Category Archives: Time Management

Parental Time Management Hacks that Work

By | Time Management | No Comments
Parental Time Management Hacks that Work

Parents who work full-time provide a little magic and grace throughout the day. The Covid-19 pandemic punishes working parents.

Parents who work full-time are the best people to provide a little magic and grace throughout the day to their own children — But don’t underestimate the care they take with your team, either.

Parental Time Management Hacks that Work

The Covid-19 pandemic has made it almost impossible to be productive and totally engaged at work for working parents. Although everyone is ready to return to normal, even a “new normal” after the pandemic, working parents will likely feel overwhelmed and stressed.

These hacks are tried and tested and have helped many manage a busy household while helping people and teams maximize efficiency and productivity for decades. Add all of your duties and on your Calendar each month. 

Do a time audit every month.

You know that a lot of time is wasted, but most parents don’t spend the time evaluating what could be done differently. A “time audit” is a process that helps you identify where you are wasting your precious time. A time audit is like a financial-wellness audit that a financial advisor might recommend.

Take a copy of your calendar from the previous month, go through each activity and ask these questions:

  • Was this an efficient use of my time?
  • Could this be outsourced, delegated, or simplified?
  • What should I do to respond to this request?

A time audit helps you save time and money in the long term. It is too easy to fill up our calendar with requests and priorities from other people. But if we want to take control of our time, we need to take a proactive approach. Know how you use your time and assess how you use your time.

As a boss, if you are also doing a time audit — keep in mind the office chatter, the water cooler trips, and the lunches, and don’t count those “times” against your “at home” working parents.

Establish work-life friendly team ground rules

The biggest obstacle to setting boundaries about how late you can work responding to emails and other after-hour chores — or working on vacation lies in the legitimate concern that these boundaries might not be compatible with the corporate culture.

All of the extra-long-hour work you did before children are the reason you’ll want to have an essential conversation with your team.

While it is one thing to have your own habits or practices to help you leave work at home, it’s another to be able to discuss these issues as a team and set boundaries that they can all agree on when you have half the team at the office and the other half at home.

Some examples of ground rules could include:

  • Meetings after 3:00 p.m.
  • End times for meetings have always been met — keep it that way. 
  • Please leave work at work—no emails or calls after 7:00 p.m.
  • Vacation is vacation. Emailing while you are sick or on vacation is not permitted.
  • All critical path activities will have backup owners.

These “rules” might not work for you, but it is vital to have a group discussion about how your team can support each other in achieving work/life balance.

Turn Waiting Time into Audio Book Time

Remembering to turn on an audiobook is one of my favorite gifts, and it doesn’t take any extra time. So many individuals have a long list of books we want to read. But who has the time?

Tuning in to the value of audiobooks was transformative for me. The practice has turned a lot of my regular wait times into audiobook listening time.

These 15-minute listening sessions have been a big part of my self-care and my professional and personal development. Listening to audio is a regular part of my daily life, especially while waiting in the carpool line or grocery shopping; it energizes and gives you new thoughts and vision for your work.

Many people would find commute time to be an excellent opportunity for audiobooks or podcasts. It’s simple to take advantage of the downtime throughout the week and read at least one book per week. One book a week has had a significant impact on my life and makes for exciting conversations in all parts of life.

Contrary to popular belief, consuming every minute of your day with an activity (regardless of whether it’s enjoyable or not) isn’t healthy and doesn’t feel like self-care. Your body is the best timekeeper you have. So you will know how much time to spend on this new venture.

Coming out of Covid — you don’t have to accept every party invitation for your kids’ happiness.

You’ve probably accepted a birthday invitation because your child wanted to go, but then you are dragging them around all weekend you haven’t taken care of yourself. 

Many teens want to stay in bed and play vids until noon, which isn’t always a bad idea — but you need help with the house cleaning and pick up so that you are refreshed to get back to work on Monday.

It’s all too common to look at the kid’s invitation with the party theme and be excited for them — but then you don’t get your weekend catch-up done, and maybe you should consider other priorities like extra sleep, lounging, downtime, or additional sleep.

You might want to pause before accepting invitations if your weekends are not relaxing and reenergizing but rather too busy.

You can wait until the day before the party to make a decision or even suggest writing a fabulous birthday card to your child instead of going to the party.

Your Work-Life Balance Down Time

You need to have downtime as a working parent. But, when weekends are too busy, even with pleasant events such as birthday parties, you won’t have the opportunity (and need) to recharge your batteries — the batteries that will sustain you throughout your l.o.n.g week.

Sometimes, small incremental changes can lead to significant changes in your power and energy.

No one magic bullet will give you a lot of extra time, even for busy professionals.

Parents who work full-time will struggle to prioritize and make it all work. Therefore, it is essential to be thoughtful and intentional about how you spend your most valuable resource — time.

Fall Back Into Productivity: 100 Quotes to Get More Done

By | Time Management | No Comments
Fall Back Into Productivity: 100 Quotes to Get More Done

It may not seem like it. But, a lot is going on in the autumn. Between getting back to a routine after your summer vacay to getting the kids back to school and adjusting to the end of daylight saving time (which happened on Sunday, November 7th), now you’ll have to finalize business plans for the holiday season. It’s easy for your productivity to get derailed.

The good news? If you find that you’re struggling with productivity this fall, use the following quotes to get you back on track.

Planning Quotes

If there is one secret to being productive — it’s planning.

You’re more likely to operate at peak productivity when you plan how you’re going to spend your time in advance. The alternative is taking things as they come and without a plan.

In turn, this almost guarantees both low efficiency and productivity. It’s also a chaotic way to live when you have a full plate.

1. “By Failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

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

3. “Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” – Gloria Steinem

4. “Long-range planning works best in the short term.”– Doug Evelyn

5. “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln

6. “You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.”– George Lorimer

7. “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra

8. “You don’t need a new plan for next year. You need a commitment.”– Seth Godin

9. “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” – John F. Kennedy

10. “Your daily choices and actions should be rational and productive.”– Sunday Adelaja

11. “The more time you spend contemplating what you should have done…you lose valuable time planning what you can and will do.” – Lil Wayne

12. “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.”– Dwight D. Eisenhower

13. “A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble at his door.” – Confucius

14. “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” – Alexander Graham Bell

15. “Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” – Pablo Picasso

16. “Unless you have definite, precise, clearly set goals, you are not going to realize the maximum potential that lies within you.” – Zig Ziglar

17. “Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.” – Tom Landry

18. “Always plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.” – Richard Cushing

19. “To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” – Leonard Bernstein

20. “Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.” – Thomas Edison

Priority Quotes

The definition of productivity means being more than just busy. Being productive requires that you remain focused on achieving all of your goals in the most accurate and efficient way possible. And, that’s only possible when you do the right things at the right time.

21. “Life is short. Focus on what really matters most; you should change your priorities over time.” – Roy T. Bennett

22. “When my company started really growing, I didn’t have any help in my house at all. I had the upkeep of my daily life, I had a one-year-old and a three-year-old, and I had my house. So I had to prioritize.” – Julie Aigner Clark

23. “It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?”– Henry David Thoreau

24. “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” – Albert Einstein

25. “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” – Stephen R. Covey

26. “Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest.”– Leo Babauta

27. “Set aside time to plan how you will spend your time. Think about what’s most important. Then do those things first.” – Frank Bettger

28. “Our greatest danger in life is in permitting the urgent things to crowd out the important.” – Charles E. Hummel

29. “The necessary has never been man’s top priority. The passionate pursuit of the nonessential and the extravagant is one of the chief traits of human uniqueness.” – Eric Hoffer

30. “Learn how to separate the majors and the minors. A lot of people don’t do well simply because they major in minor things.” – Jim Rohn

31. “Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions.” – Dallin H. Oaks

32. “Instead of saying ‘I don’t have time’ try saying ‘it’s not a priority and see how that feels.” – Laura Vanderkam

33. “When you have too many top priorities, you effectively have no top priorities.” – Stephen Covey

34. “Let us reflect on what is truly of value in life, what gives meaning to our lives, and set our priorities on the basis of that.” – Dalai Lama

35. “When you’re clear about your purpose and your priorities, you can painlessly discard whatever does not support these, whether it’s clutter in your cabinets or commitments on your calendar.” – Victoria Moran

36. “Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work.” – H. L. Hunt

37. “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.” – Russian Proverb

38. “Think of priorities, not in terms of what activities you do, but when you do them. Timing is everything.” – Dan Millman

39. “The Principe of Priority states (a) you must know the difference between what is urgent and what is important, and (b) you must do what’s important first.” – Steven Pressfield

40. “Times of transition are strenuous, but I love them. They are an opportunity to purge, rethink priorities, and be intentional about new habits. We can make our new normal any way we want.” – Kristin Armstrong

Quotes to Help You Eliminate Obstacles and Adversity

No matter what task you try to accomplish, and how the amount of planning you did, there are always going to be obstacles in the way. These challenges aren’t just frustrating; they can also interfere with focus and flow state. In some cases, they may cause procrastination.

