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For so many people, productivity appears to be a lofty goal that always seems just out of reach. I’m sure we all want to be more productive, so we can achieve more every day and hopefully reach whatever goals we are aiming for.
The problem is that the modern world and workplace has so many distractions trying to pull you away from the task at hand. Add that to the decrease in attention span of many people today, and it’s amazing that we get anything done at all!
Is clutter standing in the way of you doing your best work? Likely it is. In fact, it’s one of the biggest challenges to your productivity. Don’t believe me, well read on.
When your environment is filled with clutter, you may feel like you’re constantly reacting rather than responding. You may feel a general sense of unease or anxiety. You may feel mentally exhausted even though you haven’t yet started your workday.
Are you constantly searching for client files, notes, or even something to write with?
Is it a nightmare to find a file on your hard drive or the cloud because you lack an organizational structure and/or an effective file-naming convention?
Do you have a dozen tabs open on your computer at any one time? Yes, that’s a form of clutter, too.
Are there stacks of books, papers, or even coffee cups or dishes sitting on your desk?
Are your file drawers crammed with paperwork that’s no longer needed and which belongs in the trash can?
Across the board, clutter is often fuelling these uneasy feelings and your lack of productivity. It has a way of sucking the life out of you, distracting you from what’s most important, and derailing your success.
Yes, simple clutter can be that much of a distraction and you need to reduce or eliminate it from your workspace as quickly as possible.
Try it. What have you got to lose?
You can’t increase your productivity by reading a book or taking a class. You actually need to take action. The first thing you need to do is to “set the stage.” Nothing’s going to happen until you do.
Let’s focus on some basic components of your work environment. A cluttered and messy office is no place to expect your best work. And, while some people believe that’s where they get their best work done, imagine what they could accomplish if working in a completely upgraded environment!
Here are some simple tips for helping you to create an environment for success.
Put away everything that belongs in your desk drawers or file cabinet.
If you find things that don’t belong in your office, then take them to wherever they belong and put them away.
Remember the old adage, “Out of sight, out of mind.” In this case, that’s a good thing!
Bonus tip: Discard anything you haven’t used in the past year. Odds are you never will. I know this can be difficult for hoarders, but just let it go!
Clear everything from the top of your desk and wipe it down.
Reduce visual distractions as much as possible.
Bonus tip: Wipe down your desk phone and/or smartphone. They’re a haven for germs.
Gather all your Post-It notes and scraps of paper. Review them and discard what you can.
Bonus tip: If they include items you need to reference, keep the one-page document easily accessible on your desktop or stored in a top desk drawer.
If you have boxes or stacks of items on your office floor, go through them and discard everything you can.
Bonus tip: Go through your bookcase and get rid of any books you also own digitally. Box up any others that are outdated and either give them to the library or recycle them.
Technology produces its own brand of clutter. Close down any tabs that you have open on your computer except for those that apply to your current work.
Bonus tip: Turn off any gadgets except the ones you need to do your core work tasks. You’ll get more done faster and easier without added distractions.
By implementing these simple tips, you’ll be well on your way to clearing the clutter in your office and reducing distraction. You’ll love the result. You’ll be more energized, less anxious, and more focused on your work. Investing a little bit of time today to prepare your work environment will make a noticeable difference in your productivity!
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Everyone has different sweet spots that help them focus or be more creative. Essentially, different locations or times of day can either be more conducive to daydreaming and creativity or more conducive to focus and continued hard work.
If you try to do one where you succeed better in the other, you can either become unfocused or uncreative, so it’s important to keep them separated. For example, you may be most focused and hardworking late at night.
Sweet spots aren’t just times of day, though. You may also find that different locations that you choose to work at may help or hinder various things like focus. Some people have dedicated office spaces where they find it really easy to focus, while others may find it best to focus out at a café.
You might be really creative being outside, or laying comfortably in bed. Regardless of what your sweet spots are, you should utilize them to the best of your ability. Studies have found that location and time of day can greatly affect mood and productivity, so if you’re in the right sweet spot at the right time, you can get a lot more work done.
It also helps to separate areas that you work in and relax in. For example, if you tend to spend a lot of time on your couch relaxing, if you sit there to go and work all of a sudden, you probably won’t feel like focusing very much.
Your body can easily become accustomed to locations and will default to whatever you typically feel there, such as relaxation on the couch, and it’ll be hard to switch from relaxing to hard work.
The variations in these sweet spots are why 9-to-5 jobs don’t work well for many people. If you need to be focused throughout the time you spend working, but you don’t focus well until the wee morning hours, then the entirety of the 9-5 time slot is going to throw you off and make you less productive.
