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How To Be Super Organized And Quickly Get Things Done

How To Be Super Organized And Quickly Get Things Done

Stuck on how to be organized? With a few handy tips and tricks, you can stay on top of that to-do list and power through your day.

Start the night before

Each evening, plan the important things that need to be done the next day. Whether you write using old school pen and paper or an app, just jot down your thoughts so you can park your brain for the night knowing you will hit the ground running the next day.

Divide up big tasks

When a task feels too big to face, it’s easy to put it off. Set a timer on your phone for 15 minutes, and work without distraction for that time. Get up, wander about, stretch your legs and come back to it. Slicing away at tasks like this allows you to plough through and get things done without feeling overwhelmed.

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Mind sweep your brain

Sometimes your mind can feel so full of ideas, lists, tasks, projects and odd things to remember that it can be impossible to focus. Sit down for half an hour with a pen and paper and get everything in your head out into a huge list. Then, you can start dividing up your tasks and allocate time for them. Once your have cleared your head, you can crack on with the most urgent tasks.

Prioritize

Learning how to prioritize is so important in the quest for super organization. Give each task on your daily list a ranking and order them from the most important to the least, and work your way through. When two things are equally important, make a decision and just start – use your timer method to chip away at your list.

Allocate tasks on a calendar

It can be really useful to cross-check your task planning against a calendar. Plan your tasks in time slots in your diary or online calendar so you can see how your working day looks. Add repeating tasks and jobs to specific times and days so they become habitual, and you always know they are booked into your schedule.

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Meditate

Meditation is a wonderful tool for productivity. When you are mindful and present in the moment, productivity can be so much better. Use tools like Headspace or some meditation sequences on YouTube to take a few minutes out and calm the mind – you will reap rewards in the amount you achieve with a clear mind.

Delegate

Not taking everything on yourself is a major part of being organized. Outsource or delegate tasks that aren’t your strong suit, and crack in with things you excel at.

Use tech to work for you

Apps such as Zapier and IFTT.com are wonderful tools to hack your workflow and make it work for you. Set up tasks to help maximize your time, such as automating blog posts across networks and bookmarking sites, make research come to you, and automate responses. The possibilities are endless and empowering.

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Step away from the noise

Step away from your email and social media for chunks of time to avoid distractions. Constant reach is counterproductive to concentration, so promise yourself chunks of time to just crack on with tasks.

Be disciplined

Staying on task can require some discipline. Get yourself in the mindset of work by scheduling time off, rewarding yourself with breaks, and dividing up the tasks you dislike into smaller chunks. Better still, delegate.

Do the things you hate first

If you have been putting something off for a while, nip that procrastination in the bud by tackling your least favorite jobs first. That kick starts your day, and you can look forward to working on the jobs you love.

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Step away from the inbox

Emails can be a real time vacuum for productivity. Use Awayfind to set alerts for crucial emails, and schedule time to check the inbox once or twice a day. Set up a folder for non-urgent emails to reply to, and set time in your calendar to empty that folder twice a week to avoid being buried by communications.

Use tech to help you plan

There are many project planning and “to do” list apps on the market, so find one that suits your personal working style. Azendoo is an easy-to-use manager that links with Evernote to plan your tasks and information, and has easily moveable tasks to re-order and prioritize in a visual way.

Schedule but be flexible

Use your schedule and task list as a guide, but be open to flexibility as jobs change and circumstances throw you a curve ball. Be prepared to reorder a list dependent on requirements, but stay disciplined to get things done and earn your super-organized superhuman status!

More by this author

Jo Gifford

Design Guru, Writer, and Founder The Dexterous Diva and the Killer Content Academy.

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

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