Category Archives: Time Management

4 Simple Things to Do Every Evening to Make Your Mornings Easier

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4 Things Every Evening Make Mornings Easier

Mornings are supposed to be calm and relaxed, welcoming the new day ahead. And yet, more often than not, they are rushed and chaotic as you scramble to get out the door in time. Add young children into the mix as well as partners, pets, or roommates, and you have yourself a full-on nightmare each day. That’s no way to greet the new day; however, it’s a habit many of us have fallen into.

Thankfully, there are ways to prep the night ahead to set yourself up for success in the a.m. Even if you are exhausted and ready to call it quits, setting some time aside to prepare for the next day is beneficial to your mind and body. It may also shave off a few minutes of the allotted time, allowing you to have a more calm, established morning routine.

Obviously, the pandemic has changed all of our schedules. So knowing how to set yourself up for a breezy morning can be easier said than done. Not sure where to start? Read on for four simple things to do this evening to make tomorrow morning even easier. Your future self thanks you.

1. Check Your Schedule

Before you close out of work for the day, look at your calendar or schedule for the next day. See what you need to get done tomorrow and what tasks you need to carry over from today. Knowing what is ahead can ease your mind. And you can also proactively change or move meetings to accommodate your schedule better.

Of course, if you are a parent, you also need to be on top of your children’s and perhaps your partner’s schedules. For example, if your youngest child has soccer practice after school, you’ll need to decide who is in charge of dropoff and pickup. Or, if your child is on snacktime duty tomorrow, you’ll need to quickly figure out what 30 individually packaged snacks look like.

These are all items you and your partner can discuss the night before. Doing so will help alleviate any unnecessary tension in the morning.

2. Plan and Pack Up

Planning and packing up considers all things that you need to either wear or bring to work tomorrow. This includes figuring out what you will wear by checking the weather forecast. Laying out your clothes or hanging them on one hanger can save precious time getting ready. While you’re at it, put your shoes by the door as well.

You’ll also want to pack your bag, ensuring you have all your devices and chargers at the ready. How many times have you left home without your laptop charger? Guilty. Once your bag is ready, place it by the door, so it’s one less thing to think about. The same goes for any of your children’s backpacks.

3. Do Your Food Prep

The worst time to think about what’s for lunch is in the morning when you’re feeling rushed. Leaving your food prep to the morning is also another way for you to wind up just getting another overpriced takeout lunch again. While you’re cleaning up dinner, go ahead and make your lunch and put it in the fridge. It can be helpful to designate one shelf in the refrigerator to everything that you — or your family — need to grab in the morning. No lunch or water bottle left behind with this trick.

This can also be the time when you prep your breakfast. Smoothies, chia pudding, and oatmeal are all excellent grab n’go morning noshes. If you’re a coffee drinker, now is the time to either pre-set your machine or at the very least pull out your to-go mug and grind the beans. Meal planning the night before can help save you time and money. It can also be a healthy jumpstart, knowing that you have homemade (or at least home prepped) meals waiting for you when you rise.

4. Tidy Up

Ok, cleaning is likely the last thing you want to do after a long day. That said, waking up to a filthy or messy house is the last thing you want to see when you open your eyes in the morning. So doing a quick tidying up the night before can be beneficial to how you start the next day. It helps close out the day and transition yourself out of work mode into nighttime mode.

We aren’t saying you need to pull out the vacuum cleaner, per-see. But doing small tasks like wiping down the counters can mean smooth sailing in the a.m. If you live with others, you can make this a family chore or a roommate task. Ask everyone to go around the house and pick up any loose clothes off the floor or help load the dishwasher. It’ll take less time when everyone is involved, and maybe a chance for the mess to not happen in the first place.

Takeaways

A productive, less stressful morning starts the night before. Whether you are a morning person or not, these four tips will help you feel better and calmer each morning. By checking your schedule and planning ahead, you’ll know what to expect and how to approach the next day.

And by doing all of your meal prep and tidying your space, you will fall asleep knowing you really have to grab and go before heading out the door. So start implementing these tips today and start welcoming more calmer mornings.

4 Simple Things to Do Every Evening to Make Your Mornings Easier was originally published on Calendar by Choncé Maddox.

Image Credit: Lisa Fotios; Pexels; Thank you!

How to Make Sure Your Business Is Running As Productively As Possible

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Make Sure Business Running Productively as Possible

Starting a business entails more than just having a good idea. You could have the best new product of the century, but your business can still flop if you’re not running it properly. Efficiency and productivity are nearly as important as offering high-quality products and services.

There’s also a fine line between being busy and being productive. Learning to differentiate between the two and lean into the latter will be key to growth and success in your business. Here are a few things you can do to ensure that your business is running as productively as possible:

1. Define the Needs of Your Customers

Start by assessing whether your customers’ needs have changed since you started your business. Since we live in very uncertain times, consumer needs are constantly evolving. If your current business model no longer fits these needs directly, your operation won’t be able to run as productively as possible.

One way to define the needs of your customers is to simply ask them yourself. They know what they want better than anyone else. You can include a survey link to physical and digital receipts or even send an email to your most loyal customers to request their feedback. You can’t work productively if you have the wrong goals.

2. Implement Changes as Necessary

If you find out that your customers’ needs have changed, your business must change with them. In particular, you should be looking at changes to your operation that will allow you to meet those needs more efficiently. Even without direct feedback, looking for positive changes is something you should always be doing.

This might include implementing new online appointment software that makes it easy for customers to make bookings or getting a new program to aid in online transactions. You might be doing fine enough without these additions, but they’ll only make your business better as you add them to your system of operations. Complacency can be dangerous, especially as other businesses are likely making the changes that your customers are looking for.

Don’t be afraid to try something new in an effort to make your business as productive as possible. In the worst-case scenario, your investment may not yield the improvements you expected. So do away with the change and learn from your mistakes.

3. Learn How to Delegate

If you’re running a top-heavy organization, it will be nearly impossible to reach maximum productivity. Successful business owners and leaders know how to delegate certain tasks to others rather than trying to do everything on their own. More can be accomplished when the workload is dispersed more evenly.

Some task delegation may require new hires. For example, your growing startup might need a full-time marketing lead or accounting expert to take some of that responsibility off of you. With another member on your team to complete those tasks, you have more time to work on other projects and get more done.

