How to Wrap Up Your Day for Higher Productivity

05 Jun, 2017

Beth Braccio Hering 

Writer, Freelance Jobs

Want to get more work done tomorrow and aim for higher productivity? The time to start, literally, is today.

“How you prepare for your day the day before will have the biggest impact on your daily production,” says Mitzi Weinman, author of It’s About Time! Transforming Chaos into Calm, A to Z. “Because you just ‘lived’ your day, it’s still fresh in your head. If you wait and plan in the morning, there’s a better chance that distractions will end up preventing you to plan, and you’ll be in reactive mode throughout the day.”

Set yourself up for higher productivity by completing these productivity-promoting tasks before calling it a day:

Revisit your to-do list.

Deal with the entries on today’s to-do list that haven’t been crossed off. Transfer each item either to tomorrow’s agenda or to a time slot at a later date. Include appropriate notes, such as where you left off or who you need to contact before resuming. Break projects into smaller, more doable pieces if necessary.

Before tossing today’s list, take a moment to reflect on what you accomplished. Too often, workers focus on what they did not get done instead of taking pride in strides made. Feeling good ends the day on a positive note and boosts motivation for tomorrow.

Check your calendar.

Get a heads-up on what to expect tomorrow by looking at the upcoming day on your calendar. This action will put you in the proper frame of mind and enable preparation for what’s coming, such as securing data before a meeting.

Glancing a few more days ahead can be a good idea, too. Maura Thomas, author of Work Without Walls: An Executive’s Guide to Attention Management, Productivity, and the Future of Work, suggests color coding your calendar appointments according to type to get a quick sense of what is coming up without having to read every entry.

Prioritize tomorrow’s tasks.

With all items you’d like to accomplish tomorrow jotted in one place, begin ranking them in order of importance. You’ll be able to dive in head first instead of wasting time wondering where to start. Prioritization will increase your productivity tenfold.

Tidy up.

“Clean off your desk. Coming into a space that is clutter-free can be energizing!” Weinman says.

Since energy and time left are often low near day’s end, this also can be a good opportunity to complete mundane tasks such as refilling the printer, filing papers, or ordering supplies. You’ll prevent delays during “quality” time.

And don’t forget your email inbox while cleaning your office. Take action on each message, such as deleting, responding, filing, or marking for future attention. New emails will likely arrive before the next time you check, so dealing with what you can now will limit clutter and stress tomorrow.

Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com

 

Posted on July 5, 2017 .

7 Productivity Hacks for a Remote Office

April 14, 2017 By Beth Braccio Hering

April 14, 2017

By Beth Braccio Hering

Great employers are always on the lookout for productivity hacks, and that holds true regardless of where their staff members are located. While their “office” might be different, remote workers thrive just like on-site ones when management provides tools, strategies, and inspiration to maximize success.

Eager to improve your remote operations?

Consider these seven productivity hacks that can spark noticeable results:

1. Make sharing easy.

Emailed documents can get buried in an inbox, or the sender forgets to attach, or another co-worker should have been copied, or a newer version exists, or … you get the picture. A central, online place to store and share files (such as Google Drive or Dropbox) ensures team members can gain access to what they need at any time from any location.

2. Communicate in real time.

Hold an immediate conversation rather than waiting for an email response by making an instant-messaging platform part of your team’s arsenal. Tools such as Slack or HipChat mimic the back-and-forth that would take place if someone dropped by a colleague’s cubicle.

3. Create a guide.

A comprehensive, easy-to-navigate manual detailing procedures and offering answers to common questions helps telecommuters get the information they need quickly (and without having to disturb someone else). Consider assembling a wiki, which allows revisions and ongoing input from staff.

4. Focus on performance.

Giving telecommuters the freedom to complete tasks when their energy level is best or when one’s home environment is most conducive can foster greater results than insisting on a 9-to-5 schedule. Likewise, managers concerned with results rather than with “catching” someone slacking free up their own time for more productive activities.

5. Boost morale.

When your remote staff seems sluggish, consider measures to pump up energy levels. Friendly competition to complete tasks faster or increase output incites engagement, especially if a small prize is involved. Or try a virtual lunch. Let telecommuters order pizza on your dime, and eat together via video chat or online hangout. Feeling connected to the company and fellow workers often triggers motivation.

6. End today thinking about tomorrow.

Encourage telecommuters to create a to-do list and share it with you. Such an action creates focus, and you’ll be able to offer input and confirm that priorities match. Where most people go wrong, however, is composing it at the start of worktime rather than at the end.

