You know how it goes… You are given a task and the first thing you ask is “when is this due?” Often there is no due date, it just needs to get done at some point. Or, you are given a due date, but one that has no weight behind it and when you question as to why it is due by then the answer comes back as “just because.” That’s helpful (sarcasm).
It happens to just about all of us. We enable the “out of office” notification on our email client, pack our bags and head off on a well-deserved vacation. Only we never really leave the office. There’s still the barrage of emails and phone calls that come through and our phone is relentlessly buzzing and beeping, holding us back from enjoying our vacation.
As you prepare for your next vacation have hope! Follow these simple rules to ensure a happy holiday and a productive return to work.
There has been plenty of discussion about Inbox Zero since Merlin Mann first presented the concept and yet it’s still relatively unknown as to what it actually is and how to achieve it. Merlin has blogged that Inbox Zero is not about emptying your inbox. That it is not about waiting for email to arrive so that you can do something about. He writes that it is a state of mind. A sense of freedom. That you are not your inbox.
If you’re using any kind of task management tool you have probably noticed a section for overdue tasks – tasks that you had set a date to complete, but for whatever reason you weren’t able to get to them. Without conscious action these overdue tasks will continue to multiply, like a virus, and the more they do, they more they distract your mind from what you should be doing as you begin to stress about them more and more. If you’re using the age-old pen and paper task list method then the overdue tasks are either whatever is left over each day and/or those tasks that you find yourself writing at the top of the list on each new day.
There are ways to handle overdue tasks and to keep their virus at bay, but first it’s good to understand how you work and how your tasks go from “upcoming” to “today” to “oh my god, now it’s overdue”.
Do you ever get the feeling there are just too many places to look and listen to get all the information you need, and that’s expected of you? How are we suppose to deal with all these channels of communication and still be productive? It’s definitely a challenge. In a vain attempt to get something done, you end up shutting down your email, closing your web browser, setting your chat client(s) to “Do Not Disturb” and put your phone on silent and in your drawer. Does it work?
At work we depend on communication channels to keep abreast of changes in the workplace, client requests, the competition and everything else. So when email is so prevalent, why do we need to even think about using chat, or forums, or secret departmental mini-apps?
Cross posted from DEG Consulting.
Just about everything we read about improving productivity is about the individual, it’s about you. But didn’t your coach ever tell you that “you need to work as a team, and not as individuals” when you needed to accomplish something amazing to take home a win? The coach was right.
Working as individuals, it can be hard (not impossible) to accomplish big goals. If a particular project you’re working on has 100 tasks, then on you’re own that’s 100 discrete tasks that you need to do. And if you think you can multitask, think again. If you even attempt to multitask the project will take even longer.
The only option then, to bring the project in on time, is to get help. Get the team working together. Here’s how.
It might seem strange to see a post about money on a productivity blog, right? Well, I believe the two are connected. By becoming more productive, your are in a position to better your finances. And by having your finances under control, you can be more productive elsewhere. When you have a mountain of bills to pay, credit card debt piling up, and a home loan, or rent, to worry about the stress quickly piles up. And then theres all the “other” expenses to consider such as insurances, activities and entertainment, education, and the list goes on… and on.
If you’re like me, whenever you start to think about all the expenses you have in your life you start to curl up into a ball and rock back and forth on the ground. The immense weight and responsibility of being a “grown up” is crushing, but there is absolutely no escape. Well, almost.
Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to worry about all those bills and expenses? Wouldn’t it be amazing if you knew, if absolute certainty that they were all taken care of? Wouldn’t you feel lighter, happier and more confident and be able to take on new challenges with gusto? You can, and here’s how!
After a while of tracking tasks, you may notice that the number of tasks you give yourself tends to increase every day. To the point where today you have a task list as long as your arm and you know for certain that there are some things on there that are never going to get done unless things change. Here are four strategies for getting through your insurmountable list of tasks.
I’ve always had a thing for maths. The complexity, the simplicity, and the beauty of numbers. They are the key that unlocks so many different doors in this world. Without maths we’d still be drawing with sticks in the dirt. It is the only language that spans all humanity and units us. So when I first laid my eyes on fractals I was blown away. How could some simple math result in images with so much depth and detail and that never ended? It was truly a boggling moment. There is a lot we can learn from fractals that applies to every aspect of our lives.
Fractals are defined, in a sentence, as a curve or geometric figure, each part of which has the same statistical character as the whole. What this means is that when you look at a fractal, then zoom in, it becomes impossible to tell how far zoomed in you are since what you end up looking at is the same as the original. I know, mind crunching stuff.
Business and personal productivity is a rapidly growing space. As our lives become more and more chaotic, we look for order, for clarity. Inevitably, we turn to Google for the answers and Google shows us a so many products and services available to bring order back into our lives. There are software tools, articles, strategies, courses and audio/visual resources out there that claim to make you more productive, and reduce stress and anxiety. Some sources also take the approach that to become more productive, you should stop doing so much! (Personally, I’m a big fan of this – its quality over quantity, but it’s hard to put this philosophy into practice).
Normally, the next thing we do (after scouring Google) is try out all these products and services, to find which one works for us. The problem with this is that while we test and test and test, our productivity plummets. We have lost focus of the goal and are more concerned about being able to use the tool than actually completing the task.
Here are a few simple steps to help you find the right system to become more productive.