Memorial Weekend's coming up and I was out of town all morning, so today I'm going to just post a few video talks for inspiration.
Have a great long weekend y'all!!
One week left in this challenge and I hope it has been beneficial to date. If you have any other tips or methods you use to stay productive at work, please share them with me.
You've got the basics for great productivity, got some motivation going and things are moving along well.....then something interrupts.....and another interruption.
We've all had interruptions, whether we are a stay-at-home mom (Number one interrupter lives here), constant phone calls at work, or anything else. We need to find a way to either deal with interruptions or minimize them before they disrupt and derail our productivity mojo.
How to Lessen Distractions
Let's look at 4 ways to lessen distractions at our jobs:
1. Block off time
I mentioned this briefly on Day 9 to simplify your schedule by working in batches. I'll explain this further that this is blocking off periods of time where nothing happens except your scheduled work session.
If you're writing then write - nothing else! Turn off all the phones, close your emails, turn on some music and just write. Block off another section of time for nothing but phone calls, another for emails, and so on.
2. Single Tasking
Stop the multitasking! Whether you block off chunks of time or not, avoid multitasking. Your level of productivity actually decreases with more tasks worked on.
How many times have we been on a roll, stop to run off and do something else and return only to have your train of creativity derail? Try and keep working at one task until it's completed, or you have fizzled.
3. Have set working hours
Whether you work from home or not - establish your working hours. Then tell your family and friends you cannot be reached during those hours. You can say you'll check your messages and texts on set break times, but work is work. The same goes for your clients and boss, inform them that you will not work after hours.
This really helps with the work-life balance and staying productive. You might even find that with the time blocking and single-tasking that you're getting more done and can shorten your working hours for your family.
4. Act the Part
I know one of the great benefits of working from home is that we get to work in our PJs, work on our laptop on the couch and not bother with "looking good". But this is self-destructive to productivity.
If you work from home then act the part of an employee or business owner! Designate an area to be your office, dress decently - you don't necessarily need business attire, but don't stay in PJs. Clean yourself up as if you're meeting someone in person. Another trick I've found is to actually put some shoes on while working. I put on my running shoes in the morning, even if I don't plan to leave the house at all that day, it gives the feeling of "gotta go" - so go!
This really works as you're not mentally "distracted" by the lazy feelings of what you're wearing or where you're working.
Productivity Quote of the Day
"Focus. If you chase two rabbits, both will escape"
Today's topic is close to home - I lived with Chronic Kidney Failure for many, many years until my transplant nearly 3 years ago. Even though there I am a lot better than I was before, I still have some days, or periods, of fatigue, nagging pain, or prolonged insomnia.
Here's some ideas how to keep our lives moving froward even when our bodies don't want to.
Staying Productive with Chronic Illness
Even if you don't have chronic illness or pain, we all have periods of being sick but cannot take a break because we're a parent, caretaker, or boss.
1. Remember you're not a burden
This was a hard one for me to accept, being sick and unable to do anything wears you down mentally too. You didn't cause the disease or illness, so don't blame yourself, or allow others to blame you as well.
If others believe that you are and have been outspoken about this - that's on them, not you (and you need to call them out on it too).
So, relax and recover and allow others to pick up the slack.
2. Give yourself time
Give yourself extra time to accomplish things. I do this in my freelancing work, I add a day to the deadline to allow for "down time".
We're so focused on what others have accomplished that we forget to look "behind the scenes" and see how long did it actually take them to accomplish it. Who knows maybe it took them much longer than you could do the same job, Eh?
Stop comparing and go at your own pace.
3. Make 2 "To-Do" lists
Many people create to-do lists for everything in their lives. I've suggested creating them on Day 6. We feel an urge to complete everything on these lists before we're satisfied.
I suggest you create two to-do lists - one for the good days and one for the "flare up" days. Maybe on the bad days do things that can be done from a bed or desk?
Even if the only thing on your to-do list is "take a shower" - you've done something.
4. Work with your Body
Remember I talked about working with your body's schedule on Day 15? Use this same method with your chronic illness. Work around the times your body is "uncooperative" and work during the good moments.
In my experience, sometimes I just cannot get up in the mornings, so I sleep in, waaay in. Then I putter around with coffee and food and then get some work in (like right now). Other days I can be up early, work all morning, but will need a short nap in the afternoons to recharge. When I was working outside the home full-time, I usually crashed in bed shortly after dinner - adrenaline and coffee was my subsistence through the days.
So, schedule around your illness.
5. Have a support system
If you've already delegated some of your work out (Day 9), maybe have them take on more on the bad days. Nevertheless, have a support system in place - friends and family who can come take the wee ones for a while, someone who can bring over a meal, take you to appointments, etc.
These supporters don't think you're a burden and are happy to help you out. Cherish this group.
Relax, the world keeps moving without you. It's perfectly okay to do absolutely nothing but recover.
That's it, take it easy, do some things you're able to, delegate the rest and stay positive.
