Productivity

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7 Must Do Hacks for When Your Motivation Dips

Do you know that feeling when you are hyped and ready to take on a new challenge? You are taken over by a surge of motivation and excitement and you’ve made a commitment you fully intend to stick to. It sounds familiar, right?

Perhaps you declared your intention to dedicate more time to self-care, or you signed up to that online course, or invested in a pack of exercise classes, or you set a goal to read 20 pages a day. Whatever it is you devoted yourself to – you meant it when you said it.

Then you get started; initially you are doing well, perhaps you even set out better than you had planned, and it feels GOOD.

We’ve all been there. After that early high, we begin to feel the motivation declining. It’s disheartening – what happened? Keeping it up doesn’t feel as effortless as it once did and you have to push yourself to stick to your target.

Eventually, full-blown procrastination kicks in and your vision is falling by the wayside.

This drop in motivation is worrisome, mainly because you turn inwards. So you begin to question yourself, your capability, and your ability to stick to anything. As well as this, you feel bad that you have spent money or made promises that are feeling like a chore right now.

The problem arises when people use this turn of events to question their own self-worth and self-esteem because they are not as motivated as they once were. I meet too many people who blame themselves for lack of motivation.

What if you were able to take a step back and realize that it is not just you this happens to. Nope, trust me, you are not alone. This is a regular cycle that hits the best of us.

This does not reflect you individually, it’s just your feelings and drive are not at the same peak they were when you started out. Naturally, what goes up must go down – including that high of motivation and excitement.

Much of what is going on can be explained by science. Your initial motivation is caused by the release of dopamine as you imagine your goals and the positive outcome of what you want – these spikes make you feel good and you are driven to take action and keep this feeling alive.

Over time, those spikes reduce, and we don’t feel the same thrill we once did. There are many reasons why this happens. It could be that reality kicks in as you realize there is more to this than you initially understood, or you have become accustomed to the change, or results may take longer than you anticipated, or maybe you may have taken your eye off the prize.

Take a step back and question why you may not be feeling the same excitement. It’s good to do so as it will help you get perspective on what is really going on, rather than simply criticizing yourself.

Once you have reflected (providing you have not decided this commitment is totally sucking the life out of you and turns out to be a terrible idea for you) and got some understanding, you are in a better position to realize you do not have to give up just because you don’t feel the same level of excitement anymore. Nope, you can choose to continue with your plan.

Below I have outlined 7 top tips to help you rise back up when your motivation has dipped. I honestly use these very ideas myself and hope you find them just as useful.

Reconnect with your WHY

First up, one of the greatest things you can do is trigger intrinsic motivation (motivation that comes from within).

Take some intentional time out to check in with your why. Why did you feel excited about this in the first place? Why did you want this? Why is this important to you?

If you want to get your motivation back, then seriously reconnect. Journal, meditate, walk, or do what works for you. Get still and feel into why this is valuable to you and what it means for your life to stay committed to this change.

Quit waiting for the motivation

The best advice I ever read (sadly I’m unsure where) went something like this “stop waiting for motivation to fall from the sky because it’s not going to happen”. Action precedes motivation. You act first and then motivation follows. Just like that time you couldn’t be bothered to meet your friends but once you got there, you had a great time. You were pleased you made the effort.

Action first.

Schedule it in

motivation tips

Schedule in what you need to do and when. Knowing you have a plan and time put aside can help you to feel better about yourself and the situation.

You are more likely to stick to a plan if you have put it in your diary.

See Also: Top 8 Apps for Productivity to Help You With Your Daily Tasks

Follow the plan and not your mood

This is a phrase we use in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy interventions for depression. Follow the plan you have made, not your mood. If you follow your mood you may well take no action. Don’t believe your feelings, they are not always talking truth. If you are prone to not doing what you say you will, then this is a good technique to master.

Don’t beat yourself up

Honestly, don’t be so hard on yourself. This reduction of motivation does not reflect your worth or value as a human being. You are simply experiencing a drop in motivation and need to make some moves to power through. Don’t make this personal. The more you beat yourself up, the worse you feel; the worse you feel, the less excitement you feel about doing most things. It’s a vicious cycle.

Check your thought traps

Check in with yourself. Be sure you are not falling into traps of comparing yourself and telling yourself you are not good enough for this. That is not your voice, it’s your fear speaking.

Change is scary for people – we like things to be familiar (even if that means being miserable).

Don’t underestimate yourself here, you can do this. Ask yourself, are you self-sabotaging? If you conclude you are, choose again. Choose your dreams, choose your WHY.

See Also: 7 Unhealthy Behaviors That Affect Your Mental Health

Share your goals

how to get motivated

It’s true that accountability can help us to get a boost back. Tell someone your plans or better yet, get them involved. Set up a study hour, share your calendar or have weekly check-ins. It can also add to the fun to have someone else involved.

As a bonus, they may appreciate the opportunity for themselves.

A lack of motivation right now does not mean this is not important to you. You are a step ahead because you are here, which means you have the self-awareness to know your motivation has dropped and you are open to the idea that it can be restored.

Knowing this is only part of the battle, the next part is taking action – this part is up to you. Where are you going to start?

The post 7 Must Do Hacks for When Your Motivation Dips appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Creating Your Personalized Productivity Tool Kit: Top 10 Tools to Consider

Wouldn’t it be great if you complete a task that usually takes 20 minutes, within a fraction of seconds? It would surely save your time, which further can be utilized for other important tasks. Needless to mention, when you complete more tasks on a daily basis, your business is likely to enjoy exponential growth. You can improve your chances of success by exploiting personal productivity tools.

Arrays of software are available in the market that allow professionals to automate most of the tasks and keep track of everything. These tools offer outstanding features that aid in creating tasks, setting timelines & reminders, performance tracking, time tracking, creating reports, team collaboration, file sharing, etc. Simply put, these features will take your team’s productivity to another level.

With so many tools around, you may wonder what is the most popular personal productivity software to boost time management skills? We have sorted out the following personal productivity tools that will help skyrocket your productivity.

ProProfs Project

best productivity tools proprofs project

It is a robust online project management software that boosts productivity by simplifying most project-related tasks.

Features

  • An intuitive dashboard helps in managing and organizing project-related tasks, tracking progress, collaborating with the team, delegating tasks, and creating reports.
  • Task dependencies to save time and meet deadlines.
  • File sharing and internal commenting to discuss particular tasks or projects.
  • Gantt charts to check out the progress of each project.

Pricing

It is free for a lifetime in the basic version. Its premium version starts at $19 per month.

TickTick

It is an intuitive and effective personal productivity software or app that can aid in scheduling and managing your tasks.

Features

  • With this personal tool kit, you can classify your work according to deadlines, make notes and checklists, prioritize your targets and sort your goals in accordance with priority, date, and title.
  • It works as a productivity planner and enables you to achieve your goals.
  • No matter whether your goals concern shortening project completion time or sharing a to-do list with team members, TickTick is a one-stop solution to all your problems.
  • As this personal productivity software is intuitive and user-friendly, you can add reminders and tasks swiftly and effortlessly.

Pricing

Starts at $2.99 per user per month.

Google Drive

best productivity tools google drive

You prefer to work smarter, don’t you? Google Drive is one such productivity management software that helps you work smartly and be more productive in accomplishing tasks in your daily life.

Features

  • It is cloud-based software to add files (docs, sheets, and presentations) and works on them in real-time.
  • All Google account holders get 15 Gb storage space for free.
  • You can save your attachments, keep your files and documents in a particular folder, and even make presentations on this drive.
  • You can share your saved files with your colleagues and friends so that they can view, download, and edit them.

Pricing

It is free until 15 GB. Subscription for Google Drive starts at $1.99 per month.

Evernote

Gone are the days when you take your notebook out and take notes about work schedules, deadlines, etc. Thanks to technological advancements, we can now use an application for taking notes. Evernote is an easy-to-use software that enables its users to make notes and create to-do lists online.

Features

  • Save all your files and notes in real-time by using this cloud-based software.
  • You can use a smartphone, computer or tablet to access this user-friendly application, which can be synced across all devices.
  • It serves as a productivity management software, which offers help regarding note-making, archiving, organizing, and task management.

Pricing

It is free for a lifetime. Its premium version starts at $7.99 per month.

Last Pass

You might have to keep all the passwords in your head and use them as and when required. But have you ever thought what would happen if you lose these passwords or forget them? It will hamper your workflow. This is where Last Pass steps in to release the pressure.

Features

  • Last Pass is a personal productivity software that helps to keep and protect all passwords.
  • Creating an account on LastPass is as easy as creating an email ID. All you need to do is to set login credentials to access your LastPass Account.
  • You can even generate passwords for your business accounts by using this software.
  • You just need to remember the master password of the LastPass account, and this application will do the rest for you.
  • It supports auto-filling the app logins and web browsers.

Pricing

Free, Premium pack for $2 per month, and a family pack for $4 per month

Beeminder

best productivity tools beeminder

Have you ever come across any tools that help you in visualizing your goals? Beeminder is one such tool that aids in the visualization of goals and sets measurable targets for accomplishing them.

Features

  • Whether it is about hitting the gym, learning a new skill, spending time on a project with a strict deadline, or anything else, this app can help you focus on your targets.
  • It keeps track of time and sends notifications to keep you updated about new changes in the project’s success.
  • The software helps in keeping all distractions at bay.

Pricing

Starting from $15 per month.

Toggl

Online time tracking software, Toggl is extremely helpful for consultants, graphic designers, and freelancers. So, how does this software help?

Features

  • It keeps track of time spent on each task and also reviews concerning prudent use of time.
  • You can access this software through your computer, tablet, or smartphone and keep a tab on the number of hours spent on a particular project.
  • You can convert Toggl time tracking data into insightful reports, which further can be exported in PDF, Excel or CSV format.
  • A powerful dashboard helps in monitoring the progress of the project.

Pricing

Starting at $9 per month.

Todoist

Todoist is a robust productivity tool that helps in organizing all your tasks. It helps in creating tasks, delegating them, setting deadline and tracking tasks.

Features

  • It reminds you about preset deadlines from time to time.
  • Subtasks can be created for better organization and prioritization.
  • You get timely notifications when team members add comments, begin a task, or complete it.
  • It shows daily and monthly reports.

Pricing

It offers a three-tier pricing, which are as follows: free, premium, and business. Pack available from $29 per year.

Spark

Spark App is an email management app by Readdle that keeps your productivity up by syncing and organizing your emails.

Features

  • It is loaded with built-in capabilities that allow this tool to analyze your emails and help you classify them according to the priority.
  • This tool groups the emails in categories such as personal, newsletter, and notifications.
  • The app is available for iOS, Android, and Windows users.

Pricing

Starting from $9.99 per month.

Any.Do

best productivity tools any do

Any.Do is a popular productivity tool among users, as it comes with multiple functionalities from task management to to-do lists. This tool allows you to remain organized, thereby, maximizing productivity.

Features

  • It is a very robust tool that combines tasks, calendars, lists, and reminders.
  • It keeps you stay on track, which enables you to plan and manage your tasks effectively.
  • The app is accessible from multiple devices

Pricing

Starting from $4.99 per month.

Create your personalized productivity tool-kit by picking any software from this list!

No matter what your profession is, automating your life with these useful tools is necessary to enhance your experience and maintain a balance between your professional and personal life.

The post Creating Your Personalized Productivity Tool Kit: Top 10 Tools to Consider appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Using Machine Learning and AI for Productivity In The Workplace

For the majority of us, AI is something only seen in sci-fi films. However, in the last few years, it’s ended up being much more accessible to us, specifically in business.

With technological innovation advancing at breakneck speed, there are now a variety of ways that AI can be utilized to enhance your productivity. Improving procedures such as recruitment, administration, and information analysis, smart software can be an indispensable asset as far as running a business goes.

Will AI substitute human workers?

In short, no — it does have limitations.

While it might be a concern, what we’re in fact seeing today is the opportunity to improve efficiency. It’s a chance to better manage a workforce. Essentially, it allows you to get a better grip of the daily operations of your business.

If anything, it’s making business a lot more human by offering breathing space and reducing stress. It enhances the mental health and well-being of your workforce as a result.

Just 23% of organizations are believed to have incorporated AI into their processes according to Forbes. But, come the next 5 years, the AI market is anticipated to grow by 50%. Despite organization size, it can be used. There are a number of ways that you can use AI for productivity.

How can Artificial Intelligence benefit you?

Using AI for recruitment

ai productivity

One crucial area of your business where AI can be implemented is the recruitment procedure. When your company is ready to employ, you need to be able to produce the best pool of candidates as rapidly as possible.

Utilizing recruitment firms for pre-screening isn’t unusual. However, it can be expensive. Also, it’s unlikely to use the exact same thorough, personalized analysis that an AI program would.

Recruitment agents are profit-driven, too. They are likely to tip the scale in their favor when the time comes to present a candidate to you. This isn’t something AI does.

Tools such as Pymetrics use a series of “ethical AI games” to evaluate a candidate’s cognitive and emotional characteristics. It can also match the outcome against existing workers who perform well. This gives you a customized image of where a candidate may fit within your business.

By putting these steps in motion, it’s said that it can take 75% less time to employ somebody and boost retention rates by as much as 50%.

Give AI the long, uninteresting tasks

There are specific jobs that nobody likes doing, but need doing regardless. This is where AI can be of real benefit in terms of productivity.

While some may worry this is where they’ll lose their job to a machine, it’s anticipated that there will actually be net positive job growth into the 2030s. This is when the labor force transitions into higher skilled roles.

Reasons to use AI for certain functions

Speed of execution – AI systems can make countless decisions all at once, unlike a human.

Less biased – It’s hard not to cast some sort of judgement or prejudice as a human. This isn’t a trait AI is capable of, therefore any decision it makes is totally fact-based.

No saturation point – AI will never ever stress out or need breaks, meaning the overall time taken to perform a task is substantially decreased.

Accuracy – No human indicates there’s no human error.

Boredom – Often, errors occur through boredom, it can be hard to stay focused on a long, complicated task. This isn’t the case for a smart machine.

What tasks might you turn over to AI?

