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The 50 Most Productive Christmas Gift Ideas For Your Friends

The 50 Most Productive Christmas Gift Ideas For Your Friends

Some friends are just impossible to buy for, but if you want to give the gift of productivity this year, here are 50 killer productive Christmas gift ideas for your friends!

Gifts to get more done

‘Getting Things Done’ book $10

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    In my opinion, if there’s one book that will make your friend more productive, it’s Getting Things Done by David Allen. If you want to give the gift of productivity this year, I can’t imagine a better book or gift.

    Aeropress coffee maker $26

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      You haven’t tasted coffee until you’ve tasted coffee from an Aeropress. This extraordinary simple coffee maker forces hot water through a filter to produce an espresso-style shot that you can combine with milk to make into a latte, or combine with water to make an American coffee. Great for traveling.

      Variable temperature tea kettle $56

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        Did you know that different tea needs to be brewed at different temperatures? For example, green tea needs to be brewed at a lower temperature so it doesn’t taste bitter. This fancy kettle heats water to different temperatures depending on what tea your brewing!

        Tonx coffee subscription $24+

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          If you have a friend that loves coffee, Tonx might just be the perfect gift for them. This subscription coffee service will deliver a fresh bag of beans to their door every other week (you can pick what size of bag they’d like).

          Blue Apron Subscription $60

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            For your friend who has very little time, Blue Apron is the perfect gift. The service will deliver fresh ingredients to your friend’s home, along with an easy-to-follow recipe and pre-portioned ingredients.

            2014 dry erase calendar $24

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              This massive, 2014 wall calendar is the perfect gift for anyone who wants to become more productive and organized. The calendar has a vertical or horizontal orientation, is beautifully designed, and starts on Monday.

              Evernote moleskine notebook $30

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                If you have a productivity-loving friend, chances are they’ll love the Evernote classic notebook by Moleskine. The notebook was designed by both Moleskine and Evernote to work with the app, and features “Evernote ruled” and “Evernote squared” page styles with dotted lines designed to ensure a clean image when you digitally capture your notebook.

                Chalkboard paint $10

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                  If your friend is a visual thinker, they’ll  love this gift. Rust-Oleum chalk paint converts any surface–metal, wood, drywall, plaster, and concrete included–into a usable chalkboard surface.

                  Ghost whiteboard $10-105

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                    Much like the aforementioned chalkboard paint, Ghost Whiteyboard converts pretty much any flat surface into a dry erase board, but without altering its appearance!

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                    Field Notes Expedition 3-Pack $10

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                      This might just be the most rugged notebook out there. The Field Notes Expedition 3-pack are waterproof, tear proof, and even resistant to fire and acid. You know, for all those times you dump acid on your notebooks.

                      Waterproof notepad $8

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                        This awesome waterproof notepad will help your friend capture all of their awesome ideas that they come up with in the shower.

                        Simple Hacks

                        CableDrop cordlets $10

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                          These things are genius, and I love them. After you mount a CableDrop to your desk, wall, or other flat surface, you can store your cables without having to worry about them falling to the floor every time you untether.

                          Lace anchors $10

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                            Lace anchors eliminate bows and knots from the inside and outside of your shoes allowing you to simply slip your shoes on on every time. An ingenious buy for $10.

                            The Wally Bottle Opener $10

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                              This simple yet elegant stainless steel bottle opener fits perfectly in a wallet or purse, until it’s go-time. At $10 it’s an awesome gift idea for any beer lover in your life.

                              Hide-a-Spare-Key Fake Rock $6

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                                Instead of keeping a spare key under your doormat like a chump, stash your key inside this authentic looking rock!

                                Obol $15

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                                  Who doesn’t hate soggy cereal? The “Obol” keeps your milk and cereal separate so your friends can focus and be productive without worrying about soggy breakfast cereal.

                                  Pocket Cutlery Set $12

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                                    Great for picnics, road trips, and hiking, this swiss army knife-like apparatus features a fork, knife, spoon, and bottle opener all in one compact device.

                                    Flask tie $27

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                                      This stealthy tie holds up to 8oz of your favourite beverage to keep your favourite drink close whenever you need it.

                                      USB drink cooler/warmer $19

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                                        This USB-powered, one-can/cup holder keeps a drink cool or warm for you. Everyone in your friend’s office will be jealous.

                                        Freehands gloves $20

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                                          If your friend lives someplace cold, these clever gloves will let them use their smartphone in the winter. Each pair of gloves features a forefinger and thumb that folds back, allowing you quick access to your pointing devices.

