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10 Daily Habits to Boost Your Productivity

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Have you ever wondered why some people are more productive than others? You have been told this answer for years — and it’s simple — your productivity really boils down to habits.

In fact, it’s been found that about 40 percent of people’s daily activities are performed each day in almost the same situations. Sometimes, that can be beneficial, like maintaining a wake-sleep schedule. Other times that can work against you, think unhealthy habits like perfectionism.

If you feel that your bad habits have been holding you back, I’ve got some good news for you. You can replace them with healthier habits so that you’ll be more productive. And, while some of these are obvious, I wanted to put a spotlight on 10 lesser-known daily habits that you should be embracing,

1. Don’t snooze.

What’s your first instinct when your alarm, whether if it’s your phone or old-school clock, goes off in the morning? I would assume that it would be like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. You wish that you could smash the alarm into a million little pieces.

Maybe that’s why Americans are hitting snooze twice every morning? But, considering that we’re also relying on two alarms and are waking-up groggy, it’s probably because we’re not getting enough quality sleep.

I’m not going to lecture you on the importance of prizing sleep. However, I am going to stress why you need to remove the snooze button from your morning routine.

According to Reena Mehra, M.D., M.S., Director of Sleep Disorders Research at Cleveland Clinic, this prevents our bodies from getting that much-needed restorative sleep. “Much of the latter part of our sleep cycle is comprised of REM sleep, or dream sleep, which is a restorative sleep state,” explained Dr. Mehra. “And so, if you’re hitting the snooze button, then you’re disrupting that REM sleep or dream sleep.”

Moreover, those short periods of sleep you’re getting aren’t enough to qualify as restorative sleep. The easiest solution is to make sure that you’re getting seven to eight hours of sufficient sleep. If you struggle with this, you might want to schedule a visit to your “physician to make sure there’s no undiagnosed sleep disorder,” suggests Dr. Mehra.

In addition to waking-up without hitting snooze, you’ll have more energy and stamina throughout the day. More importantly, you’ll be less stressed, more creative, and process complex information. It can even help regulate your appetite.

2. Focus on just one goal.

Despite what you may believe, multitasking isn’t possible. Similarly, the same can be said of trying to juggle multiple goals at once.

“While it might seem very difficult, focusing on one goal at a time is the most powerful way of achieving your goals,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you try to take on many goals at once, you’re spreading thin your focus and energy — the two critical components for achieving a goal.”

“What if you have 5 goals you want to achieve?” asks Leo. “Pick one to focus on first.” Next, for long-term goals, you’ll want to fragment that into a mini-goal — preferably one that you can accomplish this month.

“Keep doing this until the goal is accomplished — do an action every day, finish the mini-goal, pick the next mini-goal to work on,” Leo adds. “Then, when your One Goal is completed, focus on the next goal.”

“Some goals are ongoing ones — like blogging every day, or exercising every day,” he says. “In those cases, turn them into habits — focus exclusively on turning the goal into a habit, until the habit is ingrained.” After that, move on to the next goal.

3. Start off calm.

When you do get out of bed, start your day off on the right foot. How? By having a calm and peaceful morning.

The first way to achieve this is by waking up early enough so that you aren’t literally run out the door. You should have enough time to embark on a morning routine. While this can be whatever you’re into, like exercising, you should definitely include a little meditation.

“I often suggest my clients begin their day with a morning meditation or self-affirming exercise,” says Shelby Castile, a licensed therapist. You could also set a positive intention for the day or repeating a mantra, such as “I choose happiness.”

Benjamin Spall, the co-founder of My Morning Routine, suggests that you also use “waking up as your cue to get out of bed and start doing some light stretching.” You’ll want to follow that up with “some push-ups before transitioning into your favorite yoga pose.”

“Or you can use waking up as your cue to grab a book from your bedside table and read 10 pages before popping on the kettle and starting breakfast,” adds Spall. Personally, I also write in a gratitude journal and review my calendar to know what to expect for the rest of the day.

4. Cultivate deep work.

For the uninformed, deep work is defined by Cal Newport as “the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task.” In other words, these are your most demanding and important tasks. As such, they require 100% of your attention.

Of course, this is a challenge for most of us. We first have to identify what constitutes deep work. After that, we must block out time for this work. And, we also have to build up the discipline not to get distracted.

To accomplish this, Newport recommends that you take the following steps:

  • Schedule deep work. In your calendar, block out the appropriate time for deep work. Ideally, this should be when you’re at peak productivity. If that’s between 8 am and 10 am, then this is when you’ll schedule deep work.
  • Don’t be as accessible. Since you don’t want to get distracted during this time, turn off your phone. Or, at the very least, smartphone notifications. If you have an office, close your door. If not, put on a pair of headphones.
  • Know your work habits. I work best in isolation. Knowing this, when it’s time to get down to brass tacks, I’m like Superman and hiding out in my fortress of solitude. But, I have colleagues who enjoy being around others to get inspired. In short, determine how you work best and work with that as opposed to against it.
  • Keep a scoreboard. Record your deep intervals. And conduct a weekly review of your progress.

Moreover, because deep work can be taxing, you must fill your energy tank. Newport writes that you can achieve this by being lazy and embracing boredom. For example, instead of getting sucked into your smartphone during a break, stare at the window and let your mind wander.

5. Build pyramids.

Are you familiar with batching? If not, it’s quite simple. You group similar activities together, such as checking your inbox at set intervals instead of throughout the day.

While batching is a tried and true productivity technique — you may want to try pyramids. Here you would spend 15-30 minutes tackling easy batching actives. Once you’re warmed up, jump into your main goal of the day. And, finally, end your day on a high note, like organizing your workspace or evaluating your to-do-list.

6. Follow “Ramit’s Book Buying Rule.”

It’s been said that adults make about 35,000 remotely conscious decisions each day. The thing is, most of these are unimportant. But, they still can deplete your energy supply leading to decision fatigue.

One simple way to reduce the number of decisions you make per day is to adhere to Ramit Sethi’s book-buying rule. “If you’re thinking about buying a book, buy it, he explains. “Don’t waste five seconds debating it. Even one idea makes it more than worth the price.”

What if you can’t decide between multiple books? Buy them and read them both.

Another way to make pare down decisions would be through meal prepping or having a signature look — President Obama did this by only having gray or blue suits. Whenever possible, find ways to automate, delegate, or outsource less important or redundant tasks.

7. Listen intently.

The cornerstone of any relationship is listening to what the other person has to say. That means giving them all of your attention, asking questions, and remembering key information. As a result, this fosters trust and improves communication and collaboration.

Also, while it may not seem important, this can prevent misunderstandings. Or, it can save time since you and the other party aren’t constantly having to repeat yourself.

8. Sharpen your ax.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.” Although that’s often attributed to Abraham Lincoln, which isn’t the case, that’s still an inspiring quote mainly because it highlights the importance of staying sharp.

How exactly can you do that? The most obvious starting point is constantly improving your existing skillset and learning new information. Another way would be to have contingency plans so that you’re prepared for the unexpected.

9. Be a quitter.

If you’re like me, it’s probably been drilled into your head that quitting is bad. Sometimes that’s definitely. For example, walking out on your team when they need you most.

But, I’m talking about throwing in the towel on the things that eat away at your time and productivity. That could be unsubscribing from emails to keep your inbox clutter-free. You may also want to reject new projects or meeting invites if you’re strapped for time.

Whatever you decide to give-up is totally up to you. The main takeaway here is that quit the things that aren’t worth your valuable time and energy.

10. Establish a “shutdown” ritual.

Finally, end your day with a “shutdown” ritual. These are tasks that help you transition from work to home mode while also preparing for tomorrow. Some suggestions would be:

  • Closing loops, like responding to an important email.
  • Sketching out your ideal workday tomorrow.
  • Shutting down your computer.
  • Reflecting on your accomplishments for the day.
  • Setting out tomorrow’s wardrobe.

How Do You Deal With Always Being On?

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Without trying to boast, I love being an entrepreneur. Being my own boss means I get to pursue what I’m passionate about. I can set my own schedule. And, all of the hard work I put in is for my family and me — not someone else.

At the same time, there’s a dark side to entrepreneurship. I know we tend to put individuals like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and Jeff Bezos on a pedestal. But, we are rarely open-up about the setbacks, stress, and “always-on” culture that it entails.

For example, Musk seems proud of the fact that he works 80 to 100 hours per week. In crunch time, that may be a necessary evil. But, that’s just not sustainable over the long run. In fact, it’s been found that working over 50 hours per week makes you less productive.

Additionally, we fall poisonous tropes. These include putting on the persona that you’re perfect and unshakable. We also can’t separate ourselves from our companies. And, being a founder isn’t just tricky; it can also be alienating.

Because of all the above, it’s not surprising that there’s a mental health crisis in entrepreneurship. Just how bad is it? According to a study by the University of San Francisco researcher Michael A. Freeman, founders are

  • 2X more likely to suffer from depression
  • 6X more likely to suffer from ADHD
  • 3X more likely to suffer from substance abuse
  • 10X more likely to suffer from bipolar disorder
  • 2X more likely to have psychiatric hospitalization 2X more likely to have suicidal thoughts

So, how can this be resolved? Well, removing the stigma surrounding mental health and seeking help is a start. But, I also believe that you need to make self-care a priority. And, most importantly, learn how to stop always being on.

1. Set priorities, not tasks.

“Founders and A-type personalities tend to live and die by their calendar and their task lists,” writes Jake Chapman for TechCrunch. “Unfortunately, task lists are just reminders that there are countless things to be done.” And, because “task lists are infinite, “this is a recipe for unbearable mental strain and unmanageable cognitive load.”

“The definition of anxiety is when we perceive that our ability to achieve is overwhelmed by the tasks at hand, which is inevitable when our tasks are ill-defined, too large or seemingly unending,” adds Chapman. So, scrap your task list and replace it with a daily priorities list.

What exactly is this? Well, it’s merely where list only the urgent AND essential items. “Completing these items may be more difficult, but getting them off your plate is infinitely more satisfying,” Chapman says.

But, what if everything is a top priority? Take a second and really think about that. The chances are that’s not true. But, if you need help determining this, try to focus only on the items that push you closer to your goals.

If that doesn’t help, use factors like due dates, ROI, or the consequences of not following through. You could also use the popular Eisenhower Matrix to determine.

2. Build your willpower.

Those who have the power to self-regulate “can mitigate the stress of constant connectivity,” explain Charn McAllister, DJ Steffensen, Pamela L. Perrewé, C. Darren Brooks, and Gang Wang for HBR. We also call this “willpower.” And, it’s merely the ability to resist temptations, like responding to emails during family game night.