We’re not in any way suggesting you make team members surplus to requirements in favour of AI. Hoowever, there are roles that can definitely take advantage of harmonizing their efforts.

Here are four job roles where AI can help lighten the load:

Data Analyzing

With a need to collect and evaluate huge quantities of data to find patterns and opportunities, many companies will turn to a Data Analyst to help them stay ahead of the game. With the development of social networks and eCommerce as a whole, there’s been a 344% increase in demand for information researchers since the early 2010s. However, with a typical wage of $130,000, that’s not always going to be within every business’ budget.

AI tools such as Deloitte’s LaborWise can provide managers with analytics to recognize high-cost locations, roadblocks and even supply information about which departments are overworked or understaffed.

Demand Forecasting

Using artificial intelligence tools, you can evaluate mathematical models relevant to your organization. They can help forecast changes in demand, avoid supply interruptions, and properly prepare for when a new item launches. According to consultancy company McKinsey, this can minimize supply chain errors through miscalculations by approximately 50%.

See Also: Can AI Streamline Your Supply Chain And Save Your Business?

Administration

chatbots

Once again, we’re not suggesting AI can replace all human elements of the role. However, it can definitely make things easier.

Here are a few tools that can be specifically useful for simplifying your administration processes:

X.ai – Connecting all of your calendars, the AI algorithms will instantly coordinate the best times to arrange meetings, whether internally or when meeting with clients.

Otter.ai – Almost like an AI PA system that takes minutes, Otter can develop rich notes from meetings, interviews and other crucial voice conversations– ensuring absolutely nothing is missed out on and all points are covered.

Spoke – Essentially an HR service desk, it can respond to questions about basically anything HR-related, including requests for annual leave and internal processes. If it can’t help, it will direct the query to a suitable person within the group.

Skype Translator – If you need a conversation translating, it can do so in near real-time. This makes interactions with any foreign market completely possible.

MobileMonkey – You can train a chatbot like MobileMonkey to respond to frequently asked questions on your website. If it can’t address the needs of the end user, the chat will be directed to a human. Using chatbots can considerably minimize the number of customer queries that come through by phone or email, and 80% of sales and marketing leaders state they already utilize chatbot software or plan to by the end of 2020.

Marketing

If there’s one area that’s really beginning to embrace artificial intelligence, it’s marketing, particularly digital. With Google’s application of machine learning algorithms such as Natural Language Processing (NLP) for SEO and Smart Bidding for paid marketing, how the industry works is now very much tailored to favour AI and automation.

Advances in AI and software intelligence is enabling businesses to personalize their products and services better. This results in a more customized approach to how they market themselves to consumers. A recent research piece by Accenture suggests that customers are reacting well to this, with 83% of consumers in the US and UK willing to trust retailers with their data in order to receive more tailored, appropriate outcomes.

This willingness from consumers is encouraging and 64% of B2B online marketers consider AI to be an important part of their sales and marketing strategy.

See Also: How Artificial Intelligence Will Dominate the Future of E-commerce

Learning with AI

Beyond the recruitment process, you can utilize AI to train staff. This can be especially beneficial when working with a number of new starters. If your organization has a particular way of managing certain jobs, AI can make sure that training is consistent and thorough. There are a few AI tools that can be used for on-site training. Here are two examples that are worth checking out:

Training tools such as Chorus can analyse sales calls as they happen, offering real-time tips to sales representatives as required. This suggests there ought to be little need to shadow a new starter and the sales representative is able to learn at their own pace and experience the training “on the job”.

A similar tool called Cogito can produce real-time suggestions while someone is making a sales call but focuses more on mindfulness and their approach. For instance, when learning something new like telesales, it’s rather easy to quicken your conversation due to nerves — this tool can remind you to take a breather and slow down.

The Future of AI

As it stands, the implementation of AI into our everyday working life seems inescapable, whether we like it or not. As a growing number of organizations welcome more innovation and automation, to try and prevent it could mean you’re left out of the game.

Those that have actually integrated AI into their workflow strategy are seeing the rewards when it comes to speed, efficiency, and precision. This is despite worries that it could indicate an end to human jobs. 

At the heart of the matter, those jobs that were traditionally lengthy, resource-intensive or laborious, are now being transformed into higher-skilled, more proficient roles.

The post Using Machine Learning and AI for Productivity In The Workplace appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

10 Work Productivity Tips and Tricks You Should Adopt at Work Today

There are only two ways to increase the output of your work. It’s either you put in an extra number of hours or find smart work productivity tips to working hard.

Productivity and Motivation

You are more productive when you feel motivated.

Researchers Katherine L. Milkman, Julia A. Minson, and Kevin G. M. Volpp conducted a study. It involved 226 students categorized into three groups. These were the students who were having trouble going to the gym as often as they would have liked to.

Groups were:

  1. Group One got an iPod with popular audiobooks downloaded. They received it as a 10-week loan and were allowed to only listen to it while in the gym.
  2. Group Two got the audiobooks for free. Also, they could download these to their personal iPods. They were allowed to listen to the audiobooks in the gym or anywhere else, as well.
  3. Group Three was called the control group. This group got a gift certificate and were encouraged to go to the gym more often.

The study concluded that group one were the most motivated. Restricting access to their tempting desire gave them a 22% boost as compared to other groups. 62 students even agreed to keep the iPods.

The results show that reward-based tasks keep you focused on the end results. Just don’t let yourself have the reward until the task is completed. If you are doing something you love and you are good at it, your productivity will boost exponentially.

Another research from Gallup studied Americans’ happiness and energy levels based on people working on something they are good at. The research showed that people feel more enthusiastic when they know what they are doing. It lifts the confidence in their work.

The study showed that people reported fewer cases of worry, stress, sadness or anger in performing tasks that they do on a daily basis; working on the tasks they are experts in.

This leads to a positive mood and better work output. So if you are wondering about how to be productive at work, then find or create your ‘signature strengths’!

Below are 10 work productivity tips to help you achieve the best of your time.

Set deadlines to decide how long you’ll work on each task

Research suggests that only about 17% of people can exactly estimate the time required for their tasks. Setting up deadlines forces you to push yourself and consider what it will take to achieve your goal.

In order to achieve a deadline, you might even pull all-nighters to complete your tasks on time. But you might have trouble in assigning the amount of time required by each task. Psychologists refer to this as the ‘planning fallacy’. We are often too ambitious and don’t usually think about the challenges along the way.

Make a checklist for objectives every day

Since you have your deadlines set, it helps you prioritize your workflow. Make a list of important objectives that absolutely need to be accomplished during your day. These objectives will help you move your projects and goals forward. Prioritize and get started by making a checklist.

List the top 3 objectives for every day. This will maintain your focus on the most important things to do. Research by Kenneth McGraw explained that the biggest hurdle to success is often just getting started. When working on large projects, we often procrastinate because we visualize the worst parts of it.

So, just sub-divide your tasks, get them done in a streamline and cut them off the checklist!

Practice meditation for work

work productivity tips meditation

Meditation is one thing that the most successful people around the world have in common. It is not just for monks and hippies anymore. It has been scientifically proven that meditation increases your concentration power, removes distractions, and ultimately increases your productivity.

Instead of paying for classes, meditation apps offer you the same level of therapy at the comfort of your smartphone. They might be effective in helping you become mindful and more productive at work.

Take breaks regularly

Regular breaks can essentially help you improve concentration. Professionals might find it hard to fit exercise into their chaotic schedules, but taking out time for exercise actually increases mental capabilities.

Once your brain is working on its full capacity, you make smarter decisions and achieve goals faster than ever.

Do not waste your breaks. Schedule short breaks to maintain the same level of performance. Instead of wasting time on unnecessary things during your break, check your emails. You will get some work done and it won’t be heavy on your mind.

Use the “two-minute rule”

Procrastination kills productivity. You would always see the worst things that could happen during the task and not do it. Instead of ranting about it, you should sub-divide your tasks and get going.

Instead of looking for motivation, just start working. Eventually, you will work your way out.

Steve Olenski, an entrepreneur, mentions adapting the “two-minute rule”. If you have a task that you can finish within two minutes, do it right away. It helps you make the most out of small breaks you have during your time at work.

Getting the task done right away will actually take less time since you won’t have to get back to it later. He proved that applying this rule has helped him be successful in his field.

Work in intervals of 90 minutes

Avoid the lure of hyper-productivity and quit multi-tasking.

You may think multi-tasking gets most of your work done in one go, but the reality is just its opposite. Research proves that instead of increasing efficiency, it’s just a waste of time and productivity.

In fact, you will feel busier, but get less work done if you multitask.

Turn off notifications

You would be doing your work peacefully with concentration and your phone buzzes all of a sudden. So you spend the next hour on the phone scrolling through Facebook.

Relatable?

Been there, done that.

It is believed that procrastination develops through society. With social media being our constant source of approval, one cannot resist checking their phone every five minutes.

During work hours, you should turn off your notifications. Instead, spend this time checking email and important messages only. Hence, you’re still doing something productive.
Just put it on silence and give yourself a deadline. You would not check it until you complete this specific task you’re doing. There you go!

See Also: One Simple Trick to Get Rid of the #1 Workplace Productivity Killer

Use apps that increase productivity

Using productivity apps can be a smarter alternative to working hard to get the task done. Not only does it save time but it also reduces the effort to plan out an efficient schedule for the day. Luckily when technology is stapled to our hands, there are various apps available to help improve our productivity.

Apps like Dropbox can store files on the cloud, which can be shared via a link. Trello, Zoom, etc. can be used for online team collaboration. Toggl can be used for time-tracking while Any.do and Todoist are for making a to-do list for the day. A tonne of similar task-specific apps are available, which promise to boost your efficiency.

See Also: Top 8 Apps for Productivity to Help You With Your Daily Tasks

Minimize interruptions

work productivity tip

Other than distractions from your social media apps, there are many other ways to get interrupted at the workplace. Chit-chat and socializing in the workplace is good, but it’s counter-productive when it turns into unwated, irrelevant gossip.

Even brief interruptions can make you lose motivation and produce a change in work patterns. This ultimately leads to an exponential loss in productivity.

To minimize interruptions, you must set office hours, keep your door closed, or work from home when there’s a crucial task to handle. To fulfil time-sensitive tasks, resist the temptation of putting in longer hours or add into your already-full calendar. Instead, figure out the ways you can work smarter, not harder.

Refuse to attend unnecessary meetings

Do you ever come out of a meeting that felt too unnecessary and wondered you could get so many things done in that time? Meetings can consume a lot of time, and this time can be used to do something useful.

Holding a meeting is not as easy as it sounds. From setting the agenda, inviting participants, ensuring participation, meetings do become quite frustrating at times.

The solution? Just don’t arrange meetings, unless absolutely necessary. Sort out discussions that include information sharing, and get them done via team chat app, phone call, video conferencing, or an email.

Conclusion

Applying even one of the mentioned tips will help you become more productive and satisfied with your work. Every minute you save is a minute gained. Dr. Gail Matthews of the Dominican University of California found out that people who note down their goals are 39.5 percent more likely to achieve them.

Whether you make a checklist using an app like Todoist, or schedule meetings on an app like Zoom, you must always be consistent in managing your time. These tools can help, but are not the determining factor of your success. Productivity is determined by your mindset and the environment that lets you thrive.

Time management is all you can control in your life, so you must turn it around for good. Consistently following these work productivity tips will save your time, which you can invest in doing other important things. You should go out, eat healthy, drink water and have a positive attitude to succeed.

The post 10 Work Productivity Tips and Tricks You Should Adopt at Work Today appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Essential Tips On How to Manage Work Emails Without Losing Productivity

Did you know that an average professional receives close to 121 emails a day? Now if this is the number of emails an average professional receives, what about your work email? Hundreds of emails, right?

So how do you manage your work email with the huge number of emails coming to your inbox every day?

Chances are that you spend almost an hour or even half a day managing your work email. But look, it doesn’t have to be that way.

In this article, we are going to share with you some essential tips on how to manage work emails.

Designate Time to Process Your Mail Each Day

Here is the thing:

Your work email is perhaps the busiest mail you deal with every day. This means you have to check your mail multiple times daily.

However, while you will need to throw your eyes to see the latest email in your inbox, you should designate time to process emails received every day. If you decide to process your emails as soon as they come into your inbox, you will spend more time in your mail than at work.

The best thing to do is to decide whether to process your mail as soon you get into your office or before you leave the office.

And as you set aside time to process your emails, make sure you deal with the most important emails first. The idea is to avoid spending too much time managing your work email and less time doing what you are supposed to accomplish for the day.

See Also: Why You Shouldn’t Check Email in the Morning And What To Do Instead

Delete Unimportant Emails

Truth be told, not all emails you receive are worth reading or opening. Once you open your email, check the subject line or the sender.

If it’s a promotional email, a friend inviting you to a party that you don’t have the time to attend to or just junk mail, just hit the DELETE button.

You can simplify things by selecting all the unimportant or irrelevant emails and deleting them at once. Once you empty unimportant emails from your inbox, you will be able to see the important ones much faster.

Also, if there are emails that have been in your inbox for a long time, chances are that even the sender has forgotten that they sent you an email, just delete.

And if you notice an unfamiliar email, report it as spam. You can also archive emails which you think you will need later.

Understand that Not All Emails You Receive are Worth Your Replies

Look, some emails you receive aren’t worth your time to reply to. In fact, not replying to an email is a reply. They say “silence is an answer” and it applies here as well.

Just imagine how many emails you receive in your work email and the time it would take you to reply to each one. That would mean every day goes wasted because even though some of the emails you receive are about work, you still have other things to do.

Besides, if you decide to reply to every email, you will end up drained out by the end of the day.

Just don’t stress yourself and stop spending too much time replying to every email you receive. Choose those that need your reply and ignore the rest. After all, if someone really needs your reply, they will follow up. If not, why bother yourself too much?

Group Your Emails into Labels, Folders, and Categories

how to manage work email

If you are using Gmail, you can group your emails into folders and labels. The same way applies if you are using Outlook.

