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Checklist: Are You Being Productive Or Just Creating Busy Work?

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Checklist: Are You Being Productive Or Just Creating Busy Work?

If you’re like most people, you start every day with a laundry list of tasks to accomplish. As the day progresses, you check items off and add more items on. Are you being productive, or are you just creating busy work? Review this checklist to find out.

1. Planning Meetings to Have More Meetings

Meetings can be awful. They rarely lead to any real progress and, more often than not, participants leave more confused than they were when they arrived. Having meetings is one thing, but having meetings to schedule more meetings is a waste of time. When you’re wasting time, you’re not being productive and you’re not getting work done.

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2. Over-Editing

You receive an email to review a project, or add further details to a document. What do you do? Many people waste an excessive amount of time over-editing. This is particularly the case with emails, documents and spreadsheets. It’s likely that these things will not be seen by the general public, so why are you wasting so much time dotting every “I” and crossing every “T”?

3. Piling on More Than You Can Handle

Bosses love to give their employees more work than they can handle. They do this because they want to feel like they’re getting their money’s worth. Nevermind the fact that you may be doing several people’s jobs for the price of one, and you’re hopped up on coffee all day just to keep up the pace. This is unproductive, because you do not get your best work done when you’re multitasking and splitting your focus between multiple projects and tasks at once.

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4. Scheduling Tasks for Mundane Activities

Thanks to smartphones and reminder apps, it can be extremely easy to get caught up scheduling tasks for mundane activities, such as when to eat, when to call someone and when to send an email. Many people think this enables productivity, when in fact it just creates anxiety. When you waste time scheduling mundane tasks, you’re never at peace because your brain is constantly focused on the next item to check off. Your to-do list never ends, keeping you in a vicious cycle of busy work.

5. Analysis Paralysis

How do you feel when you’ve completed a project or task? Do you move on to the next thing, or sit and dwell on the past? This is called analysis paralysis; the process of over analyzing work previously completed and mulling over the outcome. What do you do to feel better? You create busy work that’s somehow connected to work you’ve already completed. You hope that by creating supplementary components to the work you have done, you’ll redeem yourself if you fail. This is a waste of time and it is not productive. Stop doing this.

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6. Email Overload

Managing email can feel like a scattered thunderstorm, because every so often you get drenched. It will go away and then come back again a few hours later. This is just the way things are and there’s nothing you can do about it. The problem occurs when you are glued to your inbox, anticipating the next pop up, alert, or incoming message. Answering e-mails can become busy work that distracts you from completing more important tasks.

7. Constantly Busy

Are you busy all the time? If so, you need to re-plan your day to find a balance. No one should be swamped all the time. People are sometimes overworked and underpaid. I understand that. You probably have a similar list of tasks to complete each day that consume most, if not all, of your workday. But, how much of what you do on a daily basis is actually necessary? How much of what you do is actual work, and how much of it is busy work? Identify the work you do that is meaningful and helps you reach your company’s objectives – omit everything else.

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Featured photo credit: caffeinating, calculating, computerating/Ryan Ritchie via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 13, 2022

15 Best Places for Expats to Live (And Why)

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15 Best Places for Expats to Live (And Why)

Many of us dream of living abroad but can often be scared to make such a big change to our routine lifestyles and leave our home countries behind. Daunting as it may be, living abroad can be a rewarding and fulfilling endeavor and can give you the quality of life you have been looking for.

From a warmer climate to a more easy going way of life, there are many foreign countries favored by expats who stay for a long time – and sometimes forever. Taking into consideration livings standards, opportunities and social aspects, here are our top 15 best places to live as an expat and why.

1. Thailand

A hot spot for expats, the ‘land of smiles’ as it’s commonly known offers expats a tropical climate, a huge array of sandy beaches and islands to explore, and a rich culture. The cost of living in Thailand is extremely low, and when combined with the friendly tax system means that disposable income can be very high.

Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city, offers expats great employment opportunities.

2. Switzerland

Another popular destination for expats, Switzerland offers exciting employment packages and a high standard of living. It’s great for those who love the outdoors, as there are many beautiful lakes, mountains to hike in and skiing in the winter. The school standards for expats are also excellent, making it appealing for those with children. English is also widely spoken so day-to-day living can be stress free.

Unemployment in Switzerland is low and expats moving here don’t need to worry too much about finding a job before they arrive.

3. Australia

Many foreigners who visit Australia don’t want to leave as it offers a great quality of life, beautiful beaches and a warm climate. Making friends in Australia is easy too, due to the lack of language barrier and the large number of expats who already live here. Australia is a great place to move to if you have children because of its wide range of schooling possibilities and recreational outdoor activities.