The hardest part of delegation is learning to trust others. Not everyone will do things the same way you do, but you have to learn to trust their judgment. Trust can be built through consistent communication with your employees. In addition, providing the necessary training can give you the peace of mind that your employees are well-equipped to take on any task that you assign them.

4. Undergo a Business Audit

There are several reasons why you should consider having a business audit performed. Sometimes all you need is a second set of eyes to optimize your business operations. When it comes to productivity, a qualified auditor can look for inefficiencies in your business and provide suggestions on how to fix or mitigate them.

Other reasons to get a business audit are to review your cybersecurity, scout out potentially fraudulent activity, or obtain certifications required to take your business to the next level. A successful audit will also look good to investors if you’re planning on seeking a funding round for your small business.

5. Automate Processes and Tasks

The true secret for maximum productivity is business automation. If you’re able to automate certain business processes, the tasks they involve can be completed hands-free. Some tasks can even be accomplished outside of business hours without the need for direct supervision.

Let’s say you implement that online appointment software. This will allow customers to look up appointment times and create their own bookings. Those appointment slots will be automatically entered into your business calendar. You no longer need to have someone on the phone to confirm every single appointment your customers make.

Other forms of automation include email marketing, billing, and everything from data analytics to supply chain management. Thanks to automation, your daily to-do list will be a lot shorter, but you’ll still accomplish all of the same important tasks.

Above all else, making sure your business is running as productively as possible requires consistent effort. Never settle where you currently stand. Continue to strive for improvement, and your business will elevate its productivity all along the way.

Image Credit: Cottonbro; Pexels; Thank you!

Never Tell People You’re ‘Too Busy’ (But Show Them That Your Time Matters)

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Never Tell People Too Busy Show Them Your Time Matters

As a business owner, your time is always in short supply and you may feel like you’re constantly busy. It’s a struggle to fit every meeting, deadline, phone call, and commitment into your online calendar. That’s even before you make time for family and personal endeavors.

Part of this balancing act involves dealing with the people around you. You never want them to feel like you’re too busy to be an effective leader, business owner, parent, or friend. Giving them this impression can hurt your relationships, reputation, and business.

Managing your time while still showing others that their time matters to you is a challenge, but it’s not an impossible one. Here are a few methods you can implement to find a balance and keep everyone — including yourself — happy:

Communicate Your Priorities

Make sure anyone who wants to meet with you knows your top priorities. This will set accurate expectations for the future about how you use your time. For example, if you explain to your clients that your weekends are reserved for family activities, they’ll be more likely to respect your boundaries during those days.

Your responsibility is to then reciprocate that respect for your work connections. Intentionally set aside time where you’re able to devote your attention to work meetings and client phone calls without interruption. This way you’ll always be able to address your clients’ and colleagues’ needs as they come up without letting work spill over into your other time commitments.

Make Efforts to Reschedule

When you have to decline events, which will happen on occasion, make an effort to reschedule if possible. This will show others that their time and concerns are still important to you.

If you need to cancel a scheduled meeting, be the one to take the initiative when rescheduling. Words are empty if they’re not backed by actions. By reaching out with your updated availability, the person you’re meeting with will know that you actually want to meet with them and respect the time they’re setting aside for you.

The biggest problem with rescheduling is trying to resync calendars. This can be easily bypassed by using scheduling links. You can send over a link containing your availability in a single email. The other party can then select an available time slot to reschedule the meeting. No extensive back-and-forths are required.

Focus on Shorter Engagements

Instead of continuing to turn down meetings and commitments because you’re too busy, try focusing on shorter engagements. They will take a smaller portion of your day while still allowing you to touch base with the many important people you need to interact with.

Those long, weekly meetings can be replaced by emails and quick phone calls interspersed throughout your day. The best part is that you don’t have to tell anyone that you’re taking this new approach because you’re feeling too busy to commit to large time blocks. All they’ll see is that you’re committed to reaching out regularly and making an effort to respect their time by being brief and direct.

Improve Your Time Management

If you truly value your personal time and that of others, you’ll make a greater effort to improve your time management. Few people are actually using all of their time effectively. There are many improvements you can likely make that will open up more time for other people.

For example, you might have missed the last team brainstorming meeting because you had a few conflicting deadlines to address. How many of these conflicts could have been avoided through better time management? It might be time to start time blocking or looking for ways to fight procrastination so that this doesn’t occur in the future.

Recognize When Being Busy Isn’t Enough

An important side note is that there is a key difference between being “busy” and being productive. Being busy isn’t always a good thing, especially if you’re not accomplishing much. Not only will busywork make it more difficult to show that your time matters, but it can also lead to higher levels of stress and anxiety.

Those are good reasons to begin prioritizing your regular task list. Some commitments, such as meetings with tenured clients or nightly dinners with family, will receive higher priority. Conscious prioritization will help you to decide which tasks and events you can justify putting off or rescheduling and which ones deserve your attention the most each day.

Of course, this doesn’t mean those low-priority tasks should be completely forgotten. You can’t get out of cleaning out your inbox forever. What’s important is not allowing these smaller tasks to derail everything on your schedule, especially those responsibilities that are of greater magnitude.

Respecting your time and the time of others is one of the most important things you can do as a business owner in any industry. Keep working on it, and everything from project management to client retention will become easier for you.

Image Credit: Anna Shvets; Pexels; Thank you!

4 Time Management Myths You Don’t Want to Fall For

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Time Management Myths Don't Fall For

Your time is extremely valuable. You need to treat it as such. Unfortunately, there are several time management myths that might cause you to use your time poorly despite your best intentions.

There’s no universal time management method that everyone will agree with, but there are some pitfalls you should be aware of. These common myths can actually do more harm than good if you’re not aware of the fallacies they present. Here are four time management myths you’d do best to turn aside:

1. Your Self-Worth Is Determined by Your Productivity

There are many people who will let you know your worth as a person is determined by how much you get done in a day’s time. While it’s good to try to be productive every day, this statement is too extreme. You shouldn’t beat yourself up just because one day isn’t as productive as the last.

