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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!

             

            More by this author

            Charlene Tops

            Charlene is a certified life coach who is passionate about writing, speaking and teaching.

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            Last Updated on January 6, 2021

            14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

            14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

            Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

            In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

            For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

            For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

            Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

            Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

            Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

            How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

            Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

            1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

            Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

            For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

            2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

            Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

            Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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            Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

            3. Create a System

            Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

            This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

            You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

            Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

            Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

            4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

            We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

            If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

            Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

            Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

            5. Use a Ratings Scale

            Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

            Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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            It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

            6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

            This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

            You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

            You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

            7. Offer Feedback Forms

            Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

            First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

            Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

            You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

            8. Track Cost Effectiveness

            This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

            Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

            Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

            9. Use Self-Evaluations

            Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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            Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

            10. Monitor Time Management

            This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

            Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

              The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

              While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

              11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

              We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

              Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

              For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

              Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

              Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

              From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

              12. Utilize Peer Feedback

              This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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              Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

              Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

              It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

              13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

              When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

              Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

              Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

              14. Use an External Evaluator

              Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

              They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

              While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

              Final Thoughts

              These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

              The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

              The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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              Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

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