“How you prepare for your day the day before will have the biggest impact on your daily production,” says Mitzi Weinman, author of It’s About Time! Transforming Chaos into Calm, A to Z. “Because you just ‘lived’ your day, it’s still fresh in your head. If you wait and plan in the morning, there’s a better chance that distractions will end up preventing you to plan, and you’ll be in reactive mode throughout the day.”

7. Ask for a weekly report.

Finally, remember that accountability promotes productivity. A short summary of where things stand helps both employer and employee look at the big picture and stay aware of what is being accomplished. The recap also provides a wonderful chance for a manager to recognize achievement—something that spurs even greater effort.

Posted on July 5, 2017 .

16 Nov, 2016

6 Ways to Turn Procrastination into Productivity

Beth Braccio HeringWriter, Freelance Jobs

Nearly all job seekers have the occasional day when they just can’t seem to get moving. But instead of turning to daytime television or a Candy Crush marathon when the going gets tough, consider activities that provide a breather, turn procrastination into productivity, and offer the possibility of actually helping your job situation.

 

Here are six ways to turn procrastination into productivity:

1. Try exercise.

All those hours in front of the computer may be taking a toll on your body. A brisk walk, a yoga DVD, or an hour at the gym may boost energy and eliminate those neck and back aches that make sitting still so difficult.

2. Organize your space.

Clutter inhibits focus, so clean up your workspace. You’ll spend less time hunting for things when you do return to job search activities, and the tidiness itself may lure you to sit down and stay a while.

3. Get social.

Connections remain a primary way of finding positions, yet job seekers often overlook networking in favor of solitary activities such as searching job boards. Loneliness might be at the root of your procrastination, so seek opportunities to be around others.

Invite a former coworker to lunch. Research meet-up groups of interest in your region. Explore community service opportunities—employers love to see volunteer work on a resume, and you’ll make new acquaintances.

4. Indulge your inner gamer.

Check out Habitica, a fun app that rewards productive behavior (such as sending out a certain number of resumes) and issues consequences for procrastination.

Join a community of fellow job seekers for extra support and accountability.

5. Make an inspiration board.

Use Pinterest or a good old-fashioned bulletin board to produce a visual reminder of your dreams. Fill it with inspiring quotes, reminders of why you do the work you do, people you admire, things you’d like to buy … anything goes!

Not only can the act of creating it help you focus, but also you’ll have something tangible to turn to on other days when motivation slumps.

6. Take the afternoon off.

While it initially may sound counterproductive, a good break may be what you need to return to your hunt with new vigor. Take in a matinee, explore a museum, or see what’s new at your local library.

“Allow yourself to have fun,” says productivity expert Mitzi Weinman, author of It’s About Time! Transforming Chaos into Calm, A to Z. “A person can’t and shouldn’t spend entire days on job searches.”

Posted on November 28, 2016 .

6 Job Search Habits to Keep Productivity Up by Beth Braccio Hering

Maintaining productivity increases the chances of discovering your perfect job. But sustaining focus and motivation can be challenging, especially during a long hunt. Make your hours count and keep productivity up by incorporating these six job search habits into your daily routine.

Here’s are job search habits to keep productivity up when you aren’t feeling motivated:

1. Create a plan.

Want to make tomorrow great? Formulate your course of action before you stop working today.

“How you prepare for your day the day before will have the biggest impact on your daily production,” says Mitzi Weinman, author of It’s About Time! Transforming Chaos into Calm, A to Z. “Because you just ‘lived’ your day, it’s still fresh in your head. If you wait and plan in the morning, there’s a better chance that distractions will end up preventing you to plan, and you’ll be in reactive mode throughout the day. Also, moving undone tasks forward in the calendar means that you are taking control of your tasks and don’t feel like you’re always behind—no need to look backwards to see what you haven’t done.”

2. Start big.

Ranking activities in terms of importance can help ensure that the most promising or pressing things receive due attention. Weinman suggests tackling these tasks first each day. You’ll get a mood-boosting feeling of accomplishment and reduce stress when that important custom cover letter is complete rather than hanging over your head all day.

3. Limit interruptions.

While it may not seem like a big deal if your child comes by to ask for a snack or your spouse decides now would be a great time to discuss paint colors for the bedroom, being pulled away even for a moment disturbs focus. You’ll waste time trying to get back in the zone and increase the odds of making errors. Deal with issues before you start to work, and let others know the “do not disturb” sign on your closed door needs to be respected.

However, it isn’t only other people who lure your attention elsewhere. Self-interruption can be a huge distraction. Since we often worry that we’ll forget something if we don’t act on the thought immediately, keep a notebook next to your work area. Quickly jot down whatever pops into your mind—returning your sister’s phone call, searching for a missing library book, making a weekly menu. Then, pick a time later to deal with this list and assign each item a place in your master schedule.