41. “If you have time to whine, then you have time to find a solution.”– Dee Dee Artner

42. “When someone tells me “no,” it doesn’t mean I can’t do it, it simply means I can’t do it with them.”– Karen E. Quinones Miller

43. “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”– Winston Churchill

44. “Sometimes, things may not go your way, but the effort should be there every single night.” – Michael Jordan

45. “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”– Earl Nightingale

46. “One who conquers the sea today is ready to conquer the ocean tomorrow.”– Matshona Dhliwayo

47. “We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”– Barbara De Angelis

48. “A challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it.”– Ray Davis

49. “Sometimes you don’t realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness.”– Susan Gale

50. “The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.”– Jean-Baptiste Poqeulin (Moliere)

51. “And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”– Haruki Murakami

52. “Because some people see a wall, and assume that’s the end of their journey. Others see it, and decide it’s just the beginning.”-  Angeline Trevena

53. “There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.”– Malcolm X

54. “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”– Christopher Reeve

55. “If you are facing a new challenge or being asked to do something that you have never done before, don’t be afraid to step out. You have more capability than you think you do, but you will never see it unless you place a demand on yourself for more.”– Joyce Meyer

56. “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you’re doing the impossible.”– Francis of Assisi

57. “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”– Robert Kennedy

58. “The individual who says it is not possible should move out of the way of those doing it.”– Tricia Cunningham

59. “You can’t get much done in life if you only work on days when you feel good.”– Jerry West

60. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”– Wayne Gretzky

Quotes to Inspire, Motivate, and Take Action

Need a shot in the arm? Use the following quotes to get you inspired, motivated, and take action.

61. “Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” – Thomas Jefferson

62. “Dream big, start small, but most of all, start.” – Simon Sinek

63. “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

64. “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” – Zig Ziglar

65. “An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied.” – Arnold Glasow

66. “Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot, but make it hot by striking.” – William B. Sprague

67. “Be content to act, and leave the talking to others.” – Baltasar Gracian

68. “Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes but don’t quit.” – Conrad Hilton

69. “People may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do.” – Lewis Cass

70. “Many great ideas go unexecuted, and many great executioners are without ideas. One without the other is worthless.” – Tim Blixseth

71. “Let your performance do the thinking.” – Charlotte Brontë

72. “Take action! An inch of movement will bring you closer to your goals than a mile of action.” – Steve Maraboli

73. “Well done is better than well said.”- Benjamin Franklin

74. “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden

75. “Action is the antidote to despair.” – Joan Baez

76. “Doing nothing gets you nothing.” – Sean Reichle

77. “Stay focused and don’t allow distractions to fill your mind or derail you from taking continued action.” – Byron Pulsifer

78. “You cannot score a goal when you are sitting on the bench. To do so, you have to dress up and enter the game.” – Israelmore Ayivor

79. “You’re a doer, because you’re prepared to make the necessary effort to translate your dream into action.” – Paul McCabe

80. “There is only one proof of ability—action.” – Marie Ebner-Eschenbach

81. “Nothing is impossible; the word itself says ‘I’m possible!’” – Audrey Hepburn

82. “The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today.” – Nolan Bushnell

83. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney

84. “Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before.” – Franz Kafka

85. Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence. – Vince Lombardi

86. “You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.” – Zig Ziglar

87. “Time is at once the most valuable and the most perishable of all our possessions” – John Randolph

88. “Both good and bad days should end with productivity. Your mood affairs should never influence your work.” – Greg Evans

89. “Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy.” – Norman Vincent Peale

90. “Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure, or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.” – Thomas Watson

91. “If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.” – David Allen

92. “Action is the foundational key to all success.” – Picasso

93. “If you commit to giving more time than you have to spend, you will constantly be running from time debt collectors.” – Elizabeth Grace Saunders

94. “You don’t actually do a project; you can only do action steps related to it. When enough of the right action steps have been taken, some situation will have been created that matches your initial picture of the outcome closely enough that you can call it ‘done.’” – David Allen

95. “Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn’t have the power to say yes.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

96. “The path to success is to take massive, determined actions.” – Tony Robbins

97. “Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” – Japanese Proverb

98. “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie

99. “Use the word PERHAPS to change your negative beliefs to possibilities that invite ACTION and, ultimately, to positive beliefs and probabilities.” – Anita Foley

100. “If you spend time getting ready to be perfect and do not start out to accomplish your dreams, you will find out later that you could have accomplished your dream if you had just acted.” – David DeNotaris

How to Recognize and Destroy Time Wasters

By | Time Management | No Comments

They are everywhere. Time wasters. Chronological cat burglars. Minute moochers. Is there any way to stop them? You bet your sundial there is!

There are chronological criminals among us. So here is some lighthearted advice to take or not as you see fit.

Time is an interesting concept. Babies don’t know anything about it. Children bend it to suit their own selfish needs. Teenagers can be big-time wasters, as long as it makes their parents mad. Adults become enslaved by it. Seniors are threatened by it. And, of course, the deceased don’t worry about it anymore. That’s why you see so many sundials on graves. They’re laughing at the rest of us.

So what does time really mean to us? The living. The working. The anxious. The serfs. All you rich people who might be reading this article at the moment can go hop on your private jets and fly to Bermuda because you don’t care about time one way or the other, do you?

But for the average Joe Timex, time is a nagging presence that hovers over us — giving an evil chuckle from time to time when our schedules go awry. And what makes our schedules go awry? Time wasters!

Now when you’re at home or away from the office, you can deal with time wasters any way you want, legal or otherwise. But, right now, we are dealing with those insidious time wasters in the office, on the factory floor, who keep you from finishing your work.

Time is money, and you’re already in debt!

Let’s start in the home office. Many poor deluded souls believe working at home saves them time. But, of course, that might be true for the lucky few who don’t have spouses, children, neighbors, or pets just waiting to bushwhack them their schedule.

Take children, for instance. They have a built-in radar that knows precisely when you are in a Zoom conference with your manager. When they sense this opportunity, they go into action. Cereal is spilled. Knees are cut. Fights break out. In other words, all hell breaks loose. And for some strange reason, you are the one they expect to take charge of the situation.

By the time you get things settled, your boss has gone off to happy hour, and you wish you could too.

Here’s what to do . . .

  • When your spouse doesn’t respect your work schedule at home, try divorce. If that’s too expensive or emotional, try earplugs.
  • Perchance earplugs are too itchy for you — use that golden question: “Can we talk about this when I take you out to dinner tonight?”
  • If worst comes to worst, prepare a hidey-hole in your home office where you can secret yourself from the tender attentions of your spouse.
  • For pesky neighbors, the best recourse is a vicious dog. One that would bite the leg off of the Dalai Lama.
  • The only exception to this rule would be if your neighbors bring you good things to eat. If that’s the case, use land mines. So they have a sporting chance to get through.
  • Children should be treated with kindness and consideration. They are unaware of the awful burden you bear as a slave in the salt mines. So when they come to you with their petty squabbles and tears, do not turn them away. Just give them lots of candy and lead them to the TV. You’ll never be bothered by them again.
  • (The ASPCA has approved the following recommendations.) Cats should be sedated with catnip. Dogs should be given the biggest bone the butcher has. Birds should be let out of their cages into the great outdoors. Lizards and snakes, which don’t make any noise anyway, should be donated to the local zoo. You don’t have time to take care of them properly.

In the office . . .

time thief may be your own boss. If that’s the case, just grit your dentures and suck it up. It might help to daydream about the beaches of Thailand while your boss is bloviating. On the other hand, if it’s a coworker who constantly purloins your need to count the bottle caps in your desk drawer, then the answer is just put some cotton dipped in red food coloring in your ears.  And if a colleague still attempts to take your time, just point to your ears and shake your head. If this doesn’t discourage them, then try a piteous groan or two. They should take the hint.