By allowing yourself to get things done where you feel is best, you’ll benefit yourself by enjoying the work a bit more, and also benefit your business by being more productive. It’s all about personal preferences and wielding them effectively.
There are two main “settings” you’ll work with throughout your career. Typically, you’re either doing productivity-focused work, or creative work.
You need to be able to separate the two into different periods of time. The reason they need to be kept separate is that each one requires you to be in a different state of mind. While creativity lets your mind wander and come up with new and exciting things, productivity and focus require you to home in on one specific thing and do it as well as you can.
When you’re trying to be creative, it’s fine to be unfocused. This doesn’t mean that you can be outright distracted, of course, but more so blurred while still looking at the project you’re working on.
It allows your mind to have room to experiment with different ideas and fresh, new ideas. When you need to be productive, you need absolute focus to get things done. You should follow your strict methods that work, and that you know work.
Don’t experiment with different things – just keep working with what works best. At this time, you don’t have room to maneuver very much, and you’re probably really locked in to whatever it is that you’re doing.
Depending on the job you have, each of these modes might have different times spent on them. For example, a construction worker or someone working in engineering might not want to experiment and be creative too much, but rather they want to work with what they know will work well and be effective.
You need to have separate times of the day for each one to take place. You might be more focused in the mornings, but more creative at night, or vice versa. If you try to force the two together, you won’t be happy with the results.
You’re either going to end up stifling your creativity with an over-focused mind, or you’ll have a mind that’s too open that ends up hurting your productivity. Test your timing and strengths and see what works best for your schedule and planning.
It’s very easy to get distracted these days. In addition to the normal situation of people trying to get you to do different things, you also have the distraction of technology that allows you to focus on all kinds of things at the same time.
This can be a big problem for your creativity, and might end up being the reason that your creative projects are taking longer. Multitasking is usually seen as a beneficial trait. In many work-related situations, it is.
You’ve probably encountered times when you’ve gotten into a creative flow, where you’re working well and you’re quickly moving along with your work. This flow is key to quickly finishing good creative projects, because it’s the time when you’re working at max efficiency.
The only thing is, this flow requires focus on the project at hand only, and if you’re getting distracted by other things, then you’re not going to be able to maintain that flow. You may not even notice that you’re multitasking when it happens.
You might see it as a normal part of your work day, where, while you’re working on a project, you stop for a short bit to work on something else before quickly getting back to the project at hand.
It might also be a situation where you’re doing something congruently with the project, such as making a phone call or reading some emails. Multitasking forces you to break your focus, even if just for a moment, and your mind has to quickly play catch up to get back to where you were.
Going through the movie all in one sitting without any distractions is like cutting out multitasking. It goes fast, and is also the best way to do it. You can pause the movie and do other things in between scenes, or you can mess around on your phone while it’s running, but that’s going to cause you to lose focus and make the whole process take longer.
As you can appreciate, a lot of this is dependent on the way you think and if you want to know more about developing a good mindset for success, please click on the featured resource below for a free Strong Mindset report; download, read it and take action 😊
We all have goals. We all have ambitions. We all have things that we’d like to have happen in our lives. The good news is that all of those goals, ambitions and positive occurrences are possible.
All we have to do to achieve them is start doing the work that needs to be done in order to make them real.
You need to begin seizing the day and using your time productively so that you begin building the future that you want to live in.
The leadership guru John Maxwell once said that “You’ll never change your life until you change something that you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”
This article is all about helping you to establish “power habits” in your daily routine that will allow you to crank your productivity to eleven.
Adopting some or all of these habits and incorporating them into your day-to-day schedule will crank you into overdrive. You’ll not only begin reaching your goals, you’ll also begin reaching them sooner than you ever thought possible.
When you get up earlier than normal two things happen. First, you have more time in you day to get more things done. Productivity is all about accomplishing tasks. The more hours that you have to play with, them more likely it becomes that you’re going to initiate and complete projects.
Study after study has shown that the most personally productive hours in the day occur before noon. It all has to do with natural body rhythms and cycles. So, when you get up earlier you not only have more time to get stuff done, you also have more energy. It’s a productivity win/win.
Ok, you should have a schedule of what you want to accomplish on any given day. (If you don’t, then start using one.) In order to make the schedule as effective as possible, you need to be places, take phone calls and generally do things on time, as you scheduled them.
Make an effort to be punctual. Get to appointments, meeting and phone calls on time. The more punctual you are, the more you’ll get done.