At the left sidebar menu in your inbox, there is an option to “create a new label”. Every label you create forms a folder where you can group your emails. Name the folder according to the content of the email so that the next time you want to retrieve the email, you don’t scratch your head trying to figure out where you sent it to.

Gmail even allows you to give your labels different colors.

Create a Reply by “Specific Date” Folder

If you have emails that you must reply to, then you can group them into a reply by “specific date” folder. The specific date is the date when you will have the time to reply to the emails or the time when the sender needs your replies.

You could designate around two days or three to reply to emails. This will relieve you from the stress of replying to every email you receive as soon as it gets into your inbox.

Read Worthy Emails

As mentioned earlier, not all emails in your inbox are worth reading. Some are for promotional purposes and some are just junk. If you decide to open every email and read it, then you will waste a lot of time you could have used to do other productive things.

Just read what’s relevant at the moment and archive what you think is relevant but not at the moment.

Apply the 1-Minute Rule

Some emails don’t take more than 1 minute to reply to. Just reply to these emails immediately to avoid letting them sit in your inbox for so long. The more they pile up, the more you will spend time replying to them.

Just make sure you don’t take more than one minute replying to such emails. This way, you will clear the huge batch of emails faster.

Limit the Time You Spend in Your Mail Inbox

manage work emails

Aside from following the 1-minute rule when replying to emails, you also need to limit the time you spend in your mail inbox.

First of all, gauge yourself to know the time you spend reading an email and replying to it. Once you know this, try to find how you can reduce the time spent as much as you can.
Well, some emails you receive are way too long, but you can just scan through and then process them within a short time.

If you are required to reply to such emails, follow the 1-minute rule and archive it if you are planning to reply later.

Ideally, you want to minimize the time you spent in your mail inbox as much as you can.

Designate Time to Declutter Your Inbox

You must have set time for general cleaning at your house where you stop everything you are doing and get to cleaning work. The same applies to your work email.

The good thing about your work email is that you don’t have to spend the whole day doing it. Cleaning your inbox can take a few minutes but you must set aside time for it. Otherwise, you may not get the time to do it.

Turn off Email Notifications

Understandably, you don’t want to miss that important reply from a client or business associate. However, a study has shown that once you have been disrupted by an email notification, you can take about 23 minutes to get your mind back to the task you were working on. Just imagine how much time you can waste if you get hundreds of notifications every day.

Invest In Email Management Tools

Inbox clutter can be demotivating and can ruin your productivity. Besides, as you work on limiting the time you spend in your inbox, you also need to avoid affecting your communication with clients, business associates, co-workers, etc.

The good thing is that there are effective email management tools out there. You can use them to take out the hectic work out of your hands.

Here are a few of the best email management tools we can recommend:

Boomerang

Similar to the Mailbox’s snooze feature, Boomerang is a powerful tool that will help you write good emails, schedule meetings with a single email, schedule emails to be sent later, get notified when emails you sent have been read or not so that you can send follow-ups.
The good thing is that you can download Boomerang on your Android device and manage your inbox from your mobile device even when you are out of office.

Sortd

Sortd is also another powerful tool designed for Gmail users. With this tool, you can organize your inbox in a way that you don’t lose important emails.

The good thing about Sortd is that it allows you to sort emails by lists. For instance, you can sort emails by reply later, to-dos, follow-ups, etc. You can try the tool with the free plan before you upgrade to the premium plan.

Batched Inbox

In case you don’t want to receive new emails within a specified time, Batched Inbox is the best email management tool for that purpose. This tool works for Gmail users and the good thing about it is that it suspends all your incoming emails until the time when you need them in your inbox.

This means that you can specify your new emails to come in only in the evening when you are done with work. This way, you can get the time to process the emails you already have rather than being interrupted by new emails.

The Email Game

The Email Game is a sister tool to Boomerang since the two are from the same developers.
Once you receive an email, you have multiple options. You may want to reply immediately, reply later, or just skip. This tool does it the way you want.

Choose What Works For You

Honestly, there is no one best way to manage your work email. A trick might work for someone and not work for you.

Managing emails is a habit that you develop over time. Just choose what works for you and give the habit time to develop.

The post Essential Tips On How to Manage Work Emails Without Losing Productivity appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Increase Productivity by Switching Off and Getting Cozy

The working world is in a constant state of flux. We have come a really long way in the last 150 years or so in terms of employment law and workers’ rights. In the grand scale of human history, we’ve barely stopped sending our children to work in factories. The 40-hour week was only adopted in the USA in 1940. Despite all this progress, why are so many people feeling burned out?

As quickly as we industrialized, we’ve digitized. We no longer work menial jobs en masse. Over 80% of Americans work at a desk, sitting down in air-conditioned buildings. Despite that, there’s still an underlying feeling of exhaustion, sadness, and a lack of work-life balance.

Technology is a double-edged sword

Computers and the internet were instrumental in securing a 40-hour week as they reduced the time it took us to do our work. 60 hours of work can now be easily done in 40 with computers. At the same time, the omnipresent tentacles of technology means that it’s harder than ever to switch off.

Being successful in your career and working hard is a virtue. But you can increase your output and your health by learning how to switch off from work properly and creating a safe retreat for yourself.

The concept of switching off is quite ingrained in some cultures, while others still promote the idea of constant work. Some people are suited to that always-on, always-working lifestyle, but for most of us, this is a fast track to burnout.

Setting Up Your Home for Success

switch off from work

To be more successful in our lives, it’s easy for us to look at productivity gurus and sleep-hacking entrepreneurs for answers. But for a great deal of the workforce, what works for these people won’t work for us. Perhaps the most important place to start is at home, because a cozy home has associated health benefits.

Unless you’re in a senior management position and above, you’re unlikely to have much say over how your office is set up. You can make suggestions, but there’s no guarantee these will be obliged. For example, lots of office workers want more ’breakout’ spaces, informal work areas, and access to green space whether that’s just a view of a park from the window or an actual place where they can take a time out and regroup.

You can make changes at home to foster a sense of belonging, calm, and restoration. You need a space to return to that is entirely separate from work.

If there are any similarities between the two places, it becomes harder to disassociate the two. We’re not talking exclusively about the interior design as it’s unlikely your home’s interior looks anything like your office. Rather, it’s how you spend your time at home and steps you can take to create a greater sense of peace.

So, How to Switch Off From Work?

The first thing you can do is to stop checking work emails outside of work. Technology has created this ‘always-on’ work culture. There are some roles where you do have to be accessible at all times, but for most roles, you shouldn’t be expected to be always on.

A good way of doing this is not linking your phone to work emails. You can only look at them when you’re at your desk. Leave the work emails at work because your personal time is your personal time. You’re not receiving extra salary to check those emails and reply to them outside of work.

This isn’t possible for everyone though. We can easily feel pressured to be available outside of work. So what else can we do?

Other countries have downtime ingrained into their cultural fabric. Let’s discuss a few examples.

Everyone knows the Danish art of ‘hygge’ now. A word to describe a unique cozy and special moment. This can be something as simple as having an open fire going, putting on your favorite pair of thick socks or playing a board game with loved ones.

The Spanish have something called ‘sobremesa’. This refers to being at the dinner table, having finished your meals, just sitting and chatting with your family and friends. Spaniards have perfected this art. This social behavior is key to their national identity with Spanish diners often talking into the early hours of the morning. The key thing here is family time.

‘Tech Sabbaths’ are being advocated by the Jewish faith and more, where all screens and tech are put away for 24 hours a week. The Japanese have an expression that translates to “too little tea,” referring to someone too busy to stop and drink a cup of tea now and then. In Croatia, they have a word — “fjaka” — which refers to the joy of doing absolutely nothing.

Some things you can do to embrace these qualities is setting some time aside to have a hot drink in the evening, without your phone or a screen. Just take 10 to 20 minutes to sit and enjoy your drink.

Candles and open fires, these foster a sense of relaxation. If you work at a computer all day, read a book in the evening. Staring at screens isn’t good for our health.

See Also: How Your Home Affects Your Mood (And What To Do About It)

How To Make Your House a Home

to switch off from work

What you do in your downtime is one thing, but the settings you do it in is another. Here’s how you can make your house feel like more of a retreat:

  • Personalize – Make your house feel like a space that’s catered to you. Lots of modern design trends have created these minimal spaces that don’t have an identity, like your home has been copied and pasted from Pinterest. Put your stamp on your space with treasured pictures, memories, and things that reflect your values and your personality. It gives more a sense of ownership and strengthens your sense of personal identity. Being in touch with yourself can improve your mental health.
  • Declutter – Organizing our homes is one of the most tangible steps you can take to decluttering your mind. It’s so easy to put off but every time we do it, we feel so much better. The Marie Kondo effect has seen people embrace a decluttered life. Let go of things you don’t need. Let go of things that serve your home no purpose. This brand of minimalism isn’t about living by your bootstraps, but only bringing things into your home that add value to your life.
  • Snuggle – Make your home a retreat. Comfort is key to this. Get candles and warm lighting to create ambiance. Pillows, blankets, slippers and warm, comfy clothes to wear create this stark difference to the office that we mentioned earlier. You want work to feel like the furthest place in the world when you get home. This helps you to switch off and reclaim some work-life balance.

See Also: 5 Features to Achieve a Peaceful Home

These are just some things you can do to reclaim your time and add value to it. This isn’t about shying away from duties and work. This isn’t about rejecting the working world, either. This is how to switch off from work so you can make yourself a better and more valuable worker.

A happy employee is a productive employee. Taking yourself as far away from the working world as possible, outside of office hours, is a way of making yourself more productive, more personable, and more satisfied during office hours.

The post How to Increase Productivity by Switching Off and Getting Cozy appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Staying Productive: 8 Tips I Follow To Break My Productivity Slump

For the last few days, I have been feeling way too sleepy. That could be because the weather is fantastic where I live or I am overeating (I just ordered Mexican food from Chili’s) or both. The point is I am a solopreneur, a freelancer. I am in the phase of scaling up my business and feeling sleepy at two o’ clock in the afternoon is not something I can afford.

I have too much on my plate at the moment. For starters – I want to get my website up and running. Don’t worry – it will be live by the time you read this article. My husband and I have family visiting us, so there’s that. We are traveling a bit too much in the coming months, so we have to plan for that.

And these are just non-work related tasks. There are assignments to be scheduled for the clients I signed up recently, and articles to be delivered before the month gets over.

Too much to do. Too little time.

These days, by the time I look up after finishing one assignment, it’s already nighttime and I can’t help but wonder if there is a way to break this productivity slump and complete all the tasks on my to-do list faster.

To answer my own question, I usually follow these eight nifty tips to staying productive. Check them out:

Write even when I don’t want to

Since a significant part of my job revolves around writing, I can’t escape it even when I want to. I have deadlines to meet and some critical clients who I can’t disappoint. Therefore, whenever I feel lazy or unproductive, I write. The output may not be as good, but I still get the job done. And, that’s what matters at the end of the day!

Talk to a friend or colleague

stay productive

I am lucky to have a few friends from the same industry. I get on weekly calls with them to discuss our goals and challenges. Sometimes, I have a casual call with them. It’s nice to know what they are up to besides work, which can often get boring.

When I am feeling low, I prefer speaking to a select few – the ones that make me laugh. My conversations with them put me back in the right place, and I can put things in perspective, professionally and personally.

You don’t know how much good vibes of a person can rub off on you.

Take a stroll in the park

I don’t do this often, but just going for a walk calms me and helps me readjust my focus. I really enjoy the weather here, so it’s great stepping out in the evenings. I try to walk for 30 minutes every day. Walking increases cardiovascular fitness, improves balance, reduces body fat, among other benefits.

Stay away from social media

When you are unproductive, don’t make it worse by browsing through your Instagram feed. Believe it or not – it is not the first thing I check right in the mornings anymore. I go on Twitter while I am working, but that too is controlled.

I was never a huge fan of Facebook and can go days without checking it. I am a bit active on LinkedIn, but really, it can’t and doesn’t do much harm. In the last year, if there’s anything that I have learned is that social media can suck your time and energy.

Worse, it can make you feel guilty, useless, and incredibly low by the end of the day. Trust me, you don’t want that.

See Also: Social Media Causing Depression and Anxiety: Is It True?

Listen to music

how to stay productive

I love listening to music. Sometimes I put on ambient music to remove all distractions while researching or writing. Hans Zimmer, anyone? And then, there are times when I want to listen to SZA, The Weeknd or Post Malone.

Music has a way of filling my surroundings with substance. It lifts my spirits and makes me very happy. The right type of music makes me want to dream big, achieve big, and live my life to the fullest! I hope your experience is similar.

P.S. I am listening to Unforgettable by French Montana and Swae Lee right now.

See Also: How Music Affects Your Productivity

Have some chai

I am a North Indian, and we thrive on chai. When I was working in an office, my friend and I would wait to go on a tea break. Now that I work from home, the charm of companionship may be lost, but hey, I still have my chai. Evenings are meant to be enjoyed with freshly brewed tea.

I feel I deserve a steaming cup after a hectic day. Don’t we all?

I am also a fan of green tea but I feel that’s an acquired taste. I recently bought Blue Pea green tea from Tea Trunk. It has a beautiful azure hue – a visual delight indeed! I like the dull taste too – balanced and calming – just how I want it.

Bottom line: Any type of tea breaks my productivity slump.

Finish off household work

I love my house, and I like it to be nice and proper. Whether it is folding laundry or cooking – I like to make sure I am at the top of things. This attitude is specifically handy during such dull days, when I still want to do something substantial.

When I know I have got one chore off my list, I know I can write an article or finish scheduling social media for a week pretty quickly.

Re-organize my Trello

I am a Trello geek. I think I have over ten boards on my Trello. When I want to break my productivity slump, I get on it and start re-organizing it. It helps me identify the tasks or clients that don’t need my attention urgently.

I can reschedule, reduce clutter, and start work with a clean state – all of which helps me become more productive and better at how I approach things.

What do you think?

As a new solopreneur, I am all about finding new ways to boost my productivity levels, work less and earn more. And, it would be great if you can help me perfect the way I am operating at the moment.

What do you have to say about my tips? Are they nifty enough for you?