Productivity Quote of the Day
"It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop" ~ Confucius
I want to cover more Apps that can help you with your productive work. I know I covered a few on Day 9, but let's list some more...
Apps for Time Tracking
As I mentioned before, I didn't know how much time I was actually wasting or how much time I was actually working. So this is a good eye-opener to use and adjust your lifestyle.
Apps for To-Do Lists
Great way to keep track of everything you need to do or remember.
Apps for Writing Organization
Here's my list of Apps to keep me organized at work. They're great if you're a blogger, freelancer, or need to write a lot.
Apps for Small Businesses
These are great time-savers when you run a small business from home.
Apps for Students
Whether they're in High School or in University, whether they're young or old - these apps are great organization and productivity tools for students.
Productivity Quote of the Day
"The best revenge is massive success" ~ Frank Sinatra
Hope y'all had a good weekend!
Two weeks left in this Productivity Challenge and I'm noticing I'm working a lot more efficiently. Surprised at how much I wasn't "really" working when I was tracking my time the last few weeks. So, I buckled down and blocked sections of time to concentrate on one particular task at a time - blog work, freelance work, housework, and personal/family work.
Another improvement I noticed is my break time has changed too. That's what I'll talk about today on Day 21:
Take more productive break times
It sounds like an oxymoron doesn't it?
"Productive break times".
But it's a real thing, when you do things during your break that helps with productivity in your working time - it's a productive break.
Let me show you:
1. Make it a Challenge
This isn't really a productive "break" but what if you schedule breaks every 30 minutes of your working session then make it a challenge to see how much you get done before the next break?
Set a timer for your next break (suggested every 25 - 30 minutes) and then see how
many words you type before it goes off, how many e-mails you send out, or any other work duty you blocked off for that time period. Challenge yourself to beat it at the next work round.
Just be sure that you're still working effectively and not cutting corners or forgoing professionalism to beat a score, Eh?
2. Exercise Break
Yep, take a little exercise break. Here are some ideas how:
3. Brain Exercises
During your breaks do something to exercise your brain:
4. Busy Basket
Remember I mentioned keeping a basket of things to do if you're stuck waiting somewhere? Keep a similar basket by your desk and work on one of those during your break.
Maybe an idea, or a to-do item cropped up while you're working? Write it down before you forget. Take a small crafting break, a small reading break, etc.
5. Tune Out
Just take a few minutes and just tune everything out.
The whole point of a productive break is to get your brain thinking and doing something completely different than your work.
Many times we take a break, go to the bathroom, grab a coffee and such but our brain is still going over our work in progress. So, technically, we're NOT taking a break right?
I hope you enjoy your breaks today
Productivity Quote of the Day
"Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes.... including you" ~ Ann Lamott
I pretty much covered what most experts have advised for productivity:
Your Personality Type and Strategies to Match
Just as I talked about listening to your body's clock to find out your best working hours, you need to match your personality type as well.
Here are several personality types that was determined by the University of Phoenix's Brian Garavaglia, PhD:
The Social Butterfly
The social butterfly is outgoing, enjoys conversations and being around people a lot. They're drawn to people and social interactions, they are great team workers. But because they love socializing and being in the middle of things, they are easily distracted.
What to do: Create a shared workspace to encourage more group-oriented goals and assignments. They prefer group work to working alone.
The driver is comfortable in social situations, are ambitious and driven to work. They are motivated, self-sufficient and focused while working on tasks. But this self-sufficiency can be a weakness because they won't ask for help when they need it.
What to do: These people work best at long assignments by themselves. They do need a leader to give directions as well as be available to help with questions.
The professor takes a balanced approach to working and problem solving. They are self-sufficient and are good at communicating. They prefer work that is simulating and interesting. Their weakness is that they might get bored with tasks that they deem "beneath them".
What to do: Professors prefer order and balance. They prefer work that challenges their intelligence but within their skill set.
The Creative Person
The creative person enjoys being creative and learning new things. They are adaptable, less structured and are capable of thinking of alternate solutions. Their weakness is not working well with tight rules and regulations or with a lot of details.
What to do: Creative people need work that allows them the freedom to work the way they want but still meet deadlines. Make their workspace inviting and encourages free ideas and thinking.
The philosopher is a thinking, logical person who embraces different cultures, and accepts a variety of different viewpoints. They use these varying opinions and experiences to envision their own unique viewpoint. The challenges for philosophers are meeting deadlines because of their many options they often cannot focus on a specific goal.
What to do: When they are assigned a project or job task, they need to be given smaller deadlines that superiors can check on and keep them on track.
So, what personality type are you? I think I'm a Creative type, I daydream WAY too much but still meet deadlines assigned to me. I could probably get a lot more done but I'm not a very good boss to myself. "Meh, take the afternoon off".
Have a great weekend everyone!
Productivity Quote of the Day
"Sometimes, things may not go your way, but the effort should be there every single night." ~ Michael Jordan