                                          Tech gifts

                                          Photojojo iPhone and Android Lens Series from $20

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                                            These camera lenses attach directly onto your iPhone or Android device and will allow your friend to take way better pictures. Photojojo offers individual lenses (fisheye, super fisheye, telephoto, wide angle, macro, and polarizing), as well as lens kits which contain several lenses.

                                            White noise generator $55

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                                              White noise has been proven to help you focus better. The long-named, Marpac Dohm-DS Dual Speed Sound Conditioner, produces a comfortable background sound that helps anyone be much more productive.

                                              iTunes Gift Card / Google Play Card

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                                                As much as some friends love and use their phones, they often really hate buying apps. But your phone can make you way more productive–the Apple App store features tens of thousands of apps in the Productivity category alone! Gift cards are often a bit of a cop-out when it comes to buying a gift, but for some friends an app gift card is perfect.

                                                Jawbone Mini Jambox $150

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                                                  At $150 the The Jawbone Mini Jambox isn’t cheap, but for a music loving friend, it can’t be beat. In my opinion, this is the best sounding portable speaker that fits in your pocket.

                                                  Jawbone Up $129

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                                                    The Jawbone Up, like the Nike Fuelband ($150) and the Fitbit Flex ($99), will track your friend’s sleeping routines, workout activity, and even eating habits with its build-in accelerometer, and will provide your friend with powerful data so they can improve their habits and become more productive.

                                                    Evernote pro subscription ($45)

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                                                      If you have a friend that relies on Evernote to be productive, gifting them Evernote Premium will give them the tools they need to become way more productive. Evernote Premium features offline notebooks, much smarter searching (including inside of PDFs), enables collaboration, and will up the monthly upload capacity on your friend’s account.

                                                      Scansnap scanner $160

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                                                        This portable scanner is the most expensive item on the list, but if you want to drop $160 bucks on a friend who deals with a lot of documents, I can’t imagine a better gift. This scanner automatically converts all scans to a PDF, includes auto-image correcting, is great for traveling, extracts the most important information from business cards, and a whole lot more.

                                                        Pivot power genius $30

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                                                          Power strips can be annoying, but this is definitely not one of them. It pivots, zig-zags, and bends to fit around furniture and tight spaces and make make more room for your friend’s larger power adapters.

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                                                          USB rechargable batteries $19

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                                                            These AA-sized batteries will recharge from a USB port, and are perfect for traveling. They can be recharged hundreds of times, saving your friends time and money.

                                                            WeMo Insight power switch $60

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                                                              It doesn’t look like much, but this item is my personal favorite out of all of the ones on the list. This wifi-enabled power switch connects to a Wifi network, allowing you to remotely turn devices on and off, and read how much energy a device is using in real time. You can even set up notifications, like for when your laundry is finished.

                                                              WeMo light switch $50

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                                                                This wifi-enabled light switch will allow you to turn your lights on and off from across the room, across the city, or half-way around the world.

                                                                WeMo baby monitor $70

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                                                                  Made by the same company as the WeMo Insight and the WeMo Light Switch, this baby monitor connects to wifi and turns your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch into a portable baby monitor. The device can even send push notifications based on certain triggers.

                                                                  Simple Braun alarm clock $50

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                                                                    Technology can be needlessly complicated, but this alarm clock isn’t. It tells the time, has a nice back light and works as an alarm. It’s also won numerous design awards and, in my opinion, looks simply stunning.

                                                                    8000 mAh Dual Port Battery Pack and Charger $36

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                                                                      For your friend who is always on their phone or tablet. This relatively inexpensive USB charger is the perfect gift for your friend who is always on the go, and always in need of more juice.

                                                                      Wake up light $90

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                                                                        Alarm clocks are jarring, but this wake up light will wake your friend’s body up naturally and slowly. It’s been scientifically shown to make waking up more pleasant, and includes two natural wake-up sounds.

                                                                        Bluetooth handset gloves $60

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                                                                          These gloves might look a bit dorky when in use, but they have a freaking bluetooth headset built in! They connect wirelessly to your phone, and let you talk on the phone when you expand your forefinger and pinky.

                                                                          Coin $100

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                                                                            Coin allows you (or your friend) to combine all of your cards into one easy-to-use, convenient card. It’s secure, and even locks when your phone is out of range.

                                                                            Powerpod $89

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                                                                              The PowerPod not only converts one outlet into six, but also doubles as a stylish storage tray for pencils and other small desk items.

                                                                              Self-improvement

                                                                              Meditation cushion $45

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                                                                                It might sound strange that sitting on a cushion and doing absolutely nothing will make you or your friend more productive, but trust me, it will.

                                                                                Lynda gift subscription ($25-375)

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                                                                                  Lynda is a subscription website that will give your friend access to over 2,000 high-quality online video courses. Why not give the gift of learning this year?