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Low population levels and high quality of life are two of the main reasons expats choose Australia as a place to live.

4. Singapore

Expats in Singapore can benefit from generous financial packages, great career opportunities and low tax rates. Although education is expensive here, it is rated one of the top places for raising children abroad due to the quality of the education system and the array of schools.

Public transport such as buses and MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) are cheap and very reliable in Singapore.

5. South Korea

South Korea offers expats a unique range of opportunities and a very different way of living. Jobs for expats are easy to find and usually very well paid, with apartments provided by the employer on the most part making living costs even lower. There are also many tight-knit expat communities in South Korea, making it easy to socialize and meet new friends. The excellent education system is also a pro for families wanting to move to this culture-rich country.

South Korea has a cheap public healthcare system and offers great medical care, with most doctors speaking English.

6. New Zealand

New Zealand is constantly on the lookout for skilled workers to expedite to the country – especially those under the age of 30 – and skilled migrants can be granted a stay for up to five years. It offers a good climate and although income levels can be lower than other countries, quality of life is high, with its awe-inspiring scenery, low crime rate and state sponsored healthcare.

New Zealand is great for those looking for a laid back and active outdoors lifestyle.

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7. Canada

Its national healthcare system, friendly locals and very high quality of life are just a few of the reason expats choose Canada as a place to live. It’s very welcoming to expats and skills shortages encourage foreigners to move here in order for the country to grow economically. It’s easy for expats to feel comfortable quickly in Canada due to its multicultural environment.

Canada was largely unaffected by the economic crisis, making it a very popular country for expats.

8. Qatar

Qatar is becoming increasingly popular among expats with an estimated 500 new arrivals every day. The salaries are generous and are tax free too, making disposable income very high. Car and housing allowances are part of many remuneration packages, and education for your children and airfares are often included.

The cost of living is lower in Qatar than in other UAE countries but salaries can still be just as generous.

9. Hong Kong

Where east truly meets the west, this bustling island has a population of over seven million people. If you’re looking for a fast-paced environment and an active nightlife, Hong Kong is definitely the place to be. Benefits for expats include its advanced healthcare system and elevated standards of schooling for children, along with great employment opportunities. The cost of living in Hong Kong can be high, so trying to negotiate a housing allowance with your employer can be beneficial.

Hong Kong is great for those looking for high incomes and career advancement.

10. Japan

As an expat destination, Japan offers a rich culture and a chance to experience a very different day-to-day life. Currently around two million expats live in Japan, and in the larger cities such as Tokyo a large portion of the population speaks English. English speakers are also in demand and there are a large number of opportunities for language teachers, especially in the capital.

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Japan offers a high standard of living for expats and a good education system for those with children.

11. Spain

Spain is a very popular destination for expats due to the high temperatures and year-round sunshine. EU residents don’t require a visa to work here, meaning the move can be a lot easier. Skilled foreign workers also continue to be in demand with jobs such as engineering, customer service, skilled trades and language teachers widely available.

A huge 14% of Spain’s population are expats from a variety of foreign countries.

12. Dubai

Two of the main attractions of moving to Dubai are the tax-free salaries and the warm climate. Some of the most popular jobs for expats are in construction, banking, oil and tourism. You can also enjoy a busy social life in Dubai as the expat community is thriving. Although it can be an expensive country, the tax-free salary means you experience a higher quality of life than in other countries.

You will need a work permit, residence visa and an Emirates ID card to live in Dubai as an expat.

13. Germany

Germany is one of Europe’s most populous countries, with around 82.4 million people. It’s a lively and inexpensive country to live in as an expat, and if you have children the education system is great and healthcare is to a high standard. An estimated 250,000 expats live in Germany currently, with the numbers rising every year.

If you are already an EU citizen, you don’t need a visa to live and work in Germany.

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14. The Netherlands

The Netherlands is a great place for expats who love the outdoors. Cycling is one of the main modes of transport and looking after the environment is widely recognized. There are a lot of English speakers in the Netherlands too, but learning the language can work to your advantage and make day-to-day life that little bit easier. Skilled expats can also benefit from a tax-free allowance equivalent to 30% if they meet the correct criteria.

It is often more important to be able to speak fluent English than to speak Dutch when looking for employment in the Netherlands.

15. China

China offers expats great employment opportunities with little competition. Those who embrace the culture and decide they want to live in China long term can see a host of employment opportunities as its economy is growing rapidly every year. Economists predict it will overtake the US as the world’s largest economy by 2018. China also offer expats low living costs and high disposable incomes, which is why many look to live here for a higher quality of life.

Shanghai and Beijing are the most popular destinations for expats who live in China.

Featured photo credit: Saulo Mohana via unsplash.com

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