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5 Ways to Get More Productive Today

5 Ways to Get More Productive Today

Do you wish you were more productive?

In our busy technological world, it is common for a whole day to go by with no real work getting accomplished. Instead, your day gets filled with “busy-work” of answering e-mails, trolling Facebook and shuffling papers from one pile to the next.  It happens to the best of us.

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Get in control of your productivity with these five helpful tips.

1. Start Your Day with a 5 Minute Meditation

The reason to start your day with a 5 minute meditation is to help you gain clarity on what task is the most important and requires your immediate attention. Often, there are a number of things we need to do during the day but if you wake up feeling scattered, you can bet that your scattered state of mind will continue throughout the day.  Meditation gives you the opportunity to purge all the messiness in your head. Chances are, when you take 5 minutes to meditate, your mind will start to race with all your to-dos.  This is the purging process. Just stick with it and allow this to happen.  Eventually, it will create space and clarity in your head to recognize what your first task should be.

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2. Set an Intention of What you Want to Accomplish

An intention is akin to a purpose. Having a purpose for your work day will keep you inspired and motivated to stay on task. It will help you stay committed to your project instead of veering off course.  Be explicit in what your intentions are; for example, there may be a one specific client or document that needs immediate attention.  Whatever it is, set an intention at the start of your day that you will finish one specific thing. Often, projects have many steps that need to occur before it’s complete which can be overwhelming to think about.  However, it is certainly feasible to finish at least one or two steps in a day. Set out to do specific tasks daily and you can ensure that your project gets done in a timely manner.

3. Get off Facebook.

If Facebook is a tool you use to connect and market your business, then you need to allocate specific time slots to conduct business otherwise, you could get caught up in reading posts, commenting, liking, etc. and waste a better part of your day away.  Allocate time slots when you are not at your highest peak potential.  Energy is a precious commodity and your peak energy should be directed towards your most important task.  Later, when you’ve tackled your most important to-dos and your energy dips, that would be the ideal time to get on Facebook or any social media forum.  If for strategic reasons, you need to post at certain times, you can always look into scheduling posts with social media tools such as Buffer or Tweetdeck.  Make a commitment to allocate the most energetic time of your day to your work. Facebook can wait.

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4. Turn your Phone Off.

Whether it is a cell phone or a land-line, turn off the ringer. You may not be able to get away with this all day; however, you can do this for at least an hour and often that is all you need to get a lot of work done. Phone calls, text messages and notifications are annoying distractions and it can take up to 20 minutes to get you back on track.

5. Create Time Blocks.

A time block is a specific set of time that is set aside for a specific project. The human mind is not meant to work for 8 hours straight, that’s when “busy-work” takes over, and meaningful work hits the curb.  Our brain works best in 60-90 minute intervals of focused work. Afterwards, go outside and walk around the block, stretch for a bit, or go to the lunchroom and enjoy a drink. Getting away from your desk helps clear your mind.  I personally advocate stepping into something active, even if only for 5 minutes, as it will help your brain re-awaken and give you a new found spurt of energy to enter your next time block of dedicated, focused work effort.

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I can tell you from personal experience, that if you employ these strategies you will be amazed at how much you can accomplish.  When you need to get things done and want more free time to enjoy yourself, follow these 5 tips and double your productivity today.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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