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10 Don’ts to Avoid Unproductive Mornings

10 Don’ts to Avoid Unproductive Mornings

Aha, the satisfaction of a productive morning is a feeling we all long for. The personal success we feel when our tasks are complete and done well, brings joy to our hearts.

Here are 10 tips to aid you in turning chaotic mornings into super productive ones.

1. Don’t Watch TV or Work/Play on Electronic Devices At Least One Hour Before Bed

” Sleep tight, but not right after looking at something bright.” as reported by By Randy Dotinga HealthDay Reporter( http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/sleep/articles/2011/03/07/using-electronics-before-bed-may-hamper-sleep)

One of the best ways to have a productive morning, is simply by getting a proper night’s sleep the night before.  Sounds easy enough, however, many people suffer restless nights with interrupted sleep. Sleep deprivation will rob you of productivity.  Quality sleep is essential for good health.  One’s ability to think clearly and make rational choices actually is dependent on proper sleep.  A key element that is preventing many from getting a good night’s rest is the use of electronics.The human body naturally produces melatonin, which aids in sleeping,  this can be gravely affected by bright lights.  Begin to practice shutting off all modes of electronics for at least one hour before bedtime and see how this will aid in better sleep, and ultimately, more productive days.

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    2. Don’t Hit the Snooze Button

    Personally, I will never understand why the “snooze button” was invented.  I find it tortuous to have to wake up and doze back to sleep only to be awaken again in a few minute time-span.   Your body begins a new sleep cycle when you hit your snooze alarm.  Instead of getting a few extra winks in, thinking it will help you get through your day, you are actually doing more harm than good. It is best that you wake up with the alarm clock.  If you find that you aren’t rested enough, then you need to readjust the time that your alarm is going off or the time that you go to bed the night before. Always remember, a good night’s rest is essential for defeating unproductive mornings.

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      3. Don’t Over Extend Yourself

      It is very easy to set yourself up for failure by placing too many things on your “to-do” list.  I have found that by limiting your lists of things you want to accomplish in a day, to a smaller number, it allows you to be able to do more and be more productive.  The sense of a huge list of things that are needed to be done, weighing on your mind, adds stress to your day.  When you begin to stress, you lose ability to focus and your levels of productivity are greatly lessened.  Be reasonable with your limits.  You are not super-human. A smaller list accomplished is much better than a longer list only partially completed.

       

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        4. Don’t Check Your Emails First Thing in the Morning

        In this electronic era, it is tempting to pick up your device the minute you wake up to check on what has happened in the world during your sleeping hours.  But don’t!  Resist the temptation to scroll through your emails.  Set appointed times throughout the day that you will check and respond to incoming email.  What happens often times when we begin to open emails, there are demands or requests upon your time. You have a plan for your morning and all of a sudden your morning has the potential of taking a whole different route just by glancing at your emails.

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          5. Don’t Wait Till Morning To …

          One of the very best ways to avoid unproductive mornings is to prepare the night before for the day ahead.  If you were to research the lives and habits of successful men and women, you would find that much of their success lies in preparation.

          •Don’t wait till morning to choose what clothes you will wear that day. Instead, pick out what you will wear, as well as, any shoes and accessories the night before. When morning comes you won’t have to waste precious time pulling things out of your closet and deciding last minute what to wear. You will have ample time to make sure everything is clean, neat, and arranged to your liking. No more rushing around in the morning to find something to wear. You will feel much more prepared to start your day by taking these steps.

          •Don’t wait till morning to make your “to-do” list. Instead, set your lists of goals and tasks the night before. When morning comes you will wake up with  direction. You will be able to start the day off quicker, easier and the end result will be productivity.

          •Don’t wait till morning to make your lunch. Trying to figure out what you want for lunch while slurping your morning coffee doesn’t end well. Instead, after dinner or sometime before bedtime is the best time to pack a healthy lunch for the next day.  Taking a little extra time in the evening will reap rewards the following day. You will have a nutrious lunch to take and one last thing to do early in the morning.

          •Don’t wait till morning to see if you need extra time to get gas for the car, or if you have an early morning meeting, or if you are the carpool driver.  Basically it is best to check and be aware of the next days agenda before you go to sleep. By checking your calendar you will be prepared for any and all aspects of the upcoming day.

