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The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 12 – JetPens

The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 12 – JetPens

    Today’s the last day of Lifehack’s 12 Days of Giveaways holiday promotion. It’s been a lot of fun to offer our Lifehack readers a chance to take home some great products to help them bring their personal productivity skills up a notch or two. (Or three. Or more.)

    For the last giveaway, we’ve got a Paper Productivity Starter Kit courtesy of JetPens.

    But before we get to that, let’s talk about yesterday’s Helvetindex Cards giveaway. More specifically, let’s reveal which 5 Lifehack readers are going to have a bundle of 100 cards sent to them for answering the following question:

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    “When do you find yourself reaching for paper over digital tools — and why?”

    The winning comments, some of which come from our website and some from Facebook, can be found below::

    “I’ve stepped away from electronic task lists. No medium, no matter how hi-tech it is, will ever replace the flexibility of paper. Everyday I have a 3×5 that has all my appointments/scheduled items, reminders, tasks that need to be done, and tasks I want to have done. Writing those kinds of things down is faster when I’m busy in the middle of the day than typing it into a device.” – Brian Damitz

    “I adore index cards! But those flimsy ones from Staples just don’t feel right, so I’ve been printing my own on heavy card stock in different colors, with little grids. These look even nicer. I reach for paper for the quickest capture of ideas, reminders, to-dos, quotes, everything–and the humble index card is my paper of choice.” – Andrea Graham

    “No carefully typed list or mind map online or on a smartphone can replace the satisfaction of seeing my own hand channel my thoughts rather than some impersonally neat font. I reach for paper over digital tools when I have ideas that need expressing right at the moment. The absence of a delete key either frees me from any inhibitions about my thoughts or forces me to consider them more clearly. Either way, my output with a pen is more authentic than that with digital tools.” – Catherine Zuo

    “I reach for paper over digital tools when I need to brainstorm. For some reason when I’m using digital tools, my mind moves to fast. Paper allows me to really process my thoughts and to make connections that I wouldn’t otherwise make.” – Donnie Nicole Smith

    “I find myself using old fashion systems anytime I need to make sure that I will actually do something… Which is pretty much always. I found long ago that the more modern solutions are only good for me to capture lists with. So my Omni Focus tools (Ipad and Mac) are filled with running lists of all types, most importantly all of the awesome books I come across that I want to read. As for organizing my life and getting things done paper is the only way I can keep an organized system. I would love to try the Helvetindex cards becasue the only other 2 decent cards I have ever found are Levenger (which I am not in love with) and Exacompta but They can be hard to come by at times. It is nice to see that there is potentially a new choice. What I like most about the idea of Helvetindex cards is they are actually 3×5. The Exacompta are larger which is the only other downside to them at times.” – Bornagainscholar

    Congratulations to all five winners — now go out and get some small binder clips so that you’ll be ready to assemble your Hipster PDA for the new year!

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    About Today’s Giveaway

    JetPens is an amazing resource for those who are especially fond of using paper to help you get things done. Carrying a wide variety of well-known and highly-regarded writing tools as well as some hard-to-find goods that many fans of paper covet, you can’t go wrong with placing an order through JetPens.

    JetPens has generously offered what we’ve called the Paper Productivity Starter Kit, which contains a good sampling of popular items across several categories. Anyone who is a fan of pen, pencil and paper will be familiar with some of its contents as well. The retail value of this package is approximately $50, but the value you’ll get by using it is far greater.

    What’s in the Paper Productivity Starter Kit?

    Everything you need to get started using paper as your primary productivity tool is here. Thanks to Brad Dowdy at JetPens for putting this stellar combination of products together in one amazing package.

    How to Enter

    In order to enter to win this package from JetPens, you need to leave a comment below or on our Facebook fan page that answers the following:

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    “What are the 3 things you’ve written down as goals for 2012 — and did you use a pen, pencil or device to capture them?”

    Leaving a comment on both our Facebook fan page and here at Lifehack.org will get you 2 entries, so but you need to give us two items that you like the most – no copying and pasting!