Not every single day in your calendar needs to be jam-packed with to-do list items and deadlines for you to feel like the day was a success. There will always be something to do every day that you won’t have time for, so pushing yourself to achieve the last few items you weren’t able to complete is not worth the mental strain. They can be added to tomorrow’s to-do list, and you should pat yourself on the back for the things you were able to accomplish today.

Another dangerous aspect of this mindset concerns self-care. If you’re placing value solely on the number of boxes you can check on a to-do list, you’re not going to be doing a good job maintaining your mental and physical health. Don’t be afraid to slow things down every once in a while to avoid burnout and keep your spirits high during the long trek of life.

2. There’s No Such Thing as Work-Life Balance

Saying that work-life balance doesn’t exist is a false statement, plain and simple. Work-life balance is not only possible to achieve, but should also be encouraged. People who tell you otherwise are probably approaching time management — life, even — incorrectly.

The secret to work-life balance is to create definite boundaries between your job and your personal life. When you’re at work, you should devote all of your time and attention there. When you’re at home, you should shift gears and focus entirely on your family and yourself. Trying to constantly mix the two simultaneously can get messy.

You can set boundaries and stick to them by planning your time more intentionally. By using an online calendar you can add time slots for a range of activities, from “conference call” to “date night” and even some “me time.” Stick to the designated time slots each day and ask others to respect your time. This will make it easier to create the work-life balance you seek.

3. This Time Management Technique Always Works

There are many different time management techniques crafted by very intelligent people. The problem comes not in trying someone else’s technique, but in assuming the same approach to time management will work just as well for you. Time management isn’t as amenable to copy-paste solutions as some people might lead you to believe.

For example, many productivity gurus will recommend that you start each day by “eating the frog.” By this, they mean that you should choose your hardest, most important task and knock that one out first. They claim that this will ensure you get your critical work done at a time when — they assume — you’re mentally freshest.

But maybe you’re not a morning person. Perhaps starting off with an arduous, complex task will cause you to stall out, leaving you discouraged and unable to move forward with your other work. In that case, you might be better off starting with a “quick win” instead. Accomplishing a worthwhile but less daunting assignment may give you the boost you need to fly through the rest of your day’s responsibilities — frog and all.

Don’t be afraid to try multiple time management techniques to see what works best for you. If time blocking doesn’t fit your time management style, it’s not a hopeless endeavor. You might find success with the Pomodoro technique, the Eisenhower Matrix, or a combination of several time management tactics that fits your specific needs.

4. Multitasking Helps You Get More Done

The ability to multitask is often seen as a strength. However, multitasking can actually be an ineffective way to approach time management. You might not even get more accomplished by multitasking, despite what many tend to believe.

The problem with multitasking is that it divides your attention between projects. This may cause the quality of your work to go down for every task you’re working on. Multitaskers are more prone to mistakes that take time to correct, completely eliminating any headway they achieved in the first place.

It’s almost always better to approach each of your tasks individually. Your focused effort will allow you to complete each one faster and more effectively. Quality is typically valued over quantity, especially when tasks are done right the first time.

Whenever you read or receive time management advice, be sure to think it over thoroughly, taking into account your own temperament and needs. By identifying the time management practices that truly work for you — not just those that are supposed to work — you’ll be able to use your limited time more wisely.

Image Credit: Anete Lusina; Pexels; Thank you!

Why You Should Say Goodbye to ‘Crazy Busy’ Once and for All

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Why You Should Say Goodbye Crazy Busy

Lots of professionals like to brag about how loaded their schedules are and how many events and projects they have on their plate. While it certainly is admirable to be a productive contributor to society, this attitude can have a negative impact. It isn’t always a good thing to be crazy busy all of the time.

When you’re busy just for the sake of being busy, you’ll jump around from task to task without accomplishing much. You’re also more prone to experience high levels of stress and anxiety when your schedule is always jam-packed and you’re rushing from place to place. Not to mention, you’ll likely miss deadlines you have to meet due to the pressure you’re under.

By improving your time management skills, you can get just as much done in less time. Instead of being insanely busy, you can enjoy the same accomplishments while also having time to spend on yourself and your family. This leads to a much more fulfilling life. Ready to say goodbye to the crazy busyness once and for all? Here’s what you need to do:

Learn to Say ‘No’

It can be a real challenge to decline a meeting or an appointment, especially when it pertains to your business. What many business professionals often overlook is that firing on all cylinders 24/7 can lead to high stress and burnout. Your business will be in greater jeopardy if you’re not taking care of your mental health than if you miss a single meeting.

When your social meter is drained, don’t force yourself to accept an event invitation. If the other party has something important to meet about, they would much rather you be there when you are functioning at 100%. You can always delegate a representative to attend the event for you or ask for a reschedule while you take some time for yourself.

If you struggle with putting yourself first, add self-care time to your calendar. People will respect that you are dedicating time to recharge so that you’re always operating at full capacity. With numerous changes to the workplace, such as remote work and flexible schedules, you’ll need to resist the impulse to be always “on.” You’ll be surprised by how supportive many people will be when you openly discuss your personal needs.

Create Time Blocks (Including Breaks)

When working on several projects each day, you’ll find a lot of success by setting time blocks for yourself. This is a scheduling tactic that involves breaking down your day into set time increments. Within each of these schedule blocks, you focus all of your time and attention on the individual task at hand and nothing else.

This time management method works in two ways. First, it helps you focus your attention on one task at a time. If you stick with your time block, you won’t let distractions stop you from accomplishing your daily goals. Secondly, time blocks allow you to map out your day more effectively. If you’re trying to get less busy and more efficient, your time blocks can reflect that.

You should also include break time in your time blocks. During a busy day, it can be hard to take a step back from your labors or even justify doing so. If breaks are purposefully scheduled into your day, you’ll find it easier to step away for 10 minutes and keep your energy and morale high throughout the entire workday.

Set Goals for Each Meeting

Some people hold meetings just for the sake of having meetings. Gathering together looks like productivity on the outside. In reality, business professionals are wasting an unbelievable number of hours in meetings that could be used in dozens of more beneficial ways.

Never hold a meeting without a definitive plan. The lack of an agenda is a red flag that an upcoming meeting has no real purpose or direction. Instead of sitting in an hour-long meeting grasping at straws, you could be wrapping up projects or making sales calls.