Of course, this is much easier said than done. Just imagine you’re anticipating an important message or phone call from a team member, client, or investor. You probably can’t resist the urge to check your phone every couple of minutes.

However, just like any other muscle, you can build up your willpower. But, this won’t just happen overnight. You have to keep working at it over time.

Even better? Willpower has been found that be universal. That means that “the willpower used to resist that second piece of cheesecake is the same willpower that can keep you from checking your phone for the 14th time this hour,” explain the authors.

How can you strengthen your willpower? The authors recommend starting with the basics. For example, since you’re primarily working from home because of COVID-19, continue making your bed, eating healthy, and sitting-up straight when working.

“All of these little, minor disciplines are small workouts that strengthen your overall willpower and will ultimately help you in separating your work life from your home life,” they add. Promaiarly, when it comes to setting and sticking to your boundaries. When you “clock-out” for the day, then you’re done with work until tomorrow.

3. Kill your ideas.

“For a passionate person, the more you care about what you do, the more you’re trying to solve a problem, the more ideas you’re going to come up with,” says Scott Belsky, co-founder of Behance. “There’s a tendency to be addicted to the energy and excitement of new ideas, but that’s not a long-term high – it’s short-term.”

Like most entrepreneurs, I definitely belong in that group. As a result, my mind is always racing with a million ideas.

Personally, I think that this is both a blessing and a curse. Thankfully, Belsky, who is also the author of Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality, says you can counter this by killing your ideas. And, you can do this by:

  • Listening to those you trust. “When we come up with ideas ourselves, we’re drunk on them,” he says. “We don’t have a sober bone in our body to recognize what’s working and what’s not.” That’s why you should bounce ideas off others to get their honest feedback.
  • Having a bias towards saying “no.” “In day-to-day operations, the tendency should be to kill new ideas that can get us off track or over budget,” says Belsky. Wait. Isn’t that the antithesis to innovation? Belsky argues that it’s more about timing: “You have to know the difference between regular operations and one percent of the time when you’re coming together to brainstorm and solve problems. It’s during that 1% that you have to suppress the immune system of the team and let new ideas take hold.”
  • Being stingy with your resources. “An idea happening is the perfect storm,” Belsky says. “There’s a confluence of events that needs to happen. You have a need for whatever the idea proposes; you have time when you can focus on it and pursue it, you have the resources required, you have the capacity.” If you don’t meet those criteria, you don’t want to continue pursuing it.

I’d also add that whenever an idea pops up into your head, you write it down. I always keep a notebook on my desk. But, when I’m out and out about, I’ll put any thoughts into my phone’s notepad.

Besides getting these thoughts out of my head, I can then determine what to chase. As for the bad ideas or thoughts bothering me, I rip them up and toss them in the trash.

4. Clean-up attention residue.

You just responded to an email or crossed off an item from your to-do-list. You’re feeling pretty good. And, while that can help you build momentum, it can also stay with you.

We call this phenomenon has been called “attention residue.” In addition to having a negative effect on your productivity, it can make it difficult for you to “turn-off” — especially when working from home.

But, there are ways to control attention residue. For example, when work is done for the day, quit your email, social media, and messaging programs. You could even turn off your phone. That may cause anxiety. However, I’ve learned that if it’s essential, they’ll leave a message and I’ll get back to them when I can.

Dr. Keith Webb also recommends physical movement, such as standing up in-between tasks. For the last couple of months, I’ve transitioned from “work” mode to “home” by taking a walk as soon as I’ve wrapped up my obligations for the day.

5. Make an appointment with yourself.

Finally, to ensure that you make time to do things outside of work, use your calendar. Just like booking appointments with your team or priorities, block out time during the things you enjoy. It could be an hour in the morning fro exercise or lunch with your best friend.

The idea is to add non-work priorities to your calendar. Now you don’t have the excuse that you “don’t have time.” Better yet, this can be could for your mental health and provides a much-needed distraction from work.

I would add that you don’t want to overdo this. Instead, you need to strike a balance. That means putting your priorities into your calendar first. But, also leaving room for flexibility. For instance, you’re at the store and run into an old acquittance. Your calendar is free for the next two hours, so you offer to buy them coffee and catch-up.

How To Focus on the Vital Few

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One fateful day around 1895 avid gardener and economist Vilfredo Pareto noticed something peculiar. Only 20% of the pea pods in his garden produced an astounding 80% of the crop. Here is how to focus on the vital few — meaning the vital few (in everything) that are producing your biggest results.

Pareto then applied this to principle to the macroeconomics in his homeland of Italy. What did he find? A whopping 80% of the land was owned 20% of the people.

Since then, the Pareto Principle, which is also known as the 80/20 Rule, has been applied to nearly every facet of life.

In business, 80% of a company’s sales come from 20% of its customers. For athletes training, 20% of the exercises and habits have 80% of the impact. And, when it comes to traffic accidents, 20% of motorists cause 80% of them.

But, it’s also a popular technique when it comes to time management and productivity. Perhaps that’s why some influential people have modified it throughout the year. Examples include:

  • Peter Drucker. In his book The Effective Executive, Drucker suggests that in order to highlight the vital 20%, you must eliminate the trivial 80%. He calls these “posteriorities,” which are pretty much just the opposite of your priorities.
  • Richard Koch. As the author of The 80/20 Principle, Koch definitely knows a little about this concept. He suggests that you can unlock enormous potential by leveraging the magic of 20%.
  • Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. The authors of The One Thing suggest you focus on your lead domino. When you do, all of the other dominoes will fall into place. “You need to be doing fewer things for more effect instead of doing more things with side effects,” they write.
  • Tim Ferriss. The author of The 4-Hour Workweek pairs the Pareto Principle with Parkinson’s Law to reduce time by setting deadlines.

How the Pareto Principle Impacts Productivity

There might be a misconception that the 80/20 Rule means working less. That’s not exactly true. After all, it has nothing to do with actual periods of time.

Instead, it’s a way to help you laser-in on what’s most important. When you identify these areas, that’s where you want to dedicate most of your time and energy. As a result, you won’t be squandering these valuable resources on the unnecessary.

But, if you’re still a little lost, I think Brian Tracy has a clear explanation. “The Pareto Principle is a concept that suggests two out of ten items, on any general to-do list, will turn out to be worth more than the other eight items put together.”

“The sad fact is that most people procrastinate on the top 10 or 20 percent of items that are the most valuable and important,” which is known as the “vital few.“ Instead, they “busy themselves” with the least important 80 percent, aka the “trivial many.”

Why’s that a problem? Because the “trivial many” do not contribute much to your success. In fact, it’s counterproductive since this can lead to:

  • More stress. If you devoting too much time on activities that don’t produce results, you’re going to feel overwhelmed. Eventually, because you’re constantly playing catch-up, you’re going to get burned out.
  • Increased engagement. Will there be some tasks that aren’t always the most exciting? Absolutely. But, spending too much time on them will leave you feeling bored and frustrated. Over time, you may decide to just check-out all together.
  • A cluttered calendar. Even if you love what you do, you still need time away to pursue passions, interests, and hobbies outside of work. But, if your calendar is jam-packed with trivial items, then how can you achieve this healthy balance?

Apply the Pareto Principle to Focus on the Vital Few

So, how can you focus on the vital few? Well, there are a variety of strategies you can employ. Some are more complex than others. But, I’m all about simplicity. As such. I feel that there are five strategies that can encourage this.

1. Simplify your to-do-lists.

Have you found yourself never finishing your to-do-lists? It’s a common problem that most of us experience. In fact, 89% of people fail at crossing off all of the items on their list.

While there are a variety of culprits, like easily getting distracted, the main reason is that you have too many items listed. To counter this, you need to make your list more manageable. And, you can realistically achieve this by:

  • Mapping out your 1-3-5 items. Here you would identify your main priority, 3 medium priorities, and 5 smaller to-dos. Determining these lets you know what priorities to schedule first and what you can focus on afterward.
  • Employing a priority matrix. The most common example of this would be the Eisenhower Matrix. It’s a simple strategy where you place everything you have to do into one of the following quadrants; Important and Urgent, Not Urgent and Important, Not Urgent and Not Important, and Neither Urgent of Important. Again, this lets you know what your vital few are. Even better, it helps you determine what can be delegated or deleted.
  • Identifying your MIT. Your MIT is your most important task and comes before anything else. Ideally, it should be aligned with your goals.
  • Creating a “done” list. “Don’t throw away your completed lists,” writes Abby Miller in a previous Calendar article. “Instead, get a binder and place these ‘done’ lists in there.” Why? It helps you “track your progress, see if they are any recurring tasks, and it builds morale. After all, seeing what you’ve already accomplished can motivate you to keep on trucking.”

2. Track your time.

Whether you use a productivity journal or time tracker, this is an essential step. Without tracking your time, you aren’t able to see how long commitments truly take you to complete. More importantly, this will help your spot and eliminate time wasters.

For this to be effective, you should track your time for about a month. Afterward, you should analyze the results. Hopefully, you’ll notice that it takes your 3 hours to complete your MIT. Knowing this, you would block out that amount of time in your calendar — preferably when you’re at your peak performance.

There’s also another benefit of tracking your time. It lets you know when you’re more likely to get distracted or interrupted. That means you can then plan accordingly. For example, if a colleague or housemate bursts in your office at the same time every day, you can schedule a break at this time or ask them to come back at a better time.

3. Restructure your routine.

Here’s another reason why you should track your time. It lets you create a daily routine. Again, that means scheduling your most important items onto your calendar when you’re most productive. It also makes planning easier and provides you with structure.

But, there’s more to it than that. It also helps you eliminate unhealthy habits and engage in healthier ones. For instance, if you know that your energy dips after lunch, that’s when you could engage in physical activity or catch-up with a friend.

4. Train yourself.

To be more specific, you should be constantly enhancing or learning new skills. The reason is straightforward. It will guide you in working faster and more sensibly.

However, you should also work on other areas where you’re struggling. For example, let’s say that you have difficulty concentrating. You could fix this through meditation, organizing your workspace, the Pomodoro Technique, or single-tasking.

5. Think beyond work.

Finally, use the 80/20 Rule outside of work. Why? Because it will promote a healthier and happier life.

Take reading as an example. While it’s one of the best ways to spend your downtime, trying to read too many books can be overwhelming. Instead, focus on the couple that will have the greatest impact on your life.

