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5 Ways to Get More Productive Today

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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 November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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