4. Control social media usage.

Facebook, Twitter, and the like rank among the top modern-day time zappers. But since these things also have a role in job searches, people often consider time spent on them justified. Instead of giving yourself free reign, be strategic. Close anything you’re not using to avoid the “I’ll just look for a second” temptation. Block out time to complete specific activities on LinkedIn, which tends to be the most useful professional platform. Save the primarily personal-use sites until the end of the day when other tasks have been accomplished and “wandering” won’t be so disruptive.

5. Schedule in breaks.

Lunch is a necessity, not a luxury (and eating at your desk doesn’t count). People need time to relax and recharge. Looking forward to a planned break can make work hours pass more pleasantly. Even if you fill the time with a “practical” activity such as unloading the dishwasher, moving around and thinking about something else besides job hunting for a bit can revitalize your efforts when it’s time to return.

6. Surround yourself with positivity.

Finally, don’t underestimate the energy required for a successful job search. Fill your life with people and activities that keep your spirits up. Make time to exercise. Create a dream board. Hang out with friends who offer hope and reminders of your great attributes. Feeling confident can boost productivity because you’ll be excited to show others what you have to offer!

Readers, what job search habits do you employ to keep productivity up in your job search? Share your tips with us below!

This article appeared in the January 22, 2016 edition of FlexJobs blog.  

https://www.flexjobs.com

 

Posted on May 2, 2016 .

Email Efficiency is Still Possible

Quick Fact: Email Efficiency is Still Possible

Email remains one of the simplest, quickest means to communicate. Here are a few techniques to keep your emailing efficient and productive.

1. Put deadlines, meeting dates, important, relevant information in the subject line. Your message will standout when someone is scanning through unread email.

2. Have all important, essential information at the beginning of the email. Include specific action you may be requesting of the recipient.

3. Reduce wasting time emailing back and forth. When a reply is unnecessary, make it clear. A simple, "It isn't necessary to reply back to this email " works wonders.

Posted on June 4, 2014 and filed under Articles.

Not Planning = Lost Time

Quick Fact: Not Planning = Lost Time

If you don't think you have time to plan and organize, think again!

Take a few minutes (5-10 max.), everyday to regroup, evaluate and plan. Not only does planning reduce your stress and anxiety, it keeps you focused and your priorities on track. Not planning is a major timetrap. Saying you're too busy to plan is an excuse to be reactive rather than proactive. Don't fall into the trap.

Daily planning is preventative, proactive action that works.

The start of 2010 has been quite busy with our many speaking engagements. I would like to thank everyone involved in Yankee Dental Congress 35, Boston's largest conference. The many room monitors and participants of "Go For It! Gettting To Your Goal!" and "Balance? Juggle? Find Time For You!" programs made this conference a wonderful 3 day experience.

Also a big thank you to all who attended The RDH Study Group and Abington Child Study Group. What amazing energy emanated during each of these special events.

Your feedback and ideas to write about are important to me, so please stay in touch.

Warmly,
Mitzi

One Final Time Thought!

"The reward of a thing well done is to have done it." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Posted on June 4, 2014 and filed under Articles.

Finding a New Normal and Homework Tips - Not Just for Kids!

Recently, I emailed a friend asking for some information. In our back and forth emails, we inquired about family and summer, etc. Laurie told me that her family had just returned from taking their oldest son to college. He's a freshman and it's his first time away from home for an extended period of time. As she ended her email, Laurie said that she, her husband and daughter need to "find our new normal."

For some reason the phrase "new normal" stood out and stayed with me, even weeks later. I kept thinking about how most of us look at change and can squirm and fight it. But thinking about change in the context of finding a new normal seems almost calming, consoling and encouraging.

Posted on June 4, 2014 and filed under Articles.

Don't Get Tagged!

Here's how I learned about being tagged. I had just seen a mom from my son's school at a little league game. This was the first time I had seen her in months. She had a new puppy with her. 
Ironically a couple of hours later I received an email from her (or I thought it was from her). The subject line was that my friend (it used her full name) sent me photos. I thought she had sent me pictures of the new puppy. After I opened the email, it read that if I want to see the photos, I 
need to fill out a form and submit it. It seemed like another "social networking" website. I chose not to take any action. 

Posted on June 4, 2014 and filed under Articles.

Productivity, Image & Action

You can't go anywhere these days and not hear people talking about the economy, corruption, bailouts and job loss.

With no guarantees of having a job tomorrow, what steps can you take today to give you a fighting chance to keep your job and your positive reputation in these uncertain times?

