Productivity

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5 Tips To Increase Productivity When Working From Home

14th January
By Erik Bergman

5 Tips To Increase Productivity When Working From Home

Working from home is a blessing for many. But some find it difficult to get used to their new surroundings. However, both groups of employees should focus on maintaining productivity levels.

After all, it's much easier to get distracted when working from home, as opposed to the office. And if your productivity levels are taking a hit due to working from home, this guide is for you.

So with all that said, let's start.

Agree On "Working Hours" With Your Family

Despite the warmth and comfort of our homes, everyone must remember that they are indeed working. But your family members are probably the most impacted by this new change of surroundings. 

Simply put, they're not used to you being around the house from nine to five.

As a result, they will interrupt you. This is something you absolutely want to avoid at all costs.

You must remember that you have responsibilities and tasks that need doing. So, one way to "remind" your family members not to bother you is to agree on the working hours.

For many, working hours are nine to five. Working from home gives you more flexibility to start and finish later. But that's not something you want to do.

Instead, sit down with your family and lay out the plan - no distractions during working hours! Distractions will only damage your productivity and make you lose efficiency. Remind them that it's okay to come for a chat while on your break. But stress the importance of respecting your privacy during work time.

Have Your Own Space

Maintaining productivity is impossible while working at home if you don't have your own office. This is an issue most remote workers have when first trying the new work model. For some, there's enough space around the house to create a makeshift office for the time being.

But for others, the limited space creates an even bigger issue. When we don't have our own working space, distractions become a mainstay. Whether it's your family members watching the TV or kids running around, how would you get things done when there are no walls between you and your family?

To make this new thing work for you, you must find a way to create your own working space. During the height of the pandemic, companies were forced to change business strategies to survive. On the other hand, employees were forced to look for creative ways to work with limited space and form home offices.

If you find yourself in a similar boat, having your own space is the first obstacle to eliminate.

Develop Habits For Productivity

There's no better tip to increase productivity levels when working from home than to get up early and finish your assignments before the clock runs out.

Ideally, you want to increase productivity levels by creating habits for better focus. Certain habits can help us go into a "work" mode, where we do the same stuff day after day and achieve great results. You want to model these habits towards productivity, as the sooner you finish your tasks, the sooner you get to "go home."

We can apply the same logic when working from home. Even if you're on a nine-to-five gist, there's no one to bother you if you finish your assignments earlier. You can leave your laptop on and do other stuff.

But we won't achieve the desired productivity levels if we don't develop these habits for better focus. So what are some of these habits?

The obvious one is to eliminate distractions. Distractions negatively affect our productivity levels by preoccupying our minds with unnecessary stuff. Common distractions include checking social media, calling a friend, and listening to a podcast, all while working.

Another habit for better focus is to train your brain to fixate on the current assignment. To do that, you must go with the idea that a reward will await you once you finish it. Even if you hate doing the particular assignment, train your brain to get it done ASAP.

Lastly, learn to take short breaks. This last one is so influential and helpful that we will discuss it in the next part.

Take Short Breaks

"Taking short breaks between assignments will help increase productivity levels," this study says. This is yet another "brain-training" habit where we convince ourselves we have time to take breaks when working on complex issues.

Short breaks, or microbreaks, are beneficial for your work and productivity levels. For many, this habit can be instrumental in achieving results when working from home. But that begs the question, how often should you take breaks from work?

There is no correct answer to it. The habit will work as long as you manage to finish your assignments. But that's not to say there aren't proven models. Some recommend taking five to ten-minute breaks for every hour of work.

You might be familiar with the twenty to thirty-minute breaks every three hours, but this model is proven quite ineffective compared to the previous one.

So once you clock an hour of work, go for a ten-minute break. You will immediately notice the difference.

Create A To-Do List

A to-do list is yet another helpful tool for increasing productivity. To-do lists are excellent because they lay out all the work you need to do for the day. Let's say you have six tasks for the day.

You gain an overview of exactly what needs doing by creating a to-do list. Once you finish an assignment, you feel a sense of achievement and can move on to the next one. Remember to take a short break between assignments to adjust productivity and efficiency levels.

Daily to-do lists are even better when working from home. Once you wake up and hop on your work desk, make it a habit to create a list. Doing this helps you get off to a good start and make it easier to accomplish daily assignments.