The post Staying Productive: 8 Tips I Follow To Break My Productivity Slump appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Benefits of Handwriting: How Handwriting Can Boost Your Productivity

In the world of laptops and mobile devices, it’s hard to imagine anyone using the good old handwriting technique. Most people consider it to be a charming skill, but the vast majority still finds it obsolete and impractical in the 21st century.

But there is a lot more to penmanship than just writing.

As a matter of fact, it turns out that handwriting can boost your productivity in a number of different ways, making this activity much more useful than sheer typing. Different studies prove the potential of cursive, but we will only point out a few examples:

  • Handwriting creates a drain on mental resources needed for higher-level aspects of writing such as attention to content, elaboration of details, and organization of ideas.
  • In the case of learning cursive writing, the brain develops functional specialization that integrates sensation, movement control, and thinking.
  • Handwriting is important for early recruitment in letter processing of brain regions known to underlie successful reading, so it may facilitate reading acquisition in young children.

Longhand writing is obviously beneficial, but how does it make people more productive? Keep reading to find out as we are about to show you seven benefits of handwriting.

Handwriting Helps You to Concentrate

This activity encourages you to concentrate on what you are supposed to do instead of procrastinating and focusing on the things around you. It successfully eliminates distractions and enables writers to delve deeper into the subject.

Now, the real question is this: how handwriting can boost someone’s concentration?

The answer is simple. Unlike typing, cursive writing is not an automated activity. When we type letters using digital devices, we basically repeat well-known moves and don’t think about it at all. On the other side, handwriting forces people to pay attention because they have to create each word single-handedly.

Every letter matters here, so you have to stay focused 100% of the time. A lot of individuals use anti-procrastination apps these days to ensure peace of mind and concentrate on their work, but handwriting might as well be much a simpler and cheaper solution.

Handwriting Makes Brainstorming Easier

Brainstorming is a mental activity that enables you to generate fresh ideas all by yourself in a relatively short time. However, the process is even faster and easier if you write down your random thoughts, suggestions, and concepts. It allows you to scrabble and note alternative proposals, no matter how strange or meaningless they might seem.

Once again, this is not something you can do by opening a Word document and typing in different ideas. It’s because digital writing is too sterile and mechanic. Using your own hand to write can set you free from creative barriers and serve as a genuine idea generation booster.

Handwriting Improves Memory

benefits of handwriting on children

Do you know that handwriting can improve your memory? It’s a well-known scientific fact and it reveals that cursive writing strengthens an individual’s potential to retain information and figure out fresh concepts.

Namely, studies show that typing and handwriting produce pretty much the same results when it comes to the sheer number of facts students are able to write down. But the big difference is that handwritten notes help students to truly understand the concepts and ideas. Once again, it happens because typing is automatic, while longhand writing demands much more effort and engagement from students.

See Also: 7 Tips on How to Improve a Child’s Working Memory

Handwriting Strengthens Creativity

Another benefit of handwriting is that it can strengthen your creativity. First of all, it encourages you to exercise and improve results over time. After all, we do understand that practice makes perfect. But this is not the only way handwriting enhances creative skills.

Various studies show that longhand writing actually boosts cognitive processes in the brain and forces people to make logical connections between seemingly unrelated concepts. This is exactly what happens to human beings when they want to perform any other type of intellectual activity. They have to establish relationships between different ideas and find a way to make them work together.

Handwriting Makes Mind Mapping Simpler

Mind mapping is a precious mental activity that helps to organize ideas, thoughts, and concepts into visually appealing diagrams. As such, mind mapping is perfect for complex projects demanding a lot of planning and analyses.

While you can find tons of mind mapping tools online, none of them can assist you in planning, scheduling, and organizing ideas as quickly and effectively as the plain “pen and paper” technique. Handwriting makes it easy to test a number of alternatives in no time, thus, helping you to prepare and launch professional projects very productively.

Handwriting Impacts Personal Motivation

benefit of handwriting

Cursive writing creates a special feeling of engagement and involvement. Unlike alienated computer-based typing, handwriting brings the notion of something deeply personal and unique. This is exactly why people tend to approach it more carefully and studiously.

For instance, a handwritten to-do list feels like a promise that you give to yourself. It’s a big motive for most people to treat it with all due respect and try to fulfill every item on the list as planned. It is only one but very significant example of how longhand writing impacts self-motivation and persistence.

See Also: 3 Writing Techniques to Increase your Self-Esteem

Handwriting Slows Down Intellectual Aging

Handwriting does not only bring you short-term benefits. On the contrary, this type of activity also helps you to nurture your intellectual stamina. It can help you stay productive in the long run. It keeps you fresh and agile, so you can successfully cope with mental tasks even as you get older.

This is a long-term effect of cursive writing that most people neglect, but it is actually very important if you want to stay mentally competitive after decades of hard work. It makes you a better employee and slows down the intellectual aging process in general.

Conclusion

The power of handwriting is immense, but it is often neglected in the world dominated by mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. However, the fact remains that longhand writing is extremely beneficial and useful to individuals who are trying to boost personal productivity.

In this article, we explained seven ways how handwriting can impact your achievements and make you a more efficient person. Give it a chance and you will probably notice the same effects very soon!

The post Benefits of Handwriting: How Handwriting Can Boost Your Productivity appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

7 Really Common Habits That Are Holding You Back From Success

Success is gradual, not spontaneous. It is a collection of thousands and thousands of good life choices, marred with many regrettable choices. To succeed, regrettable choices need to be minimal. That is why you must assess your daily habits at all times to ensure that you don’t pile up too many errors and know which bad habits to give up.

The greatest challenge with taking stock of your habits is that they’re mostly deeply ingrained in your life. They are part of you. Sometimes, you will call out other people on their bad habits without knowing that you suffer from equally disgusting, if not more, disgusting habits.

However, working on your daily habits is the first step towards success and prosperity. If you wish to change for the better, you probably should consult with a life coach to challenge your habits and get advice on where to rectify.

That is why you will benefit greatly by reading this article, as it gives you 7 of the most common bad habits to give up for success.

Seeking unnecessary approval

Parents have the tendency of training their young ones to seek approval from elders at all times. For every small step they make, they expect a tap on the back for a job well done. Every bad comment they get, their self-esteem goes down.

Regrettably, this habit of seeking approval from others on every single thing in life never goes even after we grow up. Adults will always feel underappreciated because the boss doesn’t compliment them often enough, or because their life partners do not seem to appreciate their effort. In the long run, this habit hinders productivity and growth.

Encouraging the feeling of overwhelm

Maybe you are feeling stagnant on your job because you spend less time on yourself. After all, your job is too overwhelming to even afford an hour in the gym, right?

You would be wrong.

The most successful people dedicate a significant amount of time to themselves. Taking vacations, reading motivational material before work, working out regularly, and doing generally everything to remain healthy and happy. That enables them to be happy and productive at their workplace and in life as a whole.

Procrastination

The day to ask for a pay rise or quit that oppressive job is today. The day to start your business is today.. And today is the day to make your financial plans.

Many people fail because they wait for the “right” time to act on their plans. Don’t be like them. Take action and grab opportunities as they come. If you fail in one venture, you surely will succeed in another.

Perfectionism

Are you a perfectionist?

If you are, then it’s time you drop that habit. It is important to appreciate that you are human. Your employees and everyone around you are humans, too. We all have our limitations.

Don’t expect too much from people because you will be disappointed. There isn’t a perfect job, business, career, family or a perfect life. The key to success is doing your best and asking other people to fill in where you come short. Then, leave what cannot be fixed to chance.

Dwelling too much on non-priorities

What are your priorities in life? Are you thinking of going back to school? Do you wish to save time for a side hustle? Or are you watching too much TV and neglecting your loved ones?

You need to discard whatever is preventing you from accomplishing your top priorities. You can start by determining those bad habits to give up. If it is your computer or phone, keep it away. If it is your habit of drinking or partying too much, control that.

Overworking

Do you see that the department you work too hard to “save”? Well, it probably doesn’t need you to “save” it.

Don’t overwork to make things run smoothly. They will somehow sort themselves out even without your intervention. Always do your best and then delegate the rest. Remember that if you die today, someone will sit in the desk you’re sitting on today.

So, stop overworking and create time for some other things.

Know-it-all attitude

You are well-educated and connected, but that doesn’t make you the custodian of all knowledge. Giving people a chance to challenge your knowledge and advise you occasionally is important for your growth. Even if someone is your junior in terms of career or age, you should never shoot them down when they try to air their opinions.

See Also: 5 Habits Of Successful People You Should Be Following Today

The post 7 Really Common Habits That Are Holding You Back From Success appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Increase Your Productivity By Harnessing Dead Time

Although the title suggests this post will be a world-changing experiment, dear reader, I have to let you down — it won’t. Stop reading if you expect a new promising model as to how to become a super-productive human being.

However, keep reading if you want to read the narrative of your average workday. It’s a good way to determine how you could build on your dead time to get more out of your day.

Growing as a person and becoming better is what we constantly dream about, but when it comes to taking action, we always have an excuse.

If that’s your case, consider the following strategies in managing time wisely:

Your Average Workday

6:00 a.m. You’re sleeping and experiencing the best dream on your bed. The alarm clock just goes off and it’s time you get to work. Don’t hit the snooze button. Instead, try to get up just 10 minutes earlier than you would and make a commitment to use that time to meditate, journal or read every single workday. Yes, you could skip the weekend.

7:00 a.m. You’re on your commute and watching fellow passengers’ sleepy faces. It’s the best time to consume some inspiring literature. Pull out your Kindle and read something that grows you in mind and spirit. You soon will notice that travel time shrinks to its third.

8:00 a.m. You get to your table at the office. If you’re not in a very busy season or simply can’t begin to work right upon arrival―I see a lot of colleagues fall under this category, but not you of course―please don’t check Facebook, don’t check the news, and don’t socialize with colleagues. You have a lot of other options to consider: read a blog post on productivity, learn two new English phrases, search for potential workshops, etc.

Pro tip: It’s best to start with your most demanding and important task just to gain momentum.

9:00 a.m. You start writing an email to a client. The text is in your head since you’ve already drafted such emails a lot of times. This time, you’ve had a bad night sleep and words are coming slowly.

Wait a minute! Get a text expansion app that enables you to use “snippets” or chunks of words that will unfold into a complex text like email, phone number, link, or whatever you want.

Here is how it works. You save your emails, frequently used email addresses, and links to your text expansion app and label each with a snippet that hopefully, you can memorize. Next time, when you compose a report in MS Word, write an email or perform any text-oriented action in any of your apps. All you have to do is enter the associated snippet and the text will unfold itself. The nice thing is that it works in all your apps. Some good text expansion apps include PhraseExpress, TextExpander, and Breevy.

10:00 a.m. You wonder how much time it consumes to draft your report. Why not learn some keyboard shortcuts to increase your productivity? You can print a list of shortcuts and hang it next to your screen. Over time, you’ll feel comfortable with using the keyboard.

productivity in the office

1:00 p.m. You’ve just arrived from lunch with a full stomach. Colleagues invite you for a cup of coffee and, you know, for some 10 minutes of chit-chatting. Why not go for a short walk instead? Walking can help to gather your thoughts, gain focus, and refresh your mind.

5:00 p.m. You’re on the train and you’re heading home. You feel worn out because you really have had a busy day. Pull out your Kindle and just pick up reading where you left off in the morning. By doing so, together with your morning reading, you can implement a full hour of reading into your day.

Pro tip: If you’re driving to your office, you could listen to an audiobook.

6:00 p.m. You’re about to do the laundry, take out the trash, and the list goes on. (If you have a spouse, you know what I mean.) Just put on your wireless headphones and listen to life-changing podcasts to charge your mental batteries. From here, you would never ever do household chores without putting on your headphones.

That’s amazing. There’s not a single minute wasted anymore! You can’t wait to wash the dishes, do the laundry, and ironing your shirts because you know that you’re strengthening your mental muscles.

See Also: How Music Affects Your Productivity

7:00 p.m. You’re blaming yourself because you’ve skipped your exercise this day. You planned to do it but your day unfolded in a way as it always would: With lots of to-dos and seemingly no margins to counterbalance.

Although you clearly missed your full-hour workout, you can take your dumbbells and exercise for 15 minutes while watching your favorite TV show or movie. This time, again, you don’t have to sacrifice your “me-time” while enjoying the benefit of a workout.

Pro tip: Make sure that you don’t exercise too late in the evening because it can delay sleep onset.

Let’s Do the Math

Let’s look back and sum up how much you’ve done over the day without investing a single minute:

  • Meditation- 10 minutes
  • Reading- 30 minutes
  • Learning English- 10 minutes
  • Harnessing technology (text expansion and keyboard shortcuts―well, it’s harder to measure, I leave it up to you)
  • Walking- 10 minutes
  • Reading- 30 minutes
  • Listening to inspiring podcasts- 30 minutes
  • Exercising- 15 minutes

Those things equate to a total of 135 minutes (more than two hours!) of meaningful activities without claiming a single minute from your agenda. Wow!

On top of that, these activities will strengthen your mental as well as your physical muscles. They’ll contribute to your productivity and overall well-being.

See Also: The Profound Effects Of Meditation On The Mind

Identify Your Gaps

I hope you happened to notice that not a single minute was consumed by your new habits. We just harnessed your dead time to get the most out of your day. Now, it’s your turn to recognize your dead times and build the necessary habits to draw upon.

Experiment with your cues and rewards to find out what works for you to establish the desired habit.

I suggest that you fill in―as productivity experts would call it―an ideal day template to identify your gap. Then, fill those gaps with true content. This template is nothing more than a hard landscape of your day, showing your schedule in half-hour blocks. Take an hour to fill in your template to prevent mind leakage.

Begin the Journey

work productivity

This post doesn’t claim that you not socialize with colleagues or not read the news. It doesn’t cover in details morning or evening routines, essentialism, goal setting or other productivity methods. It does nothing more than shed light to those little things that can make a change in how you perceive your world.

Finally, be willing to change and you’re likely to experience a paradigm shift in your everyday life.