In conclusion . . .

Although this has been a lighthearted look at time wasters — and maybe, perchance a time waster to read — the problem of time wasters is real and it is serious. The best way to keep busy and uninterrupted is to look extraordinarily harried and busy and like you will not stand for any interruption. That’s all you really need to know. That will keep most time parasites away.

The 5 Habits that can Change Your Life

By | Time Management | No Comments
Habits that can Change Your Life

Having habits and routines are essential aspects of our everyday lives. Whether you want to meet a goal, be more productive, or live a more balanced life, habits are those small changes that can add up to significant results over time.

One of my favorite books, Atomic Habits by James Clear, talks about how developing habits doesn’t have to be complicated or feel foreign. You have the power to select the habits you want that will help you make progress. If you’re not quite sure which habits to add to your daily routine, here are five key habits to start that can change your life.

1. Wake Up At a Reasonable Time

Getting up early can make a significant impact on how your day is going to shape out. Of course, this isn’t to say that you have to get up at five am each day. However, training your body to wake up earlier is an excellent habit that will provide a big reward.

Getting up early gives you the time to complete your morning to-do list and be able to craft the best routine to tackle the day. Even getting up 15-20 minutes earlier than you usually do can be a great habit to develop. It might not seem like much, but it’s a start and will add more time back into your day, so you’re not overwhelmed with your schedule.

Waking up earlier doesn’t have to mean you’re getting less sleep either. In 2019, Sleep Cycle, a free app to track sleeping routines, released a study of their three million active monthly users. They concluded the average person sleeps 7 hours and 18 minutes each night. In addition, the average bedtime was 11:39 pm, and wake-up time was 7:09 am. So Americans are getting sleep, but also not oversleeping.

Getting enough sleep but still being able to wake up early is key to starting your day on the right track. Not everybody needs an alarm to wake up, though, and that’s okay. Waking up around 7:00 am is actually something that leaders like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg practice each day. Waking up early will set you in a nice daily routine that can help you be productive.

2. Schedule Out Your Day

Scheduling out your day is another vital addition to this list of habits that can change your life. It’s important to know what you’re doing for the day to avoid getting distracted and losing focus. In addition, scheduling out your day can give you an idea of your priorities so you can accomplish what’s most important to you.

With a clear schedule, you can be productive and not overwhelmed and bogged down by all your responsibilities. But, of course, there are some things that just won’t make it into your schedule, and that’s okay. We want to have a plan but also don’t want to work ourselves to the point of exhaustion.

If your current schedule isn’t working, that’s okay; there are ways to fix it. We’ve highlighted a few tips on how you can get your schedule catered to you. Of course, some things are more important to schedule into your day than others. We’ve mentioned seven crucial components that should be included in your daily routine.

Expressing gratitude and scheduling downtime are just a few of the habits that can be added to your day. Sure, you can prioritize productivity, but you also need to be kind to yourself in mind as well. Time is our most valuable resource, and something we can’t get back once it’s gone. Having a schedule will help you successfully use those minutes and hours and help establish a good routine instead of wasting away time.

3. Give Yourself Deadlines

Giving yourself deadlines to achieve each day is one of the best habits you can develop. Most people don’t like deadlines or the pressure that comes with them, but this can actually be helpful when you change your perspective.

Having a goal in mind when a task should be completed can greatly impact your day. Instead of never having a time in mind when something should be done, give yourself that timeline with a deadline. Deadlines have helped me so much in the past because I often procrastinate. There are some things I probably never would have gotten done if I didn’t have a specific deadline.

There are a few key benefits you can gain working under a deadline. Accountability is a big one. Hold yourself accountable if your deadline comes and goes and you still don’t have the task completed. Do you have someone you can count on to be your accountability partner? If not, consider asking a trusted friend or family member to help you.

Having that accountability allows us to access why the task wasn’t finished and how we will improve by hitting a deadline in the future. Having a deadline in place can also help you build momentum. Knowing you have that completion time in mind can help you stay motivated and limit distractions.

4. Make Time For Movement

Establishing a habit of moving your body throughout the day can change your life. It’s not good for us to be sitting all day without getting up and moving. According to a Mayo Clinic 2019 study, people who sit for eight hours a day with no physical activity have the same risk of dying similar to someone who smokes or is obese. This is bad news for many Americans because sedentary jobs in America have increased more than 83% since 1953, according to the American Heart Association. According to the same survey, only 20% of Americans have physically active jobs. The average office worker actually sits 15 hours a day.

That number is even higher for people who are still commuting to the office every day. Sitting without exercise can raise our chances of many different health risks, including high blood pressure, stroke. Heart disease, obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and more. What can we do to offset these health risks and work from our seat lifestyle?

Well, we need physical activity in our lives. Something as simple as using a treadmill or walking around the block can make a significant impact on your health. Make sure to take breaks and get up from your chair. Standing up as often as every 30 minutes can be huge for you. If you can even stand while doing phone calls, this can be an excellent way to move around and get your legs moving while also getting working done as well.

5. Prioritize Practicing Self Care

Believe it or not, you are your most important asset. We need to take care of ourselves above all else. Make sure you are making time daily to address your self-care. It could be something as simple as meditation, prayer, reading, journaling, or even just focusing on a non-work-related goal you have in mind. Prioritize passion projects that you have as well.

Self-care focuses on both your mental and physical health. We need to keep our health in mind and shouldn’t overwork ourselves. If your time allows scheduling a course can be good for you. It can be job-related or just in a passion that you’ve had. It’s essential to prioritize ourselves and our well-being.

Summary

There has been a shift to working from our desks that hasn’t been seen before. We can’t let our physical or mental health be affected by this way of life. Work is vital, of course, but we are our most important asset. These habits can help you prioritize yourself and improve your life in every way.

Planning for Retirement With Calendar

By | Time Management | No Comments
Planning for Retirement With Calendar

It’s never too early to start planning for retirement! In fact, it’s encouraged to begin planning for the day you retire as early as possible. The sooner you begin planning for retirement, the more contributions you can make to ultimately live out your dream.

It’s also ok to realize that it’s not too late to start making retirement plans. If you don’t know where to start, let’s work through some of the basic steps you should take to begin creating your retirement plan and turning it into a reality:

Start to Visualize

Picture in your mind the ideal retirement scenario. Do you find yourself in a house on the beach or a cabin in the mountains? Do you go golfing every week, or is your time spent woodworking in the shop? Ironing out these details allows you to create goals to work for and implement into your retirement plan.

Make sure you write down your retirement goals somewhere. You can refer to these goals over the years and adjust them as needs and interests change. You might have to change your overall retirement plan to match your new trajectory. Regardless of how often you change your mind, you’ll always have a set plan to work toward.

Your goals and aspirations will need dollar signs attached to them. How much money will you need each month to live out your dreams? An estimation of your cost of living will give you a tangible target goal for your retirement fund.

Set Money Aside

Retirement isn’t cheap. It takes quite a bit of money set aside to live the life you want without earning a steady paycheck. Fortunately, if you start setting money aside now, you should be able to retire comfortably by the time you’re in your 60’s.

Between paying bills and shopping on Amazon, people tend to forget to make contributions to a retirement or savings account. Your Calendar can help with that. Set a monthly reminder to move some money into one of these accounts.

The day you set aside money doesn’t matter as much as making sure you have committed to the process. Your day could be the day you receive your paycheck so that you always make that contribution before spending it on something else.

Be sure to note that retirement accounts such as a 401k have limits to which you can contribute each year. But for most of us — we don’t have $58,000 to drop in our 401s — so just make sure you contribute to your fund.

Be sure to get a tax person to look at your info. Even the Forbes article says $57,000 ($63,500 for those 50 and older) after it tells about the limit being $19,500 — plus another catch-up of $6K.

Nonetheless — getting as close to that savings maximum limit as possible gives your account a greater ability to accrue interest over time, so it’s a good goal to reach if you’re living within your means.

Take Advantage of Company Plans

Most companies offer retirement benefits to their full-time employees. If you qualify for such a plan, take advantage of it while you can. With the help of your employer, you can significantly expand your saving and investing potential over the years.

The benefits you’ll typically get are employer contributions to your retirement account, usually in the form of a 401k. The contributions made by your employer stack on top of the contributions you make on your own up to a certain percentage. You set aside much more money, which generates a more significant return as interest piles up over the years.