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you'll never get it done.” 

– Bruce Lee

Conclusion

Working from home doesn't have to feel like a chore. Many employees struggle to maintain or increase productivity levels despite the greater convenience of remote work.

Luckily, these five tips will help you increase productivity levels.

Want to learn more about increasing efficiency and productivity? Then check out the featured resource below to grab a free report; download, read it and take action 😊

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About The Author

Erik Bergman

Erik Bergman co-founded Catena Media and helped grow it to over 300 employees and a $200 million valuation before stepping away to start Great.com, an iGaming organization that donates 100% of its profits to environmental charities. In addition to running a successful online business, Erik also hosts the Becoming Great podcast, shares entrepreneurship tips with his more than 1 million social media followers, and contributes to sites like Entrepreneuer.com, Business Insider, Foundr, and Forbes.

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Focus On Intent To Help Control Creativity

Focus On Intent To Help Control Creativity

Focus On Intent To Help Control Creativity

If you’re creatively inclined, then you probably enjoy most of your time coming up with ideas, but you’re likely less intrigued by the serious business side that requires a lot of focus and monotonous work.

Any creative projects require these aspects to become full-fledged products or ideas, as annoying as it may seem. Don’t panic when it comes time to set aside your creativity, because you will get back to it.

Instead, just focus on your intentions with the creative idea and work to bring it to reality. While ideas certainly have merit, they’re not particularly useful if they’re never put into action.

Often times, putting them into action can be a tedious process, but it becomes worth it to see your creative endeavor brought to life, able to accomplish the goals that you had in mind when you thought of it in the first place.

For example, if you came up with a great infographic to inform people about a topic that you’re passionate about, it wouldn’t get very far as a simple idea or rough draft. A completed product that was shared and spread online would be able to actually inform others and spread your knowledge, but it’s going to take work.

You’re going to have to do research and cite sources, make it look nice, and go through the work of getting it to be spread and shared around. These are tedious things, but since your intent was to spread knowledge to begin with, it makes it worth your effort.

You might also want to create something with the intent of generating some income for yourself. It might be something like designing logos for up and coming companies or making physical products that people can buy on websites like Etsy.

The thought process is fun when you get to utilize your creativity, but then comes the actual process of bringing it to reality. Gathering materials, stocking your inventory, shipping purchases – all of these things can be a hassle.

Regardless of whether or not it’s a pain for you to do, your intention was to make money. The only way for you to do that is to give them an actual product. Very seldom will people pay good money for the concept of something that they’ll have to actually create themselves.

Instead, they’re more interested in purchasing a completed product, something that they don’t have to put any more work into. That’s where your effort to backburner your creativity comes in handy.

Engage In Digital Minimalism To Maximize Creativity And Focus

While technology and all of the gadgets we have today are certainly useful and can help you work more efficiently, they may also be dragging down your creativity and focus.

Whether it be a ton of distractions on all your devices or the fact that you might be using them as a crutch, they can sometimes do more harm than good for your creative flow and ability to focus.

In these situations, it’s best to put all of the tech down and just focus with the bare essentials. It’s almost like a palate cleanser. While you spend hours and hours writing on Word documents or drawing pictures in Photoshop, you can just as well get it done with a good old fashioned pen and paper.

It might not be as efficient, but it helps in ways that you might not anticipate. The best thing to do when attempting this is to separate yourself from as much technology as possible.

If you can go out to your backyard or to a park with just a pen and paper and get your work done, then that’s great. If, for emergency reasons, you need to have your phone on you, that’s fine – just make sure you’re not using it to get distracted.

Otherwise, you shouldn’t be listening to music or watching anything, and preferably it’s somewhere outside where you can really absorb the sights and sounds of nature. When you don’t have the distractions of technology, from constant alerts to easily accessible entertainment, you might find that you’re able to be much more focused.

You’re there with only your own work to do, and otherwise you have nothing to really focus on. If you’re having trouble focusing, this might be a great way to get you back on track.

In terms of creativity, technology is very helpful, but it can start to become more of a crutch than a tool. If you know that you can always reference random guides online and draw inspiration from all kinds of other designs, then you may start to lose your creative edge.

