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10 Ways to Have a Productive Holiday

10 Ways to Have a Productive Holiday

Though a holiday should be a time for us to relax, every time we have plans to fulfill our interests or to achieve something during holidays, usually it turns out that nothing is finished or started. This is an article to teach you how to have a productive holiday.

1. Take Time for You

Take some time to do something you have been wanting to do, even if it’s just to read a new book. You may not have had the time to do it before, but the holidays are a great time to recharge and do something that will make you happy, and take one more thing off your personal list of things that you have always wanted to do.

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2. Cut Back on Emailing

You don’t have to check your email every few minutes. They are going to be there, and they will keep arriving. You could spend hours simply checking emails if you aren’t careful, and it doesn’t take long to end up wasting a lot of time that could be spent doing more productive things. Set aside a certain window of time each day for checking emails, and then ignore them for the rest of the day.

3. Take Advantage of the AM hours

If you have any vacation time and are not working, don’t sleep your days away. Get up early and get a lot of stuff done while everyone else is sleeping. By the time everyone else is up, you have finished your chores for the day, and you have time to spend with family and friends.

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4. Make Plans for the Future

Write down a list of goals for the near future, as well as steps you can take to achieve those goals. That way, you will have a good idea of what you want and will be able to come up with a plan to make things happen.

5. Make those Long-Distance Calls

Now is a great time to connect with family and friends from all over the world. Because whatever time it might be where they are, you’re on vacation, so you’re free to talk over the phone at all times. Keep those costs down and take advantage of VoIP technology to make free or cheap international calls.

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6. Get Rid of Clutter

This is the perfect time to get rid of clutter, both at home and in your office. Get your home, office, and personal life into order, and you will be on your way to an easier life when your holiday is finished. De-cluttering your space will also help to de-clutter your mind.

7. Get into Online Shopping

Gone are the days when you ordered something from a catalog or magazine, and crossed your fingers that you would get the right item. Today, more and more people are finding that they are better off ordering gifts online. They get exactly what they want, and they don’t have to wade through crowded stores to do it.

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8. Stay On Top of Your Work

Even if you are on holidays or vacation, you can still call the office to check in, read up on industry news, and more. That way, you won’t feel like you wasted your time while you were on vacation.

9. Make Advance Reservations

If you are planning on a trip, or even a dinner, make the reservations as far in advance as possible. That way, you know that there will be a place reserved for you and your guests.

10. Don’t Forget to Exercise

Just because you are on vacation, it doesn’t mean that you can take a vacation from exercising. In fact, during a holiday, it is even more important than ever to exercise, because of all of those goodies you will be munching on in addition to most likely eating out more often.

Featured photo credit: Matt Gibson via flickr.com

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Jane Hurst

Writer, editor

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Last Updated on October 22, 2019

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

We live in a world of massive distraction. No matter where you are today, there is always going to be distractions. Your colleagues talking about their latest date, notification messages popping up on your screens, and not just your mobile phone screens. And even if you try to find a quiet place, there will always be someone with a mobile device that is beeping and chirping.

With all these distractions, it is incredibly difficult to concentrate on anything for very long. Something will distract you and that means you will find it very difficult to focus on anything.

So how to focus and concentrate better? How to focus better and produce work that lifts us and takes us closer towards achieving our outcomes?

1. Get Used to Turning off Your Devices

Yes, I know this one is hard for most people. We believe our devices are so vital to our lives that the thought of turning them off makes us feel insecure. The reality is they are not so vital and the world is not going to end within the next thirty minutes.

So turn them off. Your battery will thank you for it. More importantly though is when you are free from your mobile distraction addiction, you will begin to concentrate more on what needs to get done.

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You do not need to do this for very long. You could set a thirty-minute time frame for being completely mobile free. Let’s say you have an important piece of work to complete by lunchtime today. Turn off your mobile device between 10 am and 11 am and see what happens.

If you have never done this before, you will feel very uncomfortable at first. Your brain will be fighting you. It will be telling you all sorts of horror stories such as a meteorite is about to hit earth, or your boss is very angry and is trying to contact you. None of these things is true, but your brain is going to fight you. Prepare yourself for the fight.