Choosing retirement benefits may even impact where you decide to work in the future. A typical employer contribution is 50 cents on the dollar up to 6% of your income. Don’t worry; they’ll do the math for you, but this is a good benchmark for deciding which retirement benefits package you lean toward the most.

Get a Grip on Your Time

You only have so long to prepare for retirement, so there’s no time to waste. However, by improving your time management, you can do more to work toward retirement before it’s too late.

For instance, using an online calendar can help you plan out your days better to get more done in the same eight-hour shift. Getting more done can lead to entrepreneurial advances, promotions, or other career jumps that augment your income. Proper time management can also open doors for side hustles and other forms of income to be added to a retirement fund.

Be sure to remember that you should enjoy life leading up to retirement as well. Time management with your Calendar allows you to get your work done while spending quality time with family, pursuing hobbies, and getting proper rest. These aspects of life are just as important now as they will be when you ultimately retire.

Find Alternate Sources of Income

Speaking of additional income, this is a great time to address the need for more than one source of monthly stipend. The reality is that many Americans don’t make a great deal of money from a single paycheck to pay their expenses, keep up a healthy savings balance, and save enough for retirement. Many have found success by generating additional income through a variety of means.

Investing is one way retirement dreams have become a reality for many Americans. Unlike a 401k or IRA account, investment portfolios don’t have a contribution limit. You can invest as much money as you’d like and withdraw it at all. Make smart, calculated investing decisions on stocks and bonds, and you can watch your money grow from year to year.

Starting your own business is another excellent way to increase your income. You can do some freelance work on the side using one of your skills or look at getting into real estate and collecting rent on a couple of properties. Each option has risks and labor involved, so choose wisely the paths you wish to take.

If you want retirement to be everything you hoped it would be, start preparing now. Draft out some preliminary plans in your Calendar and begin taking steps forward, and by the time you wish to retire, you will have the resources to do so.

5 Industries Benefiting from Improved Productivity and Efficiency

By | Time Management | No Comments
5 Industries Benefiting from Improved Productivity and Efficiency

Over the past few centuries, society has undergone several Industrial Revolutions where improved productivity was the main focus. Each one introduced different kinds of innovations like mechanized fabric making, product standardization, and digital communications. Certainly, they were different in terms of what they brought to the societal table. Yet, they all had one thing in common: They enabled exciting methods of workforce efficiency on unparalleled scales.

Today, we’re nestled somewhere around the Fourth or Fifth Industrial Revolution. As a result, efficiency and its cousin, productivity, have arisen as hallmarks of successful companies. Indeed, top organizations like Apple and Microsoft do things better, faster, and cheaper than competitors.

As a result, these companies are frequently used as examples in business school curricula. When have you heard of “the greats” without hearing of Apple and Microsoft? Moreover, these businesses’ efficiencies continue to keep them in leading positions worldwide and force other organizations to keep up — or get left behind.

For instance, Amazon has mastered what is coined McDonaldization. That is, Amazon’s workplace engine runs like that of a fast-food chain. How so? People get exactly what they want when they want it at an affordable price.

No matter where an individual is under Amazon’s reach, they can expect the same level of service. The system is efficiency-in-action — and it turns consumers into loyalists. The Amazon example provides other businesses with the inspiration and impetus to boost their own company productivity ratings.

Leaning into efficiency — even when it’s a tough sell

Of course, becoming efficient isn’t simple and doesn’t come without growing pains. If it did, every startup or enterprise would run like clockwork without minimal amounts of time, human resources, or financial waste.

Efficiency takes tremendous planning, work, and dedication, right down to the individual level, which is why some sectors historically have lagged behind. Not anymore, though. Plenty of industries are finally embracing the realization that efficiency will bring myriad opportunities.

At the same time, business leaders have realized that an efficient culture doesn’t have to be robotic. Productivity can be fun and rewarding. Workers don’t necessarily disengage just because their employer values productivity. Instead, they can start to see themselves as part of the solution. Plus, if they can help cut out waste, they may see personal gains like a shorter workweek.

Improved productivity in industries not known for productivity

So which industries are becoming known for adopting more efficient processes? The following five are finding and testing exciting ways to boost productivity.

Industry #1. Media and entertainment

Video game development may be a thriving field. Nonetheless, companies have had trouble finding workers to fill roles. Part of the problem is that the technologies needed to produce games evolve rapidly. Consequently, job candidates who graduated a few years ago may not have impressive resumes or appropriate credentials.

Credentials within each market have to be updated, and some workers have not taken that opportunity — leading to problems with efficiency within video game developing companies. Why? The companies are struggling to put workers into positions.

Fortunately, the industry has found a workaround that’s both efficient and effective. As Gearbox Entertainment president Randy Pitchford has explained while on the speaking circuit, “hiring for aptitude could transform this industry.” Pitchford has seen how recruiting people with the right cultural fit, determination, and spatial skills can have more bottom-line effects than hiring someone for background alone.

Understanding gaming industry needs and the unique way of sourcing tomorrow’s gaming performers has allowed Gearbox and other entities to get projects to market (and consumers hungry for entertainment) faster than ever before.

Industry #2. Education

Although education has experienced improved productivity with the advent of technologies like the computer and the Internet, it’s still antiquated. Still, it’s undergone a bit of metamorphosis during Covid due to the rise in online learning. And that’s opened the door for education advocates, administrators, educators, and parents to discuss revamping the educational process.

Take grading systems, for instance. Instructure, the maker behind Canvas, conducted a research study during the pandemic. The study showed that about half of educational setting stakeholders felt that students were falling behind. At the same time, plenty of respondents felt the way to help kids and teens recovery shouldn’t include high-stakes testing.

Instead, 76% of teachers felt that formative assessments were better to determine if students were progressing. So if formative assessments become mainstream, they may help teachers more efficiently bring all students to a standard level.

Industry #3. Healthcare

Medicine, in general, hasn’t always been the pinnacle of productivity. How many stories have we all heard about long waits to get from the lobby to the exam room? Or the inability to schedule an appointment within three months, especially with a specialist?

These hiccups have made healthcare a place fraught with frustrations for all parties. In other words, it’s the perfect zone for a focus on improved productivity.

Healthcare has enjoyed an efficiency renaissance recently thanks to integrated healthcare portals. Many of the larger hospitals and healthcare systems are creating centralized places for records, communication, billing, insurance, and more.

By streamlining all documentation and giving patients more immediate access, providers are improving their service. They’re also putting power in the hands of patients who can schedule emotional wellness telemedicine visits and pay their bills online.

Industry #4. Retail

Consumers fell out of favor with brick-and-mortar shopping during Covid. Instead, they tended to do most of their purchasing online through sites and apps. Though they’ve returned to their favorite retailers now that they can, they’ve altered their buying behaviors.

More than ever, they value efficient interchanges — and don’t necessarily want to spend hours browsing or waiting in lines. Instead, they want the speed that can only come from highly efficient workflows.

To satisfy the public’s needs, retailers have made several efficiency changes. For one, lots have added self-service kiosk checkouts. Others have bumped up their digital spaces, adding buy-now, pick-up-in-store choices.

More retail companies are promising curbside delivery with prepayment. Not surprisingly, shoppers are taking advantage of these current opportunities to get what they want faster.

Industry #5. Real Estate

Who would have thought that real estate would take off during and after the pandemic? It happened, though. Even during the strictest lockdown periods, people found ways to connect with realtors and virtually visit properties. As soon as they could, they snatched up residential and commercial deals–sending Zestimates soaring sky-high.

Until the middle of 2021, the housing market kept going up and up. The higher prices delighted everyone, from agents to sellers to investors. But, at the same time, it highlighted the need for improved productivity with so many people clamoring to enter into the real estate market.

Even though buyers and sellers can once again meet in person, they’re not stuck doing real estate the same way. Realtors and realty companies have begun to use the web more effectively. They’re exploring ways to ramp up efficiency from streamlining documentation through online e-signature portals to showcasing even luxury properties online.

Some are even testing the waters with augmented and virtual reality. The more they can get a potential buyer to connect with available properties, the faster they can close a sale.

Some experts say that we’ve entered into the Fifth Industrial Revolution. Others say we’re only on its cusp. A few are looking forward to predicting the Sixth Industrial Revolution, which could be a combination of AI and biotech.

Regardless of which Industrial Revolution is upon us, all organizations and industries can benefit from an upsurge of innovation, adaptability, and efficiency.