You could also apply this to the apps on your phone, customers, interpersonal relationships, or products/services that you offer. In short, you can use this concept to pinpoint what’s most deserving of your time and energy.

8 Morning Habits of High Performers

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Should You Offer Unlimited Vacation Time?

“Some people dream of success, while other people get up every morning and make it happen.” — Wayne Huizenga

I really appreciate that quote. I truly believe your morning habits set the stage for the remainder of the day. For example, if you keep hitting snooze until you realize that you’re running late, how do you think the rest of your day will be? You all “get it.” You all “know.” But, do you DO the actions that support the habits you know to be correct?

You may forget an important document at home. Since you didn’t have time to eat breakfast, you grab a doughnut. And, it totally slipped your mind that you have an important meeting today — which you totally didn’t prepare for.

If that’s your version of “Groundhog Day,” then how successful and productive do you think you’ll be? That’s why top performers get the most out of their mornings. And, they do so by embracing the following 8 habits.

1. Wake from a good night’s sleep.

According to a global sleep survey conducted by Royal Phillips, 44% of respondents reported that their sleep has worsened over the last five years. What’s more, nearly 1 in 3 Americans sleep fewer than six hours per night.

Why’s that a problem? Well, it’s recommended that we get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. If not, that can lead to a myriad of problems including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke, cognitive decline. As a consequence, this can lead to death.

While not trying to make light of this, it’s obviously impossible to be a high performer when you’re in poor health physically and mentally. That’s why the most successful people prioritize sleep. But, if you’re having trouble, the CDC suggests embracing the following habits:

  • Be consistent. That means going to bed and waking up at the same time — even on weekends.
  • Keep your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet — kind of like a cave.
  • Ban electronics, like TVs and smartphones, from your bedroom.
  • Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.
  • Engage in physical activity during the day.

I’d also add implementing a relaxing evening routine. Some ideas would be meditating, reading, journaling, taking a bath, or reviewing tomorrow’s schedule. These are all simple and effective activities that clear your mind and help you chill out.

2. Find some quietude.

“Silence is one of the best ways to immediately reduce stress while increasing your self-awareness,” Hal Elrod wrote in the Morning Miracle. “And gaining the clarity that will allow you to maintain your focus on your goals, priorities, and what’s important for your life, each and every day.”

I know what you’re thinking. How can I possibly achieve such a feat? Well, Leo Babuta recommends waking-up before everyone else in your home. But, if you’re not a morning person, you can find silence later at night when everyone else is asleep.

How should you spend your quiet time? You could take a walk, read, write, visualize, or meditate. Personally, I’m also a fan of not using my phone as an alarm clock. Instead, I use an old school alarm clock so that I don’t get sucked into the rabbit hole of emails, social media, or whatever nonsense that’s out there.

3. Smile and think of something positive.

Is this the first thing that’s on your mind as you groggily open your eyes early in the morning? Probably not. But, it’s been found that smiling releases those feel-good neurotransmitters known as dopamine and endorphins. For the uninitiated, this will lift your mood and kick your day off on the right side of the bed.

Furthermore, cracking a smile releases serotonin which will relax your body and lower your heart rate and blood pressure. And, it can also fortify your immune system.

Additionally, think of something positive. It could be reflecting on what you’re grateful for or something that you’re excited about, such as an upcoming vacation. You could also recite uplifting quotes like this gem from the Dalai Lama; “Every day, think as you wake up: today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it.”

4. Make your bed.

“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day,” said Naval Adm. William McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, in his commencement address at the University of Texas at Austin. “It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.”

“By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed,” he added. “Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.”

“If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right,” said McRaven.

“And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”

5. Find your own rhythm.

After you make your bed you may be asking,” What’s next?” Here’s the problem with that. Making these micro-decisions every morning could put you into a collision course with decision fatigue.

If you weren’t aware, that’s a big no-no. After all, it can lead to procrastination, avoidance, indecision, and impulsivity.

To avoid this, create your ideal morning routine. For some, that could be slamming a glass of water, going for a jog, eating breakfast, and taking a shower. Others may prefer to brush their teeth, stretch, and do something creative.

Another way to make fewer decisions? Plan the night before. For me, that means picking out my meals and outfit, as well as prioritizing my to-do-list.

6. Craft results-oriented affirmations.

I’ll be direct here. Affirmations are the bomb! Besides combating self-deprecating thoughts, they can boost your motivation. Also, studies show that they can reduce stress, increase creativity, and improve your problem-solving skills.

However, Elrod suggests that you affirm your commitments — opposed to who you are or who you want to be. And, you can accomplish this by answering four simple questions:

  • What are you committed to?
  • Why is this important to you?
  • What activities will help you succeed?
  • When will commit to doing these activities?

If that’s not your cup of tea, then at least set your intention for the day. It’s a simple way to keep you focused on what truly matters.

7. Do an “hour of power.”

“Motivation doesn’t last forever, so you need to replenish yours regularly,” writes Lianne Martha Maiquez Laroya for Lifehacker. And, here’s a little secret I have for you, high performers are well aware of this. As such, “they dedicate ample time to increase their supply.”

Moreover, when you’re emotionally invested in something, you’re more motivated to see it through. In order to accomplish this, block out a power hour. While you can spend this time however you please, I’d stick with things that get you pumped. Examples include listening to a playlist or inspirational anecdotes, watching TED Talks, or reading empowering quotes.

8. Don’t isolate yourself.

Prolonged isolation is connected to cognitive decline. Even if you have a family and collaborate with others, it’s still important to put these relationships first. When you do, you’ll be healthier and happier — at least according to a famous 79-year Harvard study.

Best of all? You can easily achieve this by doing things like eating breakfast with your family. And, when you get to work, greet your co-workers as they enter or a daily stand-up meeting.

The Benefits of the Pomodoro Technique

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As I began exploring ways to boost my productivity I kept hearing people rave about something called the Pomodoro Technique. I’m sure that you’ve come across this as well. And, for good reason. It’s not only effective, but it’s also one of the easiest hacks to implement.

The Pomodoro Technique explained.

For the uninitiated, the Pomodoro Technique is credited to developer, entrepreneur, and author Francesco Cirillo. He discovered the importance of time tasks while a student at Guido Carli International University, a business school in Rome, during the early 1990s.

“I was easily distracted and unable to focus,” he previously told Entrepreneur. “So I decided to give myself a challenge: study without interruption for 10 minutes.” To accomplish this, he used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer to track his time.

After some trial and error, Cirillo found that this method was successful in helping him improve studying. He eventually went on how to share this idea with others. And, he was gratuitous enough to write and distribute a free book as well.

Named after the Italian word for tomato, the Pomodoro Technique is pretty straightforward. In fact, it only involves five some steps:

  • Choose a task.
  • Set a timer for 25-minutes.
  • Work on the task until the timer goes off.
  • Take a short break — usually around 5-minutes.
  • Every 4 Pomodoros, which is 3-4 work periods of 25 minutes, take a longer break — typically between 15-30 minutes.

You’ll want to repeat this process throughout the day. It’s also helpful to mark your progress with an “X” whenever you finish a Pomodoro. And, you may want to also note how often you wanted to procrastinate or work on something else. And review this at the end of the day

From my experience, you can make adjustments as you go along. For example, you can block out time for undisturbed work for however long you want. It depends on when you’re most productive based on your ultradian rhythms. Some folks work in 30-minute blocks, while others push an hour.

The concept, however, is that you work in sprints followed by short breaks throughout the day. As a result, you’ll be more productive because it will help you achieve the following.

1. Makes you feel more valuable.

Time. It’s your most valuable asset because once it’s spent, it’s gone. And, because of that, the Pomodoro Technique assists you in getting the most out of your precious time.

On the surface, this could be monetarily. Case in point, you’re working on a flat rate project. How? By ensuring that you maintain a profitable hourly rate. See, with the Pomodoro Technique you can plan a balanced outcome by knowing the time you’ll need to complete the project.

As a result, you’ll meet deadlines, exceed expectations, and keep your promises. Not only is that good for business, but also for your self-worth.

Speaking of that, if you can block out your time more effectively, you’re in a better position to provide value. That could be delivering quality work on a consistent basis or finding the time to serve others. When you do, you’ll be happier because you’re more fulfilled.

2. Improves planning.

Productivity doesn’t just happen with the snap of a finger. That’s why you need to plan your ideal week if you want to get more done in less time. And, I’ve found that the Pomodoro Technique makes this a whole lot easier.

Let’s say that you have identified your top priorities for the week ahead. You would then open up your calendar and add them to your calendar.

For example, you need to write an article for your business for either your site or an outstanding publication like Entrepreneur. Since it has to be submitted on Thursday, you want to have it completed by Monday so that your editor has time to review it.

As such, your Monday could be mapped out as follows:

  • Two pomodori for research.
  • One pomodoro to string together your thoughts and outline the piece.
  • Two pomodori to actually write the article.

Once added to your calendar, you know exactly what to focus on and when. And, you can then keep repeating this process for your entire week. It may sound like a lot of work upfront. But it’s worth the time investment since you can dive right into your most important work.

More importantly, over time, we’ll get better at determining how long certain activities take you to complete. Knowing this will ensure that you aren’t under-or-overestimating your time.

3. Helps you fight procrastination.

Even though you know exactly what needs to get done, and you have every intention to do so, procrastination is always around the corner lurking its ugly head. While it happens to the best of us, if left unaddressed, it can have serious consequences.

For example, it can cause you to miss due dates and fall behind your work, which in turn harms your credibility and adds stress. One way that the Pomodoro Technique can help solve this problem is that provides you with clarity. Again, when you know what to focus on and when you’ll feel less anxious and overwhelmed.

Also, it can encourage you to just get started when you’re dragging your feet. Because 25-minutes is a short time commitment, and it’s the only block you have to complete a specific task, it’s like a game to beat the clock. Besides, once you get moving, it’s much harder to stop.

4. Breaks the habit of multitasking.

In my opinion, this is the main advantage of embracing this concept. Despite what you may believe, multitasking is a myth. The reason? The human brain just isn’t capable of handling more than one thing at a time.

What’s more, multitasking can lower your IQ, impact your working memory, and prevents you from entering a flow state. As if that weren’t enough, this can drain your mind’s energy reserves. And, multitasking gives you a false sense of being productive.

As you’ve probably caught on by now, the Pomodoro Technique forces you to focus on one task at a time. In turn, this will counter the negative side effects of multitasking. And, more importantly, it will help you deliver higher quality work in less time.