By isolating yourself from all of that, you’ll be able to use your own pure creativity to create something entirely unique, without the reliance on all kinds of other sources. You should always look at technology as a tool – a means to an end.

It’s an amazing tool that you can and should take advantage of, but sooner or later, you’re going to reach a point where you’re becoming overly dependent on it, at which point you need to take a break and reassess.

Has Your Demand For Productivity Intimidated Your Creative Vibe?

Productivity is often stressed above all else in businesses today. It’s the best way to put out product after product, which typically results in the highest profit yield. However, productivity isn’t everything.

You need to be able to put out something that you’re proud of, something original and creative, and too much focus on productivity may stifle that, leading to some rather negative consequences.

There are many companies that would rather put out as many products as possible instead of making high quality products a priority. There’s a balance to be found between the two.

You obviously can’t release just one small product every year, but you also can’t be rushing so quickly that you’re not putting enough effort into things. Once you start to rush through your projects without care, you’ll start to slip.

One of the major drawbacks about being overly productive is that your business partners or clients may start to notice that you’re focusing on quantity over quality.

If they’re used to receiving quality products from you, ones that are made with much love and care, they’ll be pretty sour once they start receiving a ton of mediocre work.

At that point, word may start to spread, and you can actually end up losing business. Creativity takes time. That is a fundamental part of business – it doesn’t just come out of thin air.

It takes time and care for you to develop an idea fully and to polish it to near perfection. You can’t take all the time in the world to get it done, since you naturally have certain deadlines to meet, but you can put a bit of extra time and effort into it to get it just as you’d like, to make something you’re proud of.

Extended periods of time spent pumping out as much as you can without any true creative input can actually hurt you in the long run as well. It might get you some short term sales, but it’ll start to fall off.

Creativity is like a muscle. It needs to be exercised frequently in order to grow and develop as well as stay healthy. If you’re not spending some time honing your creativity over a certain amount of time, it will start to degrade.

Eventually, you’ll be left without the same degree of creativity that you had before, and it can be difficult to get back into your flow when you need it. Instead of focusing on pure quantity, make sure you’re actually putting some heart and effort into the things you produce.

Well, as I’m sure you can appreciate, there is a lot more to be learnt about increasing focus and productivity; far more than can be covered in this short post, but if you’d like to know more about this, then click on the featured resource below where you can pick up a free report, Stay Focused For Success, that covers this topic in more detail. Download, read it and take action 😊

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Managing Ideas And Boosting Your Productivity

Managing Ideas And Boosting Your Productivity

Managing Ideas And Boosting Your Productivity

We all have a hundred different ideas that we feel could be a smashing success in our industry.

Whether it be the idea for a new product or service, there’s more ideas than there is time.

This is where you need to learn to reign in all of those ideas you have and construct an action plan that not only fleshes those ideas out so you can weed out the likely winners from the duds, but it will help you focus on boosting productivity.

Why do you need to do this?

Because it’s been proven that the human brain can’t focus on more than one thing at a time.

When we try to divide our attention, we end up scattered. Our quality also suffers. While learning to multi-task may seem like a great idea, narrowing your focus so that you’re tackling one task at a time will always produce better results.

So, what can you do when you have more ideas to grow your business than you have time for?

Begin by jotting down the top ideas that come to mind.  Don’t write summaries or get carried away with hashing out the details. Instead, write down titles for each idea.

Then, tear them apart, one-by-one. Be realistic with your expectations and the time you have to spend on each project.  Think about your core audience and what they’d be most interested in.

Create a priority list based on all the ideas you have.  Again, keep your audience in mind because the ideas you have may not align with what your market is actively looking for.

Thinking about ways to maximize your outreach, further your brand and provide additional value to your market is important but if you’re struggling to focus, you need a way of segmenting these ideas so that they make better sense. 

Otherwise, you’ll spend more time thinking about and analyzing ideas, versus bringing those ideas to life.

A project management system is a great tool when it comes to not only fleshing out potential ideas but in staying on track with the projects you’re working on.

Day-to-day operations can be exhausting to keep track of. With a system in place that makes it easy for you to assign value to projects, allocate time and be able to generate a quick snapshot at where you are during each project will make it easier to stay focused on your end goals.

There are countless project management tools available to you including Asana and Basecamp.