Your one takeaway: Take a deep breath and figure out three things that you can draw upon to harness your dead time.

The post How To Increase Your Productivity By Harnessing Dead Time appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Fake Productivity vs Real Productivity

Putting in work or “hustling” is the most widespread maxim for success in the world of entrepreneurship. But the question is this: Are you really being productive with your time or is your work merely a heightened form of procrastination?

The three levels of productivity:

The first level of productivity is outright procrastination

It is zero productivity. It’s neglecting your priorities and responsibilities in lieu of the dopamine rush of a Netflix series or a video game. Procrastination is a killer of success and deserves no further mention.

The second level of productivity is work

However, it is not productive work but it is the work you use as an alibi against procrastination. It is cover-up work.

When you are engaged in cover-up work, it may seem like you are being productive and putting in the sweat necessary for success. In reality, you are running a hamster wheel, making no discernible progress.

An example of cover-up work is the salesman who is making 100 sales pitches every single day, closing one. His approach is self-pitying and self-centered. Rather than focusing on the potential customer, he focuses on his own deep desire to sell. His egocentric mindset shines like a flare gun.

Nevertheless, the salesman sits at his laptop in the evening and posts on Twitter “Putting in work! The hustle is real!”

People engage in cover-up work to feel better about their lack of progress. If you are doing cover-up work, you are stuck in your comfort zone.

The third level of productivity is the only work that will take a person towards their entrepreneurial aspirations

It is level-up work at the very top of the productivity pyramid

Let’s examine.

Level-up work means doing the tedious work. It means digging up the roots, getting dirty, and planting new seeds. It means dealing with the grit. Real productivity is hardly exciting.

If the aforementioned salesman engages in level-up work, he will spend his evenings learning about human psychology. He will start going from house to house and website to website to learn about his customer base. He starts reading books and magazines that help to increase his social acuity. As his knowledge expands, his percentage of converted customers increases exponentially. Rather than closing one out of 100 cold-calls, he closes 10 out of 20.

Level-up work requires spending unromantic hours in your room filling your head with all the knowledge that you will require in your field and then some. It means building the backbone of your business. It means becoming more than your next competitor. In the end, it is the only path towards true success.

To engage in real productivity, start mastering level-up work: Become more than your competition. Be smarter, better practiced, more up-to-date. Put in the hours that matter.

See Also: 6 Strategies to Increase Productivity in the Workplace

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9 Immediate Tips To Stay Focused on Your Goals

Honestly, do you still remember the new year’s resolutions you set at the beginning of this year? How are you faring in them right now?

If you’re like most people, chances are you’ve long abandoned those goals. Some of you may not even recall the goals you have set and that’s really unfortunate.

Goal setting works and it has never failed anyone. The only reason why goals would stop working is because the person who has set them chose to give up on them mid-way.

During the past few years, I’ve been working relentlessly on my goals – be it blogging, setting up my new business, improving my diet, losing weight, making like-minded friends, improving my relationship with my parents, and so on.

Over the course of the past 2.5 years, I’ve made significant progress on those goals.

For example, I lost about 7 to 8 kgs this year. Currently, I am at my desired weight. I’ve switched from an unhealthy, junk food diet to a healthy, vegan diet which I’m proud of.

I created my personal development blog and built it from 2 readers a day (me and my good friend) to over 600k page views/month, making it one of the top personal development blogs online. I’ve created a successful business out of my passion in personal development and am earning a steady, passive income from it.

I resolved a deep-seated emotional eating issue which I’ve been struggling with the past decade. My previously sour relationship with my parents has dramatically improved for the better in the past 2 months.

I’m not sharing the above to distance myself from you or to put myself on a pedestal. It’s quite the opposite. I’m sharing the above to let you know that because I’ve achieved my goals, you can achieve your goals, too- no matter what they are. It’s all a matter of staying focused.

If you constantly get distracted in your goal pursuits, here are 8 tips I have for you to stay focused:

Concentrate on 1 to 3 goals

If you constantly have trouble sticking to your goals, maybe you’re spreading yourself too thin. Pick 1 to 3 goals that are most important to you and stick to them. Don’t bother yourself with any other goals until these goals are achieved or unless your priorities shift.

focus on one goal

For me, my top priority goal is to reach out to more people through my blog. So, I ensure all my daily actions ladder up to this one goal. Majority of my time in the week is spent either writing new articles for the blog, maintaining my Facebook and twitter account, maintaining the blog and forums, processing my emails or creating upcoming plans. If I’m caught up with something else for a long period of time, it’s a cue to me that I’m off-track.

Such laser focus has allowed me to make much more progress, compared to when I juggle across 4 to 5 goals and make little progress in them.

Create a vision board

A vision board is a collage of pictures and images that represent your goals and dreams. Creating a vision board helps you to visualize your end goals more clearly. Inevitably, it will inspire you to take consistent action. It also serves to remind you of your goals every day when you see the board.

I’ve a vision board in my bedroom which I see every time I’m in my room. Every time I see my board, it reinforces my goals to me and reminds me to take action and move forward. 

If you’ve yet to create your vision board, I’ve created a video tutorial which you may find helpful. You can watch it if you want to know how to create your vision board.

Create milestones

If you just set one huge goal, it can be discouraging, especially when you don’t achieve it after a short while. When that happens, some people may procrastinate on the goal altogether which is quite unfortunate.

identifying one goal

I find it helpful to break a big goal into smaller goals. Just like when you go on a long road-trip, you set pit-stops to rest/recuperate throughout the trip. 

Create a plan

If you have a plan worked out for your goal, it becomes much easier to stick to it. All you have to do is to follow the actions you have planned for the day. The best time to work out your plan is when you set the goal because that’s when your motivation is the highest.

Usually, I create my goal action plans right after I set my goal. I take action immediately and that helps create a positive momentum. 

Track your results

It’s important for me to track the results of what I do because otherwise, it feels like my actions are not making a difference. Hence, every time I work on a goal, I will identify 1 to 2 performance metrics, then track those metrics daily/weekly.

They are my connection to the end goal because they let me know whether I’m on track or off track. They let me know whether to tweak my actions or not. 

Have goal buddies

Goal buddies are people who share similar goals with you. They help to remind you about your goal, spur you on when you feel unmotivated, give you new ideas on how to achieve your goal, keep you on track, among others. Your goal buddies can be your friends or people whom you meet in interest groups. Since you already share similar interests, it’ll be easy to find people with the same goals.

Start a journal documenting your goal pursuit

Having a blog or private diary to document your goals can be a therapeutic experience. A lot of times, we abandon our goals because we get frustrated mid-way and we are not sure what to do about that.

However, when we write out our thoughts, it helps us to get clarity on our issues and renews our interest in the goal. Many readers at my blog created their life journals in the blog forums and have found that to be tremendously helpful in keeping them focused on their goals. 

Be clear on why you’re pursuing the goals

If you keep giving up on your goals halfway, perhaps you were never serious in them to begin with. For me, if I’m really serious about a goal, I’d never give up on it – I’d keep hammering away at it, regardless of the obstacles, until they give way and I’m enjoying the fruits of my labor. 

I once had a coaching client who would embark on many new business ventures only to stop within the first 2 to 3 months. He never knew why.

When I drilled into the issue with him, he found out it was because he just wanted to start a business to earn money. Well, he was already earning good money with his current job and that gave hi little reason to move out of his comfort zone.

After that, I recommended him to identify a business idea which he was truly passionate about and he did. Today, he has been working on this same business for the past 1.5 years, the longest he has ever kept to a business venture.

Learn to say no

Do you often put your goals aside for other people?

It’s okay to do that once or twice but if you keep doing the whole time, something is seriously wrong. You can’t forever put your life on hold for others!

I used to have trouble saying no to others. That’s until I realized I was just doing myself and my dreams a disfavor when I say yes to something that’s not what I want. Learn how to say no and you may find a bigger pot of gold at the end of this rainbow.

Check out my related posts at Dumb Little Man that will help you stay on track in your goals:

Written by Celestine Chua, a writer at Personal Excellence where she shares her best advice on how to achieve personal excellence and live your best life. Get her RSS feed directly and add her on Twitter @celestinechua. If you like this article, you will enjoy one of her top articles: 101 Things To Do Before You Die.

Photo Credit: lululemon athletica

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Creating Great Habits Through Self-Improvement

When you realize you’re not happy in the situation you find yourself in, it’s time to take action. If you’re unsure about where to start and how to make that change, there are two options you can take: a sudden, dramatic overhaul of your life or gradual change that leads to a permanent improvement.

While the former might offer a short-term hit, the latter is where you need to go for longer-term gains and where you will find the most improvement.

Below, take a look at some of the most effective habits to improve yourself:

Be The Early Bird

It’s easier said than done if you’re a night owl but it’s true. The early bird really does catch the worm.

Getting up even an hour earlier will make your day a lot productive. Whether you spend that hour working, meditating or exercising, it will be an hour that sets your day up. Incorporating this great habit into your daily life will lead to self-improvement in your mind, body, and soul.

Be disciplined, set an alarm, and get into the habit of getting up over several days.

Bite Size Goals

You may feel frustrated at your lack of progress in your job or how your dead-end relationship is panning out. However, making a drastic change may not be the answer.

To improve your situation and set up the right habits, you need to consider your goals.

Get Into The Sleep Habit

Such a basic but necessary habit.

Think of all the benefits you take on board by getting sustained, deep sleep. Your brain function improves, your physical and mental well-being is enhanced and you generally feel more capable and ready for action.

Consider you in your sleep-deprived state — always dozing off, finding it hard to concentrate, and feeling strung out. Getting good sleeping habits will lead to huge improvements in your day-to-day life.

hypnosis for sleep disorders

Start by setting your own bedtime routine. Make sure all screens are off at least an hour before bedtime. Turn your bedroom into a sanctuary for sleep with a cool, dark, quiet environment. There should be no distractions, such as phones or television.

If you find your room is too light, consider blackout linings on curtains. If your environment is too noisy, then think about investing in earplugs.

Stay Reading

Making reading a habit can seriously change your life for the better. Reading books and magazines takes us away from the phone screen and transports us into a world of pure imagination and fantasy. It gives our weary brains a break from dealing with social media and business, allowing us to tap into areas that often lie dormant.

For personal growth, try and read things that you wouldn’t usually pick up, such as a historical novel or self-improvement book. Open your mind to new experiences and knowledge and this reading habit will quickly lead to a new, improved you.

Practice Meditation

A habit that has tangible improvements, quickly.

meditate regularly

Physically, meditating helps by improving blood circulation and bringing oxygen into the body more efficiently. You might also find that it lowers your blood pressure and gives you an enormous sense of calmness.

Mentally, a meditation practice like mindfulness, for example, will help to calm your thoughts and fight against stress and anxiety.

In many ways, it doesn’t matter which kind of meditation practice you follow as long as it’s one that is sustainable and can be incorporated into a daily routine with little or no extra stress.

Evaluate progress

Taking time to step back and seeing how far you’ve come is an invaluable part of any self-improving habit.

You’ll be amazed and encouraged at how much closer you are to achieving your life goals. It’s worth taking the time to regularly check in with yourself.

Don’t Waste Time

Procrastination is the thief of time and will rob you of forming life-changing habits that can lead to a better you.

writing goals

Instead of spending hours in front of the TV or your computer, you need to concentrate on your goals. Allowing yourself a set time every day to check out screens will help, but only if you have the discipline to follow it through.

The real key to success in this area is two-fold: to make it a habit and to replace those wasted hours with tasks that are fulfilling and useful.

Conclusion

Changing your life for the better is not an easy task and requires great discipline and sacrifice. However, this change is not impossible.

Write down your goals and dreams and believe in your vision. Take time to plot how you will get there and set about incorporating new habits into your life that can help meet these self-improvement objectives.

Don’t be distracted by unimportant things that will stop you from your dreams. Avoid being your own worst enemy by letting poor discipline let you down.

Instead, grasp the nettle and work towards a better, more fulfilled you. Start creating healthy habits that’ll make you even better than before.

See Also: 10 Simple Self Improvement Hacks

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Ian Small, former head of TokBox, takes over as Evernote CEO from Chris O’Neill

Former TokBox head Ian Small is replacing Chris O’Neill as CEO of Evernote, the note-taking and productivity app company said this morning. In a blog post, Small said that the leadership change was announced to employees this morning by Evernote’s board. “We are all hugely appreciative of the energy and dedication Chris has shown over the last three years, and in particular for putting Evernote on solid financial footing so we can continue to build for the future,” he wrote.

Small added, “When Stepan Pachikov founded Evernote, he had a vision for how technology could augment memory and how an app could change the way we relate to information at home and at work. Evernote has been more successful at making progress towards Stepan’s dreams than he could have imagined, but Stepan and I both think that there is more to explore and more to invent.”

O”Neill had been Evernote’s CEO since 2015, when he took over the position from co-founder Phil Libin. Small previously served as CEO of TokBox, which operates the OpenTok video calling platform, from 2009 to 2014, and then as its chairman from 2014 to July of this year.

O’Neill’s departure as CEO is the latest significant leadership shift for Evernote, which has withstood several key executive departures over the last few months. In early September, we reported that the company had lost several senior executives, including CTO Anirban Kundu, CFO Vincent Toolan, CPO Erik Wrobel, and head of HR Michelle Wagner, as it sought funding in a potential down-round from the unicorn valuation it hit in 2012. According to TechCrunch’s sources, Evernote had struggled to grow its base of paid users and active users, as well as enterprise clients, for the last six years.

Then a few weeks later, Evernote announced that had to lay off 54 people, or about 15 percent of its workforce. O’Neill wrote a blog post about the company’s future growth strategy, including streamlining specific functions like sales so it could focus on product development and engineering.

Productivity Secrets Top-Level CEOs Would Rather Keep to Themselves

Ice freezing offices. Social media. YouTube. Fantasy football leagues. There is one thing all of them have in common – they are all primary suspects for causing your productivity at work to plummet. Even the top-level CEOs fall under temptation to watch the latest cat video uploaded on YouTube. The difference is, they found a way to overcome these bad habits with some simple hacks and tricks.

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” –Paul J. Meyer.