Besides food and water, your body only has two other absolute needs – sleep and exercise. When you don’t get enough rest, you cannot maintain the mental energy levels that are required for you to be optimally productive.
Make sure that you put enough time aside for adequate amounts of both sleep and exercise. If you do, you’ll find that you have more energy and more energy equals greater productivity.
All positive behavior is nothing more than habit. When you perform a positive action over and over it becomes habitual. You continue making the positive action without even thinking about it. In addition, one positive habit will lead to other positive behaviors which, over time, will also become habitual. That’s why developing keystone habits are so important to increased productivity.
This effect can be enhanced by layering one keystone habit on top of another. So, you not only make your bed every day, you also make it a habit to rinse and stack your breakfast dishes in the sink or put them in the dishwasher.
The point is that when you routinely do what needs to be done, you start to develop a habit of treating everything that you do in a similar way. The end result is that your productivity soars.
One of the major drains on productivity is simply not knowing where to direct your attention. Let’s face it, each day we are faced with information overload. We get phone calls, e-mails, text messages and more.
We use apps that are supposedly designed to make our lives easier, but instead start to compete for our attention by adding their reminders to the mix of information that is already bombarding us.
One of the best ways to combat this problem is with a daily plan. When it comes to any task, ask yourself “What is this?”, “Why am I doing it” and “What do I want to get out of it?”
Simply posing these questions to yourself prior to doing anything will allow you to begin to prioritize what truly needs to be done and eliminate what truly is a time waster. Again, the end result is greatly increased productivity.
There is a tendency to want to remain plugged in and on top of all communications simply because we can. However, to do so is a major mistake. One of the key ways to remain optimally productive is to know when to take it easy and not be productive at all.
You need to give yourself enough time to recharge and rejuvenate. You cannot be fully productive when your batteries are drained and you have nothing left to give. Remember to walk away from all of your tasks on a regular basis.
This means no checking your phone for messages, no answering e-mails, and no quick phone calls. Your time away is sacred. It is key to you being truly effective at what you do. Treat it as such.
In order to be fully productive, you have to be focused on the task at hand. However, in today’s always connected, modern world maintaining focus is increasingly difficult. Studies have shown that, on average, we are only able to concentrate on a given task for three to five minutes before being distracted by social media, e-mails or other things that interfere with concentration.
The secret to keeping focused on what you’re doing is by removing the sources of those distractions. Because social media is one of the biggest culprits, it’s important to install safeguards that allow you to resist the allure of checking for updates on social media sites again. There are now apps that will completely block your ability to access certain sites for specific periods of time.
The less distracted you are, the more you can maintain your focus and the more productive you become.
Each of us spends a great deal of time in the space where we work. Now, that might be a physical office at a remote location or it might be a room or corner in your residence that has been reserved for that purpose.
No matter where your “office” is located, it needs to be inviting, comfortable and welcoming. It has to reflect your personality and your style.
Make sure that the furnishings are comfortable. A desk may be a necessity, but it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. The same thing goes for a chair. Use a chair that makes you feel that your glad you sat down in it.
Lighting, art, music and color all have an appropriate place in your office. Imagine how your productivity will skyrocket when you actually enjoy being in your workspace.
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We are all guilty of suffering from a lack of motivation in our lives!
What happens when we push our brain to keep thinking, focusing and creating hour after hour? It shuts down. It goes on strike. It says “I’m outa here, buddy”.
This is especially true when we keep requiring it to focus on the same task for hours at a time.
Neuroscience now tells us that changing tasks regularly, taking consistent breaks and blocking out our time keeps our brain more engaged when it is working so that we actually get more done in less time.
So, let’s look at blocking time.
This is not a new concept. But it’s one we don’t use often enough to maintain our enthusiasm and focus, not to mention our mental and emotional health.
But why you may ask, is this important to performance and productivity?
So, how should you go about blocking your time? Usually, it’s recommended to work in 2–3-hour work chunks at a time, while allowing a short 5–10-minute break every 30-45 minutes.
If 2-3 hours seems a long time to focus on a particular task, then you can use smaller chunks.
The Pomodoro technique uses time chunks of only 25 minutes, each followed by a 5-minute break. After 4 of these chunks, you should take a 15-minute break.
If you a little more information about the Pomodoro technique, you can read this blog post
When working on tasks, you should also schedule breaks you’re your routine.
Why, you ask? Well, let’s look at a scientific reason now…
Too busy to take a break? That’s a common thought in our fast-paced world.