I posed that question to three experts in the area of Wardrobe Management and Etiquette and Human Resources. I ask them for 3 key strategies that will make a positive impact on employers and help you be a standout. I also added my 3 key strategies in the area of productivity.

Mary Lou Andre, founder and president of dressingwell.com and Organization By Design, Inc. is a nationally recognized wardrobe consultant, speaker and author. She suggests that executives need to, "package themselves for success in today's competitive business environment." Mary Lou's suggests:

View your professional image as communications tool. An appropriate and effective professional image enhances communication and allows you to present ideas and information in a highly effective way. Eliminating distractions commonly caused by ill fitting clothes, poor grooming and a lack of attention to how clothing and accessories are coordinated together is one sure way to come across as credible and confident, even if you are nervous on the inside.

Posted on June 4, 2014 and filed under Articles.

Time -The Best Gift of All!

Hi Miss M -

Thank you for your New Year wishes - I send the same to you.

I hope your holiday celebrations were wonderful.

Guess what I asked for as my gifts from family and friends - time ! That's right, the amazing Miss M gave me another idea this year - If anyone complained that they wanted to "BUY" me something, I would just tell them that time was money, only even more valuable.

These are some of the gifts I received:

  • Time alone with my grandson
Posted on June 4, 2014 and filed under Articles.

StressBusters!

In these uncertain times -- aren't you tired of hearing that? Aren't you tired of all the negativity and talking about all the negativity? Is everyone stressed out? Enough!

The truth of the matter is so much of what happens in the world is out of our control. Not having control is a major cause of stress. The Serenity Prayer has a simple but powerful message:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can; 
and wisdom to know the difference.

So, now is the time to look at what you do have control over and do something to reduce some of your stress.

Choose to shift from a negative attitude to an attitude of sincere gratitude 

  • I talk to so many people at work and they are outright busy. When they tell me how busy they are, the tone in their voice sounds negative. I point out that having a job and a job that's keeping them busy is a good thing. The alternative is not so good.

Surround yourself with what makes you smile or laugh 

  • Aren't there certain people who just put a smile on your face when you talk to them? 
    Call them! 
  • Change your screensaver so that it displays a favorite picture, scene, 
    memory or event, etc. 
  • Music: For me music is a very important part of my life and has such a strong impact on my mood. I recently stumbled upon www.pandora.com. Pandora is free and allows you to create as many music "stations" as you want by choosing your favorite songs or artists. Your favorite music can play softly in the background as you are working on your computer (as long as it won't disturb co-workers).

Here are some additional stress busters

  • Unclutter your work space and your home 
  • Take breaks - walk, stretch, exercise, breathe slowly and deeply 
  • Use positive self-talk toward positive action 
  • Distance yourself from too much negativity - stay as informed as you like but think about the potential toll the media onslaught is having on you 
  • Drink lots of water 
  • If you talk to family, friends, colleagues about your stress, don't just complain; seek out ideas and solutions then take action 
  • Pray or meditate 
  • Make a complete to do list and input your action items into your planner, Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes, Blackberry,or PDA, etc. The more you try to remember and keep in your head, the more likely you are to increase your anxiety.

Take inventory: How blessed are you?

  • Take a good look around at your life, family, friends, etc. Find the goodness in each day. Do you have a refrigerator, TV, computer, cell phone, too many clothes to choose from in your closet, etc.?

Fortunate? What do you think?

Posted on June 4, 2014 and filed under Articles.

Hurry Up and Wait!

The other day I was speaking at the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) conference and would be arriving home too late for afternoon camp pickup. I told my husband that when he picks up our son he should be at camp no later than 4:00 p.m. He was there at 3:50 p.m. and waited in the long car line for at least 20 minutes before he made his way to the pick up area where Jonathan was brought to his car.

He thought it would be helpful for me to know that as he was leaving camp at 4:10 p.m., he noticed there was no line. If I got to camp around 4:10 p.m., I wouldn't have to wait in line at all.

He was absolutely correct and I knew that. But I had made a conscious decision to wait in the line because it was a good time turn the car off and read. I didn't realize it until then, but I was completely cognizant of my decision and very happy about it.

Posted on June 4, 2014 and filed under Articles.

Back to School

With school just underway, it's a great time to get the school year off to an organized start. Even though no family is the same and each day is different, there are some solid organizational foundations, when put into place and adjusted as necessary, can make for more tranquil, less harried days for families.

Plan 

  • Use a large monthly calendar that is easily accessible to all members of the family.
  • Write all commitments down on the calendar, as far out into the future as you have information. Include: who is picking up and dropping of whom, key homework assignments (projects, book reports, etc.), picture day, extra-curricular, doctor appointments, etc.
  •  
Posted on June 4, 2014 and filed under Articles.