Your environment cannot always be controlled, but you can control what you get accomplished. In addition to that, you can always learn from others, mimic their behavior, and discover how they get things done more efficiently. Certainly, there are some easy ways to accomplish more, like turning off your smartphone or blocking access to YouTube.

However, these are all small things that wouldn’t get you far enough. There are far better ways to become the best version of yourself at work. And the best thing is that you can learn these productivity skills by following the good examples of some of the world’s most successful people.

Below are some productivity secrets top-level CEOs swear on.

Develop the growth mindset

You should never be satisfied with where you and your company are right now. You should know that there is always room for improvement in every area. There is always a better and faster way of doing something.

Elon Musk once said: “You should take the approach that you’re wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong.”

And that is growth mindset at its finest.

This skill separates successful people from everyone else.

When your mind is trained in such a way, you know that anything is achievable as long as you put enough effort into it. And if by any means you fail, don’t take it too personally. Instead, approach the problem from a different angle until you get it right.

Use technology for productivity, not for the distraction

use technology

We bet that now you are saying: “What are they talking about? In the beginning, they said that technology is credited the most for all the distractions at work.”

Well, yes and no.

Technology can be of great help and top-level CEOs know that. There are plenty of mobile apps that can make their lives a lot easier and stress-free, especially for the ones who travel a lot. Business apps allow them to stay productive and work from wherever they are. They can basically bring their whole offices with them through a device that fits perfectly into their pockets.

Therefore, we decided to share with you one very interesting interactive infographic created by the people from Cometdocs. It will show you what mobile apps can completely and effortlessly replace traditional office equipment. Just click on the blue dots in order to find out what mobile app replaces the selected office element.

See Also: 5 Top Technology Trends That Will Shape 2018

Schedule your day around when your brain is at its finest

What we mean by this is you should schedule your day around when your brain is at the peak of its power. Postpone all brainless and unimportant activities until it is fatigued.

First of all, there is one question you have to give a precise answer to: “When is my brain at its peak power?”

Let’s say it is from 7 to 11 a.m.

During that period, you should only focus on your most challenging tasks. Your schedule should be blocked off so you could have as little distractions as possible.

What about after 11 a.m.?

Well, continue with your everyday work, respond to emails, do those charts or call people back.

Basically, your mornings or whenever your concentration is at its best should be kept for important stuff and that time should be non-negotiable. Only afterward should you start dealing with your everyday work.

By following this little hack, you will achieve in 6 months what other people wouldn’t achieve in 2 years!

Set limits for everything, meetings, emails, tasks, you name it

set limits

There is no time for wasting time – see what we did there?

Previously, we talked about how you should plan your day around according to your level of concentration. And now, we will let you know how you should manage your everyday work aside from those prime time hours.

Top level CEOs know how to make the most out of every minute and that is easily achievable by limiting your everyday tasks.

For example, you could limit your meetings to 1 hour, 20 minutes for presentation and 40 minutes for the discussion. Nothing less and nothing more.

Or you could set the limit for the length of the emails you send. That way, you could respond to every work-related email you get and save time because you are keeping the responses short. Basically, every task can be limited in some way and you should definitely take advantage of it.

Replace “but” with “and”

Whenever you say “but” in a conversation, you are indicating that everything that you said before the “but” is not relevant. People are subconsciously trained to immediately forget everything you said before the “but”.

For example, someone may say: “I completely agree with everything you said and did, BUT here is what I think.” Have you felt it? Like your brain is preparing to fight.

Replacing “but” with “and” completely changes the tonality and dynamic of communication and this really works. People feel more appreciated and are likely to be open-minded to new ideas and suggestions when you approach them this way. Try it the next time you want to suggest something, you won’t regret it.

Final thoughts

You may try all of these productivity secrets at once or one tip at the time. The case is, all of the top level CEOs focus on doing several things really well each day rather than doing a hundred things poorly.

We truly hope you enjoyed reading this article and we would love to hear about the hacks you use to stay productive in the comments below.

The post Productivity Secrets Top-Level CEOs Would Rather Keep to Themselves appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

One Simple Trick to Get Rid of the #1 Workplace Productivity Killer

Coworkers, emails, phone calls, customers or clients…. The amount of things that can distract us from our responsibilities in a work day is enormous. Normally, we don’t resist these distractions and we end up switching over to them because want to.

This kind of multi-tasking kills our ability to be productive.

Scientific studies have shown that we lose 40% of our time due to switching between tasks. That means that we’re losing 16 hours of our work week by multitasking alone.

The #1 offender that gets us off track?

Mobile phones in the workplace.

Why are mobile phones so good at getting us off track?

There’s actually a simple explanation and it has to do with the way our brains work.

It’s called the Triune Brain Theory.

If you’ve never heard of the Triune Brain Theory, here’s the short version:

The Triune Brain Theory is a model for how the brain works as proposed by Dr. Paul MacLean. Our brain is actually made up of three brains which evolved on top of each other: the physical brain, the emotional brain, and the thinking brain.

triune brain theory
Via slideplayer.com

The physical brain controls all of our physical needs such as safety and security, hunger, sex, and shelter. The emotional brain controls all of our emotions and emotional needs such as happiness, sadness, relationship, and connection with others. The thinking brain controls all of our complex thinking skills such as language, abstract thought, and planning.

The strongest is the physical brain, followed by the emotional brain, then by the thinking brain. These brains all want different things and have their own unique ways to get them.

In order to get rid of distractions, we have to learn to manage our physical brain.

The physical brain loves immediate, physical gratification and wants it ALL the time. It also pulls our emotional brain in to help it in this task. When it fails to get its needs, it dumps us with negative emotions.

For example, our physical brain loves looking at our phone. Scientists discovered that when we look at our phones, we get a hit of dopamine: the chemical that makes us happy.

In this article, researchers connected electrodes to Anderson Cooper from CNN and measured his heart rate and perspiration. When he couldn’t check his phone every time a notification alert occurred, he showed the same withdrawal symptoms that you see from an addict.

The Solution

In order to overcome this addiction and take your productivity back, you have to put your phone in a place where it’s accessible if you really need it, but not so easily accessible that you’ll reach for it in the case of a distraction.

My recommendation is a lock with a timer.

With this, you can lock your phone away for a set time and work uninterrupted.

locked box

Try this: Get a small box that can be used with a lock. Get your timed lock and set the time length for 45 minutes and work. Make sure your phone is on silent and vibration is turned off.

When you get your phone back, go nuts for 15 minutes. Be as impulsive as you want. Get on Facebook, start reading the news, start scrolling through Instagram or text/call your friends. Doing this will get rid of the biggest work distraction out there and allow you to focus and work uninterrupted.

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Need A Productivity Boost? Here’s How Tea Can Help

Tea is a popular drink all over the world for a lot of reasons.

For one, it tastes good and it’s a good way to help you get more fluids. Plus, it’s available in several varieties.

Apart from that, tea also comes with health benefits. It can even help you in boosting productivity and mental wellness.

Now, if you are thinking of drinking tea for an energy boost, here’s what you need to know.

It Contains Some Caffeine- But Not Too Much

Tea contains a little amount of caffeine, but it won’t make you jittery or wreak havoc on your nervous system like coffee. It can boost your energy so you can stay alert and ready to take on your day, without the side effects associated with too much caffeine.

It’s even said that tea has more health benefits than coffee, but we’ll let you make your own decisions about that one.

See Also: 5 Exciting Health Benefits of Tea

It Increases Brain Performance

A study found that a half hour after drinking black or green tea, brain activity starts to increase. The stimulated areas of the brain all contribute to improved cognitive function, alertness, memory, and logical reasoning.

All of those things are helpful if you want to be more productive at work or if you need to get a project done at home. And the best part?

As tea increases your productivity, it also provides a relaxing effect.

It Helps You Relax

tea relaxation

Too much stress is never a good thing. It hinders productivity by affecting how well you’re able to focus on both remembering things you know and processing new information.

Less stress means better productivity and more work done.

Tea can give your mind a little break, even when it’s increasing your brain’s  activity. It helps with relaxation and mental clarity as well as increased learning and attention.

Tea gives you more dopamine, which means you’re going to feel great. It will make you feel excited and ready to get things done. No one is super productive if they’re really bummed out, right?

It Counteracts Effects of Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress isn’t good for your body. It prevents your tissues and cells from functioning properly and that can cause serious health issues.

One of the best teas that can help you with that is green tea. It helps combat free radicals with its antioxidant properties.

It Helps with Both Physical and Mental Health

Studies have shown that tea is associated with a lower risk of depression.

Those who suffer from depression know how hard it can be just to get out of bed on those bad mornings, let alone be efficient and productive. While tea isn’t a total cure, it can be a helpful tool to manage the symptoms of depression.

It’s also been found to help with headaches, nausea, and other digestive problems. All of these things can hinder productivity and distract you from getting things done.

Again, it may not be an absolute cure for what ails you, but it can definitely help alleviate some of your symptoms so you can focus on what needs to be done.

See Also: 4 Best Teas To Help You Lose Weight

Tea Breaks Are Good for You

tea breaks

You need regular breaks to avoid burning yourself out and to keep your productivity at optimal levels. Taking a break to get your mind off of things can help your mind relax a bit.

Tea is a huge help for both productivity and your overall mental health. Make it a point to find a tea that works for you and incorporate it into your daily routine!

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7 Ways On How To Live A Balanced Life

Knowing how to live a balanced life is a great thing for your mental health. It’s not a matter of having complete control over your life, but about finding what works best for you. It means not feeling like you’re being pulled in several directions all at once.

A balanced life can make you feel more content and calm. You’ll have more motivation and ability to move forward with your plans. You don’t feel so down about everything all the time.

So, read on below and find out how to start balancing your life today. Hopefully, these tips can help you be more grounded and better-rounded individual.

Inner And Outer Focus

There are two kinds of elements you need to balance if you want to start your new life. These are inner and outer elements. When one focuses more on one kind of element, an imbalance happens. And of course, you wouldn’t want that to happen.

External elements are your social circle, including family and other relationships. The list also includes your work, hobbies, and your activities. On the other hand, internal elements refer to your inner self. The thoughts in your mind and the workings of your heart are what comprise your internal elements.

Obviously, focusing on just work, relationships, and external activities would leave you with a massive spiritual gap. On the same note, it is also simply not practical to have your mind and heart reflecting on themselves all the time. After all, you have to experience life.

With that, you should strive to focus on both your internal and external elements. This can involve challenging your mind with intellectual pursuits or satisfying your tummy with delicious and healthy foods. As for your heart, it is best if you open yourself up to love, hope and joy. Exposing yourself to bitterness and hatred would soon starve your heart and it can affect you physically, too.

If you are lagging behind in your work, seek to motivate yourself. Don’t settle for less. Know when and how to give yourself the respect that you deserve. Give time to your family as well and remember these connections are for life. In the same way, you also need to pull back from those relationships and seek to foster bonds with those who are worth it.

See Also: 3 Simple Steps to Balance Your Emotional State

Look Around You

It’s essential that you look at your present life in order to work out its kinks. This can help you discern the amount of imbalance you’re currently experiencing. What are you neglecting and what could you make better?

Notice Your Leanings

Taking proper stock of your life would help you see which way you’re leaning. Are you listening too much to your heart and not enough to the practical aspects of things? This could make you a very shabby decision-maker.

Are you following every rule to the letter? It’s probably the reason why you’re not giving yourself a break every now and then.

Plan It Out

list-goals

Once you know where you need to improve, write out your goals. What tasks do you need to accomplish every week, month or year? What worked for you before? Do you think that would work again?

Planning all of these things out will help you create a proper and an effective plan of action.

Think About The Past

Think about your achievements up until now. Focus on your mood and your motivation, which led to your success. Once you’ve gotten hold of that feeling, don’t let it go.

You must have dealt with some fear and doubts back then, too. If you were able to handle them then, you can handle them now. Get some real motivation and some valuable lessons from your past self.

See Also: Time to Break the Cocoon! 5 Great Tips For Finding Motivation

Anticipate The Negativity And Prepare For It

When you look at achieving balance, anticipate the obstacles. Expect some negative feelings, doubts, and second-guessing. Once you know all your inner tricks that throw you off balance, prepare for a counter-attack. This way, you would be more kind to yourself in your balancing process.

Find A Support System

support system

When searching for balance, have a supportive person nearby. This could be your closest friend, a relative or your spouse. See which person provides the healthiest support and stick with him/her.

When you have a companion, the journey becomes easier. It will help you become more aware of your process and make more sense of it.

Wrap Up

Once you finish instilling the above tips in your life, you’re on your way to becoming more balanced and grounded. You would hopefully soon notice your productivity going up and your frustration coming down. This is an excellent exercise if you are consistently finding life slipping away from you.

The post 7 Ways On How To Live A Balanced Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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4 Bad Online Habits That Are Killing Your Work Productivity

Productivity is an interesting thing.

Some people keep themselves busy all day and consider themselves productive. In reality, however, they focus on so many different things that the end result isn’t satisfying.

Others prefer to analyze their behavior closely so that they can see what they’re doing wrong and what can be optimized. That’s the right approach if you want to ditch some bad practices and succeed with your ventures in all aspects.

Our online habits make a great example.

What you do while working on your laptop or when you’re just using the Internet can kill your focus. To change that, you first need to define those time-wasting activities that affect your work productivity and start doing something about them.

Browsing without a purpose

online habits

It’s a common scenario to have many tabs open in your browser while working. Every now and then, you’d open a new one, read something and then distract yourself. After some time, you’ll find it hard to get back to what you were doing. That leads to hours of wasted time when you review what you did each week.

How to fix that?

If you really want a quick solution, then install and activate a software that blocks access to certain platforms. You can also do that to your browsers if you want to do some work that doesn’t require research.

There are plenty of tools out there that can do this for you and even notify you when you’re using certain websites too much. Some tools will even let you set limits as to how long you want them to block things so that you can focus on more important tasks.

Not being selective enough

If you don’t know what you need to do and why you’re doing it, you’ll end up indulging in many unproductive activities. Watching random YouTube videos, clicking spammy links, reading newsletters, and checking unimportant notifications in your social media can eat away your focus, energy, and time.

