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Skyrocket Your Productivity in 60s

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Skyrocket Your Productivity in 60s

Your to do list is endless. It’s overwhelming. You don’t even know where to begin. In fact, half the time you’re so overwhelmed you don’t begin.

We often spend so much time in the midst of the rat race that we never stop and ask – “Am I heading in the right direction?”

My purpose in writing this article is twofold. First, I am going to share a question that can revolutionize your productivity and effectiveness. Second, I will explain how to implement it into your life.

The Question That Can Revolutionize Your Life

Here it is: “What is the highest value activity I can do right now?”

Before we jump into tackling how to implement this question let’s discuss it.

First, let’s define “high value.” High value activities are those things that will lead to an increase in your bottom line. If you are in sales, you want more sales. If you are a blogger, you want more subscribers. If you are a coach, you want more clients.

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Next, let’s define “activity.” Activities are the actions you must take which will lead to the increase in your bottom line. For example if you are in sales, this can mean reaching out to new prospects. If you’re a blogger, it can be developing content. If you are a coach, it can be creating a specific product.

The last portion of the question is incredibly important. Notice it says “right now.” We have to take into consideration 1) how much time we have and 2) our current energy level. The worst thing you can do is try to take on a task that requires immense focus and time but you only have 30 minutes and you’re dead tired.

So putting it all together – your job is to identify the single most important action you can take right at this moment.

Now, let’s discuss how to implement it.

How to Implement the Question in Your Daily Life 

1. Ask the question to start your workday.

As soon as you get to work and sit at your desk (or wherever you initially start the day), take a deep breath and then ask yourself: “What is the highest value activity I can do right now?”

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2. Think for 60 seconds.

As soon as you ask yourself the question, immediately start a timer. Allow yourself 60 seconds to think about the answer. Don’t write anything, talk to anyone, or do any other tasks.

Most often, the highest value task will immediately come to the forefront of your mind.

3. Write it down. 

After the 60 seconds are up, write the following on a post-it note, a planner, a piece of paper, anything you will be looking at over the course of the day:

“The single most important thing I can do right now is: ________”

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There are a few reasons it is important to write this down. There is an abundance of research that shows when we write things down we are more likely to do them. On top of this, by writing it down you have now provided a concrete message to your subconscious “This is important and I must get it done.” Lastly, you are exposing yourself to this message for a second and third time (the first time is when you thought about it, the second time is writing it, and the third time is reading it).

Combine all of these and it becomes incredibly powerful to write it out.

4. Immediately start on the task.

Without any other thought – immediately begin on the task. By taking action, you will establish momentum.

Since you have identified this as your highest value activity, it will be incredibly inspiring and motivating.

5. Complete the task and repeat steps 2 through 4. 

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Once you have completed the task (or finished as much as is possible) – go through the exact same process with your next activity.

You can do this as often as you like throughout the day. Ideally, you would do it after every activity.

Conclusion

Here is the reality – most of us rush through our day without taking any time to step back and ask what we should be doing. By simply taking 60 seconds out of your day, you can revolutionize your productivity and effectiveness.

Imagine how effective you could be if you were constantly working on the most important thing possible.

Featured photo credit:  Under the space rocket via Shutterstock

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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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