We are a society with consistently too many things on our collective plate.
Advances in neuroscience have proven that we need breaks as well as focused work time, as some cultures have known and practiced for millennia.
There are a number of reasons why it is important to take scheduled breaks, and we will cover just 3 of them in this article.
This causes us to become frustrated and becomes a negative feedback loop, so it is important to take a break.
Let’s look at 3 big reasons to stop…
Our brain has two modes of operation. The focus mode, which is where we spend most of our day, concentrating on tasks and challenges as they arise.
For example, you may have an ah-ha moment about a solution to a problem that you’ve been trying to solve while you are driving someplace familiar or taking a shower. This diffuse mode is when most of our insights and out-of-the-box thinking happens.
When we stay focused on a task or problem constantly, we can easily become caught up in all the little details instead of questioning if we are completing the right tasks in the best order and way.
Stepping out of work mode for even just a few minutes is enough time to help us re-evaluate our goals and the way we are going about achieving them.
Our brains weren’t meant to stay in focused mode all the time, even though we think they should sometimes.
Breaks give our brains a rest from constant focus so that they can “regroup” if you will. When we take breaks throughout the day when working on tasks that take a lot of concentration or take a longer period of time to complete, we actually are more productive and motivated when we are working on the task than if we worked straight through.
As you probably already know, having a strong mindset is critical to any attempt to plan and stay focused, so click on the featured resource below to get a free report on how to develop a strong mindset. Download, it read and take action 😊
Do you lack focus and/or the ability to concentrate for extended periods of time? If you are like the vast majority of human beings, I’m sure that you answered, “Yes!”
A Microsoft study found that, on average, humans have an 8-second concentration span. And that number is probably shrinking as we speak because we’ve got used to everything being fleeting and prompt.
The modern world with the vast bank of knowledge via the Internet and 24-hour news stations, plus social media networks have made us a race of people that want everything NOW!
But no matter how much you try to shrug it off, there really is no substitute for paying attention. No matter what your environment is, your ability to get things done depends on your ability to pay attention.
Being able to concentrate can skyrocket your productivity which can be a real boon for your business (if you are a business owner) or can make you a really viable candidate for that promotion or bonus if you work for a company as it will make you stand out from your colleagues.
So, how do we even begin to develop our skills of concentration?
Well, the good news is that you can learn to focus more and focus better. All you need is to alter your mindset, take charge and apply these 5 simple tips to boost your attention span and become a master of concentration and productivity.
You’re at work; you have deadlines, meetings, projects, tasks – all things that need to get done within the span of a few hours. What to do? You make a list, of course.
Many successful people swear by their lists because it has everything on it, from the most important to the things that can wait until later.
Many of the world’s most successful people swear by making their to do lists the night before because they can hit the ground running first thing in the morning and they will already know what their number one priority for the day is going to be.
Why not try it for yourself and see what difference it can make to your day.
Francesco Cirillo, owner of the Cirillo Consulting firm in Berlin, devised an ingenious system that manages time by breaking it down into intervals.
For example, once you’ve started on a task, set the timer to, say, 30 minutes.
The way this technique works is that you have to refrain from picking up your phone to check your email or social media every 5 minutes.
If you want to know more about this type of system of breaking tasks down, take a look at this post here which explains a technique known as the Pomodoro technique.
Research has proven that it takes us nearly 25 minutes to get back to our original task once we’ve been distracted, which means you’re spending the entire day just on trying to regain your focus but not really achieving it.
A smart way to avoid this when it comes to your phone is to put it on silent or stick it in a drawer to ward off temptation. An even better way to do this is to carve out half an hour at the start of the day, or in the afternoon, to get all that out of your system so that you’re not constantly thinking about it.
While it may seem pretty straightforward to everyone that working in a calm, organized environment boosts concentration and, hence, productivity, it may not be as easy as it sounds.
But all you need are a few basic items:
Most people don’t make the connection between eating right and having strong concentration and memory skills.
Studies show that foods high in trans fats and processed sugars have a negative effect on your cognitive abilities.
Water is also very important to prevent dehydration. Staying hydrated throughout the day prevents your mind from slowing down. Exercising regularly also boosts cognitive powers and mental stamina.
There has been extensive research that shows just how much how solving crossword puzzles, problem-solving exercises and other types of mental games can improve cognitive abilities, reasoning, memory and attention spans.
So, take a few minutes out of your day to challenge the grey matter to boost your ability to concentrate. And they can be fun too.
Want to learn more about productivity? Then, download the featured free report below, read it and take action 😊