5. Let’s you deal with distractions and interruptions.

Distractions and interruptions are inevitable. Even if you take the appropriate steps, like turning off your smartphone, a coworker may come barging into your office with an urgent matter. Cirillo was well aware of this and developed the following approach:

  • Inform. If you’re in the middle of a Pomodoro, let the other party know that you’re currently busy.
  • Negotiate. Agree on a time to discuss the distracting issue.
  • Schedule. Add that follow-up to your calendar immediately.
  • Call back. When a Pomodoro is complete, contact the other party and tackle the issue.

What about internal distractions? You know, what if in the middle of your work you remembered that you needed to send an email? Jot it down and then send the email during your break.

6. Maintains motivation.

Whenever you complete a session, you mark your progress. For example, you could simply cross off an item on your to-do-list. Why’s that important? Every time you do this, you get a rush of dopamine, which will encourage you to repeat the behavior.

For others, they’re just simply motivated by beating the timer. If they only have five minutes to go, they’re going to turn up their average speed to complete the task on-time.

7. Decreases physical and mental fatigue.

Finally, the Pomodoro Technique encourages you to take breaks. That’s something that most of us take for granted. However, we need these frequent breaks to combat a sedentary lifestyle by stretching or going for a short walk.

Furthermore, the brain needs time to rest and recharge. So in-between work blocks, allow your mind to wander. You could also meditate, reflect, or do something that you enjoy like watching a funny video or exercising in your office.

When you return to work, you’ll be more focused, attentive, and energetic. And, because these breaks are timed, it’s easier to resist the urge of extending them.

Getting started with the Pomodoro Technique.

If you want to try out this method, you just need to block out your day into 25-minute work sessions with short breaks in-between. You should also keep track of what you accomplished. But, there’s one missing component, your timer.

If you prefer, you can stick with a plain old egg timer. You could also one the timer on your phone. Or, you could use tools and apps like Tomato Timer, Marinara TimerForest, or Focus Time.

6 Work-From-Home Habits to Kick Before Heading Back to the Office

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6 Work-From-Home Habits to Kick Before Heading Back to the Office

The day has finally arrived: After months of working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the office is about to reopen. But what will it be like going back?

Transitioning to working from home took a great deal of preparation. Similarly, you can’t expect to return to the office and thrive automatically. 

You may be thrilled to return to a more traditional work environment. Or maybe you’ve mastered working-from-home and would rather not go back. Either way, there are likely habits you’ve picked up that won’t be conducive to the office. 

What are those habits? Nip the following tendencies in the bud before heading back to the office:

1. Sleeping In

You know how tempting it is to hit the snooze button. When working from home, getting ready for work takes less time, so you may have gotten into the habit of indulging that temptation. 

When returning to the office, you can’t afford to slack. Sleeping in shortens the amount of time you have for a morning routine. Let yourself sleep in, and you’ll find yourself stressed out and off-rhythm.

 If you’re having trouble getting out of bed in the morning, try waking to light. Also, consider starting your morning routine with an activity that makes you excited to wake up. And if the problem is the amount of sleep you’re getting, turn in earlier at night. 

2. Poor Grooming and Hygiene 

When you don’t have to physically interact with people during a workday, you might have let your grooming habits lapse. When you’re the only one who has to smell yourself, that’s OK.

In the office environment, though, you’ll want to be diligent. Be sure to shave, trim, shower, shampoo, and anything else you need to look and feel your best.

Remember that others are coming back to the office as well. Make it easier for them to share a space with you. Take care of yourself so you can all focus on work.

3. Not Dressing Up

Do you work from home in your PJs? Once you’re back in the office, that won’t fly. 

Being comfortable is great, but sweatpants don’t exactly say “professional.” Be sure you look the part before and at your first in-office meeting. 

How should you get into the swing of it? Make it exciting by buying some new clothes for work. Treat it as a chance to improve your fashion game. 

4. Eating Junk Food

In the comfort of your home, it’s easy to grab a snack whenever you want. And who cares if you eat chips and queso for lunch every day?

At work, excessive snacking isn’t a smart idea. Not only is it a distraction, but you need to keep your energy levels high during the transition. Plus, unhealthy eating sets a bad precedent for others. 

Make healthy eating easier by preparing your meals in advance. If you struggle with snacking, bring an apple or a bag of carrots. Alternatively, ask your employer to buy some healthy office snacks for the team to enjoy. Single-serve packaging minimizes the risk of transmitting the virus. 

5. Bringing Your Work Home with You

The funny thing about working from home is that your work is literally home with you. This makes it more difficult to separate your work life from your personal life. And that’s not good for your productivity or your mental health. 

If your work-life boundaries have blurred together, take steps to separate them. The following steps measures can help: 

  • Set limits on your laptop so you can’t access work-related things at certain times.
  • Create an end-of-work habit, like taking a walk, that signals it’s time to stop thinking about work.
  • Repurpose your work-from-home space when you get back to the office.  
  • Ask an accountability partner, such as your spouse, to discourage you from working after hours.
  • Uninstall work apps like Slack from your mobile devices.
  • Manage your mental health with habits like meditation, exercise, and yoga.

6. Constantly Checking Your Phone

Do you find yourself mindlessly checking Facebook or Twitter when you’re bored? When you’re working from home, there’s nobody around to see you goof off. But back in the office, constantly pulling up social media isn’t a good look. 

Experts report that we pick up our phone 58 times a day on average. Most of these are not for intentional or urgent purposes. The result is aimless scrolling when we should be working. 

Don’t let your phone control you. If you’re having trouble staying on task because of your phone, put it in a different room. Turn off notifications from apps that aren’t urgent. If necessary, block yourself from accessing certain sites until you get off work each day. 

Every transition has a few bumps along the way. But if you plan ahead, you’ll make it that much easier on yourself. After all, you knew you’d have to head back sooner or later. 

4 Ways to Encourage Online Calendar Courtesy

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What’s the only tool I couldn’t live without? That’s a no-brainer. My Calendar.

From my experience, the online Calendar helps me succeed in all aspects of my life. My Calendar keeps track of all appointments and deadlines. In turn, having this information at my fingertips has helped me earn a reputation as someone who is dependable and always honors their commitments.

Outside of work, my Calendar helps me maintain a healthy work-life balance. Besides helping avoid getting burned-out, my calendar has helped me maintain important relationships. If I have family time scheduled — then I’m not going to accept a work-related meetings during that time.

But, the beneficial productivity has been possible because I not only live by my calendar, I’ve also made calendar civility and forward-thinking a priority. And, I’ve encouraged online calendar protocol by following the four strategies.

1. Use the right calendaring tools.

Have you ever wondered why we share things with others? Well, Jonah Berger, author of a study published in Psychological Science, says that it’s driven in part by arousal. In particular, it evokes positive and negative emotions.

“People’s behavior is heavily influenced by what others say and do,” explains Berger. “Whether you are a company trying to get people to talk more about your brand, or a public health organization trying to get people to spread your healthy eating message, these results provide insight into how to design more effective messages and communication strategies.”

Moreover, New York Times report found that the five sharing motivations are:

  • Bringing valuable and entertaining content to others
  • Defining ourselves to others
  • Growing and nourishing relationships
  • Self-fulfillment
  • Getting the word out about causes and brands

While this research focused on content, can this also be applied when sharing your calendar? Absolutely. In particular, when it comes to adding a title or description.

For example, maybe you meet a new lead or land a high-profile client. In order to follow-up or begin a project, you need to meet with your team. You quickly share your calendar containing a message sharing the good news, as well as where and when you’ll have a team meeting.

However, for communication to be effective — you’ll need the right tools. At the minimum, you need an online calendar that works across multiple platforms. Having tools that cross boundary’s means if you’re an Apple user, but everyone else on your squad uses Android, your apple Calendar isn’t going to cut it. You’ve got to have something that integrates and plays well with others.

Use tools that integrate seamlessly with your calendar. For instance, Calendar syncs with Google, Outlook, and Apple calendars. Because of this, it can be used to quickly schedule meetings and organize teamwork — regardless of what calendar your team members are using.

2. Step-up your scheduling game.

If you want to encourage online calendar etiquette with others, then set an example by creating a user-friendly scheduling experience. And, you can achieve that lofty goal by:

  • Responding to invites. No one wants to be left hanging — especially when it comes to protecting their valuable. As such, always respond to calendar invites in a timely manner.
  • Include the location. Whenever scheduling a meeting or location, don’t forget to include the location. It makes life easier for the other party — even if it’s a VA or secretary. If it’s a physical location, you should also include a map so that it prevents tardiness. For virtual events, make sure to attach the phone number or meeting ID.
  • Compose a descriptive title. You don’t need to overstuff the title. But, you shouldn’t be vague either. After all, titling the event only as “Meeting” says nothing. However, “Meeting With Jane to Discuss Dinner Party” lets the attendees know exactly what to expect.
  • Add notes in the description. Just like with titles, you don’t need to go overboard here. But, you should include relevance notes and attachments, like the agenda. Why? It will give the invitees the opportunity to prepare.

And, most importantly, don’t schedule back-to-back events. You need to have buffers in-between events. When you do, participants have a chance to wind down, recharge, and prepare for the next event.

3. It’s okay to say “no.”

I’m going to blunt. Just because you received a calendar invite doesn’t mean you have to accept it. In fact, there are plenty of times when you have to say “no.”

One example would be a meeting request when the topic could be addressed over email. Another would be a meeting that takes place when you’re “off-the-clock.” And, yet another would be if the request doesn’t serve a purpose or has little-to-no value.

Of course, you don’t want to be a brute either. Instead, if you opt to decline an invite, by honest and polite. I mean how would you feel if someone rejected your meeting invite with a reply like, “No way! Stop wasting my time!”? I’m sure that would make you feel crummy.

With that in mind, pay the same respect to others. If your calendar is already full, let them know that. You may also suggest an alternative meeting date or a quick phone call instead. The easiest solution though would be sharing your calendar so that they can see when you are available.

4. Live by the golden rule.

I’m sure that you’re aware of the old adage “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” More simply known as the “golden rule,” it means treating others with fairness and respect.

“There is a lot of good, if emerging, scientific work suggesting people have an innate sense of fairness built into them and that the golden rule captures much of that innate moral sense,” says Kristen Monroe, director of the University of California Irvine Interdisciplinary Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality. “A lot of people instinctively follow it.”

“I don’t like to be kept waiting, so I try not to be late,” adds Monroe. “I don’t like to be lied to or deceived so I try not to do it, even if it might be more convenient to be just a few minutes late or tell a white lie occasionally.”

While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, there are simple ways to follow this rule when sharing your calendar.

