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11 Things To Let Go Of And You’ll Be More Productive

11 Things To Let Go Of And You’ll Be More Productive

1. Let go of believing you’re not doing your best

It’s not easy to be proud of yourself every day, especially when you are aware you can do better. In order to change your performance, you should change your viewpoint.

Try to celebrate the small achievements daily and make it a habit to acknowledge every battle you fight in personal life and work. That way not much time and effort will be left for negative attitude towards yourself.

“Of all the judgments we pass in life, none is more important than the judgment we pass on ourselves.”
Nathaniel Branden

2. Let go of anger when you make mistakes

Whoever respects their work would be not satisfied when mistakes are made, especially when they could have been avoided. But turning to anger and other negative emotions not only brings you down, but also interrupts your workflow, damaging your productivity.

You can demand a perfect outcome, but can’t expect a perfect process, unless you consider yourself an automated machine. The more you work on treating mistakes as a natural part of the process, the easier it will be to recover from them and not harm the final result.

“The perfect is the enemy of the good.” – Voltaire

3. Let go of fearing the unknown

Everything unknown can bring mystery and excitement, but it mostly terrifies you. Getting out of your comfort zone and what you know requires a lot of courage and risk taking. Often though, it’s the unknown that takes us to somewhere we never knew would enjoy so much.

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Unless you try something, you can’t decide if it was worth it. At the very worst scenario, you’ll know what to avoid in the future. Be open and appear more confident than you really are. There’s always a way to make it work, as long as you really want to.

“The only doors that open are the ones you knock on.” – Scott Marquart

4. Let go of believing you have to finish everything you start

Be it a dish you’re cooking or the university degree you are enrolled in, it seems counter intuitive not to finish it. Even when you have found something not to be a good match for your current needs and likes, you may feel guilty and insecure to drop it off and continue with a new choice.

However, it’s easier and faster to start over than to fix something that is not working. Consider it a success that you can actually determine what is not a good fit and use your experience and judgment to pick the right one.

“ Part of being a winner is knowing when enough is enough. Sometimes you have to give up the fight and walk away, and move on to something that’s more productive.” – Donald Trump

5. Let go of brainstorming at the wrong times

Tight deadlines and busy schedules leave no other choice than to brainstorm whenever you have a clear block of time in your agenda. That is fine unless you really can’t get anything out of it.

It’s better to let yourself just be for a while and when the time is right for brainstorming, you will go through it much quicker, gaining the time you “lost” by refusing to force it.

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“Being lazy does not mean that you do not create. In fact, lying around doing nothing is an important, nay crucial, part of the creative process. It is meaningless bustle that actually gets in the way of productivity. All we are really saying is, give peace a chance.” – Tom Hodgkinson

6. Let go of waiting for inspiration

Sometimes inspiration seems to be far away, no matter how much you wait for it. When you can’t afford to wait longer, start working anyway. It could be that you’re too distant with the work you need to do and don’t have a clear panorama of the project.

Avoiding getting into the technical details might be the cause of the inspiration delay too. Going into the technical side of the things, you will get prepared for what is demanded and what should and shouldn’t be done. You will most probably get inspiration when things are clear enough in your head and you know exactly what to do.

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” – Stephen King

7. Let go of the weight of comparison

It’s impossible not to put yourself on the scale every now and then. Be it when others are doing better than you, or when you’re not doing the best you can, it’s understandable to turn your head elsewhere for comparison.

An easy way to avoid this is making sure you use every second of your time becoming the best version of yourself.

When you’re busy working on your own matters, there’s usually not enough time to deal with others. And when comparison tests come to you, knowing you’re becoming better every day will prevent you from feeling bad.

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“Personality begins where comparison leaves off. Be unique. Be memorable. Be confident. Be proud.” – Shannon L. Alder

8. Let go of avoiding reality

Too be honest, some things are so dreadful that we secretly wish for a miracle to happen, so we won’t have to go through them eventually. It might be your lucky day once in a blue moon, but for in reality, responsibilities are for the adults and there’s no way to hide from them.

Instead of spending your energy coming up with imaginary escape plans, use the time you have in the best possible way. If you don’t want to do something, make up your mind as early as possible. Let the right people know about that, along with a couple of strong reasons backing up your decision and a plan B for them to proceed further with.

“When we truly need to do is often what we most feel like avoiding.” – David Allen

9. Let go of underestimating others

The moment you assume something is too easy or others you’re competing with are not going to be great, you have set yourself up for failure. When you underestimate others, you underestimate their work. As a result, you assume you won’t have to work hard, so you automatically underestimate your own potential.

Make it a rule to always work and prepare as if you’re competing with the best of the field and you’ll see how it pays off to the outcome of your efforts.

“I never underestimate my opponent, but I never underestimate my talents.” – Hale Irwin

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10. Let go of waiting for the right moment

You want the circumstances to be perfect for executing your project so the chances for something to go wrong are minimal. You believe that if you have the right tools, money and time to do what you want, everything will go as planned. Otherwise, you believe the slightest problem will cause failure.

However, things never go as planned in life and there will always be a detail that is not right for the moment. Don’t let your passion “cool down” by waiting forever. If you want it badly enough, you will tailor your whole life to fit your project.

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” – Bruce Lee

11. Let go of spending time figuring out shortcuts

There could be occasions when you spend so much time trying to come up with an easier way of doing things or imagining how your life would be if everything didn’t require so much effort. But no matter how much we wish for things to be easier or faster, doing all the hard work is often the only way.

Everyone can do anything, to a certain degree. Make sure you go the extra mile, distancing yourself from the competition and eventually being proud of your project when you file it away in your portfolio folder.

“No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.” – Warren Buffett

 

Featured photo credit: http://deathtothestockphoto.com/ via deathtothestockphoto.com

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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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