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7 Surefire Ways to Make Sure Your Ideas Don’t Take Off

7 Surefire Ways to Make Sure Your Ideas Don’t Take Off

So you’ve thought of this idea you think will change the way the world works. You go about creating a business plan, detailing it with bits and pieces of data to build up your point of view, and you even create a vision board to help you stay focussed on your end goal. You get a second opinion from someone you look up to and even they buy into your idea. You’re all set to roll, but there is something that’s holding you back, for some reason.

You think you need to think it over and you do that. And then you think some more. You finally convince yourself that maybe this idea is not the one and you fool yourself into believing that this idea will not work.

What went wrong? One day you think you have an earth-shattering brilliant idea and the next day you just give up. Did you fall into the bottomless pit from where fresh ideas never make it out? Maybe you just did one of these things.

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You gave in to self doubt

Most of us who come up with new ideas or new ways of thinking; question and then question some more. It’s not because we are not sure but because we want to make sure what we have is flawless, but we fail to understand that nothing that was ever created was without fault. Everything has its glitches or things we haven’t even thought of ,or just things that we missed. This can often lead us to believe that our idea will never work, without even giving it a fair shot.

You waited for someone to take the first step

Very often people who work in teams or are in partnerships wait for the other person to take the first step or to make the first move. This doesn’t ever work. Here’s a piece of advice: never ever wait for someone else. Your idea is your baby, it’s you and only you who has to make sure it comes alive. Don’t depend on someone else—they will never have the same feelings towards another person’s baby.

Lead from the front

This is an extension of the earlier point. Never wait for someone in your team to take the first step. It’s your brainchild—you have to do it. You start and lead from the front. You lead by example, the rest will look at your enthusiasm and will be automatically inspired to move, and once the ball is rolling, there is no turning back. You just have to make sure the ball stays rolling and you can do this by making sure you don’t stop.

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You over-complicated it

People who are analytical by nature have a tendency to back their ideas with loads of data and even more truckloads of statistics. This complicates things: ideas should be broken down to their simplest and purest form. Data and statistics can come in later, once the idea has come out in the real world. Not before.

There are ample cribs on forums where people have admitted to making this classic mistake of over-analyzing things. This habit, if not kept in check at the right time, will definitely make sure your idea stays where it is: on paper.

You involved too many experts

This again may sound like a good thing, but in essence and true to the quote, “Too many cooks spoil the broth”. Adding too many experts right in the beginning is never a good idea.

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Everyone comes with their own point of view and expertise and in the muddle to get their voice heard, the idea can often get lost or get too complicated. And just in case, you have to add people or have to work with many people, make sure you have the reins firmly in your hands. You be the one who guides and directs, if ever people stray off course.

You waited for the money

Often ideas or businesses don’t make money right from the word go. Some take time to mature and become part of everyday routine. A classic example would be Facebook: it took them many years to finally start making money, but that didn’t stop them—they knew that when the idea matured and the number of fans reached critical mass, the money would come. And it did.

Point is, don’t let money or the lack of it in the beginning, stop you. Invest some of your own money in your idea and nurture it. Just don’t let it die prematurely in your idea book.

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You gave up too soon

Again, not all ideas become overnight successes. Many take time to reach critical mass. All you have to do is keep at it and not give up. Remember the only way, your idea will make it big is if you keep working at it. Stop and it’ll die a premature death.

These are the top 7 things that make sure novel ideas never realise their true potential. Keep them in mind the next time you come up with an idea that you think will make the world a better place.

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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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