  • Show-up on time. If a meeting starts at 1 PM, then you must be their on-time. To ensure this happens, set a reminder in your calendar. I would also avoid scheduling before the event either in case it goes over the allotted time.
  • Don’t make last-minute changes. Things happen. That’s just life. But, unless it’s a life or death situation, never make a last-minute change. If you must cancel or reschedule a calendar entry, give some sort of notice in advance.
  • Don’t micromanage. Why use a calendar if you remind attendees every day that there’s a meeting or deadline due next week? There’s nothing wrong with checking-in or sending the occasional gentle follow-up. But, don’t be a nuisance.

What if someone won’t respect your calendar? While frustrating, try to be empathetic. A great reply if someone bows out of an appointment is, “Hey, we’ve all been there — no hard feelings.” A kind reply will help the other person play their best game and you’ll be on top of yours.

If skipping meetings is a frequent problem with this person — then you can adjust your strategy. If it’s a teammates, try to help them diagnose the problem so that it doesn’t keep happening. Someone else, you need not prioritize your schedule with them.

Time Management Skills Successful Business Owners Must Have

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Time. It’s something that we all take for granted. But, as a business owner, it’s your greatest resource. Without enough time, you’re less likely to achieve your goals. You won’t be able to focus on what’s really important. Less time — adds stress to your already hectic life. And, you can kiss a healthy work-life balance goodbye without it. Here are the time management skills a successful business owner must have.

For the business owner — here are the essential time management skills that you will want to possess.

Work the hours that suit you.

Here’s one of the best things about being your own boss. You can work whenever you want. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can slack off or just come and go as you please. What this means is that you aren’t forced to work that 9-to-5 schedule if it doesn’t fit you well.

For example, let’s say that you’re a parent. Your working hours could be when your children are in school, let’s say around 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. When they’re doing their homework, you could then use that time for administrative tasks or reviewing your calendar for tomorrow.

Another option would be to work around your energy levels. If you’re a morning person, then knock out your most essential tasks bright and early when you have the most energy. Night owls, on the other hand, are more productive in the late morning or afternoon.

What’s more, well have our own ultradian rhythms — which are the body’s rest-activity cycle. But, for most of us, that means that we can only focus for 90 to 120 minutes before we need to take a break.

Keep a time log.

Want to get more done? Then keep a time log so that you can see how you’re spending your time. Additionally, time logging will let you know what your biggest time-wasters are. It will keep you from over-or-underestimating how long certain things take down the road. And, tracking your time encourages you to stop multitasking and hold yourself accountable.

There are actually a couple of ways that you can conduct a time audit. The first would be to track everything that you do throughout the day, such as your morning commute or the time spent on a specific task.

The other way would be to set a timer for every 15 minutes. When the time is up, write down what you did during that block of time.

You could also use time tracking apps and tools like Toggl, RescueTime, or Timely to keep tabs on your digital usage.

Focus on what you do best.

“As much as you need a strong personality to build a business from scratch, you also must understand the art of delegation,” Richard Branson once said. “I have to be good at helping people run the individual businesses, and I have to be willing to step back,” he added. “The company must be set up so it can continue without me.”

When you stop trying to do everything on your own, you’ll not only free up your valuable time. You’ll also make more money. That’s because you have the right people working on the right tasks.

For instance, even if you’re familiar with the basics of accounting or coding, you’re going to spend more time on these tasks, then an expert would. And, you’re more likely to make a costly mistake.

Implement the Two-Minute Rule.

In the famous words of David Allen, “If it takes less than two minutes, then do it now.” Sounds simple, but think of all of those small things that add up. Instead of taking a minute to respond to an email, you wait until the end of the day when your inbox is overflowing. That dish you didn’t wash after lunch? It becomes a dish full of dirty plates.

Furthermore, this rule helps you form new habits. And, most importantly, it can help overcome procrastination. As an example, instead of declaring that you want to read more, start with a small goal like read one page daily.

“The idea is to make your habits as easy as possible to start,” says James Clear. “Anyone can meditate for one minute, read one page, or put one item of clothing away. And, as we have just discussed, this is a powerful strategy because once you’ve started doing the right thing, it is much easier to continue doing it.”

Break your activities down into simple problems.

“Utilizing your consciousness requires more energy and can be avoided by simplifying your problems,” writes Mario Peshev for Entrepreneur. “Excellence in time management revolves around establishing a process and breaking it down into small, atomic operations that are easy to grasp and don’t require intensive resource consumption.” Cutting down your resource consumption is what makes business owners successful. They’re able to take a “complex task and decompose it into pieces, thus making the remaining process easier to comprehend and follow,” adds Peshev. “The simple operations are simple, and executing them doesn’t require dozens of follow-up questions preventing you from checking tasks off your list.”

Don’t fall into the urgency trap.

As a business owner, you have a lot of responsibilities. To make sure that you achieve them, you need to have a system in place. For me, that’s writing down my to-do-list and adding the most important items to my calendar. It’s a simple and effective tactic to make sure that I don’t forget to do anything. And, it allows me to block out time for these actions, so I don’t schedule something else.

Here’s the problem, though. With so many things to do and so little amount of time to get to them — which tasks do I start with? Well, that depends on your specific priorities. These are usually the activities that move you closer to your goals or have a date attached to them. So, your top priorities should always be scheduled first and come before everything else.

Unfortunately, a lot of us get sidetracked by things that are less important — even though they seem deserving of your time and energy. Eventually, your time management and productivity suffer — which is never good for business.

To avoid this, don’t fall into the urgency trap. Identify which items you must do, defer, delegate, and drop. Stick to listing no more than crucial tasks for the day. And focus on your priorities when you have the most energy.

Schedule “me” time.

Scheduling “me time” isn’t a waste of time. Me-time may turn out to be your secret weapon against stress and lack of focus. The more you add to your schedule, the busier you’ll get. Over time you’ll be burning your candle at both ends. As a result, you’ll become burned more. Or, even worse, you’ll be putting your mental and physical health in peril.

Always schedule free time in your day. It doesn’t have to be much. But, if you have an hour of blocked time throughout the day where nothing is listed on your schedule — it can do wonders for you mentally and physically. After all, free time makes us happy, encourages self-care, adds flexibility in our calendars, and recharges our batteries.

Cluster similar tasks.

Switching between tasks all day isn’t practical. It’s chaotic and encourages us to multitask. Think about it. You respond to an email, then rush out the door to speak with a supplier, and then come back to file paperwork. And, in between all that, you have to attend to any problems that your customers or employees are experiencing.

As opposed to jumping all over the place, organize your day by blocking similar tasks together. For example, block out a specific time to clean out your inbox and return call, another to file paperwork, and one more for problem-solving. Depending on your business, you may also need to box out time for meetings, checking your inventory, or testing your products.

Identify and eliminate distractions.

Distractions are the leading cause of poor time management. But, how can you remove them when they’re constantly screaming for your attention?

One way would be to keep a distraction log. It can be as simple as a piece of paper or Word Doc, where you jot down what interrupted you from work and when. For instance, if an employee takes a break at about 10:30 a.m., they may stop by your office to chat with you. The problem is that this is when you don’t want to be disturbed. To correct this, either take a break around the same time or close your office door.

You can also eliminate distractions by putting your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode, installing tools that block distracting websites, or scheduling check-ins or phone calls instead of taking them when you have something else planned.

Arm yourself with the right tools.

Finally, surround yourself with the right tools. An online calendar is an obvious choice. But, you may also want to use a tool like Calendar to automate all of your scheduling needs. Evernote and Todoist care useful for managing your tasks. While Hootsuite, Pardot, and Xero can put your social media, email marketing, and accounting in autopilot.

By using these tools to automate your most tedious and redundant tasks, you’ll have the availability to focus on your priorities.

How Far Is Too Far Out to Schedule Appointments?

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Imagine if someone wanted to schedule an appointment with your company 10 years into the future. You’d probably laugh it off. A lot can change in a decade. 

That may seem like a wild scenario, but the underlying question is an important one: How far is too far into the future to schedule client appointments?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that question. Just because your scheduling software lets you book years in advance doesn’t necessarily mean you should. 

So how can you decide on a cutoff? Maximize your scheduling software by asking yourself the following questions: 

1. What are the limits of my tools?

Before you can even think about customer preferences, know the limitations of your scheduling tools. 

How do you attract clients? What about booking their appointments? And how do you send out reminders and handle change requests?

Although some platforms can do it all, many can’t. In each program, click as far as you can into the future. When you can’t go any further, you know how far into the future you can schedule appointments.

What if it’s not as far as you’d like? Start searching for a program that can meet your needs. 

2. Is there customer demand?

Everything you do — including how you schedule appointments — should be based on what your clients want. If customers like things as they are, there’s no reason to switch things up. But if they want the ability to schedule sessions further out, then give them what they want. 

When it comes to scheduling, beware that customers won’t always tell you their issues. They may not even know that they have a say in your scheduling practices. 

In order to figure out what they might want, check out your appointment management platform. How far in advance does the average customer book their appointment? What about the fifth and ninety-fifth percentiles? Try to accommodate even your pickiest customers. 

Just as importantly, ask them directly for feedback. Soliciting feedback can come in the form of an email, a text message, a survey, or a conversation. 

However you do it, check back in after you set new booking parameters: Do your customers appreciate the changes?

3. Does it make sense with my business model? 

Scheduling appointments far in advance makes more sense for some businesses than others. Consider where you fall in the range of companies that typically use appointment scheduling software:

  • Call centers would likely want to confine appointments to a shorter time frame.
  • Event planners and caterers would likely prefer to schedule far in advance.
  • Academic advising appointments make sense to schedule within the semester.
  • Dentists and doctor’s offices may prefer to schedule checkups 12-16 months in advance.

When in doubt, learn what’s typical for your industry. Ask partners how far in advance they book appointments.

You don’t necessarily have to do what your competitors are doing, though. If you discover nobody is booking appointments a year out, maybe it could be your competitive advantage. Do what will set your brand apart without hamstringing your team. 

4. What does my customer volume look like?

The limits you place on far-ahead scheduling depend on how many people are booking appointments. If there’s always an opening on a given day, then there may be no reason to schedule something a year or two in advance.

If there’s a high volume, though, open up your appointment schedule. You may have heard of restaurants that have reservations years in advance. The reason is probably their popularity: People simply need to wait that long in order to get a table. 

Booking appointments far in advance can create a sense of exclusivity. If that’s your strategy, however, do your best to cater to people who would prefer to be served sooner. 