When a meeting has a specific goal, it offers actual value. Everyone in the meeting can now work toward an endpoint, whether it’s a new tagline for a rebrand or analyzing the financial numbers from the last quarter. Once you’ve met the goal, you can adjourn the meeting without taking up any more precious time from the team’s schedule.

Get Into Automation

A lot of business is busywork. It might feel good that you’re chipping away at tasks that benefit your company, but there’s often a better way. Many of these menial tasks can be automated and completed with just as much efficacy.

Examples of automation include email marketing, employee time tracking, and even data entry. The more tasks you are able to automate, the more your schedule opens up. You can now focus your time on larger projects that require higher-level attention rather than going from routine task to routine task trying to keep your business running every day.

Try to replace busyness with enhanced productivity in the coming weeks. Pay attention to how you feel at the end of your trial period. Do you feel less stressed? Now look at your achievements during that same amount of time. You’ll be amazed to see how much you can accomplish by making this simple shift in your mindset.

Image Credit: Christina Morillo; Pexels; Thank you!

 

5 Unique Time Management Hacks That Have Been Proven to Work

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Unique Time Management Hacks Proven Work

Modern reliance on technology by most companies today means that the same devices that we use for work are also where we get our distractions. Some say it’s not your fault if you often fall victim to technology — many of us have. But come on, you are in charge of yourself, even if the nature of the technology is a constant connection.

While it may seem like the only solution to manage your time is to spend it away from your devices (which does help, of course), that’s not always possible or even necessary.

Find the productivity you need with some of these hacks for time management that have been proven to work.

1. Stop Letting Tech Suck You In

The truth is that one reason technology distracts us so strongly is because it offers a comfortable, relatively predictable escape from our tasks. If you’re tired from being hard at work for a few hours, why not take a second to look at Instagram? One second can lead to an hour away from your responsibilities — and a lot of the time, it’s not because you’re distracted but rather because you want to relax. And as long as you’re fulfilling your responsibilities, don’t be afraid to enjoy what you enjoy on social.

Not letting tech suck you in can be done in many ways: cutting off work communications as soon as the day ends, working and relaxing in different rooms, etc. The most important thing is that after hours, you are giving yourself fully to your relaxation needs. When it’s time to return you’ll feel refreshed, alert, and much more able to focus because your needs have already been tended to.

2. Utilize Timers for Each Task

Realistically, the duration of any given task can vary in uniformity and length. But setting a timer creates a new psychological environment, one in which you are present for this amount of time and this amount only, regardless of how long it is. When the timer ends, you are free. Believe it or not, setting a timer requires focus, even if you aren’t sure about the length of time a task will take. However, your timer will help you focus and work faster and makes it easier to stay on task by providing this target of freedom.

Say you have a short story transcript to be edited by the end of the day. You don’t know how long it will take and are avoiding the task out of dread. Instead of scrambling at the last minute, set a timer for one hour, clear your mind of anything but the task (including the deadline), and begin. You’ll find the task to be a little easier when you know better how long it will take — and give a concentrated push to be finished.

3. Create an Environment for Focus

Alongside your timer, try to adapt your surroundings to the task at hand. Keep an open mind at this point because even the smallest change can make a difference for you. You can move a pen that you keep hitting with your arm or move all electronics out of your sight. Part of creating this environment can be put into action in advance as well, even just by outlining a plan for the day and setting the kinds of rules for yourself as mentioned in this article by Calendar.

To continue the previous example, let’s say you’re doing your transcript editing at home. To craft the ideal environment, you can turn off your electronics, dress comfortably, make a cup of tea, put on a sound generator in some sound-dampening headphones, and close everything on your computer but the transcript. Whatever makes you feel focused in your space will work best.

4. Steer Clear of Your Unique Distractions

Read up on distractions and take some notes about the ones that affect your time management. Here is a great list of distractions such as this one you can put far away from yourself. Your needs will likely be different from anyone else’s. Chances are, you have particular things that distract you uniquely more than others. It’s easy to forget these distractions are even there, or to get used to them in the space, without being freed from their influence. Take a moment to sit in your space and note everything that draws your attention in a distracting way.

These distractions can take the form of imagery to be changed, like a decoration on the wall, or a bright light shining through your window. Maybe you’ve found that your emotions are distracting you the most, in which case you can take a break to do some mindfulness exercises. You should do everything that you need to make this your space of focus, even if it seems strange or unconventional.

5. Experiment With Your Time Management System

Above all, managing your time is just that — managing your time for the sake of your own productivity. It’s easy to try different methods that many people use, but it can be difficult to stick with them because they aren’t tailored for you. You might find that what works best for you may even be the opposite of what you’ve heard (like letting yourself get distracted so you can come back with fuller focus). In the end, it doesn’t matter what you do as long as it helps you achieve your time management goals.

Remember, the objective is not to implement time-saving methods, but rather, succinctly, to save time itself. Try not to get caught up in common methods that aren’t helping just because they might down the line. The concept of a method that will always help everyone is one of many time-saving myths. Just sit down, look around, and do what you need to do to manage your time.

5 Unique Time Management Hacks That Have Been Proven to Work was originally published on Calendar by Deanna Ritchie.

Image Credit: Ono Kosuki; Pexels; Thank you!

In 2022, Time Management in the Workplace will be Critical.

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2022 Time Management Workplace Critical

Working professionals can’t get enough of the All You Wanted To Know About Time movement. So let’s go over the significance of workplace time management.

How much scheduling software do you use? Or want to use? Whether you’re a rookie or a seasoned pro, you’ll always need an extra hour to complete your to-do list. It’s tough to keep track of every minute of your day, mainly when there are so many distractions. Since childhood, our parents and instructors have taught us to budget our time and money.

Let’s have a look at what time management is before we get into its importance:

First, what is the definition of time management?

Work smarter rather than harder. Time management is the activity of planning and exerting deliberate control over the time spent on specific tasks. It’s a balancing act of several factors that help boost productivity and achieve a better work-life balance.

