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5 Ways to Stay Productive During March Madness

5 Ways to Stay Productive During March Madness
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March Madness Basketball

    We have all read the articles that tell us how much time and money is wasted during March Madness. Chances are our supervisors have also read those articles as well and will be keeping closer watch on us. Or, perhaps you can’t let March Madness interrupt you. Here are some ways to stay productive during the month of March.

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    1. DVR your team’s game and watch later

    This may or may not work for you depending on how a hardcore fan you are. You might want to know what’s happening when it’s happening if so a DVR of the game won’t work. Also, if you are connected to other people who share your passion for your favorite team on social networks it will be very easy to be spoiled unless you declare a social media blackout till the end of the game.

    2. Listen to the game on your smart phone

    Use an app like TuneIn Radio Pro to find a radio station that broadcasts the game. The good thing about TuneIn Radio Pro is that you can pause live radio to attend a meeting or take a phone call and pick up the action right where you left off.  In effect it’s a DVR for radio. This approach has the added benefit if your team is not local and you your local stations will not carry the games. Plan your “mundane” tasks for the time you’ll be listening to the game to avoid distraction.

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    3. Use bracket predicting as staff development

    Now, if you’re a supervisor reading this consider using the practice of filling out brackets as a staff development tool. People are going to fill out their brackets at work even if frown on it. Instead of being the stuffy place to work why not be the fun place to work? Schedule a time for your staff who are interested to get together and fill out their brackets. Offer fun prizes for the people who were the best and the people who were the worst. Allowing your staff a little time to breathe is a good thing for both office morale and your bottom line.

    4. Give yourself mini breaks and check in via social media

    Everyone needs a break every once in a while to regroup and recharge the batteries before working again. Consider giving yourself mini breaks to check in on how the game is going  via social media. As long as they are not excessive and don’t hinder your work in anyway it should be fine.

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    5. Go to lunch during the game

    Plan your lunch break during the game if the time of the game and or your time zone allow.  Everyone should be taking a lunch break anyway so why not use it to watch your team?  If it’s feasible go home and watch the game at home for a while to give yourself the break you deserve.  If you can’t make it home at least go somewhere other than your work space to watch or listen to the game.  If your team is local consider going to a sports bar that might have the game for some like minded human interaction.

    March Madness should not be a productivity killer, rather it should boost your energy because you’ll be rooting for your team.

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    (Photo credit: basketball on the color glow via Shutterstock)

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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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