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Start a Productive Workday With the Right Websites

Start a Productive Workday With the Right Websites
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    Morning Light by chefranden

    Your peak performance period is that space of time during the day where you maximize your focus, productivity and energy for two to three hours.Make the most of this period by prepping your workspace for instant action. Close the door and create a routine that both relaxes and motivates you.

    A step in the right direction is to create a GTD bookmark folder with a short list of essential websites

    Current news website

    Choose one website that you can quickly scan and easily pick out important headlines. Then spend five to ten minutes getting up to date on the world.

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    Constant interaction with co-workers is almost a certainty these days and building a relationship with them can be hard when you have little in common. Consequently, using current events is an easy way to invite people into a conversation and build a rapport.This bond between employees boosts productivity as friendly work environments allow staff to share tasks and information with a positive attitude.

    Another option is to use services like Google reader because they allow you to create specific news feeds tailored to your tastes. However, avoid adding too many feeds and listing too many headlines as they can disrupt your focus.

    Sites like Google News or CNN are better suited for quick productive reading because they condense their headlines into small specific categories on a single page.

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    Corporate intranet sites

    Corporate intranet sites are effective tools in keeping employees informed on internal changes, competitive information and relevant industry news. Use this to your advantage and eliminate the need to compile this information yourself.

    Products, offers, regulations and people are in constant flux. If you ignore this fact and are reactive instead of proactive, you will miss opportunities.

    In particular, sales people face embarrassment when a client is better informed then they are. You need to know how your company stacks up against the competition if you are to remain competitive.

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    Use Google Calendar to find a work life balance

    Google calendar is a great option for synchronizing family schedules into one easily updatable calendar.

    You cannot give your full attention to your personal or work life if they constantly interrupt each other. During a workday, people trade thoughts and update schedules with their family by shooting emails, texts, or phone calls back and forth. This constant communication breaks up your focus and reduces productivity.

    Avoid this situation by creating individual calendars for each family member and synchronize all the calendars together. This way, each family member sees how his or her schedule affects another family member’s agenda.

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    Start your day by comparing your personal calendar and work calendar. You can then decide how to divide your time, energy and attention at work and then home. A good tip is to forward “non-confidential” appointments in real-time from the office to the family calendar. Therefore, this avoids scheduling appointments that can wreak havoc at work and home.

    You should take the time to plan your full day and ask specific questions like:

    • “Can I put in an extra 30 minutes at the end of the day or will I miss an appointment or dinner?”
    • “Should I go all out on this presentation and use up my energy or should I push some tasks to the next day so I have the energy to spend time with the kids?”

    Balancing work and a personal life becomes more manageable with open communication between all the parties affected. You eliminate frustration and anger when everyone works on a level playing field.

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    You can maximize your performance by choosing a period in the day when you do your best work in the shortest amount of time and use your sharpened focus to create an effective daily agenda that increases your productivity at work and home.

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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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