Improving your work time management helps you improve your performance and reach your objectives with less effort and more effective tactics. Failure to manage time or poor time management abilities at work, on the other hand, may lead to:

  • Appointments and deadlines that you did not meet.
  • Lack of attention and procrastination.
  • Professionalism is lacking.
  • Workflow inefficiency and poor job quality
  • Unwanted anxiety
  • Professional reputation is poor.
  • Strained workplace interactions
  • Financial repercussions
  • Unbalanced work and personal life

Workplace advantages of time management

There are several benefits to being able to manage your time well. Time management may help you in your work life in the following ways:

Complete projects on schedule with proper time management

It is more probable that workers will do tasks on schedule if you give them a certain amount of time to finish them. It also helps you handle your job in the most effective manner possible.

As a result of completing activities within a certain period, you train your brain to adhere to a framework and finish the tasks within that time limit. Therefore, if you have successfully managed your time, you will complete your job on schedule.

Produce high-quality work with good time management

You are required to offer work of a specific quality and level as a devoted employee. One may deliver a higher quality of work by properly using time and prioritizing duties. Prioritization aids in focusing on critical tasks by placing them at the top of the priority list, allowing you to devote your whole attention and concentration to them. As a result, the work’s quality has improved.

More efficiency and productivity are earmarks of proper time management

As a working professional, it’s no secret that good time management skills help you be more productive and efficient. These abilities may assist you in completing chores as quickly as possible without sacrificing quality.

When you’re focusing on unnecessary things, your total productivity suffers. In other words, strong time management skills allow you to complete both vital and urgent jobs on time.

Manage your time well, and you’ll be one of your team’s most productive members.

There will be a lot less procrastinating with time management working for you

“I’ll do it later” is an excuse that we’ve all used at some point. However, time management isn’t only about getting more done in less time; it’s also about reducing the desire to put off and procrastinate on vital chores.

As a creator, leader, or employee, you may work smarter rather than harder by using appropriate time management techniques. It immediately prevents procrastination by ensuring that you know the things added to your to-do list. You also know when you want to complete them.

Less worry and stress

Employees might get overwhelmed when they have too much work on their plates. This might hurt your productivity as well as your general health. Excessive stress and hypertension may cause heart disease, depression, obesity, and other health problems. We can eliminate unneeded stress and anxiety in our lives if we know what to do.

A higher standard of living

Practical time management skills may enhance your life outside the workplace and your working life. When you have your business life under control, you have more time to concentrate on your personal life and relationships.

Knowing that your responsibilities and activities are on schedule can help you relax in your personal life. As a result, your quality of life increases instantly, as you feel calmer and less worried.

More prospects and advancement in your career

Being on time with your job will help you be more productive. Consequently, it will help you build a positive reputation at work. Managers and supervisors love to see that you consistently finish things on schedule. It may open the door to more excellent prospects for advancement at work.

More leisure and recreation time

When was the last time you took some time for yourself and did something you enjoyed?

Fortunately, proper time management allows you to have more free time throughout the day. As a result, you are free to engage in the leisure and recreational activities that bring you joy.

Finally, by working bright all day and receiving a reward of your choosing, you may achieve the ideal balance. Remember, for every tick; there must be a tock.

Image Credit: Ono Kosuki; Pexels; Thank you!

How to Catch Up on Work When You’re Behind

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How To Catch Up Work When Behind

Do you have an endless list of tasks at work that keeps growing before you can begin to cross things off? Hey. It happens to the best of us from time to time. However, add up having an endless list with all the fires you’re putting out, and suddenly you’re behind the eight ball.

It may not have been your intention, but that mountain of work can start to feel unattainable. And as a consequence, you may miss deadlines or milestones that you’ve set. Understandably, this can lead to an overwhelming and stressful feeling. Even worse? If you start to miss deadlines, it isn’t easy to regain your focus and get back on track.

Thankfully, all is not lost if you use these strategies to catch up on work, you’re behind. Here is a list of the best “get over it and get going” advice I could put together for you.

Recognize that you’re overwhelmed and need assistance.

“The first step to dealing with a problem is admitting that you have a problem.” — Jase Robertson

Yes. This is easier said than done. However, as Jase Robertson noted, this is without question the first step you have to take.

To make this process easier, you first need to acknowledge that not only have you fallen behind on your work, but you’re also overwhelmed. And, not that you’ve accepted this, you can explore ways to dig yourself out of this hole.

Here are some of the strategies that I’ve used in the past.

Prioritize my to-do list and shrink my workload.

I’m a big fan of the Eisenhower Matrix. This system divides tasks into four quadrants. From there, a set of columns and rows helps determine where tasks go. Tasks are then sorted into columns according to urgency and nonurgency, while the rows indicate essential and not so important tasks.

Together, you get the following quadrants:

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

Whatever items are in the first quadrant deserve your attention and energy before anything. Ideally, you want to limit these to only three priorities per day so that you can actually achieve them.

Anything in the second quadrant gets scheduled to when you have the availability. Then, you’ll delegate or outsource the items in the third quadrant. And whatever remains can be removed from your list.

It’s a simple and effective way to not only reduce your workload but also encourage you to focus on what’s most important.

Limit my distractions.

With your priorities identified, you want to add them to your calendar. You want to block out as many distractions as possible during these time blocks. For example, you can turn off your phone, close the office door, or put on a pair of noise-canceling headphones.

Take a deep breath and ask for help.

If you are still overwhelmed and feel like you’re underwater, then let others know. You shouldn’t feel ashamed to ask for help. It’s also not a sign of weakness. On the contrary, it’s actually a strength, as it provides an opportunity to explore unique perspectives and insights.

In addition, research has shown that doing so builds resilience relationships and is an indicator of high performance. In addition, it can help you enjoy a better mental state of mind. Moreover, sitting next to hard and motivated workers helps one’s work ethic.

Prioritize your backlog.

“If work is piling up, it’s time to prioritize your backlog as best as possible, suggests Mario Peshev, CEO of DevriX. “Compile all of those tasks in one place and categorize them by priority, urgency or complexity.”

“You can push through the most important tasks first and free up some time to sort out the rest of the backlog, or tackle the lowest hanging fruits by reducing the number of activities you have to complete,” he adds. In some cases, seeing a bigger picture in one place may prove to be helpful in delegating some tasks or even outsourcing to partners when needed.

“Having the opportunity to reflect may expose opportunities to hire for a new role.” Or, you may decide to get an assistant or take a break from activities that take up your time regularly without generating the ROI you need.

