People like Gary Vaynerchuk and Casey Niestatt work hard. Yet if you look at their schedules, they dedicate two or three hours of family time each day and at least an hour for exercise. These are their daily anchors, and these anchors are non-negotiable.

Your time is your most valuable asset. The time, health, and energy you have today are never guaranteed and could be taken away from you in an instant. It is important to protect your time, and you should learn to say no to the things you have no interest in.

Of course, it easier to write that and a lot more difficult to do, but so is learning to play golf or the guitar. With practice and a few weeks of consistent practice, you start to play these at a reasonable level and the same goes for learning to say no.

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At first, it will be very hard and uncomfortable, and you will feel guilty. But after some time, you will stop being a yes-man. Instead, you will learn how to say no and protect your own time. You will be able to focus on the activities that you think are important to you.

Make Your Me Time a Non-Negotiable Part of Your Day

Schedule 30 minutes every day for yourself. Put it on your calendar and make sure you never allow anyone to take it away from you. Use this time to plan the day, read books, meditate or just get some fresh air without any distractions.

If you find it difficult to include your me time as a non-negotiable part of your day, you can always try to learn how to find time for yourself.

Allow your mind to wander to enjoy the things around you and to get new perspectives in life. Doing these keeps you focused on your life and your priorities, and you will then notice an improvement in your productivity because you are more focused on the truly important things.

Learn More About the Benefits of Me Time

Featured photo credit: BhAvik SuThar via unsplash.com

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Carl Pullein

Dedicated to helping people to achieve their maximum potential through better time management and productivity.

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Last Updated on June 3, 2020

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

We all crave constructive feedback. We want to know not just what we’re doing well but also what we could be doing better.

However, giving and getting constructive feedback isn’t just some feel-good exercise. In the workplace, it’s part and parcel of how companies grow.

Let’s take a closer look.

Why Constructive Feedback Is Critical

A culture of feedback benefits individuals on a team and the team itself. Constructive feedback has the following effects:

Builds Workers’ Skills

Think about the last time you made a mistake. Did you come away from it feeling attacked—a key marker of destructive feedback—or did you feel like you learned something new?

Every time a team member learns something, they become more valuable to the business. The range of tasks they can tackle increases. Over time, they make fewer mistakes, require less supervision, and become more willing to ask for help.

Boosts Employee Loyalty

Constructive feedback is a two-way street. Employees want to receive it, but they also want the feedback they give to be taken seriously.

If employees see their constructive feedback ignored, they may take it to mean they aren’t a valued part of the team. Nine in ten employees say they’d be more likely to stick with a company that takes and acts on their feedback.[1]

Strengthens Team Bonds

Without trust, teams cannot function. Constructive feedback builds trust because it shows that the giver of the feedback cares about the success of the recipient.

However, for constructive feedback to work its magic, both sides have to assume good intentions. Those giving the feedback must genuinely want to help, and those getting it has to assume that the goal is to build them up rather than to tear them down.

Promotes Mentorship

There’s nothing wrong with a single round of constructive feedback. But when it really makes a difference is when it’s repeated—continuous, constructive feedback is the bread and butter of mentorship.

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Be the change you want to see on your team. Give constructive feedback often and authentically, and others will naturally start to see you as a mentor.

Clearly, constructive feedback is something most teams could use more of. But how do you actually give it?

How to Give Constructive Feedback

Giving constructive feedback is tricky. Get it wrong, and your message might fall on deaf ears. Get it really wrong, and you could sow distrust or create tension across the entire team.

Here are ways to give constructive feedback properly:

1. Listen First

Often, what you perceive as a mistake is a decision someone made for a good reason. Listening is the key to effective communication.

Seek to understand: how did the other person arrive at her choice or action?

You could say:

  • “Help me understand your thought process.”
  • “What led you to take that step?”
  • “What’s your perspective?”

2. Lead With a Compliment

In school, you might have heard it called the “sandwich method”: Before (and ideally, after) giving difficult feedback, share a compliment. That signals to the recipient that you value their work.

You could say:

  • “Great design. Can we see it with a different font?”
  • “Good thinking. What if we tried this?”

3. Address the Wider Team

Sometimes, constructive feedback is best given indirectly. If your comment could benefit others on the team, or if the person whom you’re really speaking to might take it the wrong way, try communicating your feedback in a group setting.

You could say:

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  • “Let’s think through this together.”
  • “I want everyone to see . . .”

