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How to Stop Watching the Clock

How to Stop Watching the Clock

    We have all been there.

    You have nothing of consequence to do at work today, and you glance at your computer.  It’s 9:08AM. You’re already bored, and you wonder painfully how you are going to make it through the next eight hours without jabbing a pen in your eyes. Tick tock.

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    Your check your e-mail, then your Facebook account. You return a phone call and look at some paperwork on your desk. You steal another look at the time. 9:21. Tick tock.

    You go to the kitchen and fill up your water bottle. Sipping slowly, you stop by the printer to see if you forgot to pick up anything the day before. You return to your desk and see the open word document on your desktop. It’s your Q2 strategic plan, and you’re dreading finishing it. The clock now says 9:36. Only 7 hours and 24 minutes until you can put on your jacket and high-tail out of there. Tick tock, tick tock.

    Stop the madness

    Watching the clock is a terrible way to spend your life. We all do it to some extent – after all, not every work-related task makes us jump for joy (that’s why it’s called work, not fun). But putting yourself in a situation where you are waiting for every minute to pass is a surefire way to drive yourself crazy and/or give yourself stress-induced hypertension.

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    A former colleague told me that AOL prevented clock-watching by forcing employees to stop wearing watches and to hide the time display on their computers and devices. I don’t think this is the answer. The responsibility to stop clock-watching is yours alone, so here are some tips to banish this infuriating habit from your work day.

    Think big

    Remember why you took this job in the first place? What were you trying to accomplish with your career, and why were you excited to work for this particular organization? Jot down your thoughts and consider how you can fulfill some of these initial objectives within the context of the daily grind.

    Manufacture some enthusiasm

    Roll your eyes if you will, but it works. If you smile and act like you’re enjoying what you’re doing, sometimes your mind will forget about the reality and the day will pass more quickly.

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    Launch a committee

    For a few years, groupwork was all the rage at American business schools, and you can bet those guys weren’t bored in class. Pull together a task force to accomplish a critical business objective and schedule an interactive brainstorming series that will take you away from your desk a few times a week.

    Make productivity a game

    Tell yourself that you can watch the clock or surf the net as much as you want, as long as you write a 500 word brief or make 5 sales calls before you do. By giving yourself a tight deadline to accomplish a task, you insist on a longer period of concentration. You can take this up a notch by scheduling several in-depth tasks for the same day since nothing beats clock-watching like being incredibly busy.

    Avoid the dead zone

    We’ve talked before about how everyone has a time during the day when energy naturally flags. When this period comes around for you, arrange to do something away from your desk to prevent bleary-eyed clock staring. Hit the gym, have a catch-up lunch in the cafeteria, or run an errand.

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    Now let’s be real here. Even while employing these strategies, you will still look at the clock from time to time. However, if you do everything you can to stay engaged, you might forget it’s even there.

    (Photo credit: Looks like reversed infinity time spiral via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on January 27, 2021

    How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively

    How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively

    Knowledge is essential to become successful in life, your career, and your business. Without learning new concepts and becoming proficient in your craft, it’s difficult to excel in your chosen career or archive knowledge to pass down to the next generation. Visual learning is one way to do this, and it can be incredibly effective in helping you work better.

    Content comes in various forms, and because how we learn influences how much we know, we need to talk about learning styles. This article will focus on how to utilize visual learning to boost your career or business.

    The Importance of Knowing Your Learning Style

    Knowing your learning style enables you to process new information to the best of your ability. Not only does it reduce your learning curve, but you’re able to communicate these same concepts to others effectively.

    It all starts when you’re able to first identify the best way you learn.

    As a college student, I soon figured out that taking online courses without visual aids or having an instructor in front of me led to poor retention of concepts. Sure, I got good grades and performed excellently in my online exams. However, I discovered that I couldn’t maintain this performance level because I forgot 80 percent of the course content by the end of the semester.

    There are several types of learning styles, which exist as part of the VARK model. To give an idea of how visual learning stacks up against other learning styles, here’s a brief mention of some of the different types of learning styles we have.

    The four most popular types of learning styles are:

    • Visual learning style (learning by seeing)
    • Aural or auditory learning style (learning by listening to information spoken or presented)
    • Read/Write learning style (learning that involves reading and writing texts)
    • Tactile/Kinesthetic learning style (learning by touching and doing)

    For the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on using visual learning.

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    Are You a Visual Learner?