                                                                                  Audible.com gift membership ($45-150)

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                                                                                    If you have a friend that loves books, they’re bound to love audiobooks as well. Audible is my favorite audiobook website. You can gift memberships that range from $45 for three months ($15/month), to $150 for 12 months ($12.50/month).

                                                                                    Fun stuff

                                                                                    Paper notifications $10

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                                                                                      These are so fun. All day you receive notifications on your phone, but now you can put them on anything! The perfect way to leave a note for someone.

                                                                                      A Tenota Tea Note $5

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                                                                                        For $5, the Tenota tea service will send a bag of tea to your friend along with a customized note!

                                                                                        Netflix gift subscription $8-96

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                                                                                          After your friend is done being productive for the day, how about a nice Netflix subscription for them to kick back and recharge their batteries to be productive the next day? Netflix subscriptions can be purchased for 1, 2, 3, 6, or 12 months.

                                                                                          Hometown Aerial Map Jigsaw Puzzle $45

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                                                                                            Let your friend explore whatever area you pick with this puzzle. Just type in a ZIP code and choose a puzzle size, and The New York Times Store will print off a customized puzzle with a satellite view of that location! Pretty cool stuff.

                                                                                            USB powered lightbulb $12

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                                                                                              This simple USB-powered lightbulb will provide your friend with a nice dose of extra light wherever they travel! The light is an LED so it will illuminate for a long time, and the light even glows in the dark when you’re not using it.

                                                                                              Radioactive elements coaster set $20

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                                                                                                Why not learn a few elements while having a drink or two? These cool coasters even light up when you put a drink on them.

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                                                                                                Published on January 16, 2019

                                                                                                How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

                                                                                                How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

                                                                                                We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

                                                                                                You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

                                                                                                You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

                                                                                                That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

                                                                                                Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

                                                                                                1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

                                                                                                Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

                                                                                                We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

                                                                                                To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

                                                                                                At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

                                                                                                The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

                                                                                                2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

                                                                                                Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

                                                                                                The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

                                                                                                In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

                                                                                                It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

                                                                                                It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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                                                                                                So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

                                                                                                • Are you a great strategist?
                                                                                                • Are you an effective planner?
                                                                                                • Is Project Management your strength?
                                                                                                • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
                                                                                                • Are you the ideas person?
                                                                                                • Is Implementation your strength?

                                                                                                Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

                                                                                                3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

                                                                                                One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

                                                                                                Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

                                                                                                Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

                                                                                                Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

                                                                                                4. Take Time for Planning

                                                                                                “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

                                                                                                One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

                                                                                                You can take the time to think about:

                                                                                                • What’s the purpose of the project?
                                                                                                • How Important is it?
                                                                                                • When does it need to be delivered by?
                                                                                                • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
                                                                                                • What are the KPIs?
                                                                                                • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
                                                                                                • Who is working on this project?
                                                                                                • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
                                                                                                • What tolerances can I add in?
                                                                                                • What are the review stages?
                                                                                                • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

                                                                                                Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

                                                                                                5. Focus on Priorities

                                                                                                Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

                                                                                                Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

                                                                                                One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

                                                                                                1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
                                                                                                2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
                                                                                                3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
                                                                                                4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

                                                                                                James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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                                                                                                  The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

                                                                                                  If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

                                                                                                  If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

                                                                                                  6. Take Time Out

                                                                                                  To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

                                                                                                  If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

                                                                                                  Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

                                                                                                  In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

                                                                                                  Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

                                                                                                  7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

                                                                                                  Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

                                                                                                  I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

                                                                                                  Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

                                                                                                  If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

                                                                                                  8. Stop Multitasking

                                                                                                  Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

                                                                                                  So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

                                                                                                  When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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                                                                                                  If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

                                                                                                  9. Work in Blocks of Time

                                                                                                  To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

                                                                                                  I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

                                                                                                  Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

                                                                                                  Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

                                                                                                  Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

                                                                                                  Then take another 10-minute break.

                                                                                                  Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

                                                                                                  By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

                                                                                                  10. Get Rid of Distractions

                                                                                                  Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

                                                                                                  “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

                                                                                                  Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

                                                                                                  If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

                                                                                                  11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

                                                                                                  You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

                                                                                                  Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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                                                                                                  Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

                                                                                                  12. Take a Time Audit

                                                                                                  Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

                                                                                                  Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

                                                                                                  You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

                                                                                                  Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

                                                                                                  Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

                                                                                                  At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

                                                                                                  If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

                                                                                                  13. Protect Your Confidence

                                                                                                  It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

                                                                                                  When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

                                                                                                  Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

                                                                                                  When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

                                                                                                  Final Words

                                                                                                  A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

                                                                                                  The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

                                                                                                  If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

                                                                                                  Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

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