Over time, as you do this more frequently, you will soon begin to find your brain fights you less and less. When you do turn on your device after your period of focused work and discover that the world did not end, you have not lost an important customer and all you have are a few email newsletters, a confirmation of an online order you made earlier and a text message from your mum asking you to call about dinner this weekend, you will start to feel more comfortable turning things off.

2. Create a Playlist in Your Favourite Music Streaming App

Many of us listen to music using some form of music streaming service, and it is very easy to create our own playlists of songs. This means we can create playlists for specific purposes.

Many years ago, when I was just starting to drive, there was a trend selling driving compilation tapes and CDs. The songs on these tapes and CDs were uplifting driving music songs. Songs such as C W McCall’s Convoy theme and the Allman Brothers Band’s, Jessica. They were great songs to drive to and helped to keep us awake and focused while we were driving.

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Today, we can create playlists to help us to focus on our work. Choose non-vocal music that has a low tempo. Music from artists such as Ben Böhmer, Ilan Bluestone or Andrew Bayer has the perfect tempo.

Whenever you want to go into deep, focused work, listen to that playlist. What happens is your brain soon associates when you listen to the playlist you created with focused work and it’s time to concentrate on what it is you want to do.

3. Have a Place to Go to When You Need to Concentrate

If you eat, surf online and read at your desk, you will find your desk a very distracting place to do your work. One way to get your brain to understand it is focused work time is, to use the same place each time for just focused work.

This could be a quiet place in your office, or it could be a special coffee shop you use specifically for focused work. Again, what you are doing is associating an environment with focus.

Just as with having a playlist to listen to when you want to concentrate, having a physical place that accomplishes the same thing will also put you in the right frame of mind to be more focused.

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When you do find the right place to do your focused work, then only do focused work there. Never surf, never do any online shopping. Just do your work and then leave. You want to be training your brain to associate focused work with that environment and nothing else.

If you need to make a phone call, respond to an email or message, then go outside and do it. From now on, this place is your special working place and that is all you use it for.

Every morning, I do fifteens minutes of meditation. Each time, I sit down to do my meditation, I use the same music playlist and the same place. As soon as I put my earphones in and sit down in this place, my mind immediately knows it is meditation time and I become relaxed and focused almost immediately. I have trained my brain over a few months to associate a sound and a place with relaxed, thoughtful meditation. It works.

4. Get up and Move

We humans have a limited attention span. How long you can stay focused for depends on your own personal makeup. It can range from between twenty minutes to around two hours. With practice, you can stay focused for longer, but it takes time and it takes a lot of practice.

When you do find yourself being unable to concentrate any longer, get up from where you are and move. Go for a walk, move around and get some air. Do something completely different from what you were doing when you were concentrating.

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If you were writing a report in front of a screen, get away from your screens and look out the window and appreciate the view. Take a walk in the local park, or just walk around your office. You need to give your brain completely different stimuli.

Your brain is like a muscle. There is only so much it can do before it fatigues. If you are doing some focused work in Photoshop and then switch to surfing the internet, you are not giving your brain any rest. You are still using many of the same parts of your brain.

It’s like doing fifty pushups and then immediately trying to do bench presses. Although you are doing a different exercise, you are still exercising your chest. What you need to be doing to build up superior levels of concentrated focus is, in a sense, do fifty pushups and then a session of squats. Now you are exercising your chest and then your legs. Two completely different exercises.

Do the same with your brain. Do focused visual work and then do some form of movement with a different type of work. Focused visual work followed by a discussion with a colleague about another unrelated piece of work, for example.

The Bottom Line

It is not difficult to train your brain to become better at concentrating and focusing, but you do need to exercise deliberate practice. You need to develop the intention to focus and be very strict with yourself.

Set time aside in your calendar and make sure you tell your colleagues that you will be ‘off the grid’ for a couple of hours. With practice and a little time, you will soon find yourself being able to resist temptations and focus better.

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Featured photo credit: Wenni Zhou via unsplash.com

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