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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 May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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