You can easily create schedules using Google Calendar found here:

https://gsuite.google.com/learning-center/tips/calendar

More Tips & Strategies To Increase Focus And Productivity

By now you probably realise that there are different ways you can improve focus and subsequently, increase productivity and quality output and I have covered a number of them in this and other blog posts.

And now I want to give you a few more tips and strategies that I hope will help you. You can never have enough ways to boost your productivity, right?

Commit To One Thing At A Time

Previously I have mentioned the importance of narrowing your focus down to one main goal at a time since it’s been proven that our brain responds better when we are working on one project at a time, rather than attempting to multi-task.

So, begin by choosing just one idea, create a schedule that includes goal-based milestones, allocate time to each task and get started!

Use project management tools such as Asana or Basecamp to help you stay on track.

Prioritize Your Goals

What projects aren’t panning out? What do you feel is less likely to be a success?

What tasks could be wiped off the to-do list? Take a step back and evaluate the things you’re spending your time on, staying on the lookout for ways to free up your time and improve your focus.

Work On Only What You Love

This is an important one when it comes to staying focused. If you’re finding yourself burned out working on tasks that you are simply not interested in, chances are the quality of your projects won’t be up to par.

Instead, learn to delegate the tasks that you don’t personally enjoy. Not only will you be able to increase output, but you’ll be able to provide a higher level of quality to your customer base by turning to the experts.

Consult with Experts & Mentors

Struggling to complete a task because you lost focus?

Consult a mentor! Not only can this person hold you accountable for the time you spend on projects, but they can be a powerful guiding force throughout your business and help shape the foundation for your brand.

And finally…

Give Yourself A Break!

We all struggle with focusing on tasks, especially repetitive or mundane ones. Even the most organized  of us all has those moments where no matter what we do to try to refocus on our goals, it feels as though we’ll never get ahead.

So cut yourself some slack when this happens. Acknowledge the fact that you can only do so much.  Sometimes taking a step back and giving ourselves permission to simply take a creative break is enough to boost productivity and re-focus on the bigger picture.

Creating laser focus and becoming a productivity machine takes practice and effort and you need to find ways to help minimize those distractions that may be holding you back from focusing on what is most important.

Here are some steps to take that may help you with that:

  • Identify those time killers
  • Don’t forget that the best way to be productive is to take care of yourself.
  • Clear your workspace of clutter.
  • Use some of the productivity apps listed.
  • Practice Deep Work techniques that will help you focus.
  • Don’t forget to reward yourself!

Well, as I’m sure you can appreciate, there is a lot more to be learnt about increasing focus and productivity; far more than can be covered in this short post, but if you’d like to know more about this, then click on the featured resource below where you can pick up a free report, Stay Focused For Success, that covers this topic in more detail. Download, read it and take action 😊

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Waste Time To Be More Efficient

Waste Time To Be More Efficient

Waste Time To Be More Efficient

It seems counterintuitive to state that you could be more efficient by wasting time. But, the truth is, when you allow yourself some flexibility in the process, you have the potential to make efficiency happen.

This is not to say that you can spend six hours out of an eight-hour day wasting your time. You need to keep the ratio skewed to being productive. But, trying to get too much done without having some “you time,” is going to burn you out.

The phrase wasting time is actually a misnomer in this case. What you are doing is setting aside some time to be creative or to get some exercise, etc. It could even be a time that lets you clear your head by taking a walk or sitting in a room by yourself to get away from the grind.

People make proclamations that they are too busy to waste time in the manner specified. But, that could be a huge mistake. When you set aside that time to do something out of the ordinary or spontaneous, you often discover ways to do your main tasks better.

For instance, suppose you went to the gym during your lunch hour, and you took a class. In the class is someone who is involved in the same kind of business you are in but works for a different company.

You both get to talking and become friends. Then, you exchange ideas and in the process discover information that you incorporate into your work.

This exchange may not have happened in your workspace. Sometimes, it takes outside entities to get our creative juices flowing. Therefore it’s always a good idea to look for different ways to accomplish the same tasks or talk to people you wouldn’t normally talk to on a routine basis.

You will need to make sure this time-wasting process if it can be called that, is limited to a small percentage of your day or your to-do list. You still need to get your work done.

