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A 10-Minute Exercise Can Make Your Entire Day Run Smoothly

A 10-Minute Exercise Can Make Your Entire Day Run Smoothly

If you are the type of person who grumbles about how you never have enough of time in a day to do things, you’re not alone. Nevermind doing the things you love; completing things you have to do is difficult, and 24 hours just isn’t enough time to get it all done. I know, I’ve been there.

One day, just like that, a bell might go off in your head telling you that the first 10 minutes of those 24 hours are the most important ones of the day, and those ten minutes decide whether your day will flow smoothly or not.

Let’s take this step-by-step.

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Decide what’s important and what isn’t

Make a list. Write down everything you have to do for the day and make sure you include everything. Add in office-related jobs, house chores, shopping lists, errands, replying to mail, visiting friends and family, lunches, dinners. Include everything.

Now, just mark out those that absolutely have to be done today. These are the only things you will do today. Period. The rest you will schedule for tomorrow or the day after depending on their urgency and importance.

Decide during which part of the day you will do a certain job

Now that you’ve selected the jobs you will do today, you have to schedule them into your day’s plan. You can do this in two ways: One, you can schedule them according to importance or two, you schedule them according to which time of the day you work better. For example, If you are a morning person, do all your thinking jobs during this time—you’ll be alert and things will flow more quickly and smoothly. Keep the routine jobs to a time when you are not functioning at 100%.

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Attach a time limit to each task

This is important. Often, we get too engrossed in a job and end up spending way too much time on it, so set a time limit. Keep an alarm around or set reminders on your phone, and you’ll train your brain to stay focused, work faster, and finish work on time.

Do I really need to spend so much time on this?

Ask yourself whether this job deserves significant importance. If not, lessen the time you’ve planned to spend on it.

Can I delegate?

This is something most people hate to do. Most people think that they’ll end up spending so much time telling a person what to do that they’d rather do it themselves, and this is where they stumble. Doing this means you have more work to do yourself. Now imagine, if you had told someone else to do it, you’d have some more time for yourself.

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One way of dealing with delegation is to break down the job into smaller parts, and explain them thoroughly. This simplifies things for the other person, and it’s also easier to keep things in check and correct along the way instead of seeing it at the end.

To whom can I delegate?

While delegating, remember to pick the right person for the right job. Don’t try mixing things up, especially if you don’t have the luxury of time.

When do I stop?

Come on, I’m sure you have somewhere else to go. To do something fun, or just hang out with friends. To do this you need to know when to stop working, so set a firm deadline, and decide that  you won’t work beyond this point. What’s pending will be scheduled for a later date.

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Relax—the world will not come to a stop if you leave your office on time.

Is this enough?

This is something you need to decide every morning. Bosses love dumping work on people, so it’s up to you to tell them when you have all you can handle. This doesn’t reflect badly on you; in fact, it’s good to be honest. Don’t try to over-promise; instead, under-promise, and over-deliver.

Do this every morning for ten minutes, and the rest of your day will flow much more smoothly.

 

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Last Updated on September 17, 2018

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

How bad really is multitasking?

It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

So what to do about it?

Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

Now, forget about how to multitask!

Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

1. Get enough rest

When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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2. Plan your day

When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

4. When at your desk, do work

We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

5. Learn to say no

Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

6. Turn off notifications on your computer

For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

The bottom line

Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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