It’s time to get rid of the unnecessary things so that you can concentrate on the essentials. This will help you double your results when working. Apart from that, taking the steps below will also help you have more peace of mind.

Here’s what you should say ‘no’ to when online:

  • Unsubscribe from any site or service sending you their newsletters or offers. From now on, if you need anything, simply type the web address yourself and see what’s new.
  • Block ads from appearing on websites. You can do that by installing an ad blocker as an add-on. These differ depending on your browser, but each is effective enough.
  • Turn off notifications on Facebook and other social media networks you’re using daily. Go to the Settings tab and see what you can block, disable or remove. This way, there’ll be no more pointless news in your feed and you won’t hear alerts from your phone all day.

See Also: 7 Mentally Damaging Habits You Need To Let Go

Letting email become a distraction

Email is a powerful communication tool. But, if you don’t manage your inbox well, it might cost you time and compromise your focus on a daily basis.

To change that, set some limits. You can choose not to open your email first thing in the morning and do it twice a day instead. Open it right after you’re done with your most important tasks for the day and check it again in the late afternoon when your mind is clear.

Not knowing when to unplug

bad work habits

You can’t be productive online when you’re connected 24/7. Your mind needs a break from technology and the best time to do that seems to be around two hours before bedtime. That means not just ditching all devices from your evening ritual, but also not thinking about them. This will take some discipline and time.

In the beginning, you might crave checking Facebook when in bed or using your laptop right before that. Remember that devices can keep your brain activated long after you’ve put them away, making it harder for you to fall asleep.

To change that, unplug every evening after you’ve done all that you had to. In addition, don’t grab your phone or start checking sites first thing in the morning. Be distraction-free in the morning, so you’ll experience the solitude of the early hours. You should get online only when it’s time for work.

These practices will help you change not just your online habits, but your whole daily schedule. You’ll have more time for yourself as a focused mind gets things done in a shorter time.

See Also: 6 Simple Habits For More Productivity, Happiness And Fulfillment

The post 4 Bad Online Habits That Are Killing Your Work Productivity appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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How to Increase Your Productivity in a Coworking Space

Public coworking spaces and shared office spaces have become increasingly popular in the last decade. In fact, in over six years, the number of shared office spaces available has jumped from 1,130 to 13,800 — a leap of 12,670 spaces.

This popularity is due to the undeniable benefits of shared working spaces, especially for freelancers and independent contractors. Factors such as energy level, professional ambiance and mingling lend a hand to the success of this office style. However, like working anywhere, shared spaces have their own unique downsides. Sensory overload, random uncontrollable noise and self-management can decrease your work productivity.

Here are a few tips to making this public space work for you!

Invest in Headphones

coworking space productivity

Open work spaces come with a lot of noise. Even with the best efforts to keep quiet, keyboard strokes, coffee sips, small chatter, conference calls and more can quickly become a nuisance.

The solution? Headphones.

Using a personalized music playlist or listening to your favorite podcast is proven to be effective in enhancing your focus. However, make sure to cater to your work. If you’re writing, music is usually a better choice than a podcast as it provides too much word input. But, if you’re designing web platforms, a podcast you enjoy will keep your brain busy while you’re completing tedious tasks.

If music in your ear isn’t your jam (pun intended), consider complete silence with a high-quality pair of noise-canceling headphones. Covering up with a pair of these will block out the chitter chatter and clickety clicks, so you can focus on your workload in peace and quiet.

See Also: This Type Of Music Can Increase Your Productivity

Create Your ‘Office’

cowork space

Much like audio chaos, visual noise is worth reducing for increased productivity. Avoid having anything chaotic or messy within your sight to help maintain focus. Items like trash bins, cluttered tables, washroom hallways and even busy streets are distracting.

Try facing towards a view with simple, clean lines. It can be a garden window or a wall. It seems boring, but Zen tradition suggests this is a great way to stay on task. If possible, include daylight near your workspace. Increased light exposure is proven to improve sleep habits and therefore increase productivity.

Having a plant nearby can also relax the body and foster creativity. If the space doesn’t have plants, consider commuting with your own or bringing a few to leave in the space. Of course, make sure to talk to the owner of the workspace first to ensure that your greenery doesn’t get tossed out at the end of the day.

If your line of work involves a high level of creativity, you may choose to face the excitement head on and use it as your muse. The saying “to each his own” is appropriate for visual decluttering.

See Also: 7 Surprising Benefits of Coworking Spaces

Prioritize Your Time

Most people (64%) who use coworking spaces are better able to meet their deadlines. Time management plays a large role in their ability to do so. To become one of the 64%, it’s suggested that you mute all unimportant notifications. Little beeps for unimportant tasks will take your focus away from larger, more important jobs.

Next, studies show that in order to produce the highest quality of work in the shortest amount of time, people should work intensely for 52 minutes, then take a 17-minute break.

The trick? Staying off of social media, text messaging and the like. Instead, use your break to take a refreshing walk or mingle within the office space. Not only will this help you refocus, but networking never hurts!

Scheduling your own hours is a huge perk that comes along with this style of working. However, if you aren’t disciplined with your time, it’s easy to start working in overdrive. Keeping set hours helps you stay on track, sets the pace for your day and for your potential clients and assures you do not overwork yourself.

One of the reasons shared working spaces are successful is the fact that they provide a structured space to work that is not home. Use this to your advantage and keep work and home time separate.

In addition to these three focus points, maintaining a work-life harmony and keeping procrastination tendencies under control are also important to increasing your productivity in a shared work environment. Once your space is perfected, you will reap the benefits of joining a coworking habitat, including an improved home life, a potential increase in income and added professional flexibility.

Share our awesome infographic on Tips For Getting Work Done.

 

The post How to Increase Your Productivity in a Coworking Space appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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4 Free Business Productivity Apps To Help You Grow Your Small Business

Managing a business is easier said than done. When you run your own business, you need to give it all your time and attention. It’s a job that is both demanding and fulfilling.

Eventually, you’ll want to turn it into a business that can run without you. This, unfortunately, is the harder part.

The first obstacle you need to anticipate is manpower. For small businesses and start-up companies, it is usually the owner that does most of the work. To help you out, here are the top business productivity apps you can rely on for help.

1. TMetric

tmetric

This is a time tracking app that can help you manage projects and your team at the same time. It can track your team’s work activities which you can view in a simple timeline mode.

If you have remote employees or you’re not in the office most of the time, you can use this app to check on your team’s productivity. As the project leader, you’ll be able to view what sites your members visited or what apps they’ve used in a specific period of time.

Tmetric is completely free and can be integrated with other tools like Trello, Basecamp, Jira, Asana, and RedMine. Compared with other time tracking apps, this one is very user-friendly and does not require training to understand.

It’s a simple click-and-go app with powerful features at no cost.

See Also: Top 7 Ways to Improve Your Productivity 

2. MailChimp

mailchimp

For a business to grow, its mailing list should grow as well. It’s a great way to continuously generate leads and sales.

MailChimp is an easy and professional way to send emails to your subscribers. Its intuitive interface allows even the most non-techy users to make it work.

For small businesses, the free version is a good starting point. You can send up to 12,000 emails a month to a mailing list of up to 2,000 contacts.

MailChimp has a huge directory of integration. Popular platforms include WordPress, Shopify, and Magento.

3. Wave

waveapps

This app is pretty straightforward. It’s a free accounting software that covers invoicing, payroll, bills, and other factors that involve money. It’s specifically tailored for small businesses.

Wave gives business owners an easy and efficient way to manage books. If you want to handle accounting work yourself but don’t want to spend money for more advanced apps, this is a great solution.

You can securely link your banking accounts, send unlimited invoices, and pay as many bills as you want. It is a Canadian-based company with over 2.5 million users.

You can securely link your banking accounts, send unlimited invoices, and pay as many bills as you want. It is a Canadian-based company with over 2.5 million users.

4. Tasytt

tasytt-app

Welcoming a new team member can take a lot of work, particularly when it comes to orientation and training. This is a common experience and issue for most small businesses.

As a solution, you can try a tiny but powerful app called Tasytt. It streamlines your company’s training process so you know who’s reading what and for how long.

See Also: 8 Top Marketing Tips for Small Businesses 

In addition to onboarding new team members, it’s  a great tool for training existing team members without having to set up individual meetings, too. By creating ‘flows’, which are basically tasks made into a smaller set of activities, you can easily track your team’s progress and productivity.

BONUS: You can also consider this free automated timesheet template as an additional resource to help you track time across your teams and stay more productive.

 

The post 4 Free Business Productivity Apps To Help You Grow Your Small Business appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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6 Simple Habits For More Productivity, Happiness And Fulfillment

Research tells us that willpower is like a muscle. You can work on making it stronger, but you can’t keep it flexed forever.

In other words:

Willpower is a limited resource.

There’s no better use of one’s willpower than on forming the right habits. The right habits serve as the bridge between where you are and where you want to be. Once those habits are formed, you don’t have to exert willpower on them anymore. Your journey towards success is effectively put on autopilot.

Try and adopt at least one of the following six productivity habits and reap the fruits of increased happiness and fulfillment.

Join the 5 a.m. club

“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”

– Ben Franklin

Waking up early is a habit common among the world’s highest achievers. Theodore Roosevelt, Benjamin Franklin, Ernest Hemingway, Immanuel Kant and Thomas Jefferson are all examples of men who were early risers.

Turns out:

Several studies have correlated waking up early with success.

In a 2008 Texas University study, college students who woke up earlier earned a higher point than those who study and sleep late (3.5 vs. 2.5).

Also, Harvard biologist Christoph Randler found that early risers are more proactive and more likely to respond positively to statements like “I spend time identifying long-range goals for myself” and “I feel in charge of making things happen.”

And if that isn’t enough, psychology research also tells us that early risers are happier and healthier than night-owls.

When you wake up early, there are less distractions and more time for you to focus on planning your day and doing what needs to get done.

Check out this actionable guide to discover how to burst out of bed every single morning.

Meditate Daily

meditate everyday

“The thing about meditation is: You become more and more you.”

– David Lynch

After interviewing more than 200 world-class performers like Jamie Foxx, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Amelia Boone for his podcast (The Tim Ferris Show), Tim found that the most consistent habit among his guests was some form of daily meditation or mindfulness practice.

Meditation is a practice that is a thousand years old. Only recently has science begun to discover the profound effects that it has on the brain.

A group of Harvard-affiliated researchers reported that, over time, meditation can increase the brain’s gray matter. This is the region of your brain associated with decision-making.

What is life but a sum total of your decisions?

If something as simple as 10 minutes of daily meditation can improve the quality of your decisions, imagine what it can do for your overall quality of life.

Meditation has also been shown to reduce stress, improve concentration, increase self-awareness, slow down aging and increase happiness. It’s a habit that can improve every area of your life.

Don’t know where to start? Check out this beginner’s guide to meditation.

See Also: Benefits Of Meditation: How You Can Change Your Life In 10 Minutes

Read for 30 Minutes Everyday

read a book everyday

“Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for.”

– Socrates

I compare reading to taking the red pill because it’s what snapped me out of the matrix of societal conditioning. Reading the works of great men and women showed me the extent of what’s really possible.

When we hear about Richard Branson in the media, we see him as the cool and suave, self-made billionaire. However, when you read his autobiography, you’ll learn about the mistakes he made, the obstacles he overcame and the lessons he learned. It has a sort of humanizing effect on him and you’ll realize that what one man can do, another can do as well.

Expose yourself to a wide variety of books and ideas to develop a dynamic and empowered perspective on life.

Need help getting started? Check out this step-by-step guide on how to read more.

Practice Gratitude

“Gratefulness is a higher organ of perception, through which you can accurately appreciate a fundamental truth: the universe works in mysterious ways, and you’re the constant beneficiary of its generosity.”

– Phil Stutz

Practicing gratitude teaches us to love the life we have while in pursuit of the life we want.

It’s human nature to compare ourselves to those who have more than us. But, when we realize the simple miracles of everyday life (e.g. access to clean water, the ability to walk, a warm bed to sleep in, etc.), it puts things in perspective.

The power of gratitude has been demonstrated in multiple studies. Here’s one that I like in particular:

Researchers brought participants into a lab and asked them to write a few sentences each week focused on a particular topic. One group wrote about the things they were grateful for while the other wrote about daily irritations or things that displeased them.

After about 10 weeks, the participants that wrote down what they were grateful for were more optimistic, felt better about their lives, exercised more and visited their physicians less.

Practicing gratitude literally changes your brain and makes you a happier and more fulfilled person. Make it a habit to write down 5 things that you’re grateful for every single day.

Skip Breakfast

“Since I’ve started intermittent fasting I’ve increased muscle mass, decreased body fat, increased explosiveness, and decreased the amount of time I’ve spent training.”

– James Clear

This habit might come as a shock to you. After all, we’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This idea, however, is quickly being laid to rest as the benefits of intermittent fasting have become too many to ignore.

See Also: Breaking the Fast: What I Have Learned Using Intermittent Fasting

Did you know that digestion is actually one of your body’s most complicated and intensive functions? That’s right.

By skipping breakfast, you extend your overnight fast and allow your body to focus its resources on other important tasks, like controlling blood sugar and facilitating cellular recovery.

Furthermore, a short-term fast can boost testosterone and growth hormone levels. These two factors can seriously enhance your progress when trying to lean down.

Intermittent fasting (IF) is not a diet. It is a pattern of eating. To get started with IF, you only have to follow one rule:

Eat within a 6-8 hour window.

So, if you wake up at 8 a.m., simply skip breakfast and have your first meal between 12-2 p.m. Have your final meal between 8-10 p.m. It’s as simple as that. For a more intensive resource for, you can check out James Clear’s guide.

Since adopting IF, my productivity has also shot up. My body is not involved in digestion and I find myself more focused on work. By the time I have my first meal, I’ve already gotten so much work done that the rest of the day is pretty much just a bonus.

Make Your Bed

“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”

– U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McCraven

Making your bed in the morning will set the tone for the rest of your day. As the first task of the day, it will set the momentum for your next set of tasks. By the end of the day, it will be like a domino effect that has carried over.