 Follow the 2-minute rule.

Do you have tasks that take two minutes or less? If so, do them now and remove them from your to-do list. As a result, your brain gets a nice little rush of reward chemicals like dopamine. And, it can help you build up momentum so that you can climb out that “I can’t seem to get anything done today” spiral.

What if it’s a slightly more complicated or time-consuming task? This task should be postponed until you have the time to attend to it properly.

Just say “no.”

I’ll be honest. I’m struggling with this. I don’t want to disappoint others or earn the reputation of being a “No Man.” However, when you’re playing catch-up, you have no other option.

But, how exactly can you master the art of saying “no?” Well, if you’ve added your priorities to your calendar, you have a perfectly valid reason for declining additional work or grabbing lunch with a friend. But, then, a simple, “I’m sorry, I’m booked this week, can we schedule this in two weeks?” should be just fine.

The most important takeaway is that you should be firm, while also being polite. An example response could be, “I appreciate you considering me for the assignment. Unfortunately, I’m not available right now, but I hope to keep you posted.” The great thing about this response is that it shows gratitude while also leaving the door open for future opportunities.

Ask the “Focusing Question.”

“What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” asks Gary Keller, co-author of “The One Thing. He says that you should ask this “over and over until you’re doing the most important thing – your ‘ONE Thing.’”

“Extraordinary results are rarely happenstance,” Keller adds. “They come from the choices we make and the actions we take.”

“The Focusing Question always aims you at the absolute best of both by forcing you to do what is essential to success,” explains Keller. “It ignores what is doable and drills down to what is necessary, to what matters.” No matter if “you’re looking for answers big or small, asking the Focusing Question is the ultimate ‘success habit’ in your life.”

After you have answered the “Focusing Question,” jot it down. According to Dr. Gail Matthews, an associate professor of psychology at the Dominican University in California, writing down your goals and dreams regularly can make you 42% more likely to achieve them.

Whenever you’re stuck, switch gears.

If you feel like you’re spinning your wheels, start something else. That may sound counterproductive. If you can knock out a simple task right now, that will help build momentum.

Compared to trying to push through when stuck, research shows that switching to another unrelated task improves performance. So, the next time you’re stuck, change tack by doing either of the following three things;

  • Take a short break of 5-15 minutes, then start a new block of time devoted to something else, preferably something sequential.
  • Whenever possible, take a 30- to 60-minute break to move your body before starting another task or attempting to return to the one you can’t figure out. If you don’t have that much time available, go for a short job or yoga session.
  • Calm your mind. Even if you’ve prioritized your list, your mind is probably still racing with everything that needs to get done. As a result, this can cause you to feel stressed and anxious. Find ways to manage these feelings through journaling, breathing exercises, or listening to soothing music.

End the procrastination cycle.

Did you know that procrastination is more closely related to emotion than time? Well, that’s according to scientists. It’s been found that people who procrastinate often do so to give themselves a temporary emotional release. However, by avoiding the dreaded task, they aren’t improving their emotional state due to guilt over procrastination.

Although procrastination occurs to all of us from time to time, chronic procrastinators can become trapped in this endless cycle of procrastination. So, if you find yourself in this loop, how can you break free?

Two methods have proven to be effective in interrupting this recurring cycle. One of those methods is an external deadline. When you have a deadline to meet, you often force yourself just to get started to complete it. Ideally, someone else should set this deadline, like a supervisor or client. However, if that’s not an option, you can create a self-imposed deadline even though it’s not as effective.

A second way to break the procrastination cycle is to consider your mood as a fixed state. Researchers found students did not procrastinate when they believed their moods were fixed. But, when they thought they could improve their mood, they procrastinated.

In short, you may find it challenging to start your work if you are feeling lousy. However, you will be more likely to buckle down and get the job done if you accept your lousy mood as part of life.

“Extend your workday.”

“Usually, extending your workday isn’t recommended,” says Ryan Sundling on Robin Waite. “But when you are behind on work, it doesn’t hurt to stay for an extra 30 minutes each day.”

If you decide to stay, make the most of it. “Given that most people will have already gone home, your office will be quiet, and you can get more work done,” he adds. “With fewer people around, there should be far fewer interruptions. If you stay an extra hour each day for one week, you could potentially have enough time to catch up on your work.”

The key, however, is to limit yourself. After all, you shouldn’t burn yourself out. “You won’t do yourself any favors by turning into a zombie, even if you are catching up!” Sundling warns.

Are you really behind or do you just feel like you’re not doing so well?

It’s one thing to have missed a hard deadline. It’s another to feel like you’re behind because you’re comparing yourself to others. If it’s the latter, then try using the positive benefits of competition to your advantage.

“Track your triggers.”

When you become aware of what triggers self-comparison for you, you can transform them into opportunities for more effective responses to self-comparison, writes Nihar Chhaya in HBR.

Shift from reactive rumination to purposeful reframing. For example, after you identify the situations that provoke feelings behind, you may decide to stop all activities that cause feelings of insecurity.

This approach is not always practical. For example, you may not avoid what your peers are saying in the workplace. But, you can reduce comparisons on social media by limiting your time on these platforms or viewing your peer’s progress objectively.

“Exhibit a personal strength to regain validation and momentum.” 

“During an acute bout of insecurity, you may start to brood about how you can catch up to others,” states Chhaya. “At this time, recapture your sense of self-efficacy by taking small actions to achieve small wins.” Highlight your strengths, share them with the world, and apply the validation to boost your resilience.”

“Redefine your peer set and create a new field of play.”

Comparing yourself to a fixed set of peers is like playing a zero-sum game where you are either ahead or behind your peers. “But by expanding your view to include new and diverse peer groups, you create less of a binary evaluation of your success and enable new domains to dominate,” Chhaya adds.

“Shake free of internalized expectations.”

A promotion at work may seem like an actual competition, but it’s another thing to feel behind your peers. Insecurity is also caused by a mindset that leads to perpetual insecurity: the belief that you should aim to outperform your peers and want everything they strive for.

Having to abide by this “tyranny of the should” is like living in a never-ending race. Success depends on what others want, not what you want.

“Consider the possibility that everything you have chosen to do until now has always been the right path, regardless of what you think you were supposed to do,” Chhaya advises.