But, there is a reason why companies don’t harp onto their employees when they take some time to socialize in the coffee room, etc. Even within different departments, you can expand your knowledge base, and that is good for the company as a whole.

Some people will go overboard with this and end up being late on their deadlines. Avoid this at all costs. Set goals for the day that give you a certain amount of time for yourself after completing a large portion of your daily routine.

Can Being More Efficient Lower Stress?

When you learn how to be more efficient, you get more work done, and you tend to do it better, all things being equal. This makes your boss happy which means you won’t get in trouble for not getting your work complete. You may be given more responsibilities as a result, but as long as you maintain your efficiency, you should be able to add those to your workload.

Efficiency also means getting others to help you out. As you prove your effectiveness and your responsibilities increase, you should be able to get support for having others pitch in.

When you get support from your boss, it will be more difficult for your colleagues to resist your authority. Besides, when you show them how to be more efficient, it will get them on board. They will likely ask others for help when that happens.

This increase in efficiency is going to mean more work gets done, but it will take less time. You will constantly look for ways to do things better, whether it be via automation, or use delegation, etc.

Since you are getting more done with less, your stress levels will decrease, and you will be happier at work.

There will be some managers who don’t see the forest for the trees and the more work you get done, the more they see it as an opportunity to increase your workload.

This can get to the point of adding to your stress levels if they don’t support you. For instance, if they discourage you from delegating these new responsibilities, or they don’t give you the tools you need, this will overwhelm you and add to your stress. If talking it out with your manager won’t help, it may be time to look elsewhere.

The good news is your increased skills in being efficient will help you land a new job quicker.

When you learn how to be more efficient, you have greater control of your workload. Most people find they actually free up time when this happens due to economies of scale.

This free time gives you breathing room, and you won’t be so flustered all the time. You won’t be scrambling to get your work done by the deadlines.

Efficient people tend to have more opportunities available to them, in their current employment situations as well as outside the organization. They will always be in more demand. The great part about this is it won’t add to their stress levels.

How To Make Your Workouts More Efficient

One of the reasons people hate going to the gym is because they have to spend hours there to get any benefits. But, there are ways to make your workouts more efficient, which means you won’t have to spend as much time at the gym.

Do some of your exercises at home. If you have some dumbbells lying around, keep them in your family room or whatever room you spend most of your time. While watching television, stand up and use the dumbbells for one set. Do this on commercial breaks.

You can also do a set of sit-ups while watching television or whatever you do in your spare time. If you can get several sets in while you are home, you will have less to do at the gym. By staggering these exercises, you will be more inclined to do them.

Consider using the services of a personal trainer. These people go through a certification which means they learn the best exercises to do in the shortest time possible.

They will also show you how to do them right and correct you when you are not. The downside to this is they tend to be expensive and require you to work with them on a weekly basis.

You should also consider working out with a friend. It’s much easier to keep after each other than it is to try to motivate yourself. A friend may also help to motivate you into going to the gym when you start losing that drive.

It’s probably a good idea to keep the number of people you work with small. The larger a group is, the more they become distracted with talking too much, etc. This can still happen when you work with one person. If it does, you can try to choose someone else as your workout partner.

Another way to make your workouts more efficient is to come up with an actual plan for your workout. You could choose to hire a personal trainer just to come up with your plan and then do the workouts on your own.

But, there is also plenty of information on the internet that can help you structure your own plan. Try out different plans you may find and write them down. Make sure you are consistent in working your plan and have a way to measure your success.

Make sure that you factor in your diet when you are working out. Many people believe they can eat whatever they want since they are working out. This is false, and you will not get as much out of your workout when you do this.

Want to learn more about increasing efficiency and productivity? Then check out the featured resource below to grab a free report; download, read it and take action 😊

Productivity
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Manage Time With A Success Mindset

Manage Time With A Success Mindset

Manage Time With A Success Mindset

So, you’re anxious to reach those goals you’ve set for yourself and your online business, but you quickly realize that there’s only so much time in the day. No matter how hard you try, you feel as though you’re always one step behind.

One thing becomes very clear: You need a plan.

No matter what business or industry you’re involved in, learning how to effectively manage your time is one of the most important skills that will set you on the path towards ongoing success.

Without a system designed to place a value on each hour you spend working on your business, you’ll find yourself frantically scrambling to meet deadlines, follow through on launches and prioritize what is most important to your business.