5. How far ahead has my business planned?

Your company calendar will be a big factor in how far ahead customers can schedule appointments. If you have a ton of new initiatives in the works for next quarter, then it may not be a good idea to book it up already.

Remember, customer expectations should be set at the time of booking. If you know your service offerings are going to change, then it’s probably best to shut off bookings past that period. 

Another way to think about this is based on the season. Your company may see a surge in clients in one season and a drastic decrease in another. If that’s the case for your company, you can prepare for the busy season by getting appointments booked far ahead. 

6. What are my goals for recurring clients?

Some businesses automatically schedule recurring clients after their most recent appointment. A dentist’s office, for example, typically schedules clients every 6 months. That kind of schedule can get customers into a rhythm. 

Some people prefer to plan in advance, while others like to live by the seat of their pants. Some are more diligent than others about keeping appointments. Others tend to go with the flow. 

Extending your scheduling horizon can help you accommodate all types of clients. Your stricter customers will like having something locked in, and you’ll still have space available for those who like to book at the last minute. 

Appointments are a juggling act. There are pros and cons to scheduling things far out, just as there are for short-term scheduling. Let your customers guide you, and you’ll make the right call more often than not. 

101 Time Management Tips to Make You the Most Productive Boss Ever

By | Time Management | No Comments

If you want to be the boss, then you need to start acting, thinking, and becoming the boss. Guess what? That takes more than a title or corner office. It’s about being a role model, as well as someone dependable and trustworthy. And, that starts with being as productive as possible.

Becoming the boss is not possible without proper time management.

Here are 101 tips that will help every leader master their time management skills so that they can become the most productive boss ever.

1. Plan your itinerary.

Wait. Isn’t this supposed to be about productivity and not travel tips? You’re right. But, like traveling, time management involves a lot of planning.

You need to know how you’re getting to your destination, what to pack, and the dates that you’ll be gone. You also need to consider lodging and what you plan on doing. I mean, there’s a vast difference between speaking at an industry event in Chicago during January and sitting on a beach in the Caribbean.

Before doing anything else, plan your productivity itinerary by:

  • Establishing realistic goals.
  • Identifying the steps you need to get to get you there.
  • Setting clear expectations.
  • Knowing your priorities and when they need to get done.
  • Anticipating possible roadblocks
  • Surrounding yourself with the right tools and resources.

2. Stop saying that there isn’t enough time.

Eliminate this phrase from your vocabulary.

“Running out of time is mostly a euphemism, and the smart analyst realizes that it’s a message about something else,” Seth Godin wrote on his blog. “Time is finite, but, unlike money, time is also replenished every second.”

“The people you’re trying to reach are always recalibrating which meetings they go to, which shows they watch, which books they don’t read,” wrote Seth. “The solution has nothing to do with giving people more time (you can’t) and everything to do with creating more urgency, more of an itch, more desire.”

3. Establish a consistent morning routine.

What do Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Elon Musk, and Oprah Winfrey all have in common? Sure. They’re all super successful. But, they also all have a consistent morning routine.

You don’t have to follow their exact morning rituals. But, you should create one that encourages you to have a more productive day. For example, waking-up 30-minutes earlier so that you’re not rushing out the door. You can even use this extra time to squeeze in a workout and eat a nutritious breakfast. It’s a simple yet effective, way to start the day on the right foot while giving you the energy to remain productive throughout the day.

4. Do your heavy lifting in the morning.

You that the one thing that needs to get done today? Or, how about the task that you’re dreading the most? Knock it out first thing in the morning. The reason? We usually have the most focus and energy in the AM. Plus, it builds momentum for the rest of the day. And, best of all, it won’t be hanging over your head for the remainder of the day.

5. Manage your attention, not your schedule.

Chris Bailey, the author of Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction, has found that managing time isn’t a problem. It’s managing our attention.

According to Baily, this is because of distractions — which aren’t our fault. The key is to take back control of these interruptions. Instead of letting minor disturbances, like email notifications, accumulate, we should focus more on things that are productive and meaningful.

“We get more done, dive deeper into our experiences, and notice more meaning around us because we process the world with greater intention,” he writes. “We stop allowing our devices to interrupt us every 40 seconds. And we feel more in control of our lives because we take control of each moment.”

6. Get organized.

The time wasted looking for a misplaced item could have been spent completing a task. Tidy up your workspace and keep it organized. That means whenever you’re done using something, put it back where it belongs.

I’d also set aside a time, like on a Friday afternoon, to do more of your heavy cleaning.

7. Recognize multitasking traps.

Stop multitasking! It’s not only impossible, but it’s also a colossal time-waster. Mainly, this is because you are dividing your attention between tasks. The better option is to focus on one thing at a time.

8. Work the hours that are best for you.

Unless you’re under the control of a Sith overlord, you can set your own schedule. Use this to your advantage by working on high priority and challenging tasks when you’re most productive.

Additionally, create a schedule that can help you avoid distractions and achieve work-life balance. For example, consider going into work as soon as your kids are off school. The office will be quiet enough for you not to get distracted. And, you can even leave early so that you can spend time with your kids.

9. Play to your strengths.

Don’t waste your time on activities where you’re not knowledgeable or experienced. It would take you twice as long, if not more, than if an expert handled them. Just stay within your wheelhouse.

10. Follow the 52:17 rule.

Research from DeskTime has found that the most productive people work for 52-minutes and then take a 17-minute break.

11. Chunk up your week.

“I like to chunk up my workweek into similar tasks on the same day because it makes me much more productive,” says Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran.

“As past behavior is usually the best predictor of future behavior, I find it helpful to sit down each year with my previous year’s calendar in hand. I try to identify repetitive work patterns to help me anticipate work and chunk up my tasks more effectively.”

12. Pursue activities that benefit you personally and professionally.

“Align your professional and personal goals for maximum efficiency.” – Chris Guillebeau

Let’s say that you’ve always wanted to learn a new language. But, instead of just learning any language, why not invest the time in becoming fluent in a language that can benefit you professionally? For example, if you have a speaking gig or plan to expand business in Portugal, then it learning Portuguese would be a good use of your time.

13. Keep a diary or journal.

If you haven’t done so yet, invest a diary or journal. Trust me; it will be money well spent as you can use it to track your time, jot down reminders, and write what you’re grateful for.

14. Focus on outcomes.

To-do-lists and a rigid schedule can come in handy. Both, after all, ensure that you don’t forget about anything of importance. But, they can also stifle creativity.

What does that have to do with productivity? Well, creativity increases neuropathways. In turn, this allows you to “adapt to new situations leading to new ideas, new thoughts, and yes, new solutions.”

15. Solicit feedback.

The thought of receiving feedback can make some of us cringe. In reality, it’s one of the best ways to learn, grow, and improve.

For example, maybe the person-in-charge of your executive calendar notices that you spend way too much time in meetings. If you asked them how you could improve your time management,m then they may suggest to cut back on these types of meetings.

16. Implement the two-minute rule.

Apply “Getting Things Done” author David Allen’s “Two-Minute Rule” to your menial tasks, like responding to emails. If it takes less then two minutes, do it so that it’s out of the way. If not, these small tasks will accumulate and become an overwhelming and time-draining chore.

17. Know when your plate is too full.

Be real with how much you can accomplish in a specific time. If you’re already working at full capacity and your calendar is booked solid for the next month, then don’t accept any more work or meeting invites.

18. Break-up with your bad habits.

Not all breaks-up are bad. Case in point, those that are unhealthy and toxic. I’m talking about neglecting your health, procrastinating, and allowing yourself to get distracted. Eliminate them from your life and embrace healthy habits that will enhance your energy and productivity.

19. Trust “The Process.”

I wish I were talking about the 76ers here. But, it’s a philosophy used by Nick Saban — who just so happens to be one of the greatest coaches in college football history.

He doesn’t have his players focus on winning the championship. Instead, he encourages them to: “Think about what you needed to do in this drill, on this play, in this moment. That’s the process: Let’s think about what we can do today, the task at hand.”

20. Keep a “no thanks” list.

Developed by LinkedIn Influencer Beth Kanter, a “No Thanks” Journal is where you note the situations where you declined a time request.

“Writing it down and reflecting on it regularly not only gave me the words to say “no” nicely to future situations but also helped me push the pause button,” explains Kanter. “This pausing helped me understand situations and patterns where I should change my initial yes to a no.”

21. Download a calendar app.

Calendars, as our very own Angela Ruth points out, are vital to your productivity. “Without your calendar, you’ll have a difficult time remembering your appointments, meetings, events, deadlines, and employee schedules.”

Thankfully, there is no shortage of fantastic calendar apps out there — there are even some great ones pre-installed on your phone. The key is to find a calendar that meets your exact requirements. At the minimum, it should be customizable, shareable, and accessible on the devices you use.

22. Put first things first.

“Putting first things first means organizing and executing around your most important priorities,” Stephen Covey famously wrote. “It is living and being driven by the principles you value most, not by the agendas and forces surrounding you.”

In other words, book your priorities before something else of less importance takes over that slot.

23. Respect thy calendar.

Speaking of your calendar, when you have something penciled in, follow through with it. For example, if there’s a meeting or conference call at 3 p.m., don’t blow it off because you would instead go for a run. Keep the appointment and go for your run afterward.

Respecting your calendar keeps you on track. And, it ensures that you don’t fall behind on your priorities.

24. Ditch your to-do-lists.

Here’s the problem with to-do-lists. They don’t take into account how much time you need to complete a task. As a consequence, you end-up over-or-underestimating how long something will take you.

A better choice would be time-boxing. Time-boxing is where you block out a specific amount of time for a particular task. Not only will it allocate the right amount of time on the right task, but it will also encourage you to remain focused on the task at hand. It also creates a record of what you’ve achieved and can help fight back against Parkinson’s Law.

25. Don’t let your calendar control you.

“Calendar management is the single most important thing, especially as you get busy and have more responsibilities,” says Mary Callahan Erdoes to CNBC. Erdoes is the CEO of JPMorgan Asset Management.

“You have to be maniacally focused on owning your calendar. You must have the lists of what you need from other people and what other people need from you. What are the short-term issues that need to be dealt with? What are the long-term concerns?

“Unless you can stay on top of that religiously, it will end up owning you. That’s not the way to go about staying organized and being on top of things.”

26. Set a time limit on tasks.

You don’t want to give yourself too much, or too little, time here. But, if you know that you only have 30-minutes to get something done, then you’re going to hustle to make sure you beat the clock. Best of all, you don’t even need to use a timer. Just set a reminder directly from your calendar.

