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12 Ways to Prevent Your Mood From Killing Your Productivity At Work

12 Ways to Prevent Your Mood From Killing Your Productivity At Work
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Have you ever had one of those days when absolutely nothing goes right? Or when you open your mouth to speak and the most inappropriate words come out? Everyone has days like this. Emotions have a way of infiltrating your entire being and hindering your performance. These 12 tips provide both immediate and preventative methods to prevent your mood from killing your productivity at work.

1. Learn to compartmentalize.

Take whatever things AND feelings that are buzzing in your head and box them up. Literally envision taking each of them and putting them into a little box and sticking them on a shelf. This empties your mind so that you can focus on your productivity at work.

2. Eliminate all distractions

Turn off your television and/or radio. Shut down your email and other social media applications. Turn your phone on vibrate. Put a ‘do not disturb’ sign at your front door or office door. Close your office door. Ask your co-workers to help you not be distracted so you can concentrate.

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3. Get “in the zone”.

In general, it takes about 15 minutes to obtain this state of mind. After that, you’re very focused and not easily distracted.  This is when you are most productive. Use methods #1 & #2 to attain this state of mind.

4. Set up systems.

Have a system, a step-by-step action or a manual for every single process or duty that you perform regularly. When you have a system already in place, for moments when you’re preoccupied by a bad mood, you simply follow the steps and remain productive. In addition, because the process is laid out, it doesn’t take heavy concentration.

5. Overcome all mental blocks.

In a nutshell, mental blocks are ideas or beliefs based on past experiences. They sometimes inhibit your ability to perform at optimum levels. When you’re in a particularly foul mood, these mental blocks can be magnified and crush your productivity. There are two ways to combat mental blocks. The first one is to try compartmentalization. If that doesn’t work, have a system or a step-by-step plan of action. This way, by simply following a previously planned routine, you’re able to supersede those mental blocks and stay on task. This is especially advantageous for those ‘bad days’ when nothing seems to go right.

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6. Breathe

Don’t forget how soothing and immediate slow, deep breaths can be. Slow, deep breaths promote calmer and more qualitative actions.

7. Listen to soothing music or sounds.

Music that touches your soul, or sounds, such as the ocean, the rain or a simple beating heart can bring a powerful sense of peace and harmony.

8. Stretch your muscles.

Nothing feels more soothing than simply taking a few minutes to stretch the muscles and get the blood circulation all throughout your body. Stretching also refreshes your mind so that you’re able to stay focused. Yoga is a phenomenon right now because its techniques promote emptying the mind, relaxation and meditative breathing. This promotes a productive state of mind.

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9. Exercise.

It is a proven fact that exercise produces stress-relieving endorphins. Regardless of whether you work out at the beginning, in the middle of, or the end of the day, you still receive that adrenaline rush of endorphins that constitutes that feeling of well being. This rush is an excellent mood enhancer, and also compliments productivity.

10. Laugh a little, live a little.

Thy physical manifestations of a bad mood include sweaty palms, increased breathing and heart rate, stiff neck, headache, etc. These symptoms slow your productivity rate. Laughing slows, and perhaps even eliminates, these physical symptoms.

11. Massage for relaxation and to empty the mind.

Have you ever intensely worked on something for a long period of time and then subconsciously reached up to massage the back of your neck? Massage decreases anxiety and pressure and revives both the body and the mind providing more clarity and focus. Because it benefits both the mind and the body, it promotes a feeling of well-being, thus improving a bad mood.

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12. Positive thinking ALL the time.

Everything begins and ends with the mind-heart connection. Programming your mind to have positive core beliefs is paramount. When you think happy, productive thoughts, you’re more likely to produce happy, productive actions.

Everyone suffers from a bad mood once in a while. Incorporate these tips into your day and you will find that they will prevent you from killing your productivity at work.

Featured photo credit: Martin Applegate via dreamstime.com

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Lynn Silva

Lynn Silva helps solo and entrepreneurs develop mental skills for business.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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