    When it comes to boosting your career, business (or education), a visual learner is one who would most definitely choose shapes, images, symbols, or reading over auditory messages.

    This may mean you prefer to read an actual map when navigating to a new place over listening to verbal directions. It may also mean that you have trouble remembering what your manager said at the meeting because there were no graphs or illustrations to support the points raised.

    Visual Learner Infographic

      Most people who struggle with learning probably aren’t leveraging their best learning styles[1]. The earlier you identify how your learning style can boost your success, the less struggle you will encounter with processing new information throughout your career.

      However, visual learning in particular can really boost your career or business whether it is your preferred learning style or not, and here’s why:

      Several studies have arrived at the conclusion that the brain retains more information with the help of visual aids. In other words, images are directly processed by our long-term memory, which helps us store information for longer periods of time.[2]

      While some lessons can be performed orally, several concepts can only make sense if you have an image with an explanation of sequences (i.e. learning about human DNA).

      Visual learning does use a different part of the brain, and visual cues are processed by the part of the brain known as the occipital lobe.

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      By engaging more parts of the brain during learning, you’re able to have a fuller understanding of concepts and facilitate better interaction with your immediate environment.

      How to Use Visual Learning for Success

      Here are 4 ways to use visual learning to boost your career or business:

      1. Bring Back the To-Do List

      We live in an age where computers have taken over virtually every aspect of productivity and most human functions. However, written lists are making a comeback, and with an endless number of important tasks to complete, having a to-do list of tasks in order of importance can improve your productivity.

      While coming up with a list is initially challenging, adding colors and shapes to written lists that you personally write and manage gives you an extra layer of assurance and aids recall so that you actually get stuff done.

      I have tried this technique in my work as a registered nurse and discovered that adding shapes and colors to to-do lists helps me delegate tasks, recognize where more work is needed, and makes it easy to cross off completed tasks at the end of the day.

      2. Add Graphs, Charts, and Symbols to Reports

      Yes, it seems like more work for you, but graphs enable you to monitor the heartbeat of your business.

      Graphs and charts help you find trends in your finances, make a budget, and analyze data overtime. With the help of free and premium software available on the market, it has become easier to take plain data and convert it to relevant information displayed in different shapes and images in a matter of minutes.

      As an entrepreneur, you can make predictions and allocate funds wisely when you’re able to see whether your efforts are rewarded. You can use colors and charts to delegate actions to members of your team and track performance at the same time.

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      When broken down into monthly, quarterly, bi-annual, or annual goals, graphs and charts communicate what ordinary text cannot.

      3. Effectively Brainstorm With Mind-Mapping

      With mind-mapping, you’re organizing information accurately and drawing relationships between concepts and pieces from a whole, which is a great way to tap into visual learning.

      Think of a mind map as a tree with several branches. For example, the tree can symbolize healthcare, while each branch stands for nursing, medicine, laboratory science, and so on. When you look at nursing, you can further branch out into types of nursing; pediatric, women’s health, critical care, and so on.

      It’s an interesting relationship; the more ideas you’re able to come up with for your chosen subject, the deeper you get and the stronger the association.

      Mind maps really show you relationships between subjects and topics, and simplifies processes that might seem complicated at first glance. In a way, it is like a graphical representation of facts presented in a simple, visual format.

      Mind mapping isn’t only limited to career professionals; business owners can benefit from mind mapping by organizing their online learning activities and breaking down complex tasks into simple actions so that you can accurately measure productivity.

      4. Add Video Streaming to Meetings

      What if you could double the productivity of your team members by video streaming your meetings or adding flash animation to your presentation?

      When you offer video as an alternative method of processing information to colleagues, there is a greater chance of retaining information because we recreate these stories as images in our minds.

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      For organizations that hold virtual meetings, it can also be an effective way to enhance performance as people can see their colleagues in addition to whatever form of video is provided during the meeting.

      Final Thoughts

      The question is not whether visual learning is better than the other learning styles. Each has their merits and situations where they will be most useful.

      The goal here is to supplement your existing dominant learning style with visual learning so that you can experience a significant boost in how you process and use everyday information.

      You might discover that understanding scientific concepts is much easier after incorporating visual learning or that you’re able to understand your organization’s value when projected on a visual screen with charts and graphs.

      The overall goal is to always be learning and to continue to leverage visual learning style in your career and business.

      More About Learning Styles

      Featured photo credit: You X Ventures via unsplash.com

      Reference

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