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You Need To Keep These Items On Your Desk If You Want To Increase Productivity

You Need To Keep These Items On Your Desk If You Want To Increase Productivity

Nowadays, productivity hacks can be found everywhere. Things like setting up a particular type of environment, having a certain mindset, or preventing distractions, and so on are common when productivity comes up in conversation. But have you ever thought what kind effect the objects on your desk have on your productivity?

Here are some things that I’ve found have worked for me when they’re sitting atop my desk or lack thereof.

Containers Filled with Pens or Other Writing Utensils for Productivity

One of the simplest things that I’ve done to increase my productivity is have multiple containers filled with pens and markers and pencils and all kinds of other utensils. It only takes one pen to get the job done of course. But when presented with such a variety, I’m able to really choose what I think is best for the project that I’m working on. For example, if I want to write, I go for a ballpoint pen. If I was to draw or doodle, a pencil works. If I want to color inside of the lines, I have a cup full of sharpies waiting to be used.

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But why does this increase my productivity?

The honest truth is: I don’t actually know. Maybe it’s psychological. Maybe it’s the fact that in my head, I know that pens are what makes my work get done. They sit in those containers and stare at me until I get my job done. It might work for you, too.

Sticky Notes for Reminders and Inspiration

In plain view, I have 11 sticky notes with life questions that I ask myself every so often. I also have a pad of sticky notes handy for whenever I need to jot down some notes or thoughts that I want to remember. That being said, sticky notes have helps me stay productive.

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How?

Again, I’m not really sure. I know that you’re thinking, “Hey, this guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” And that’s okay if you don’t think so. But if you really want to increase your productivity and you have no other options, you’ll start to do anything possible to get those juices flowing.

Pictures of Loved Ones and Favorite Places for Motivation

One thing that I do know is that the people that I am closest to in life are the people who consistently motivate me to succeed. They serve as constant reminders of why I even am on the journey that I’m on. That’s one of the things that really motivate me to be productive.

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This is simple: find pictures of your family or friends, your significant other or your dog, or even places that you want to travel to. Put them somewhere that you can constantly see them. And whenever you feel like you’re not being productive, give them a gander and kick yourself into high-gear.

Nothing (to Help You Focus)

Completely clear off your desk and give yourself a simple surface to study or work on your craft. Minimalism is something that I find often gives me a chance to really clear my head and focus on what’s in front of me. Sometimes that’s all it takes for me to increase my productivity levels. It may not be the most effective way for some people; distractions can come in all shapes and sizes, including via thoughts. But nonetheless, if you want to jumpstart your productivity, don’t be afraid to clear off your desk and work in simple terms.

These may not work for you. That’s okay. But if they do, I’d appreciate it if you shared it with your friends.

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Want to supercharge your brain? Here are 15 simple ways to do so.

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Last Updated on September 11, 2019

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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  • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
  • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
  • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
  • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

Benefits of Using a To-Do List

However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

  • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
  • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
  • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
  • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
  • You feel more organized.
  • It helps you with planning.

4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

1. Categorize

Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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2. Add Estimations

You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

3. Prioritize

To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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  • Important and urgent
  • Not urgent but important
  • Not important but urgent
  • Not important or urgent

You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

4.  Review

To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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Bottom Line

So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

To your success!

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Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

Reference

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