    The Fine Print

    Employees of JetPens and of Stepcase (including current independent contractors of both) are not eligible for this contest. The prize can only be shipped to addresses within the continental United States, so keep that in mind when entering. The winning entry will be judged by the Stepcase Lifehack editing team and winners will be notified on the platform in which their winning entry was placed (either on the Lifehack.org Facebook wall or by email through our commenting system here the website). For those entering contest with a comment on our site, in order to be considered eligible, you MUST leave a contact email when leaving a comment (it’s the only way we’ll know how to contact you). Entries must be submitted by 10 am Eastern the following weekday and winners will be chosen by 12 pm Eastern time on the same day. The winner will be announced the same day on Lifehack.org, and will be notified beforehand.

    Good luck!

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    (Photo credit: Pen on Blank Notebook via Shutterstock)

    More by this author

    Mike Vardy

    A productivity specialist who shows you how to define your day, funnel your focus, and make every moment matter.

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    Last Updated on December 9, 2019

    7 Techniques to Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions

    7 Techniques to Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions

    The world has become a very distracting place, you don’t need me to tell you that. Where once we could walk out of our house or office and disappear into our own world with our own thoughts, we are now connected 24 hours a day to a network that’s sole purpose is to make us available to anyone and everyone at any time they choose to disturb us.

    Of course, it is very easy to sit here and say all you have to do is turn off your electronic devices and just allow yourself several hours of quiet solitude; but the reality is far harder than that. There is an expectation that we are available for anyone whenever they want us.

    However, if you do want to elevate yourself and perform at your best every day, to produce work of a higher quality than anyone expects and to regain control over what you do and when you will need to regain some control over your time, so you can focus on producing work that matters to you…

    The good news: You do not have to become a recluse. All you need are a few simple strategies that will allow you enough flexibility in your day to stay focused to do the work that matters and still allow you to deal with other people’s crises and dramas.

    Here are 7 ways you can stay focused and be less distracted.

    1. Find out When You Are at Your Most Focused

    According to research, brilliantly documented by Daniel Pink in his latest book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, our brains have a limited capacity to stay focused each day.[1]

    From the moment we wake up to the time we turn in for the day, we are using up our brain’s limited energy resources and, depending on the time of day, we will be moving between strong concentration and low concentration.

    This means that for most people, their optimum time for sustained concentration and focus will be soon after they wake up. For others, it could be later in the evening—a kind of second wind—but that is rare.

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    Once you understand this, you can take time to learn when you are at your best and to protect that time on your calendar as much as possible. If you can, block it off and use that time for the work you need to do that requires the most concentration each day.

    2. Get Comfortable Using ‘Do Not Disturb’ Mode

    We have the ability to switch our electronic devices to do not disturb mode. Where all notifications are off and your phone or computer will not alert you to a new email or message.

    Now after testing this function for a number of years, I can happily report that it does work.

    When I sat down to write this article, I put all my electronic devices to do not disturb, closed down my email and began writing. I am safe in the knowledge that until this article is written, and I turn do not disturb off, there will be no interruptions or distractions.

    Of course, it is not really about whether do not disturb works or not, it is whether you are willing to turn it on or not.

    Most people believe they have to be constantly available for their boss or customers. This is not true at all. What has happened is because of your always available status, you have conditioned these people to turn to you first whenever they have a problem.

    You are not actually helping them at all. You are preventing them from having to think for themselves and develop the skill of problem-solving. By not being so readily available, you help them a lot more.

    What it comes down to is your boss and customers are going to be far more positive with you, if you deliver your work to the highest quality and on time than you being available 24/7. Trust me on that. I also tested that one.

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    3. Schedule Focus Time Every Day

    This technique is a lot easier than you may think.

    First, you figure out when you are least likely to be disturbed. For me, that is between 6 and 9 am. for a lot of my clients, they find the first 90 minutes in the morning at their workplace is when they are not likely to be disturbed. This is important because you want to be building consistency.

    Most people start their day by checking their email and other messages. While they are doing that, they are not going to be bothering you. Now there is no rule about when you should be checking your email. The chances are email is not going to be where you want to spend your most focused time, so you can decide to check your email at say 10:30 am.