This article has been written to help you get more done in less time by levelling up your productivity score quickly and easily.

The strategies contained in this article are designed to help you learn to value your time, make informed decisions about the kind of work you’re focused on and ultimately, beat the clock.

Let’s begin. There’s no time to waste. 😊

Lose The Employee Mindset!

One of the reasons so many people seem to struggle to gain traction in their business is entirely due to the way they manage their daily activities.

This typically points to one major problem: People are stuck in an employee mindset!

They’re so used to that 9-5 grind that they aren’t equipped to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset, which will help them make the transition so they can train themselves to focus on the most important tasks: prioritizing their time and assigning value to the time they spend building their business.

When you work for yourself, your time is more valuable than it has ever been. You’re no longer an employee, paid for each workday regardless of the outcome. If you aren’t ruthless with focusing on the most important tasks, you can easily fall behind or find yourself constantly treading water trying to stay afloat.

As an entrepreneur, you’re solely responsible for your business, so your ability to value your time and make every minute count will have a major impact on how successful you’ll be.

Fail to make this important shift in the way you spend your time, and you’ll always struggle to get to where you want to be.

Thankfully, it’s not all that difficult to break that cycle and transition your way of thinking from that of an employee to a boss.  It starts with preparing yourself for the realities of being an entrepreneur.

This means you need to:

Set Realistic Goals. You must be honest about what you’re capable of getting done on any given day.  Then you need to determine how many hours you’re willing to invest in your business and then assign those hours to specific projects.  

Break tasks down into smaller, focused projects.  Tim Ferris, author of “The 4-Hour Work Week”, refers to this as “chunking”.  We’ll talk more about the importance of this in a bit because it’s a great way to boost your productivity and get more done in less time.

Cut out Distractions.  Your work environment will change drastically from what you may be used to as an employee, and you need to optimize your workspace so that it’s supporting a focused, productive workflow.

Identify the Truth Behind Procrastination.  This is one of the hardest things to acknowledge at times, especially if you’ve gotten into the habit of procrastinating for reasons you aren’t aware of.

We’ll talk more about this in an upcoming chapter because it deserves a section of its own. It’s that important.

Be Ruthless in Prioritizing.  Does your email really need to stay open while you work so that all those notifications cause you to continuously check your inbox?

Cutting out distractions, as we just mentioned, plays a huge role in your ability to prioritize. Every hour needs to count, and you’ll get a lot more done if you focus each segment of your time on only one task. No outside interference!

Now let’s take a closer look at how you can learn the chunking technique, which will immediately boost your daily output and keep you focused on meeting your goals.

Time Chunking 101

For years, I would fire up the laptop and start my day doing several different things at once.  I’d check email, then maybe do some writing, then head over to social media, and then back to email yet again.

This cycle cost me valuable time, and while I thought I was proficient at multi-tasking, the truth is even the most seasoned go-getter will struggle to get everything done if they’re trying to tackle all things at once. Time management needs to be more purposeful to be effective.

Chunking is where you decide to focus on just one major task at a time (or even per day). Depending on the type of business you’re involved in, this might include one day exclusively focused on graphic design, then one day dedicated to marketing.

Consider creating a detailed task list of all the important aspects of your business; the things that keep it all afloat and absolutely require your time.

This can be tricky because we tend to things all things are important, but the reality is, they’re not.

When it comes to any business, there are a handful of critical tasks that need to be taken care of daily, and the rest just adds a little more gas to the tank. They can be done later once the main tasks are out of the way.

You need to learn to place a value on every ounce of “fuel” you have left.  That’s where chunking comes into play.

By focusing on one main task a day, or at least per segment of allocated time, you are not only able to focus strictly on getting it done on time, but the quality of your work will likely be much better because you’re not being constantly derailed.  Give it a try!

Don’t be tempted to multi-task because this is a productivity killer! So many people make a big deal of being able to multi-task, but all you end up with are a number of tasks that are partly done and an increasing amount of frustration because you never seem to be able to clear things off your to-do-list; sticking to one task at a time is much more productive, believe me!

And remember, one way to stay productive is to be focused and many people struggle with this. If you want to learn more about staying focused, check out the featured resource below for a free report; download, read it and take action 😊

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