Being Cold Can Hurt Your Productivity

By | Knowledge Base, Time Management | No Comments
Being Cold Can Hurt Your Productivity

These final months of the year keep getting colder and colder. Of course, some people love the cold, especially after a blazing hot summer. However, no matter how you feel about the cold, it’s essential to understand that being cold can actually hurt your productivity.

When you’re cold, your body expends more energy trying to keep warm. Unfortunately, this can make it difficult to focus and maintain energy and power throughout a long shift. Cornell University performed a study that showed that employees committed 44% more errors in their work in a cold setting instead of a warmer one.

Here are some tips for warming up your body and your brain so that cooler weather doesn’t compromise your seasonal productivity:

Grab a Space Heater

It’s understandable if you don’t want to crank up the heat throughout the entire building if you’re just a little bit chilly. Not only might this inconvenience others, but it can also run your utility up considerably. A small space heater can do the trick in this scenario.

Space heaters can be set to target temperatures so that they aren’t constantly running but will quickly flip on when things get chilly. However, leaving a space heater on for too long or unattended can be a fire hazard, so be sure to unplug it when you leave the room. Additionally, keep the surrounding area around it clear, and you won’t experience any problems.

If you want a more focused heating experience, try a heated blanket. You can wrap the “blankie” around your legs or shoulders to warm up key areas of your body. Just make sure the heat and comfort don’t make you drowsy, causing you to lose productivity.

Bundle Up

Shorts are so comfortable, but you’re going to need to start bundling up a little bit more. Just look on the bright side; winter layers offer many more opportunities to show off your style and fashion sense. Besides, you can always peel off extra layers when you’re feeling too warm. You can’t conjure up a jacket if you leave it at home.

For at-home workers, bundling up presents an interesting dilemma. The outfit of choice during the latter half of the year often includes a pair of cozy sweatpants. While it’s essential to keep warm, make sure your clothing isn’t putting you in the wrong state of mind for a productive day.

If you get cold hands but need to type all day, try on a pair of fingerless gloves. There are all kinds of typing gloves on the market to keep your digits warm while retaining dexterity.

Do Some Exercise

If you feel the cold making it difficult to focus, get up and do some light exercise. A few small exercises will get your blood pumping to warm up your body and reactivate your mind. Of course, there’s no need to hop on the treadmill to warm up; just do something simple at your desk.

For example, you can set a recurring reminder in your Calendar to stand up and do 15 jumping jacks every hour. The people in our office do all kinds of exercise during work. Jumping jacks, situps, running in place, or going up and down the stairs in the building, stretching, and a variety of other activities to keep the blood flowing and the mind awake.

These short activities won’t make for much of a weight-loss routine, but they will help keep you warm and active during the fall and winter months. In addition, coworkers can join in on exercise fun, leading to a fun office tradition.

Watch What You Eat

What you put into your body can help regulate your temperature or make matters worse. You might love ice cream more than anything in the world, but that’s certainly not going to help you focus on productivity on a chilly day. Your best bet is to try something warmer. Coffee, a little green tea, hot chocolate — there are many options.

Coffee and tea are popular drinks, especially at this time of year. Sipping on a hot drink will warm you inside and out. Not to mention that these drinks also contain properties that are designed to perk you up even on the earliest and chilliest of mornings.

Be wary of the effects of these drinks — and watch to see if they’re helping more than hurting. For example, some people are sensitive to caffeine, so while you might enjoy getting warmed up and energized, your hyperactivity might make it difficult to concentrate on project details. You also need to stay hydrated even when it’s cold, so be wary of drinking too much of something that’s not doing the job.

Get Some Sun

Not only does the sun help warm you up, but it’s also an important ward against seasonal depression. Sometimes the cold and dark affects you more mentally and emotionally than it does physically. Shining some extra light in your life will help on both counts.

During times and regions where the sun doesn’t shine in too often, look at compensating with some artificial light. For example, a small desk lamp can be strategically placed to light up your workspace when outside is nothing but dark and gloomy. You can even alarm clocks that simulate the rising sun, helping you start each morning on a more positive note during the colder months.

Spend Time With Others

Time spend with other people isn’t a suggestion to huddle together with your coworkers like penguins. Instead, try to make time for healthy social interactions. Sharing a laugh with others is a great way to keep seasonal depression at bay and warm up your emotional state.

Different challenges such as Covid-19, remote work, and even social anxiety make this challenging for some. So get to your Zoom calls a minute early and chat with your team or join online groups with people sharing similar interests. A little social interaction can go a long way when the winter woes are pulling you down.

Baby, it’s cold outside,– but that doesn’t mean your productivity has to freeze over. Instead, keep yourself nice and warm, and you won’t have a problem making the next months just as purposeful as the rest of the year.

How to Boost Your Productivity (Without Apps)

By | Time Management | No Comments
How to Boost Your Productivity (Without Apps)

Did you know that we spend over four hours a day in apps? While we can thank the pandemic for this surge, which skyrocketed by up to 80% in selected markets between Q1 2019 and Q1 2021, we’ve become extremely reliant on applications. Can you imagine life without WhatsApp, YouTube, Uber, Netflix, or Google Maps?

Yeah. That would be a challenge. But, we also depend on apps to make us productive. For starters, they can help you manage your time, calendar, and schedule. Moreover, we use apps to keep track of daily tasks, to-do lists, and collaborate with others on big projects.

As if that weren’t enough, we benefit from communication apps that can help us maintain our focus. And, we lean on these tools to generate and share content, track our progress, and make that upcoming travel trip a breeze.

In short, productivity apps just rock. Without them, life would be chaotic and ineffective.

Why productivity apps are problematic.

Despite these benefits, there’s also a dark side to productivity apps.

  • There is an overabundance of choices. How do you decide which app to use? After all, the majority of them do everything the same. But which is most likely to fit your unique needs? You don’t want to spend a lot of time searching and sifting through hundreds of applications — unless you want to ignore your priorities, waste time, and get overwhelmed.
  • Learning how apps work takes time. It may still be confusing if you are not as comfortable using technology, even when you find the perfect app that fits your brain and workflow. Although you may be attracted to technology, you may end up spending more time learning how to use it as opposed to getting things done.
  • Sometimes the developer disappears. You will find that app developers often update your favorite apps with new features and improvements. Using the new systems and features will likely require a learning curve. Occasionally, some developers will leave without a trace. Because of this, an app that you use regularly won’t get further support. As a result, you’ll need to download a new replacement app.

Apps lead to information overload.

“Our lives and work are increasingly digital,” Almuth McDowall, professor of organizational psychology at Birkbeck, University of London, told the BBC. “But it’s a complex world, and there is an information overload.”

“Good apps, well used, can help us to negotiate this,” McDowall states. “But there is still a question of whether we’re really interested in becoming more productive, or simply ‘doing more to seem effective’.”

There is definitely evidence to suggest that employees are overloaded with software. A study conducted in 2018 found that the average operational support worker switched between 35 different applications 1,100 times during the course of their shift. Despite the availability of these apps and tools, productivity has declined in most highly industrialized countries, while burnout has risen.

“Evidence shows that working hours and the time that we spend in online meetings is increasing, so it may be that we are working harder, not smarter,” suggests McDowall. “Why are we not getting better at managing the quality of our output?”

The good news? It’s still possible to boost your productivity without apps.

Don’t follow a “normal” schedule.

Traditionally, we assume there’s a ‘normal’ schedule we should follow. And, that would be the traditional 9 to 5.

However, each of us has our own prime time where we are the most productive and alert. As such, it’s counterproductive to follow arbitrary and antiquated rules. For example, proclaiming “I should finish my daily writing before 9 am, or else I won’t get to it.” Or, “It’s already past 7 pm, so it’s time to call it a day.”

The problem here is that following a “normal” schedule not only goes against your circadian rhythms, it also interrupts your state of flow. As a consequence, it will take you longer to complete tasks with diminishing returns.

Is there another option? Consider blocks, instead of hours.

When you work in timed, focused sprints, you do more than just minimize distractions. You will create a new unit of measurement and rhythm to follow. As a result, this will help you set clear boundaries without losing your flexibility, while also tracking your progress effectively.

Work in layers, not silos.

“Our days tend to be a blend of different projects, software, and conversations,” writes content marketer Jimmy Daly. “These layers make up our work, but we don’t often extract as much value from them as we could.”