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          6.  Don’t Get Sidetracked

          Wake up, have a mission and don’t get sidetracked! This is when your list of objectives for the day come in handy, without a direction you will easily fall into the wander mode and become easily side-tracked. It is surprising how much valuable time that can be eaten up by straying from your goal. When interrupted, one task that could be completed in 30 minutes can turn into a project that takes hours to complete. Practice being single-minded in your tasks. This tip will help make your day more productive.

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            7. Don’t Skip Breakfast

            It is true; breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Yet, many start their day without taking time to eat.  It is a known fact that cars need fuel.  The same for our bodies.  Breakfast is fuel for our bodies. Science has shown that you have a “mental advantage” when you start the day with a healthy breakfast. You will be able to focus and concentrate much better once you have eaten.  This will aid you in problem-solving and making better choices throughout your day.  What better way to make your day productive than by starting it off with a proper breakfast.

             

            8. Don’t Go Into Office At the Same Time As Everyone Else

            I recently was speaking with a VP of a successful company. I told him about this article and asked him some of the things he avoids, in order to have productive mornings. Mr. R said, “Don’t go into the office the same time as everyone else does, go in an half hour earlier.”

            Some of the benefits to arriving early include less distraction, less temptation to socialize with others, and  extra moments to set up for your day. When everyone else comes in, you will have already gotten your day in order. It is true that sometimes you can get so much more accomplished in  small undisturbed frames of time. Take advantage of tips like this to aid in making your morning as productive as possible.

            9. Don’t Waste Time

            If there were an award given for most time wasted I certainly have seen some viable candidates. If you want to have truly productive days, this is a luxury you cannot afford.,”Don’t say you don’t have enough time.

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            You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein.” says H. Jackson Brown. We all have the same 24 hours in our days, how you use it is what determines your success.

             

            10. Don’t Leave Your House Angry Ever

            Anger is a powerful emotion that everyone experiences at one point or another. If not expressed correctly, anger can lead to very unpleasant consequences. When you are leaving your home in the morning the mood or tone of your day begins. If you leave in a huff, because you are upset, then you will find it difficult to concentrate on the things you need to accomplish that day.

            Anger will cloud your thinking making production difficult. It also is very difficult to be productive when you have unfinished emotional baggage on your mind.  Another important reason you should never leave your house angry is because life is short and uncertain. You have heard stories of people who wished they could take back those angry words spoken in the morning because their loved one never made it home that day. Now they have to live in constant regret.

            Start your day on a positive note to make it productive. Speak kind words of love and affirmation to all around you.

            We will all experience those days where it seems nothing will go right. However, let’s put into practice these 10 tips to help us learn to be more productive than we ever dreamed possible. To sum it up, you need a good night’s sleep, preparations for the day ahead, healthy eating habits and a focused mindset and you will sail through your mornings with more vigor and control. Here’s to living a meaningful and productive life!

             

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            Published on January 16, 2019

            How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

            How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

            We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

            You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

            You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

            That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

            Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

            1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

            Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

            We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

            To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

            At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

            The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

            2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

            Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

            The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

            In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

            It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

            It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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            So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

            • Are you a great strategist?
            • Are you an effective planner?
            • Is Project Management your strength?
            • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
            • Are you the ideas person?
            • Is Implementation your strength?

            Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

            3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

            One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

            Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

            Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

            Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

            4. Take Time for Planning

            “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

            One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

            You can take the time to think about:

            • What’s the purpose of the project?
            • How Important is it?
            • When does it need to be delivered by?
            • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
            • What are the KPIs?
            • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
            • Who is working on this project?
            • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
            • What tolerances can I add in?
            • What are the review stages?
            • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

            Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

            5. Focus on Priorities

            Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

            Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

            One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

            1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
            2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
            3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
            4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

            James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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              The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

              If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

              If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

              6. Take Time Out

              To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

              If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

              Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

              In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

              Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

              7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

              Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

              I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

              Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

              If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

              8. Stop Multitasking

              Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

              So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

              When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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              If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

              9. Work in Blocks of Time

              To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

              I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

              Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

              Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

              Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

              Then take another 10-minute break.

              Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

              By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

              10. Get Rid of Distractions

              Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

              “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

              Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

              If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

              11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

              You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

              Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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              Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

              12. Take a Time Audit

              Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

              Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

              You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

              Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

              Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

              At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

              If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

              13. Protect Your Confidence

              It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

              When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

              Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

              When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

              Final Words

              A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

              The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

              If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

              Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

              Reference

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