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13 Ways You Can Make Tomorrow An Easier Day

13 Ways You Can Make Tomorrow An Easier Day

Do you ever have those days where everything is a little overwhelming and hectic? Maybe you’ve had a few too many of those days; but it’s time to change that. Henrik Edberg of The Positivity Blog has some tips you can use to try and make tomorrow an calmer, better day at work:

“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
Albert Einstein

“Think simple” as my old master used to say – meaning reduce the whole of its parts into the simplest terms, getting back to first principles.”
Frank Lloyd Wright

The daily work we do – in school, at work or in a business – can easily become overwhelming, ineffective and suck the energy and joy out of what you are doing. Over the years my experience has been that it is essential to keep my work simple and light to get better results in less time and to make things more fun (or at least more acceptable). In this article I’d like to recommend 13 habits that have helped me to do so.

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1. Prepare your day the evening before.

Pack your bag or suitcase. Pack the leftovers from your dinner in a container and put it in the fridge. Put your keys, wallet etc. in a place where you can easily find them as you head out in the morning. This preparation will help you to have a less stressful morning.

2. Just check your email once a day.

Checking email, other statistics or social media accounts many times a day tends to drain a lot of time, energy and can leave you unfocused and stressed. Try checking and processing all of those things just once a day instead. I do it at the end of my workday. If that is not possible for you then try to postpone it for a few hours at least. And put your morning energy and focus into your most important task of the day.

3. Write shorter emails.

Limit your emails to 1-5 sentences when possible. You can also have some canned responses for common questions saved in a folder in your email program. This will help you to spend less time and energy on your daily email processing.

4. Be 5-10 minutes early for appointments.

This will make your time of travel during the day into a time of relaxation and recharging. Instead of a time of stress and anxiety. Plus, people tend to like when other people are on time.

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5. Work on just one thing at a time.

It will be easier to focus and to do a good job. And to do it in less time compared to if you try to multi-task (at least if you are anything like me).

6. Work in a cone of silence.

Just before you start working on that one thing shut down your email program and instant messaging programs. Shut the door to your office. Put your cell phone in silent mode and put it in a drawer. If possible, shut down your internet connection. Or use an extension for your browser like StayFocusd.

7. During your day regularly ask yourself questions for simplicity and focus.

It is easy to get off track during a regular workday. To stay on track or to get back there if you get lost use questions like:
– What is the most important thing I can do right now?
– What would I work on if I only had 2 hours for work today?
– Is doing this bringing me closer to my goal?
– Am I keeping things extremely simple right now?

8. Let your lunch time be a time of relaxing.

Eat slowly. Put down the fork between bites to make that easier. Eat mindfully and savour each bite. Eating your lunch this way can help you to relax and to release quite a bit of stress in the middle of your workday. Plus, it can help you to not overeat because it takes your brain 20 minutes to register that you are full. By slowing down your eating your brain can stop you before you eat too much.

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9. Spend 80% of your time focusing on a solution.

And only 20% of your time on dwelling on your issue, challenge or problem. Instead of doing it the other way around. This makes it easier to live a lighter and more action-filled life and to not fall down into a pit of self-pity or getting stuck in a mental habit of perceived powerlessness.

10. Ask for help.

You don’t have to always do it alone. You can ask for help. You may not always get it but you may also be surprised at how helpful and kind people can be in helping you ease your burdens and solve a challenge. Just don’t forget to do the same for them as best you can when they ask.

11. When overwhelmed, breathe and then say to yourself: just take care of today.

Focus only on that. Forget about all those tomorrows and your yesterdays. Go small, narrow your focus greatly and just take care of today. Then take care of tomorrow when it comes.

12. Consciously set and maintain firm boundaries between your work and personal time.

Have a set stop time for your daily work (mine is 7 o clock). Do not work on weekends. Consciously manage your boundaries and you’ll have less stress and more energy and focus both to do better work and to have a personal life of higher quality. This is one of the most important and often overlooked habits in this article.

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13. Be smart about the 3 fundamentals of energy.

By that I mean getting enough sleep, exercising a couple of times a week and eating healthy. This may seem very obvious in theory. But in practice it makes a world of difference for your optimism, energy levels, ability to handle stress and to think clearly.

Henrik Edberg lives on the west coast of Sweden and for the past 7 years he has been writing at The Positivity Blog. If you liked this article, then join the tens of thousands of people that subscribe to his free newsletter.

Simpler Daily Work: 13 Smart Habits That Will Help You | The Positivity Blog

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

But what does being productive actually entail?

Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

1. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

2. Turn off Notifications

According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

3. Manage Interruptions

There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

4. Eat the Frog

Mark Twain once famously said that:

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“if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

5. Cut Down on Meetings

Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

6. Utilize Tools

Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

Some examples of tools that could be used:

Communication
  • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
  • Samepage for video conference software.
  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
Task Management
  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
  • Wekan for an open source option.
Database Management
Time Tracking
  • Clockify for a free tracker.
  • TMetric for workspace integrations.
  • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

7. Declutter and Organize

Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

8. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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9. Drink Water

Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

The Bottom Line

The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

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