27. Keep your calendar updated in real-time.

Did you make a doctor’s appointment? Did a meeting get canceled? If so, update these changes to your calendar immediately. It’s a surefire way to avoid conflicts or wasting your valuable time.

28. Make sure calendar entries catch your eye.

You wake up in the morning and skim your calendar. It appears to be the same routine. But, you completely overlooked something important, like a phone call at 11 a.m. The reason? The entry didn’t stand out.

For notable entries, make sure that they pop. You can do this by giving them a unique title or using title colors or fonts. Now when you glance at your calendar, you won’t miss these essential entries.

29. Keep your calendar clutter-free.

There’s a belief that you should schedule your entire day. I can see the appeal. If you book your calendar in advance, then it won’t get filled up with less critical objectives. At the same time, you don’t want your calendar to be so rigid that there’s no flexibility. Even worse, you don’t want to pack your schedule with nonsense.

The fix? Don’t clutter your calendar with items like standing meetings or those without a purpose. Other things would be minute or automatic tasks, like brushing your teeth, and entries that no longer fit in your schedule.

30. Speak, don’t type.

Just like dictating instructions to an assistant or employee, use your voice to add new calendar entries. Whether if it’s Siri, Google Assistant, Cora, or Alexa, learn common voice commands to reduce the time spent typing.

31. Learn how to prioritize your time.

If you want to become the most productive boss ever, then you need to learn how to prioritize your time. There are a lot of ways to do this. So, I recommend that you read How Do You Prioritize Your Time? 25 Tips for Optimal Time Prioritization for some killer tips.

Personally, though, I’m a big fan of the priority matrix, such as the famous Eisenhower Matrix.

32. Reprioritize throughout the day.

Even if you’ve prioritized your time, things will pop up throughout the day. As opposed to jumping into these headfirst, make sure that either tied to your goals or are critical. If not, either assign them to someone else or schedule them for later.

33. Put the ‘open door policy’ on hold.

I’m a firm believer that the boss should be accessible when needed. That’s why I’m all for open-door policies. But, they can also be disruptive.

When you need to hit the grindstone, close your office door. It may help to share your calendar or place a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door too.

34. Block apps at certain times.

Do you get anxiety just by the thought of being separated by your phone? If so, you may want to block distracting apps when you don’t want to be disturbed. Now your phone can be by your side without you getting interrupted.

35. Find a hideaway.

As I kid, I built a treehouse deep in the woods. When I needed some alone time, I would retreat there for some peace and quiet.

I may not have a treehouse these days. But, I do have hideaways when I want to work without being distracted. It could be an empty boardroom, unused office, or even a coffee shop.

36. Don’t be afraid to say “no” — also if you’ve already said “yes.”

Stuff happens. So, if your priorities have changed, don’t be afraid to say “no” to time requests — even if you’ve previously accepted. Please be respectful, though, and give the other party a head’s up in advance.

37. Master the art of delegation.

I’ve mentioned this several times already. But, you don’t have the time, energy, or skills to do everything. Identify the best person for the job and hand over these responsibilities to them. It’s a simple way to free up your schedule and keep you focused on your priorities.

38. Automate the repetitive.

Do you know all of those tedious and recurring tasks? You know, paying bills, cross-posting on social media, or meeting reminders. They don’t take long to do. But, when put together, they can be a serious time drain. That’s why you should find tools to automate these tasks for you.

39. Leave on a jet plane.

Not literally — unless you’re in desperate need of a vacation or have to travel for business. Instead, take an airplane day.

Credit goes to Bryan Hassin for this genius hack, who noticed how productive he was during an intercontinental flight. “No Internet access, no distractions, just churning through high priority to-do items,” he wrote. By the end of his flight, he has emptied his inbox. Hassin’s also “completed some “creative” tasks like drafting presentations.

To schedule your own airplane days, review your calendar and pick a day or two to go off the grid. I would just let others know that you’ll be unavailable these days by sharing your calendar with them. You’ll be shocked at how much you’ll accomplish when you’re not always interrupted.

40. Reduce decision fatigue.

We only have so much mental energy. So, why waste it on the trivial?

You can reserve your mental energy by having a go-to-outfit, preparing your meals for the week, and getting your team involved in the decision-making process.

41. Don’t pull yourself out of the game.

Did you ever have one of those days when you’re in the zone? It wasn’t planned. You’re ready to rumble and conquer your top priorities? Well, take advantage of that. If you have the energy and focus to work for 12 hours, then go for it.

On the flip side, when you need to take a break, don’t force yourself to stay in the game. It’s like a dehydrated athlete. They need to remove themselves from the game to get some fluids and rest.

42. If you’re not making progress, move on to something else.

Let’s say that you wanted to write a blog post. You have writer’s block, which has resulted in your starring at the screen for over 20-minutes. At this point, cut your losses. Instead of wasting any more time, move onto something else, and circle back when you’re ready to write.

43. Block out time to review your email.

Recently, I asked a colleague if they received an email that wasn’t necessary. The message was a message from Spotify highlighting the year in music. They said they hadn’t received the message because their inbox was a “mess” with hundreds of unread messages.

Don’t let your inbox get away from you. It will eventually become a daunting and time-consuming chore. That’s why you should block-out specific times throughout the day to keep your inbox in-check without distracting you. I do this three times; in the morning before work, after lunch, and before leaving work for the day.

44. Add labels and categories to your inbox.

Here’s the problem with checking your inbox. It’s easy to get sucked into it. What I mean is that you plan to spend just five-minutes checking your messages and then realize it’s been over 20.

An easy way to avoid this would be to add labels and categories. It’s similar to the 4Ds. If a message is essential and will only take a minute to respond, just do it. For urgent messages that require more in-depth responses, reply when you have more time. Important messages needed for reference can be archived. And, anything that’s not relevant should be trashed.

45. Unsubscribe from unwanted newsletters and promotions.

Stop filling your inbox with garbage. Go through and unsubscribe from any unwanted or outdated newsletters and promotions.

46. Monitor your app usage.

Do you know how much time you spend on your phone? If not, I suggest using an app like RescueTime, or go into your Settings and look at your digital wellbeing. When you realize how much time you’re glued to your screen, you can begin to take steps to curb your usage.

47. Turn on greyscale.

Originally designed as an accessibility feature for users with vision impairment, this will turn your screen, well, grey. That will lead to a dull experience when viewing pics on Instagram. And that’s not fun.

48. Delete distracting apps from your phone.

A long time ago, I deleted my social media apps off my phone. And, to my surprise, my productivity went through the roof. No longer was I getting distracted from social media notifications. Or, getting tempted to view my accounts.

Now, when I need to update my accounts, I have to log in from my computer.

49. Stop using your phone as an alarm clock.

Yeah. It’s convenient. But what do you do when you grab your phone to turn off the alarm? You still going through your emails, newsfeeds, social accounts, etc. Instead of getting out of bed to start your day, you end up lying there glued to your phone, wasting precious time.

50. Find an alternative to meetings.

Let’s not sugarcoat this. Meetings suck. Overall, they’re an unproductive waste of time. So, when possible, skip the meeting altogether by using an alternative like a quick email or phone call.

51. Send out an agenda in advance.

What if a meeting is necessary? Make sure that you create and send out an agenda in advance so that everyone can prepare. It will ensure that the meeting starts and ends on time.

Also, make it a rule never to accept a meeting invite unless you’ve received an agenda.

52. Invite fewer meeting attendees.

You know, too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth. The same is true with meetings. Too many participants will lead to an unproductive meeting were side conversations reign supreme. It’s best to invite fewer than eight people to keep the meeting focused.

53. Keep meetings short and concise.

You should also keep your meetings under 30-minutes. There’s no need to keep everyone from their work longer than needed. Besides, that’s around the amount of time that we stop paying attention and learning.

54. Schedule meetings on the right day and time.

How productive is a 9 a.m. meeting on Monday? Probably not very much. One study found that the ideal time was actually at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

55. Stay away from rabbit roles.

“Every meeting tends stray off-topic,” writes Lolly Daskal. “If the subject begins to wander, quickly move back to the agenda.” As the leader, it’s your role “to intervene and bring the conversation back to the topic.”

56. Stand up and meet.

Andrew Knight and Markus Baer of Washington University conducted a study on stand-up meetings versus sit-down meetings. What did they find? Well, standing up during a meeting resulted in better collaboration. It also created more excitement regarding the creative process.

57. Ban electronics from the conference room.

Just like when you’re working, your smartphone is the main reason why you’re getting distracted during a meeting. And, it’s just not you. It’s all the participants.

The quick fix is to ban electronic devices from the meeting. Just ask everyone to leave them in their office. Or. have the participants place them in a basket.

58. Eliminate back-to-back meetings.

Add buffers into meetings. It’s a simple way to avoid running late. And, you can use this time to follow-up and prepare for the next event.

59. Set odd times.

As opposed to starting a meeting at 2:30, consider 2:29 or 3:32. It’s more memorable and so specific that attendees won’t arrive late.

60. Harness the power of AI.

We’re still working on this. But, tools like Calendar use machine learning to make smart suggestions on how to schedule meetings. Sooner then later, it will read the room and record the meeting to automatically take notes.

61. Implement company-wide “No Meetings Day.”

Meetings, as I’m sure you’ve already figured out, are a massive waste of time for you and your team. Tat’s why you should implement a company-wide “No Meetings Day.” For instance, on Wednesday, you make it a rule that absolutely no meetings take place. Now everyone can spend that day working on what’s truly important.

62. Organize your work and week around energy levels.

It’s no secret that productivity is linked to your energy levels. That’s why you’ve heard a million times — “eat the frog” in the morning. The reasoning is that’s when you have the most energy. But, there’s more to it than that.

We also have our own ultradian rhythms, where we can only focus for 60-90 minutes. Afterward, we need to take a break for 30-minutes or so to meditate or walk.

Not only that, each day has a different energy level. Mondays usually suck because you’re coming off the weekend. By Friday, you’re spent. With that in mind, Tuesday and Wednesday are when you’re at peak productivity.

63. Don’t be negligent.

I’m sure that you’re acquainted with the 4Ds of time management. But, what about the 4Ds of negligence?

Granted, this is used in the medical industry. But, it’s also applicable for bosses.

  • Duty. You have a responsibility to follow through with your obligations.
  • Dereliction. Emergencies and the unexpected happen. But, the key is not to let them constantly distract you from your priorities. Also, if you’re not an expert, assign these new tasks to someone who is.
  • Direct causation. If you don’t hold yourself accountable, there will be negative consequences.
  • Damages. What was the cost of your poor management skills? Did you miss a deadline? Lose a client?