For example, we tend to do research in silos, but we can do it as a layer. Throughout the workday, you can pick up useful tidbits as you jump between projects and talk to coworkers, he says. You’ll find that you have more ideas when you need them when your mind is a dragnet for good ones.

For writers, this is especially useful. Keep your eyes open for interesting articles, ideas, graphics, and quotes. “Save them, tag, categorize them,” Daly advises. “Even the ones that seem entirely unrelated to your current work can be useful in the future.”

Your taste develops as you collect ideas. Having this database also provides you with a wealth of inspiration, since it’s regularly updated.

Evaluate and reduce your to-do list.

It can be really helpful to organize your mind and tasks you have to accomplish at work with to-do lists. Having too much on your plate, however, can also lead to stress and feeling overwhelmed.

The most likely reason is that you have added too many items to your to-do list and that you can’t possibly complete them all in a day. If you overpack your day, you might believe you will be more productive and finish everything in time. But believing that you’re going to finish everything can be a costly mistake.

You can reduce stress, work smarter, and maximize your productivity by accepting that you won’t get everything done. After all, you are but one person with a limited workload. To rectify this, clear a few things off your list. Your brain will automatically choose the task that has the lowest priority if you force yourself to do it once a day.

The second reason for limiting your daily to-dos, even if it’s only by one — is because of task debt. Task debt occurs when you never cross-off items and they sit on your list for a long time — whether it’s a paper list or online board.

You should consider reducing and prioritizing your to-do list if you constantly find yourself overwhelmed by it. After your mind has been cleansed, it will be easier for your brain to determine what tasks to prioritize.

Give yourself a break.

There’s no need to feel guilty if you check your messages, the news, or social media notifications every now and then — or even if you check them a lot. The benefits of giving yourself a break have been known for a while — but, sometimes we all need this reminder.

As a matter of fact, scientists have found that you’ve been increasing your focus when taking these brief mental breaks.

Research has shown that well-timed breaks spent on non-related activities improve performance. The reason? The brain will switch off after prolonged exposure to the same stimulus, such as staring at spreadsheets all day.

In order to avoid becoming overburdened, you need to maintain a balance between these two activities. So don’t wait too long before taking a break to stretch or go for a walk.

Best of all? You don’t need an app for this. An hourglass or old-fashioned kitchen timer will suffice if you want to implement something like the Pomodoro Technique.

Build your energy.

Just like PB&J, energy and productivity go hand in hand. After all, the less energy you have, the less you will be able to accomplish. And, you can gain energy through the following app-free practices.

  • Get the best sleep ever by following a sleep schedule based on your circadian rhythms. Also, avoid blue light at least an hour before bed. And, keep your bedroom cool, dark, and silent.
  • Improve your diet. Suggestions would be having carbohydrate-rich breakfast foods, lean meats, and plenty of fruits and veggies. And, drink lots of water.
  • Close open-loops, like making that dentist appointment or trip to the post office.
  • Get outside and bask in the sun.
  • Go for a daily gratitude walk.
  • Spend more time with positive and supportive people.
  • Say “no” to time-wasters.
  • Keep your workspace clean and organized.

Train yourself to innovate.

Finally, thinking about innovation may not be top of mind. But, innovation encourages continuous growth and improvement, while keeping you relevant. It can also assist you in developing resourcefulness and overcome your fear of failure.

And, you can also train yourself to innovate sans applications. Examples would be reading actual books and reciting back what you read. You could change up your routine or seek out experiences that put your talents to good use. And, while brushing your teeth, you should use your non-dominant hand to utilize your left and right brain.

Why Every Gig Worker Needs an Online Calendar

By | Scheduling, Time Management | No Comments
Why Every Gig Worker Needs an Online Calendar

The spotlight was shined on the gig economy during the heat of Covid-19 as thousands of workers looked to earn paychecks as businesses closed around them. While most of the world has since reopened, the gig economy is still alive and well. There are a lot of positive aspects of being a gig worker that has kept people around for the long haul.

Several skills are helpful when becoming a gig worker, but none are as important as that of time management. When you’re not being paid by the hour, time is extremely valuable to you. That’s why every gig worker should have an online calendar. Let’s dissect the reasons why:

Managing Your Workload

Not having direct supervision as a gig worker is both a blessing and a curse. On the positive side, you get a lot more freedom and flexibility than you would by working on a salary. On the opposing end, though gig work is exciting and much more interesting — becoming a successful gig worker requires a lot of drive and initiative to get moving.

You also need to be careful about biting off more than you can chew. By tracking projects in your online Calendar, you can see if you’re getting a little overloaded and need to stop taking on new projects for a short time. For example, it’s better to complete three projects in a week with time to spare than to take on five and need to push back deadlines and endure some stressful, sleepless nights.

Meeting Deadlines

As a gig worker, the most essential aspect of your job will be to meet a plethora of deadlines. If you miss deadlines, you don’t get paid, and you’ll quickly lose customers. You want to be known as a reliable worker so that the request and recommendations continue to roll in.

What do you need to do in order to meet deadlines? Perhaps you need project management software to break down your projects into manageable pieces. On the other hand, maybe an endless stream of reminders and notifications is what you need to stay on track. Find out what methods work best for you and put them to work using your online Calendar.

Balancing Work and Home

A lot of gig workers are actually able to work from home. For these individuals, the lines between work and home can sometimes blend together. If you’re not careful, work can overtake your personal life entirely, which can be dangerously unhealthy.

With your Calendar in hand, make a proactive effort to dedicate time to family, friends, and hobbies. Learning where and how to use your time might feel forced at first, but it will help you learn how to prioritize the various aspects of your life and create time for everything. Of course, if that means you have to schedule in your family dinner in your Calendar — so be it.

A great way to tell how your work-life balance is faring, turn to Calendar analytics. This page of your Calendar will display the usage data of your time for accurate comparison. For example, if you’re noticing a very low percentage of your planned activities are geared toward family, you’ll know it’s time to plan some more activities in this area.

Scheduling helps you make sure that your created life pans out according to your dreams and the goals you’ve set for yourself.

Connecting With Clients

Your customer and client meetings are essential to both schedule and master to provide the best results to customers. Using your Calendar, you can start every meeting off on the right foot by being punctual every single time. Showing up late to your own meeting is never ideal for a first impression.

Using an online calendar will also help your clients be more timely with proposed meetings. It’s mighty frustrating to waste idle time for a customer to show up for a preplanned meeting. Reminders will often come in the clutch, and the ability to share video conferencing links directly in event invitations for any digital meetings you have.

Handling Money

Many contracted workers in the gig economy have found that there is more money to be made by being your own boss. However, paychecks can be inconsistent, and company benefits are no longer available. Therefore, you need to be smart with your finances if you want this to be a viable long-term commitment.

While online Calendars are known for their ability to help you manage your time, they are also helpful when it comes to budgeting. For example, you can set recurring reminders to set aside money for taxes, contribute to a savings account, or stay on top of bills. When you stay on top of your bills, it will help your finances feel consistent even when your paychecks aren’t.

Marketing

Gig workers are basically just miniature versions of entrepreneurs. Instead of running an entire business, they operate through a personal brand. With that being said, how you market yourself is incredibly important.

Depending on your line of work, there might be umbrella companies that can help you with marketing and advertising or eliminate the need entirely. Ridesharing or food delivery, for example, typically run through apps that customers use without requesting a specific driver. In addition, gig worker sites such as Fiverr provide a platform for all sorts of different contracted projects to increase visibility.

Other gig workers might need to use other means to draw attention to their services. Social media is an excellent example. Let’s say you’re an independent plumber working under your own name. A simple social media page can have contact information, pricing, and examples of your work to help increase customer acquisition.

If you want to see if the gig economy is right for you, pick up a few projects in your downtime to ease into the transition. If you decide to make the complete switch, keep these tips in mind so your new lifestyle can be a successful one.

22 Ways You Can Power Up for Productivity

By | Time Management | No Comments
22 Ways You Can Power Up for Productivity

What would you rate your level of productivity on a 1-10 scale? I know — sometimes you feel like you don’t want to keep thinking about productivity. But you have to keep thinking about productivity for the renewable energy in yourself.

You can power up for productivity by thinking about it differently — think of productivity as your power source. Productivity is your PERSONAL RENEWABLE POWER SOURCE.

Start rethinking your thoughts about productivity and make it your best friend. Train your brain to have positivity about productivity and work if you want to keep going strong.

Even if your current level of productivity is high, there’s always room to improve.