Image Credit: energepic.com ; Pexels; Thank you!

Pivot to Your Successful Calendar in 2022

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Pivot Successful Calendar 2022

Only a month of the way into 2022 and this year already seems to be looking up compared to the craziness of the last two years. The COVID-19 vaccine was rolled out to reasonable success, and businesses are beginning to thrive once more. The holidays were great, and we’re moving forward, hoping summer vacations won’t be limited with Omicron, or something else. With this positive outlook in mind, it’s a prime time for personal development and achievement.

Time management is the key ingredient behind personal progression. Using a tool such as your Calendar allows you to harness your time and daily efforts to make things happen in your favor. A lot can be achieved through proper time management, but avoid the tricky mistakes that may slow you down.

During this first quarter, take the time to assess your time management skills and pivot to your best Calendar success, making this year the best ever.

Here are some things you can look for to pick up your personal success pace.

Identify Working Patterns

Kick things off by celebrating your successes. Were you able to meet your daily exercise goals through successful Calendar additions? Is your side hustle growing thanks to some successful Calendar finessing that helps you be more productive in the evenings? Whatever your successes are — pat yourself on the back.

If you’ve been a big miss, don’t let that bother you — take courage and plan out the next few months of this quarter to continue to see progress on your goals. If your new morning routine helps you make time for exercise, be sure to include that schedule in your future Calendar plans. Keep track of what works and what doesn’t.

Ditch Bad Habits

Next up, it’s time to admit defeat in certain aspects of your time management. It’s okay to recognize that you spent a lot more time watching Netflix than you should have. Now’s your chance to turn things around using your Calendar.

Identify your lousy time management habits so that you can stop them in their tracks. What can you do to break the habit if you have a late-night binge-watching problem? Plan an evening activity in your Calendar, such as reading a chapter of a book, doing a chore that you have been putting off.

Think about studying a subject or investigating a skill you have wanted to work on or think about. Creative pursuits often pull me out of a bad time management issue. Thinking in this new way will help you increase your productivity.

A bonus tip: for recognizing both successful habits and destructive tendencies, take a look at your Calendar analytics. You can’t hide from the fact, and this will give you an inside view of how you’re spending your time.

Feel free to create a few events that weren’t originally planned on your Calendar or make adjustments to make your analytics more realistic. These numbers will show you what’s going the way you want, and which areas of your schedule could use some work.

Realign Your Goals

Hopefully, you haven’t forgotten those New Year’s Resolutions already? But, even if you have, this is as good a time as any to bring them back up. Scheduling a planning session to reevaluate your goals will put you back on the right track.

If you haven’t set any goals for this year or haven’t done anything to pursue them, make plans to start afresh. Organize your Calendar in a way that focuses your efforts on the goals you want to achieve. For example, you might be putting off finding a new job. Scheduling time to review your resume and write up applications helps you be accountable to your goal and take action.

For your existing goals, it’s time to evaluate your progress. Is your goal still attainable? Did you set your sights too low or too high? Realigning your goals helps you maintain productivity instead of becoming discouraged because you set the bar too high.

Try Something New

Time management perfection is different for everyone. You can’t expect to follow the daily routine of your favorite influencer and expect the same results for yourself. Instead, you need to find what works best for you and stick with it. That’s why trying something new with your Calendar can pivot your Calendar success for the rest of the year.

As an example, take a minute to fiddle with different Calendar settings. Color-coding your events or projects using a different view makes for minor adjustments — but might just be the difference-maker you need to manage your time even a little more effectively.

Take a swing at different time management techniques such as timeboxing or the Pomodoro method in an attempt to find the best methods for your personal use.

Find Your Balance

Think about your Calendar’s strengths and weaknesses — circle back and look at how you’re balancing your time. Have you only thought about how time management will help you with your professional life? While this is very important, it’s also vital that you implement a successful Calendar skill to improve your personal life. You won’t find true success until you find your life balance.

A Groupon survey shows that 60% of Americans have difficulties finding a healthy work-life balance. This is mainly because work often seeps into your extra time, making it feel like work is a 24/7 affair.

For this first quarter of the year, attempt to schedule out more personal activities in pursuit of a better balance. But, of course, you can always check your Calendar analytics page to gauge your progress.

Conclusion

Continue using your online Calendar to hone your time management. Consider taking the time this business quarter to continue evaluating your progress and note how things are going. The more diligent you are in keeping track of your time — the more you’ll be able to accomplish, and the fuller your life will be.

Image Credit: Towfiqu Barbhuiya; Pexels; Thank you!

The Assault on Productivity, Neglect of Your Calendar

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Assault Productivity Neglect Calendar

Almost all of us want to be able to improve our productivity. But how exactly can we do this?

There’s certainly no shortage of tried and true techniques. Examples would be working when you’re most effective, setting timers, blocking out distractions, or setting daily goals.

While all of these are helpful, they also rely on a calendar. Case in point, to reach your goals, you need to block out undistracted times for you to focus on tasks that get you closer to your desired outcome. If not, you’ll get bombarded by phone calls or commit to less difficult chores.

But, just because you have a calendar doesn’t mean you’re getting the most out of it. It’s like buying an elliptical to improve your health but letting it sit there collecting dust. If you ignore your new exercise equipment, you’re still failing to maintain your health.

In short, if you want to bolster your productivity, then you can’t neglect your Calendar. Here are the best ways to prevent that from happening.

Time estimates aren’t adjusted.

This past Sunday, I decided to cook dinner for my family. It wasn’t an overly complicated entree — it was stuffed peppers if you’re curious. Unfortunately, I underestimated how long it would take me to prep and cook the meal — leaving a very hangry family.

To be fair, we’re all terrible at estimating time. And, you can thank the planning fallacy for that.

What is the planning fallacy?

The planning fallacy is a psychological term that describes our tendency to underestimate how much time a task will take. It was first introduced in 1977 by psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. They found that people tend to ignore historical data when making predictions.

In other words? We don’t use historical evidence to estimate time. Instead, we concentrate exclusively on the upcoming task at hand.