As McCraven mentions in his University of Texas commencement speech:

“Making your bed will reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made – that you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”

 

The post 6 Simple Habits For More Productivity, Happiness And Fulfillment appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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How Lack Of Integrity Can Affect Your Life

Integrity is probably at the center of my core values.

If I’m not being generous, I’m out of integrity. If I’m not being honest, I’m out of integrity. When I’m not showing compassion, I’m out of integrity.

Another way to look at it is if I’m out of integrity, I’m not in alignment with what’s important to me. And to be perfectly honest, I simply can’t function when my integrity is out. My life just doesn’t work.

Now, whether my integrity is out or not is entirely subjective. Logic doesn’t come into it and I can’t talk or justify my way out of feeling out of integrity. If I’m out of integrity, I KNOW I’m out of integrity and no amount of sophistry, understanding, justification or reasoning is going to change that.

It sounds like I’m being really harsh on myself, but that’s not how it is at all. By working on getting myself back in integrity, I’m constantly moving further into alignment.

Things don’t flow when I’m out of integrity. Stuff doesn’t work and I feel blocked. It’s unpleasant when I’m that way. It feels like I’m wading through quicksand.

Why life feels like hard work

Half the time, it’s not obvious that I’m being out of integrity and that’s where problems happen. Because my integrity so intrinsically links with everything else, all I know is I feel out of sorts and things feel just not quite right.

I’ve felt like that for a few days now and it’s been getting more and more difficult to achieve or complete anything. Even writing has been difficult and, trust me, I usually have no problems in writing something.

Then I realized: I’m out of integrity.

I gave my word to do something and it hasn’t happened. The reasons for it not happening are completely out of my control, but it’s still my responsibility.

My word, my responsibility. No one’s fault, just my responsibility.

I told someone I’d do something and it hasn’t happened. I’ve communicated with the person and reset the event date 4 times now. It’s still not going to happen and I’m not willing to reset the date again. My integrity is out, not just on sticking to my word but also on another of my core values: fairness.

Even though the reasons are completely out of my control, I don’t feel like I’m being fair to the other person for constantly changing the plan. And I’m feeling awful about it.

feeling awful

I’m feeling awful because my integrity is out and I can’t do anything about it. The other person was very understanding, but it isn’t my fault and I’m not the only one to blame.

But, that’s not the point.

The point is that it’s MY integrity that’s out, therefore, it’s MY integrity that needs mending.

I want to feel good about myself, so I MUST take responsibility. The reason is simple.

I’m taking responsibility, regardless of the fact that not all things and people are under my control because I gave MY word that I’d do something.

Living with knowing that I can’t stand by my word is unacceptable.

I could go down the path of justification, reasonableness, and blame. After all, it’s not entirely my fault.

But, if I do that, then it’s like giving the power over whether I’m true to myself and my core values to someone or something else.

I’m giving the power about how I feel about myself to someone else. It’s like letting someone else have control over my life. And no one should have that power over anyone else.

Only WE know whether we’re being true to ourselves or not.

If you feel that something’s “off”, that life is hard work or just a bit icky, take a long, hard look at yourself. Find out where you’re not being responsible. No matter how ridiculous it seems or no matter how much things are completely out of your control, TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.

take responsibility

Take responsibility for knowing that you’re being true to yourself. Don’t leave it for years like I’ve done in the past. Look at it NOW.

See Also: Taking Ownership: Are You Taking Full Responsibility For Your Life?

Where are YOU out of integrity?

I can pretty much guarantee that if life is feeling like hard work for you, it’s because you’re out of integrity SOMEWHERE.

It might be around your values or because you feel like your job isn’t the one for you. You might have given up on a dream, eating poorly or not exercising. You might be in a relationship that you know is not right for you. It might be due to all the things you’re saying in your own head.

So, have a close look and find out where you are running out of integrity.

Don’t waste any more time not feeling completely in the flow. Do something about it NOW.

See Also: Flow: Discovering The Secret to High Performance and Happiness

The post How Lack Of Integrity Can Affect Your Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Visual Tools To Boost Your Productivity At Work

Did you know that you can only be productive for about 3 hours in an 8-hour work day?

One good reason is the limited concentration of humans. Aside from that, there are other factors that can eat up your time at work. Just think about meetings, lunch breaks and having small chats with your co-workers.

If you aren’t careful, those 3 hours of productivity can easily go down the drain.

While there are plenty of methods and tools which you can use to organize your work and enhance your focus, not all of them are effective in generating positive results.

Increasing Productivity Through Visualization

Human beings are visual learners. In fact, they can process visuals 60,000x faster than text. This is why a visual tool can truly boost your productivity, especially when you need to organize your work and increase your focus.

But, first, why would visual methods or tools work better?

A tool or a method that is based on visualization has the power to engage both sides of the human brain. Such tools require the skills of the left brain for letters, sequences, lines and numbers as well as the right brain for color, spatial awareness, image and rhythm. This does not only enhance the thinking process, but it also stimulates creativity.

To help streamline your work and increase your productivity, you can use the following visual tools.

Mind Maps

From Northwestern University

A mind map is a tool that you can use to visualize an idea that is sprouting in your head. It provides a framework for gradually developing a concept or a strategy.

At the center of the mind map, you put down the main idea and, as you develop it, you can add the related information on the branches that fork out from the center.

A comprehensive mind map makes it easier to identify and analyze links between details that make up the concept. It is a great tool to use when planning out a strategy, event or a project.  Use a mind map to schedule your day at work first thing in the morning, and you’ll see how it helps you estimate and organize your work properly.

Flowcharts

With a flowchart, you can graphically illustrate the sequence of steps in a process, be it the hiring, sales or the manufacturing process.

How does this help you increase your productivity?

Imagine you are working on developing a new sales process. With the use of a flowchart, you can easily picture how it should work out as well as identify the areas that need more careful planning. Plus, when it comes to pitching your idea to your team or seniors, a flowchart can explain at a glance what you will have to explain in a thousand words.

Flowcharts are also an effective decision-making and problem-solving tool.

See Also: 5 Key Steps That Will Improve Your Decision Making

Gantt Charts

A Gantt chart is a project planning tool. It helps a team visualize the project schedule and monitor and record the progress you make. It can also be useful when allocating resources or setting up deadlines.

A comprehensive Gantt chart provides you a quick overview of all the important details of a project, such as the due dates, task names and those who are in charge of them. When estimating your tasks and tracking their progress, a Gantt chart could be a handy productivity tool.

Organizational Charts

Traditionally, this type of chart is used to graphically illustrate the structure of an organization. While it illustrates job titles and responsibilities, it can also clear the reporting structure within or between departments. It can also be used to identify ideal employees when allocating resources and help new employees in understanding company hierarchies and departments better.

Fishbone Diagrams

Fishbone diagrams (a.k.a. cause-and-effect diagrams) help identify the root cause of an issue. It can be considered as a visual problem-solving technique. Drawn like a bone of a fish, the head of the fish represents the issue that needs to be solved. The bones, one the other hand, can be used to jot down the potential causes.

A fishbone diagram can be considered as a time-saving tool when used to structure a brainstorming session or a thorough analysis of an issue.

See Also: 55 Bulletproof Productivity Hacks 

The right work strategy can help you improve your output by 25% and, with the right tools, you can definitely further the outcome.

How to Increase Workplace Productivity through Visualization

Created with Creately.

 

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Smart Tips On How to Become A More Productive Blogger

Productive people are successful people.  They get their work done, make sure all necessary tasks are tended to and leave no loose ends. If you are a blogger, however, these things can be very hard to achieve.

When you’re a blogger, you’re your own boss. You decide what gets done and when so productivity should always be a high priority for you.

To help you achieve that, we’ve compiled some of the best blogging tips that can help you do more with your time.

Make A Plan

planning blogging

Making a plan for when you’re going to write articles, post them on your blog and social media and respond to and send emails can keep you organized and on track. A plan can help you decide what you need to do for the day and limit the time you’ll have to wonder about your next task.

Delegate Small Tasks to Freelancers

You don’t have to do everything by yourself even if you are the sole owner and operator of your blog. Small things, like formatting photos, creating logos and crafting theme designs, can be done by others.

This will save you time as well as increase the quality of your blog. There are several freelancing options and platforms that can meet your budget and needs.

See Also: A Practical Guide to Hiring and Managing Freelancers

Use Your Bookmark Bar

The bookmark bar is a very useful tool that you may not even be aware of. If you haven’t used it yet, it’s a tool which you can use to save websites that you may frequently visit or need to access later.

You can quickly save a website by holding the control key and then pressing the ‘D’ button. Since you’ll no longer have to manually type the website or search for it, you’ll be able to save a good amount of time.

Utilize Time-Saving Plugins

If you have your own blog website, then this will be very useful to you.

Plugins can do a variety of things. They are like apps for your website which can save you time and a lot of hard work.

For example, Akismet is a common plugin that eliminates spam comments so you don’t have to delete them manually. There are also plugins that preserve your format, font, and layout when you want to publish a post.

However, some plugins, like Write!, have .html export options already built in. This way, you can make use of Write!’s special features without having to use plugin space. Keep this in mind as this is one of the most important blogging tips you can find.

Be Passionate About Your Topic

Finding your passion can be a bit difficult but it can help you complete any task. Hopefully, you have chosen a topic for your blog that you are very passionate about.

Some areas of blogging are really exhausting and frustrating. They can easily make you want to give up.

In order to stay on track and be productive, you should try to find something about these tasks that you enjoy. Being passionate about what you’re doing will motivate you to do your best and be at your most productive.

See Also: How To Find The Best Topic For Your Blog

Create a FAQ Page

create an faq page

Are you constantly being asked the same few questions over and over by your visitors?

If so, then you should really consider writing up a FAQ page where you can answer the most common questions from your fans. It’s a more convenient approach since you won’t have to repeatedly answer the same questions.

It may seem like a tiny thing, but those minutes you’ll use answering their questions can easily add up. It’s time you could be spending writing, posting and marketing your blog.

Eliminate Unnecessary Distractions

This tip isn’t specific for blog productivity but can also be used for any task that requires focus.

If you want an easy, sure-fire way to increase your productivity, then get rid of all of the distractions in your blogging environment. This includes signing out of social media, turning your phone to silent, separating yourself from people that will distract you, and suppressing anything that may draw your focus from your current task.

Music may help you focus or draw your focus from your work. This will depend on your preference and what you’re working on.

The post Smart Tips On How to Become A More Productive Blogger appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Adulting Isn’t Just Instagramming Your Dinner – Soft Skills For Millennials

Millennials have been done a great disservice. They are told that if they go to college and earn a degree, they will make a million dollars more over their lifetime than someone without a college degree. While this statistic is true in some cases, many Millennials are under the mistaken impression it is the college degree itself that will get them where they need to go. It turns out there is a whole other set of skills- soft skills- that Millennials are lacking, and that is holding them back.

What Are Soft Skills?

Being able to get to work on time, eating nutritious foods, and getting enough exercise are all soft skills that can impact your job performance. But the soft skills employers are most looking for are:

  • Creative Thinking
  • Effective Communication
  • Problem Solving
  • Innovative Thinking
  • Ethical Integrity
  • Intercultural Skills
  • Desire For Continued Learning

Where Do You Get Soft Skills?

reading self study book

Soft skills are generally things that aren’t taught, though they can be. Most people are supposed to learn these things through experience, but when you are just starting out in the job market you don’t really have time to learn on the job. In this job market, you need to show up prepared.

Some places to hone your adulting skills are:

  • Self Help Books
  • Volunteering
  • Adulting Classes
  • Support Groups
  • Hobbies

Whenever you work on bettering yourself, you are bringing yourself one step closer to being a responsible adult. If you are under the mistaken impression you are good enough just as you are, take a long hard look in the mirror. Everyone, literally everyone, has room for improvement. It’s not that you’re a bad person; you need to focus on being the best version of yourself you possibly can be.

See Also: 5 Reasons Why You Should Volunteer 

What Schools Aren’t Teaching

millennial school

Millennials can have the best degree from the best university, but there are some things they might not be learning. Getting the job done efficiently is as important as getting it done well. Learning to prioritize tasks and set goals and deadlines is certainly something that Millennials should be learning in school, but it doesn’t always shake out that way.

Things that are emphasized in school:

  • Science
  • Technology
  • Mathematics
  • Reading
  • Writing

Things that are not emphasized in school but should be:

  • Arts
  • Humanities
  • History
  • Physical Education
  • Home Economics
  • Social Skills

With the shift toward teaching to a test, the school is results-driven rather than comprehensive. Education is shifted to one extreme- the one that is going to produce the most career-ready students. Unfortunately, the need for arts, humanities, and the like gets lost in the shuffle. Empathy is not measurable, neither is the drive to succeed. As long as you can memorize and regurgitate the material, you get rubber stamped to move on to the next level.

Once school is over, where are Millennials supposed to learn these soft skills? That is the true challenge. Knowing you need to brush up on your soft skills is one thing, but knowing how to do that is something else entirely. Perseverance is the key to all lifelong learning. There will be setbacks and challenges, but learning to press on is where Millennials have the opportunity to transform into the next generation of business leaders.

See Also: How Millennials Measure Success At Work

Learning how to take care of yourself outside of the workplace will go a long way toward success in the workplace. Millennials also often don’t learn how to eat a proper diet, get enough sleep and exercise, and the value of unplugging in school, but these skills can have a huge impact on career readiness.

Soft skills set apart between being able to replicate your job as it was taught to you and being able to innovate a new way to do your job that is more efficient. Soft skills are the difference between keeping your business small and local and being able to scale up because you have the ability to communicate with people from other cultures.

Developing yourself both personally and professionally is something you have to do on your own time. You will have to be willing to engage in lifelong learning. If you don’t want to ever learn anything new ever again, your career is going to be stuck for the rest of your life. But if you can recognize there is a problem and set about trying to solve it, congratulations- you’ve just mastered adulting.

 

The post Adulting Isn’t Just Instagramming Your Dinner – Soft Skills For Millennials appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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