4. Ask How You Can Help

When you’re on a team, you’re all in it together. When a mistake happens, you have to realize that everyone—not just the person who made it—has a role in fixing it. Give constructive feedback in a way that recognizes this dynamic.

You could say:

  • “What can I do to support you?”
  • “How can I make your life easier?
  • “Is there something I could do better?”

5. Give Examples

To be useful, constructive feedback needs to be concrete. Illustrate your advice by pointing to an ideal.

What should the end result look like? Who has the process down pat?

You could say:

  • “I wanted to show you . . .”
  • “This is what I’d like yours to look like.”
  • “This is a perfect example.”
  • “My ideal is . . .”

6. Be Empathetic

Even when there’s trust in a team, mistakes can be embarrassing. Lessons can be hard to swallow. Constructive feedback is more likely to be taken to heart when it’s accompanied by empathy.

You could say:

  • “I know it’s hard to hear.”
  • “I understand.”
  • “I’m sorry.”

7. Smile

Management consultancies like Credera teach that communication is a combination of the content, delivery, and presentation.[2] When giving constructive feedback, make sure your body language is as positive as your message. Your smile is one of your best tools for getting constructive feedback to connect.

8. Be Grateful

When you’re frustrated about a mistake, it can be tough to see the silver lining. But you don’t have to look that hard. Every constructive feedback session is a chance for the team to get better and grow closer.

You could say:

  • “I’m glad you brought this up.”
  • “We all learned an important lesson.”
  • “I love improving as a team.”

9. Avoid Accusations

Giving tough feedback without losing your cool is one of the toughest parts of working with others. Great leaders and project managers get upset at the mistake, not the person who made it.[3]

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You could say:

  • “We all make mistakes.”
  • “I know you did your best.”
  • “I don’t hold it against you.”

10. Take Responsibility

More often than not, mistakes are made because of miscommunications Recognize your own role in them.

Could you have been clearer in your directions? Did you set the other person up for success?

You could say:

  • “I should have . . .”
  • “Next time, I’ll . . .”

11. Time it Right

Constructive feedback shouldn’t catch people off guard. Don’t give it while everyone is packing up to leave work. Don’t interrupt a good lunch conversation.

If in doubt, ask the person to whom you’re giving feedback to schedule the session themselves. Encourage them to choose a time when they’ll be able to focus on the conversation rather than their next task.

12. Use Their Name

When you hear your name, your ears naturally perk up. Use that when giving constructive feedback. Just remember that constructive feedback should be personalized, not personal.

You could say:

  • “Bob, I wanted to chat through . . .”
  • “Does that make sense, Jesse?”

13. Suggest, Don’t Order

When you give constructive feedback, it’s important not to be adversarial. The very act of giving feedback recognizes that the person who made the mistake had a choice—and when the situation comes up again, they’ll be able to choose differently.

You could say:

  • “Next time, I suggest . . .”
  • “Try it this way.”
  • “Are you on board with that?”

14. Be Brief

Even when given empathetically, constructive feedback can be uncomfortable to receive. Get your message across, make sure there are no hard feelings, and move on.

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One exception? If the feedback isn’t understood, make clear that you have plenty of time for questions. Rushing through what’s clearly an open conversation is disrespectful and discouraging.

15. Follow Up

Not all lessons are learned immediately. After giving a member of your team constructive feedback, follow it up with an email. Make sure you’re just as respectful and helpful in your written feedback as you are on your verbal communication.

You could say:

  • “I wanted to recap . . .”
  • “Thanks for chatting with me about . . .”
  • “Did that make sense?”

16. Expect Improvement

Although you should always deliver constructive feedback in a supportive manner, you should also expect to see it implemented. If it’s a long-term issue, set milestones.

By what date would you like to see what sort of improvement? How will you measure that improvement?

You could say:

  • “I’d like to see you . . .”
  • “Let’s check back in after . . .”
  • “I’m expecting you to . . .”
  • “Let’s make a dent in that by . . .”

17. Give Second Chances

Giving feedback, no matter how constructive, is a waste of time if you don’t provide an opportunity to implement it. Don’t set up a “gotcha” moment, but do tap the recipient of your feedback next time a similar task comes up.

You could say:

  • “I know you’ll rock it next time.”
  • “I’d love to see you try again.”
  • “Let’s give it another go.”

Final Thoughts

Constructive feedback is not an easy nut to crack. If you don’t give it well, then maybe it’s time to get some. Never be afraid to ask.

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

Reference

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