64. I’m here to kick ass and chew bubblegum.

I’m not just quoting They Live because it’s a cult classic. It’s been found that chewing gum can boost cognitive abilities and performance. It can also lower stress and even make you more charismatic.

65. Make life easier for you and your assistant.

I highly doubt that you’re not working with an assistant either in-house or virtually. They’re probably already handling your calendar and schedule for you. So, help them help you by letting them shadow you for a bit. Provide them with clear, step-by-step procedures and a list of everything you’ve delegated. And meet with them frequently to go over any changes regarding priorities or procedures.

66. Learn how to speed read.

How would you like to complete all of your required reading in 1/3 or 1/5 the time? That may sound too good to be true. But, it is possible to learn how to speed read. As a result, you’ll save time while continuing to grow and learn.

67. Foresee crisis.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news. But, things will not always go according to plan. So, get out your crystal ball to see what lies ahead. While you can’t foresee every emergency, try to have a plan for possible emergencies. For example, if you have to leave work, who will step-up in your place? If you had a social media hiccup, what is your crisis management plan?

68. Reconnect with your why.

Periodically, stop and make sure that your efforts are aligned with your goals. If not, they should either be put on the backburner, handed off to someone else, or scraped from your schedule.

69. Delay gratification.

“Our emotional brain has a hard time imagining the future, even though our logical brain sees the future consequences of our current actions,” says David Laibson at Harvard University. “Our emotional brain wants to max out the credit card, order dessert, and smoke a cigarette. Our logical brain knows we should save for retirement, go for a jog, and quit smoking.”

The trick is to strike a balance. For example, you and your team just closed a deal. Savor the moment by going and celebrating. But, don’t overdo by staying out until after midnight. You, and your productivity, are going to pay for it the next day.

70. Make quick calls on small and medium decisions.

As the boos, you’re expected to make hundreds of decisions per day. Here’s the thing, though. A majority of them honestly don’t matter. So, why waste your time and energy, focusing on these small and medium decisions?

In 10–10–10: A Life-Transforming Idea, Suzy Welch uses a simple decision-making system to help resolve this. Whenever you have to decide to make, ask yourself the following:

  • How will I feel about this decision 10 minutes from now?
  • How will I feel about it ten months from now?
  • And in 10 years from now?

71. Work your body.

Are you surprised by this? After all, physical activity is probably the best thing that you could do for your well-being. One study even found that it can improve performance and time management.

Best of all? You don’t need to devote too much time to exercise? Moderate exercise (like going for a 30-minute walk) can help you reap these benefits.

72. Schedule “me” time.

All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.

Even though you have a million things to do, add self-care to your calendar. Do the things that you enjoy doing during downtime. And, don’t be afraid to have some alone time to process everything that’s going on.

73. Get enough sleep.

Don’t kid yourself. A lack of sleep will definitely kill your productivity. The reason? If you’re tired, then it’s just not possible to be at 100%. Make your sleep a priority by maintaining a consistent sleep cycle and establishing a relaxing evening schedule.

74. Don’t skip meals.

You need to eat to refuel. Eating the right meals and snacks can also boost your brainpower, improve your sleep, and keep you energetic throughout the day.

75. Remove the stigma around mental health.

Neglecting your mental health can influence your performance. It can also impact your physical health, which can cause absenteeism and serious long-term health concerns.

There’s nothing to be ashamed about here. Leaders have a lot on their minds — and a lot of stress and anxiety. And, sometimes they need to take a mental health day or speak with a trained professional to help them cope with these struggles.

76. Practice gratitude.

Studies show that gratitude can make us healthier and happier. Another study from the University of Pennsylvania found “that when managers expressed appreciation for the employee’s work, productivity went up significantly.”

77. Get rid of rotten eggs.

Whether if it’s a toxic relationship or chores you can’t stand, remove these from your life. Not only does this drag you down mentally, but it can also be a huge time drain.

78. It makes more sense to live in the present tense.

Instead of harping on the past, or worrying about the future, focus on the present. One way to do this? Practice mindfulness meditation. It can lower stress, enhance your focus, and strengthen tour relationships.

79. Laugh.

It’s true. Laughter can make you more productive. Mainly this is because it reduces stress, helps you re-charge, and boosts creativity. It can also foster a more positive work environment. Just don’t be like Micheal Scott and only tell appropriate jokes.

80. Stop fixing something that’s already broken.

I had a friend who kept repairing his second vehicle. He used it to go to work or run errands like going to the dump. However, he spent so much of his downtime trying to keep this truck on the road. He finally threw in the towel and bought a better vehicle.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a beat-up car, slow computer, or inefficient workflow. You can save a lot of time, energy, money, and heartache by stop trying to fix what’s broken.

81. Set team goals and priorities.

You can keep everyone on the same page, as well as give purpose to everyone’s work by establishing team goals and priorities. Even better, it guarantees that everyone is working on the right thing at the right time.

Remeber. If you help your team with their time management, it will help you with yours.

82. Help employees solve complex issues.

Is there an employee who is consistently missing deadlines. Besides holding everyone else up, it’s giving your company a bad name. Get to the bottom of the problem before it gets any worse.

83. Cultivate a culture of flexibility.

Both you and your employees should work when you’re most productive. You should also permit remote working a couple of days per week. And, avoid micromanaging them. These are simple ways to keep everyone happy and productive.

84. Play games.

Time management doesn’t have to be boring. It can even be a little fun. For example, you and your team could play a game like How Long Is a Minute or Circadian Rhythm to help everyone get a better grasp on time management. It also builds rapport within your business.

85. Improve your communication skills.

You’ve just delegated a task to someone else. You didn’t clearly explain your expectations, though. As a consequence, you weren’t satisfied with the final result. Now they have to go back and start from scratch, and you have this task hanging over your head.

If you had better communication skills, this could have been prevented. And, it wouldn’t have wasted everyone’s time.

86. Break large projects into more manageable pieces.

Imagine you’re climbing a mountain. It’s daunting and overwhelming at first. But, if you break your climb down into stages, it will seem a little more manageable.

When you and your team embark on a massive project, scale it down into bite-sized chunks so that it seems more achievable.

87. Don’t overburden your team.

Is your team already working at full capacity? Then don’t throw any more work their way. Besides making them more anxious and stressed, it will also prevent you from delegating some of your less important tasks to them.

88. Provide time management training.

You just hired a new employee. They fit in with your culture and are the best at what they do. But, their time management skills are lacking. As a result, it holds up everyone when working on a project together.

Either mentor them or suggest that they take a time management course so that this is no longer a concern for you or anyone else.

89. Establish time-off schedules for you and your team.

Both you and your team need time away from work. It keeps everyone within your organization fresh and energetic. Most importantly, it reduces stress and burnout. To ensure that this takes place, establish time-off policies like no email after hours, and encouraging breaks.

90. Be the dumbest person in the room.

“One of the best productivity hacks I’ve learned is to hire people who are better at specific things than I am,” wrote Joshua Conran on Inc.com. “I actively work to ensure I’m the dumbest person in the room.”

“As I do this, I become less needed on a day-to-day basis to complete projects, and the company’s talent accomplishes more than I ever could.”

91. Get peer pressure.

Believe it or not, research has found that peer pressure helps kids more than it hurts them. And, this is also true in adulthood.

Surrounding yourself with positive, supportive, and like-minded people encourage you to pick-up healthy habits. Consider joining professional organizations or working in a coworking space the next time you need a productivity boost.

92. The 5-second rule.

I’m a germaphobe. So, this is not about eating food after it’s been on the ground for five seconds. It’s a hack developed by Mel Robbins that can nudge you to take action.

Mel defines this as, “If you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill the idea.”

93. Identify your procrastination triggers.

Despite your best intentions, procrastination happens to us all. Take note of what triggers your own procrastination. Maybe you start thinking that a task is tedious or difficult so that you can find a way to beat procrastination once and for all.

94. Close open loops.

Open loops are commitments you’ve made but haven’t been set in stone. Sure. If something more important pops up, these can be rescheduled. But, if we don’t close these, they linger in our minds. And they can even interfere with your productivity.

For instance, you ran into a colleague last week and agreed to lunch. You didn’t set an exact time, though. So, there you are working when you receive a text from this person saying that they’ll meet you at 12:30 p.m. If you had known this in advance, you would have had more flexibility in your schedule. Now your entire day is off-course.

If you didn’t agree on a specific time initially, then take the initiative and set up a time so that you can close this loop.

95. Maximize your time.

“I’m always trying to maximize my time,” says “Shark Tank” investor and FUBU founder Daymond John.

“For example, I’ll do my emails when I’m on a plane, instead of when I’m in the office. I try to have my team members handle as much of the meetings as possible. I’ll be involved in the last part, so I don’t have to sit through five separate meetings of the same purpose. When I have personal interaction, I try to maximize that as well.”

96. Kill two birds with one stone.

You’ve got a packed schedule. But, you need to discuss a project with an employee. At the same time, you’ve been copped up all day inside and would love to stretch your legs. Why not invite that employee to join you on your walk?

97. Create your ideal workplace.

Your work environment has a significant influence on productivity. With that in mind, create an optimized workplace that will encourage you to be more productive. Examples would be removing clutter from your desk, reducing background noise, and having ergonomic furniture. Also, make sure that you have appropriate lighting, set the temperature just right, and place plants around the office.

98. Almost was good enough.

Perfectionism can be crippling. Sometimes you need to accept that “good enough” will suffice.

Of course, this is easier said than done. But, here’s a strategy that may help. If you’re writing a book, then yeah. You want that to be as close to perfection as possible. But, that social media update or blog post. There’s no need to obsess over them being perfect.

99. Don’t break the chain.

Do you know how Jerry Seinfeld got so funny? He placed a large calendar on his wall and drew a red X on the days are wrote jokes. The idea was not to break the chain by building consistency and momentum.

100. Reflect at the end of the day.

Before drifting off to sleep, take a minute, and reflect on what you accomplished today. It’s a simple trick that will get you motivated. And, it also lets you identify what worked and what needs to be adjusted.

101. Plan your week on Sunday night.

Sundays are supposed to be a day of rest. But, you know, there is no rest for the weary.

Now, you don’t have to put in a full workday on your day off. But, you should sit down every Sunday night and map out your entire. It will guarantee that it will be the most effective and efficient week ever since you know exactly what needs to get done and by when.

Need some tips to get started? Here are eight ways to plan your week so that it will be productive.

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