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10 Weekly Ten Minute Practices to Boost Work Productivity

10 Weekly Ten Minute Practices to Boost Work Productivity

    Let’s face it: You can’t overhaul your personal efficiency overnight.

    You can, however, boost work productivity over time by adopting one or more of these weekly 10-minute practices. If you’re feeling especially ambitious, try at least one each day.

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    1. Declutter your inbox

    Dedicate 10 minutes each week to unsubscribing from useless or unwanted emails. They come in all forms: newsletters you never read, redundant notifications from social media sites (do you really need to know if someone new is following you?), daily-deal emails and marketing emails from online stores you’ve patronized in the past.

    Eventually, you’ll have pared your inbox down to a more manageable size, giving you more time to attend to relevant emails.

    2. Meditate

    One of the best ways to boost your productivity at work is by recharging through meditation. While meditation is best when you have ample time to relax, you can still reap its benefits by sneaking away for 10 minutes during your workday. Find a quiet spot where you can close your eyes, breathe deeply and clear your head: a quiet stairwell, an empty conference room or even a nearby park will do just fine.

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    3. Weekly wrap-up

    End your workweek with a quick self-audit. Set yourself up for success on Monday by jotting down a list of projects and to-dos to tackle when you head back into the office. Take a moment to also note some of the successes and shortcomings you encountered, and learn from them week over week. What worked? What didn’t work? To amp this up further, end each workday with this practice.

    4. Take a walk

    Once a week, take 10 minutes out of your lunch break and use it to exercise. Walk around the block, or take the stairs to your office instead of the elevator. If you opt for take-out, select a spot that’s 5 minutes farther away, or take the long way to your usual restaurant. Like meditation, exercise resets your brain for creativity, ultimately boosting your work productivity.

    5. Race the clock

    Set a timer for 10 minutes and do as much work as you can on a big, imposing project you’ve been putting off. Alternatively, knock out several smaller tasks. Force yourself to avoid distractions during this 10-minute burst to really pump up the intensity. These short yet intense work periods can help you build the momentum you need to take control of your to-do list.

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    6. Do nothing

    Follow up an intense 50-minute work period with 10 minutes of unrestricted time. Take a walk around the office, catch up on your favorite blogs, play on Twitter or just do some quick stretches at your desk.

    7. Clean your workspace

    A clean, organized and clutter-free work area minimizes distractions that can hamper productivity. Take a few minutes at the end of each week to eliminate the unnecessary and give yourself a clean slate on Monday.

    8. Plan a project

    Before you begin a new project, spend 10 minutes creating a mind map or outline to focus your efforts. This process will let your unconscious mind marinate on your next steps and keep you on task while you’re working on said project.

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    9. Compile boilerplate text

    We all work with content that can be made into boilerplate text, whether it’s HTML code, canned email responses, blog post templates or custom signatures. Use a tool like TextExpander or Texter to create shortcuts for these blocks of text. Bonus: TextExpander also automatically corrects common typos as you write.

    10. Reward positive behavior

    Top up your emotional tank by recognizing and rewarding the good things you do at work. Perhaps you helped a coworker diagnose and solve a problem, or a blog post you wrote got more comments than usual. Don’t rely on your boss noticing this and complimenting you; instead, remember each “win” as self-motivation for later.

    Put together, all of these practices will drastically improve your productivity if you dedicate a few minutes out of your day or week to follow them.

    (Photo credit: Ticking Clock via Morguefile)

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    Last Updated on March 23, 2021

    Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

    Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

    One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

    The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

    You need more than time management. You need energy management

    1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

    How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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    I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

    I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

    2. Determine your “peak hours”

    Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

    Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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    My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

    In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

    Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

    3. Block those high-energy hours

    Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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    Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

    If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

    That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

    There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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    Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

    Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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