Since I’m very results-oriented, I’ve been on a seemingly never-ending quest to boost my productivity. As such, I frequently experiment with different approaches and systems. If I find one that has helped me achieve my goals, I keep it. For the techniques that don’t work, I throw them out like yesterday’s trash. Ultimately, this ensures that I’m only using the best of the best.

With that in mind, here are 22 strategies that I’ve found to be the most useful for powering up my productivity. So, without further ado, let’s get ready to level up your productivity.

1. Choose your own prioritization method.

I’ve been a baseball fan all my life. And, I’ve always been fascinated with batting stances and swings. Sure. There are the sweet ones like Ken Griffey Jr. and Ted William. But, I always enjoyed the more unique stances from players like Gary Sheffield and Kevin Youkilis.

While Junior had the most beautiful swing in baseball, it didn’t work for everyone, especially players like Sheffield and Youkilis. The same is also true with prioritization methods.

Learn everywhere and from anyone you can. I’ve learned a lot from former President Dwight D. Eisenhower and the popular Eisenhower Matrix.

“The Eisenhower Matrix works by dividing tasks into four quadrants,” writes Max Palmer in a previous Calendar article. “The rows and columns help you determine which tasks should go where.

The columns represent urgent and non-urgent tasks, while the accompanying rows indicate essential and non-important tasks. Combined together, you get these unique quadrants:

  • First Quadrant: Do
  • Second Quadrant: Decide
  • Third Quadrant: Delegate
  • Fourth Quadrant: Disregard

But, just because this works for me doesn’t mean it will work for you. As such, you should experiment with various prioritization methods until you find a swing that works best for you. Some suggestions, besides the Eisenhower Matrix, include:

Two Big Traps

“Be sure to watch out for ‘decibel prioritization,’ in which the loudest voice heard gets top priority, and ‘threat prioritization,’ in which stakeholders holding the most political power always get what they demand,” writes Karl Wiegers in a Medium post. “These traps can skew the process away from addressing your true business objectives.”

In or Out

“The simplest method is for a group of stakeholders to work down a list of requirements and decide for each if it’s in or it’s out,” states Wiegers. Using the project’s business objectives as a guide, pare down each task to the absolute minimum required for the first release.

“When that iteration is underway, you can go back to the previously ‘out’ requirements and repeat the process for the next cycle,” he adds. “This is a simple approach to managing an agile backlog of user stories, provided the list of pending requirements isn’t too enormous.”

Pairwise Comparison and Rank Ordering

Priority sequence numbers are sometimes assigned to requirements. Rank ordering involves comparing all the needs pairwise to see which one is more important. Over a few dozen criteria, however, this becomes cumbersome. As a whole, it might not cover all the requirements for a system of this size, but it may work for granularity.

“Rank ordering all requirements by priority is overkill, as you won’t be releasing them all individually,” explains Wiegers. Instead, it’s best to organize them by release or development iteration. The dividing of requirements into features, or into small groups of conditions that share the same priority or need to be implemented together, is sufficient in most cases.

Three-Level Scale

“A common approach groups requirements into three priority categories,” he writes. When you use three categories, you will have high, medium, and low priorities. They are typically subjective and imprecise. Each level in the scale must represent a specific outcome that the stakeholders can agree on.

“I like to consider the two dimensions of importance and urgency,” Wiegers suggests. “Every requirement can be considered as being either important to achieving business objectives or not so important and as being either urgent or not so urgent.” It’s a relative assessment of a set of requirements, not an absolute comparison.

MoSCoW

A MoSCoW priority scheme is divided into four different categories indicated by capital letters:

  • Must: The requirement must be met for the solution to be deemed successful.
  • Should: The requirement is crucial to success, but it is not essential.
  • The capability is desirable, but it can be delayed or eliminated. If resources and time permit, implement it.
  • Won’t: A requirement that won’t be implemented at present may be implemented in a later version.

“The MoSCoW scheme changes the three-level scale — high, medium, and low — into a four-level scale,” clarifies Wieger. “It doesn’t offer any rationale for deciding how to rate the priority of a given requirement compared to others.”

MOSCoW leaves room for ambiguity, especially regarding the “Won’t” rating: does it mean “not in the next release” or “not ever?” This scale takes urgency and importance into account and focuses specifically on the forthcoming release or iteration.

2. Break the procrastination and perfectionism loop.

If you haven’t received the memo, procrastination and perfectionism reduce productivity. Mainly this is because they can cause anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. Moreover, they impede innovation, limits opportunities, and make you reluctant to make decisions.

If you want to break free from the destructive procrastination and perfectionism loop, Deanna Ritchie in another Calendar piece, recommends:

  • Lowering your standards and expectations — You don’t have to be perfect! Just get ‘er done — and done is way better than not done.”
  • Keeping your tasks bite-sized.
  • Focusing on one thing at a time.
  • Practicing self-compassion.
  • Surrounding yourself with positive support.
  • Incorporating mindfulness.
  • Reducing your commitments.
  • Rewarding yourself.
  • Tracking your time.

3. Get your body moving.

No surprise here. If you feel sluggish all of the time, then you aren’t going to have the energy and stamina to make it through a full day of work.

While you could hit the gym before or after work, go for an afternoon stroll when you take a break at work. Sit and stretch at your desk — some of us may feel strapped for time, and we use it as an excuse not to move our bodies — don’t get in this mentality.

The good news? You can work out and stay active from anywhere. For example, you could switch to a standing desk, have walking meetings, playing your kids or dog, or launch a fitness challenge. You could also get creative, like doing heel-raises while making coffee or squats while folding the laundry.

The point is what? Just do something — absolutely anything to raise your body moving quotient.

4. Master your skills.

Your skills must be mastered before you can do your work efficiently and well. Gamers refer to this as leveling up. Practice the skills you do most often. Make sure you don’t have to look up a YouTube on a how-to-do part of your job you should have memorized.

Photographers, for example, cannot take the highest-quality photos unless they master their tools and photography skills. You can improve your skillset through training, learning, and reading tutorials specific to your core responsibilities.

5. Dilute micro-distractions.

“We are an over-connected society which is addicted to our devices and a slave to our notifications, “writes resilence keynote speaker Heidi Dening. “In open-plan workplaces that are poorly designed with no opportunity to do distraction-free work, we take longer to get our work done and we make more errors.”

The reason for this phenomenon? Because humans are wired to not switch tasks like that, we cannot focus if we’re being interrupted constantly by beeps, tweets, pop-up windows, and other interruptions.

“The number one adjustment you can make that has MASSIVE impacts to your productivity is to turn off the sounds and notifications on your devices,” suggests Dening. “Now, if this statement has scared you because you realize you are addicted to being notified when someone likes, comments, re-tweets, or contacts you, then take it one step at a time.”

  • For the first week, turn off the sounds on your devices.
  • Then turn your email pop-up off for the following week.
  • Once that is done, turn your social media feeds off for the following week.

“If you take little steps, it won’t seem so overwhelming, and you can test the impact these small modifications have on your productivity, she adds.

6. Try intelligent planning.

When you plan intelligently, you will learn how to be productive while switching between various activities throughout the day — or staying fresh while working on larger responsibilities.

Researchers have found that you should work in sprints that last no more than 90 minutes. More importantly, you need to take frequent breaks.

The reason? You need breaks to rest, recharge, and clear your mind. Overall, this keeps your concentration and performance high.

Furthermore, breaks can be beneficial for your physical and mental health as well. You might consider a short gym session or yoga during your workday if you feel your energy is waning. Increased workplace productivity, a boost in metabolism, more efficient brain function, and a positive attitude will follow.

7. Suck it up and ask for help.

There’s no shame in asking others for help. In fact, it’s not a sign of weakness. Rather it’s a strength as this is a surefire way to gain new perspectives and insights.

Furthermore, various research shows that this develops resilience, relationships, and is a sign of high performers. It can also improve your mental health. Additionally, it’s been found that sitting next to hard workers boosts one’s work ethic.

