Monday, April 30, 2018

How to Increase Productivity... Without Working Any Harder

Are you as productive as you could be at work? Honestly, think about it. If you’re like most workers, you probably have some room for improvement.
               One of the best ways to improve your productivity is not to look at your actual workload, but to make small lifestyle changes that will help you excel both at work and in your personal life. Follow these tips from Forbes to become more productive without actually working any harder.

1.      Sleep More- According to Gallup, 43% of Americans polled thought sleeping more would improve the way they felt. If you’re one of them, what’s stopping you? Try going to bed an hour earlier every single day for a week. Once you realize how much better you feel, you’ll never go back.

2.      Wake Up Early- As Ben Franklin said, “early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”. Try getting up a bit earlier and using that precious extra time to plan out the day ahead of you rather than checking to see what you missed online while you were asleep.

3.      Try Meditation- More and more people are realizing the positive benefits for your mind, body, and soul that meditation can provide. Music streaming services like Spotify make it easy to access great meditation tracks any time of day.

4.       Find Time to Exercise- There have been countless studies explaining why exercising is good for the human body and mind. Fit it in before work, during your lunch break, or after you’re done at the office.

5.      Don’t Skip the Most Important Meal of the Day- Breakfast is a workday essential. If you find yourself running short on time in the morning, stock up on fruit and granola bars, or start meal prepping for a delicious and homemade grab-and-go option.

6.      Schedule a Mid-Day Nap- Feeling extra sluggish? Shut your office door and set an alarm for 30 minutes. Your work and mood will thank you. If you don’t have time for a nap, or the luxury of being able to shut yourself off from the office, take a quick break instead. A quick walk or just some precious seconds offscreen will help you refocus.  

7.       Make a To Do List… and Stick to It- Keep yourself organized and track your performance by creating a to do list. You can use this method for both daily goals and more long-term projects. Plus, nothing beats the feeling of crossing a task off your to do list when you finally complete it!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Elon Musk's Productivity Tips

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last few years, you probably know who Elon Musk is. The billionaire is the founder and CEO of several successful companies and has been making headlines for years over his plans for Mars. Last Tuesday, Musk sent out an email to Tesla employees detailing his best tips for increased workplace productivity.  If there’s anyone you should listen to when it comes to work tips, it should be this self-made business magnate. Check out his productivity tips below:

"– Excessive meetings are the blight of big companies and almost always get worse over time. Please get of all large meetings, unless you’re certain they are providing value to the whole audience, in which case keep them very short.

– Also get rid of frequent meetings, unless you are dealing with an extremely urgent matter. Meeting frequency should drop rapidly once the urgent matter is resolved.

– Walk out of a meeting or drop off a call as soon as it is obvious you aren’t adding value. It is not rude to leave, it is rude to make someone stay and waste their time.

– Don’t use acronyms or nonsense words for objects, software or processes at Tesla. In general, anything that requires an explanation inhibits communication. We don’t want people to have to memorize a glossary just to function at Tesla.

– Communication should travel via the shortest path necessary to get the job done, not through the “chain of command”. Any manager who attempts to enforce chain of command communication will soon find themselves working elsewhere.

– A major source of issues is poor communication between depts. The way to solve this is allow free flow of information between all levels. If, in order to get something done between depts, an individual contributor has to talk to their manager, who talks to a director, who talks to a VP, who talks to another VP, who talks to a director, who talks to a manager, who talks to someone doing the actual work, then super dumb things will happen. It must be ok for people to talk directly and just make the right thing happen.

– In general, always pick common sense as your guide. If following a 'company rule' is obviously ridiculous in a particular situation, such that it would make for a great Dilbert cartoon, then the rule should change."

Monday, April 16, 2018

How to Reduce Stress in Five Minutes Or Less

Stress is a normal human reaction; in fact, it isn’t always a bad thing. However, in large doses it can be very harmful. Unfortunately, many workers find themselves experiencing work related stress that eventually takes a toll on their overall health. With Summer just around the corner, use these easy suggestions published by Forbes to reduce the stress you take home from work with you. Each technique on this list was selected due to their ability to make you feel better in just five minutes or less, making them easy to integrate into your daily office routine. Check out their suggestions below:

Go for a mindful walk. Mindfulness involves simply tuning into the present moment. When your mind naturally starts to review your work-day or settles on some problem, don’t let it. Focus instead on the breeze or the trees or the sounds you are hearing on your walk.
Deep breathing. Find a comfortable place to sit. Place one hand over your belly. Notice your hand rising on the in-breath and falling on the out-breath. Try to make the out-breaths longer than the in-breaths. Keep this up for a couple of minutes.
Progressive muscle relaxation. By deliberately tensing your muscles first, they will relax more fully afterwards. So start with the muscles in the forehead and scalp, first taking a deep breath in, then tensing all the muscles in that area to a count of five - and then releasing that tension -and moving on down to the next area. Pay particular attention to the classic stress points like your forehead, neck, shoulders and jaw.
Body scan. Mentally travel throughout your whole body, from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. If you notice signs of tension in any area, just let it relax. Try to imagine your breath going right to the spot that feels tense and let it relax those muscles like a cool breeze.
Meditation. Mindfulness meditation simply asks that you focus on anything that helps bring you into the present moment. Sitting by a brook and really listening to the sounds of the running water will do this. Sitting in a chair and noticing your every in-breath and every out-breath will do this also. No matter what present-moment awareness technique you choose, when your mind wanders, as it often will, simply bring it back to your point of focus. (Helpful hint: The minute you notice that your mind has wandered: you are back in the present moment.)

Monday, April 2, 2018

Make Your Day More Productive With One Easy Step

When you get to work in the morning, how do you start your day? Do you immediately check your voicemail and email to see what you missed since leaving the office, or do you make a plan of action for the rest of the day?

               According to a quiz from Leadership IQ, about 66% of people start with their email or voicemail, while the remainder hold off until after they’ve established their daily plan. Mark Murphy worked with the data from this Leadership IQ online test and came to some troubling conclusions.  Murphy found that those who checked their email first thing were 82% more likely to also respond that they wasted more than half their time at work. However, those who started their day by planning were 45% more likely to feel as though they had “a really successful day”.

               This data obviously goes to show that before diving head first into correspondence, it’s vital to take a few minutes to set a list of goals for yourself. Your daily goals don’t have to turn into an intense, detailed schedule of everything you must accomplish on a given day. What’s important is that you create a list- no matter the length or focus- and commit to completing it. How do you start your mornings? Leave your tips in the comments below!