Kahneman later elaborated on the original concept in his 2011 book “Thinking Fast and Slow.” According to him, estimation mistakes are usually caused by two factors;

  • Failure to consider the past times when we have completed similar tasks
  • We assume no complications will arise that will delay us

A second mistake relates to optimism bias, which describes our tendency to believe that the future will be a better place than the past. How does this connect to the planning fallacy? People think that things they do in the future will be more efficient than the things they do now.

As a result of our optimism, we believe that delays will be unlikely. But, unfortunately, that means when it comes to estimating time, you go with the best-case scenario. Consequently, we tend to disregard historical data that proves that the best-case scenario is, in fact, highly improbable.

How to overcome the planning fallacy?

In some cases, the planning fallacy is nothing more than an inconvenience. For example, you might have a hungry family when dinner is running late. But, you can put out some snacks in the meantime. However, time estimation errors account for 25 percent of failed projects at work.

The easiest fix? To estimate time spent on different types of tasks, use a time tracking app to track your progress over time or uncover when you’re most productive. The app’s built-in reports make it easy to reference the data later on.

Another easy solution? Give yourself some time than you need. For instance, you could set aside 2 hours for a specific task, even though you believe that it will only take you an hour. If it ends up taking you an hour-and-a-hour, then you have 30-minutes to spare instead of going over the allotted time you planned.

Sorry to continually beat the drum on this same idea — but you should periodically track your time on your recurring tasks to improve your productivity. As you become more proficient at these tasks, you should complete them faster. For example, if you blocked out two hours for a task and it now takes you an hour and a half, that extra time could be used elsewhere.

Not blocking out your priorities first.

Throughout my entrepreneurial career, I have sported a variety of hats. Obviously, this is more important when just getting started. There is no way to hire a talented team when you don’t have the resources. Once the cash starts flowing in, hiring a stellar team to support means fewer hats you have to wear.

That doesn’t mean you should completely ignore these responsibilities. Instead, it means that you can delegate specific tasks to others. On the downside, that could mean that you start filling your Calendar with entries that aren’t priorities.

Instead, follow the advice of Stephen Covey. “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities.”

This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Still, it shouldn’t be too difficult to achieve. After all, when it comes down to it, your priorities are anything that moves you closer to your goals.

With that in mind, you should book your priorities before anything else. If you don’t, other less critical items will take their place, thus hindering your productivity. Also, keep in mind that you won’t accomplish them all on a single day, so focus only on your three most important tasks. All other activities should be put off until later, delegated, or deleted.

Ignoring calendar conflicts.

Occasionally, calendar conflicts will arise. That’s life. But that doesn’t mean you should just shrug your shoulders and tell yourself, “Oh, well.”

Ignoring calendar conflicts doesn’t mean that they’ll magic resolve themselves. Instead, you’re going to have to be proactive and tackle them head-on.

For example, if you double-booked a time slot, own up to your mistake and try to make it right. So, let’s say you have a doctor’s appointment when you were supposed to have a call with a client. Let your client know about the scheduling error and offer an alternative date to speak. They may be disappointed, but it’s better than leaving them high and dry.

Forgetting to add calendar entries.

It’s possible to lose productivity when you forget to add calendar entries. Don’t wait to add events to your Calendar until the last minute as well. You might miss important meetings if you don’t do it immediately. As a result, you may be unable to meet deadlines, or you’ll need extra time to catch up on missed tasks.

Always schedule items as soon as possible — even if it’s a year in advance. But, of course, with the popularity of calendar apps, you can do this whenever and wherever you can. So, in my opinion, there’s really no excuse for forgetting to add entries to your Calendar.

Not clearing your Calendar regularly.

There are very things in life that you’ll possess forever if you don’t clean things out — including your Calendar. Everything from torn clothing, broken appliances, and outdated pantry items must be replaced. If not, you’ll end up in an episode of Hoarders.

The same is valid with your Calendar. If you don’t declutter your Calendar from time to time, it’s going to be packed with unnecessary entries. How often you go about this is up to you — I personally do this twice a year. Regardless, here are some items that you may want to remove when cleaning your Calendar;

  • Meetings with no purpose or agenda
  • Back-to-back or standing meetings
  • Habitual or minute activities, like brushing your teeth.
  • Unnecessary notifications and reminders, such as “Walk your dog.”
  • Recurring events that no longer fit into your schedule or you have no interest in attending
  • Tasks that can be delegated or outsourced
  • Other people’s priorities

Sticking with calendar default settings.

Make sure your calendar settings are tailored to your specific productivity needs, instead of just accepting the defaults.

For instance, multiple calendars and color-coding options are typically available in calendar apps. By using a different font or all caps, you can also draw attention to necessary entries. Alternatively, you can change the calendar view and decide what day to start.

In addition, you have the option to enable other time zones, hide specific calendars, and change the default time. This last option is particularly important. You can set the time to exactly what you need for an event or task instead of blocking out the default time — usually, this is an hour.

As an example, you might only need to meet with your team for 30-minutes. But, since you stuck with the entire hour, you’re wasting everyone’s valuable time that could have been spent on something more important.

If you really want to supercharge your Calendar and productivity, consider teaming your Calendar with other tools. By harnessing machine learning, Calendar, for example, suggests when, where, and how to schedule your time.

One final piece of advice here. The calendar app and tools that you use should seamlessly sync across multiple devices. Google Calendar, for instance, is equally accessible on Android and iOS devices. That means you can switch between your iPhone and Chromebook, preventing any missed calendar entries.

Failing to review your Calendar constantly.

To start the day on the right foot, you need to plan ahead. I mean, that’s like saying you’re going to cook your family meatloaf for dinner on a whim. Unfortunately, you don’t have all of the ingredients, leaving you scrambling to think of a replacement — on top of a disappointed and hungry family.

As for productivity specifically, let’s say it’s Sunday night, and you didn’t look ahead on your Calendar schedule for tomorrow. Because you’re busy with your family, it slips your mind that you have an early meeting in the morning. Suffice to say, you don’t prep for the meeting and are caught off guard when you receive a calendar reminder 15-minutes before the meeting starts.

In situations like above, that could not throw your schedule off. Or, even if you can keep your schedule intact, you may feel “off” for the remainder of the day. In turn, this could slow your productivity to a screeching halt.

Image Credit: Olya Kobruseva; Pexels; Thank you!

The Assault on Productivity, Neglect of Your Calendar was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

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