    Dedicate 30 minutes from 10:30 am to 11:00 am for email processing and use the first 90 minutes of your day for doing your most important work. You will surprise yourself by how much work you get done in that ninety minutes.

    4. Plan Your Day the Night Before

    One of the inevitabilities of life is there is always a plan for the day. The choice is whether the plan you have is a plan of your own making or not. If you don’t have a plan, then the day will take control of you. Other people’s priorities, urgencies and dramas will fill your day. As the late Jim Rohn said:

    “Either you run the day or the day runs you.”

    If you take control and make it a habit to plan out what you want to accomplish the next day before you go to bed, you will find yourself staying more focused on your work and be less likely disturbed.

    Now when I say plan your day the night before, I do not mean you need to spend an hour or so planning and mapping out every minute of the day. Planning your day should only take you around 10 to 15 minutes and you only need to decide what 10 things you want to complete — 2 “must do” objective tasks and 8 “would like to do” tasks. What I call the 2+8 Prioritisation Technique:

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    Do not be tempted to go beyond 10 tasks for the day. When you do that, you do not have enough flexibility in your day to handle crises and other unknown issues that will pop up throughout the day.

    When you do not build in flexibility, you will soon stop planning your day. Only plan tasks that will have the biggest positive impact on your work and projects.

    5. Learn to Say “No”

    I am sure you’ve been told this before. We are wired to please and this results in us wanting to say yes to every opportunity that comes our way. The problem is we cannot do everything and every time you say “yes” to one opportunity, you are saying “no” to another opportunity. You cannot be in two places at the same time.

    Jay Shetty shared an inspiring video on JOMO “Joy Of Missing Out”. Here’s the video:

    Rather than allowing ourselves to be succumbed by FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out), we should replace that ‘fear’ with the “joy” of missing out. Because of our need to please, we say yes to things we really don’t want to do; yet when we do that, we miss out on doing things that bring us joy—creating something special, spending time educating ourselves and just having some quiet alone time with ourselves.

    Learn to say “no” every time you get a notification to your phone. Ignore it. Learn to say “no” to your colleagues when they want to gossip. Learn to say “no” to volunteering when the thing you are being asked to volunteer for does not excite you. Just learn to say “no”.

    By saying “no” to opportunities, distractions and interruptions, you are saying yes to better and more meaningful things. Things you do want to focus your attention on.

    6. Create a Distraction-Free Environment for Your Focused Time

    This has been possibly the most powerful tip I learned when it comes to focusing on what is important. Have a place where you do only focused, high-concentration work.

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    Now this place needs to be clean and only have the tools you need to do your work. If it is writing a report or preparing a presentation, then it needs a table and a computer, nothing more. Files, paper and other detritus that accumulates on and around people’s desks need to go. A clean, cool and well-lit environment is going to do a lot more for your focus and concentration than anything else.

    The dining table in our home is where I go for undisturbed, focussed work. I take my laptop or iPad, and only have my writing app open. Everything is closed down and the computer is in “do not disturb” mode. There is nothing else on the dining table just my computer and my water tumbler.

    Because that is my designated focus area, I only go there to work when I have something that needs total focus and concentration. I am there right now!

    7. Be Intentional

    The reality is, if you absolutely need to get something done then you need to be intentional. You have to have the intention of sitting down, focusing and doing the work.

    There’s no magic tricks or apps that will miraculously do all your work for you. You need to intentionally set aside time for undisturbed focus work and do it. Without that intention, you can read as many of these articles as you like and you still will not get the work done.

    It is only when you intentionally set yourself up to do the work, turn off all notifications and do whatever it takes to avoid distractions will the work get done.

    The Bottom Line

    The strategies and tips I shared in this post will go a long way to helping you become better at focusing on the important things in your life. No matter what they are, you are in control of your time and what you do with it and where you spend it, never give that control away to anyone else.

    Protect it and it will be your servant. Give that control away and it will become your master and that is not a good place to be.

    More About Staying Focused

    Featured photo credit: Manny Pantoja via unsplash.com

    Reference

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