8. Create a productivity playlist.

Depending on the type of music, this is another effective way to power up your productivity. So, as you create your super-awesome-productivity playlist, focus on the following genres:

  • Classical. In 2001, a literature review stated that listening to music by Mozart improved short-term spatial-temporal reasoning. However, it didn’t affect general intelligence.
  • Coffee shop sounds. According to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research in 2012, medium levels of ambient noise increased creativity. But, low or high levels decreased it.
  • Ambient music. Spotify surveyed 4,000 adults from the U.S. and UK in 2021, and 69% of them said ambient music works best for study, with 67% saying slower beats are essential. Thankfully, there are already ambient playlists waiting for you in Spotify, such as Lofi Beats, Deep Focus, and Chill Lofi Study Beats.
  • Upbeat tracks. Listening to high-tempo music (170-190 bpm) enhanced athletic performance, according to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology in 2020. Does this translate to productivity? 180BPM Instrumental music may be able to give you a productivity boost.
  • Nature sounds. According to a study by the Acoustical Society of America, in an open-plan office, the sound of a flowing mountain stream significantly increased workers’ mood and productivity. However, only 12 participants were included in the study.
  • Pink and white noise. One study published in Scientific Reports in 2017 found that listening to white noise while learning new words resulted in greater recall than listening to silence. White noise may enhance the acquisition of new words, according to the researchers.

9. Go on a productivity purge.

A productivity purge is “a simple strategy for coming as close as possible to satisfying the principle without giving up a quest for the unexpected next big thing.” The concept was popularized by Cal Newport and based on the Einstein Principle.

Newport points out that Einstein’s primary focus from 1912 to 1915 was his theory of relativity. But despite sacrifices, Einstein produced one of history’s most significant scientific works.

“We are most productive when we focus on a very small number of projects on which we can devote a large amount of attention,” explains Newport. “Achievements worth achieving require hard work. There is no shortcut here.”

Thankfully, going in a productivity purge isn’t as complicated as trying to explain Einstein’s theory of relativity.

  • Create three columns on a sheet of paper or word document; professional, extracurricular, and personal. In the “professional” column, you list all of the major projects you’re currently working on. Beneath “extracurricular,” include your side projects. Finally, under “personal,” have all self-improvement projects.
  • Then, under each list, “select one or two projects which, at this point in your life, are the most important and seem like they would yield the greatest returns,” Newport adds. “Put a star by these projects.”
  • Next, identify anything you can “stop working on right away with no serious consequences. Cross these out.”
  • If any projects remain unmarked, “come up with a 1-3 week plan for finalizing and dispatching them,” suggests Newport. “Many of these will be projects for which you owe someone something before you can stop working on them.” In that case, develop “a crunch plan for the near future for shutting these down as quickly as possible.”
  • By the time you’ve “completed your crunch plan, you’ll be left with only a small number of important projects. In other words, you have “purged your schedule of all but a few contenders to be your next Theory of Relativity.”

In his final tip, Newport emphasizes the importance of security. “Try to go at least one month without starting any new projects. Keep all commitments to a minimum during this month.” Rather, target “with an Einsteinian intensity, on your select list.”

10. Rethink what you eat.

Which is going to give you more energy to finish strong through the afternoon, a bacon cheeseburger or a salmon salad? Junk food affects more than just your weight. In addition, it can cause energy crashes and decreased productivity.

As such, be sure to keep healthy snacks at your office so that you can remain productive throughout the day.

11. Identify your productivity ebb and flows.

Everybody has times when they are more productive than others. Identify these times via a productivity journal or time tracker and plan your most challenging tasks around them. Then, in the other times, just complete the tasks that are simpler or of lower difficulty.

For instance, if you’re more productive in the morning, that’s when you should tackle your most important task of the day. In the afternoon, schedule meetings or mapping out your content for the next week.

12. Improve your work environment.

Don’t neglect your workplace. After all, this has a significant impact on your productivity. With that in mind, start by keeping your workspace clean and organized. You also might want to spruce it up with a standing desk and plants.

Also, maintain a comfortable temperature in the office. You will be distracted if the working environment is too hot or too cold. Ideally, the temperature should be between 68 and 70° F.

13. Move on.

Jobs in the creative industries can be extremely frustrating, especially during those gray days when nothing is inspiring to do. By repeatedly focusing on the same problem, you will create even more obstacles to your productivity — it’s like spinning your wheels when stuck in the mud.

As a result of frustrations like these, you begin to doubt your abilities or procrastinate. To avoid this, move on to an unrelated task. This way, you still get things done while calming down since your attention is elsewhere. And, with a clear head, and maybe even fresh ideas, you may be able to return to the original task with gusto.

14. Focus on meaningful work.

Several studies indicate that individuals who find meaning in their work are more motivated, engaged, empowered, and have greater career fulfillment and job satisfaction. In addition to being productive, meaningful work can help boost performance and engagement.

How can you find meaningful work? One suggestion would be doing what you love. Or, at least you are passionate about aspects of your job, like helping others or having an unlimited vacation.

Other recommendations would be seeking autonomy or asking others, “What’s the purpose of my work?” Or, you could amend your job description, aka job crafting, so that it’s more meaningful.

15. Become a master-batcher.

Did you know that focusing on more than one thing at a time reduces productivity by 40%? Peter Bregman explains why in a piece for The Harvard Business Review. See, we’re not really multitasking. Instead, “We switch-task, rapidly shifting from one thing to another, interrupting ourselves unproductively, and losing time in the process.”

Rather than focusing on one thing at a time, it’s best not to isolate. In other words, group together similar tasks and complete them all at once. As an example, instead of checking your inbox every time you receive a notification, you would check your emails three times a day, like in the morning, after lunch, or before you quit for the day.

16. Eliminate limiting beliefs.

Are you concerned about some hypothetical situation that has yet to happen? Negative thoughts weighing on your mind? Put an end to these negative habits and beliefs by deleting your thoughts. After all, you don’t want these things to prevent you from achieving your goals.

If you want to remove negative thoughts and instill empowering ones, one suggestion is referring to Day 26 and 27 of Be a Better Me in 30 Days Program.

17. Be optimistic.

“Rescue—if people are facing a daunting task, and their instinct is to avoid it, you’ve got to break down the task. Shrink the change. Make the change small enough that they can’t help but score a victory,” Chip and Dan Heath write in Switch.

Breaking down challenging tasks and boosting your self-confidence can help you feel more optimistic about completing them, even if you’ve avoided them for some time. Then, celebrate your progress as your sub-tasks are completed.

According to experts, keeping optimism alive during a project’s completion is possible by acknowledging progress instead of dwelling on setbacks.

18. Listen to your body.

If your body is screaming for nutrients, your mind cannot be productive. The problem is that unhealthy drinks containing energizing ingredients and junk food are favored by people seeking short-term energy boosts.

Coffee and Tea aren’t my thing — however (gag, my friends, if you must), sometimes a Red Bull is in order. But experiment with what works for you.

Also, unless it’s imperative that you’re available if you’re exhausted, go for a walk or take a catnap. It’s often a better solution than fighting against your tiredness.

19. Use a “blast-off” method.

It’s rare for us to have enough time to finish everything on our plates in a single day. Especially if the task is relatively simple and we aren’t inspired to do it. As a result, we procrastinate. But, this is most true on the things that we aren’t looking forward to doing.

The Five-Second Rule is a method that says you should count down 5-4-3-2-1 before starting a challenging task. Developed by entrepreneur Mel Robbins, this allows you to be more in control.

You can also succeed in any task by following the Five Second Rule. And, your sense of accomplishment will be palpable, and you’ll be inspired to keep going.

20. Challenge your mind.

The troubling lack of inspiration mentioned earlier shouldn’t keep you from starting your day on the right foot. Rather than allowing others to deal with that problem for you, take matters into your own hands by challenging yourself with intellectual challenges like Sudoku or crossword puzzles.

Fortunately, there are plenty of these games available online, and you can pick the one that suits you best.

21. Delegate like a boss.

Are you ever unsure of how you’ll possibly accomplish all the tasks on your to-do list?

Most of those low-value tasks can be outsourced, I’m sure. However, all of these activities will consume the precious hours of your day that you have to get work done. They include data entry, document formatting, and running errands.

Thanks to the internet, you can outsource these tedious tasks so that you spend more time on what’s truly important. Find out what you could outsource by checking out TaskRabbit, Fiverr, or Upwork.

22. Chronicle your development and achievements.

You could do this at the end of every day. But if that’s too laborious, doing this weekly could be an alternative. Regardless of how often you do this activity, the idea is the same. Take a couple of minutes and take note of your specific accomplishments.

It sounds simple. But, this is an effective way to acknowledge what you’re good at, as well as your progress. In turn, this will make you more self-confident and keep the motivation train rolling.

Register Now & Get a 30 Day Trial Register Now