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Q&A Tips on Improving Productivity at Work

Thrive at work

Increasing productivity through better work-life balance

Stress Motivational Speaker Shares Time Management Advice

Since I write and speak on stress and productivity, I’m often asked, “What do you do personally to stay productive?”  Here are a few of the common Q&As.

What are your favorite time management tactics?

I practice (and preach) Big Box Time Management.  it is a concept that helps you feel accomplished at the end of the day so that you can leave work at work, enjoy your personal time more and fall asleep easier at night.  It is simply identifying what you must do in a day to feel accomplished.  That is sometimes a more productive way to refocus than asking yourself, “How can I do more?”  Here is a link to a LightBoard Video where I explain the concept Big Box Time Management.  

What is your greatest challenge when you manage time?

The biggest challenges for me are two sub categories of time management.

* Ping management – How good am I at designing my day so that technology does not interrupt my workflow?

* Opportunity management – How good am I at choosing the right opportunities to focus on?

What about when you just don’t feel like being productive?

One of the key concepts in my new book, Change Your Day, Not Your Life is:

“Motivation is just momentum in disguise.”  

Arrange your day and your thinking so that you can get on productivity runs throughout your day.  For instance, the first thing you do when you arrive at work or return from lunch creates the momentum for the next few hours. Choose your first actions wisely.

What do you do to be more productive?

The first step that I do is to define how I want to approach increasing productivity.  Should I try a new approach or should I focus on doing what I’m currently doing faster or more efficiently? I define this process in this video – Importance of Productivity in the Workplace and 3 Steps to Improve It.  After I get clear on my approach to improving productivity, I run the idea through my P=META formula so that I can get and stay focused and motivated.  Finally, I choose one idea, one change to focus on.  One of the biggest reasons you, I, any success focused person misses their goal is that they are trying to hit too many goals at one time.

I hope this Q& A on how I approach improving productivity is helpful.  If you have a question you would like me to answer, just post it in the comments section below and I will add to this post.  Thanks for being here!

 

Two Ways to Work Less While Working More

Convincing yourself – and your boss – that some “no” work is good work

How many of you have found yourself:

  • Chasing rabbit trails on the Internet?
  • Checking emails in order to avoid doing other work?
  • Attending unnecessary meetings?

This is a sure sign that you need a break. But, don’t mislead yourself in thinking these types of activities are actually breaks. They’re not! These are known as “junk hours.”

Junk hours are a little like junk food. While they provide short-term pleasure, they contribute to long-term imbalance and exhaustion. You need to replace junk hours with regeneration. Here’s how:

First, realize everyone needs to take breaks and shift gears. You need to identify when you’re going through the motions of work, versus when real work is being done. Sometimes taking a break at the right time enables you to jettison your afternoon junk hours.

 

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Second, work through lunch less often. One of my clients shifted his lunch hours to time with friends or going to the gym, instead of trying to squeeze in more work around bites of a burger. In both instances, these scheduled breaks increased my client’s energy level and sense of well-being. He felt less of a need to take low-value breaks in the afternoon and began to experience more productivity.

And, yes, he began getting out of the office earlier, too.

Are you a junk hour addict?
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The Importance of Work-Life Balance for Increased Workplace Productivity

Andy Core is an expert in Work-Life Balance, Well Being and Peak Human Performance.

Work-Life balance is one of the most discussed subjects of 2014. Some say it is impossible, and some say it’s vital to the success of a business. Regardless, the first step to achieving it, is to understand what it is and how it helps.

What Is It Work-life balance is basically the positive relationship between work and other equally important activities in life which include family leisure, etc. The relationship can’t be clearly defined and varies from person to person according to their life demands. It’s important to notice the word, “relationship,” meaning that this is not a contest or a scale we must balance.

It’s an interaction of ideas that satisfie the needs in your individual life. Work and Life are not separate spheres. They are integrated moments in life that happen throughout the day.  Also, the concept of work-life balance is not just associated with women or busy executives. It’s a process applicable to everyone to increase the level of employee workplace productivity and motivation.

Benefits to Employees and Employers When you increase a person’s satisfaction level, they will benefit mentally and physically, which will, in turn, cause the culture of your business of to improve. Some examples include:

  • The individual is better responsive and can easily work in their paid work as well applying themselves fully to other aspects of their life like family commitments.
  • The self-esteem increases as well a health and other related aspects of one’s character like loyalty
  • The employee gets full control of their working life and can adapt better to any changes
  • The balance makes everyone at home happy and everyone at work happy
  • Employee-Employer relations will most likely improve
  • Turnover rates decrease while productivity increases
  • Employees are more likely to take a job that offers less money if there work-life balance is increased
  • Less sick days

Work-life balance can increase the productivity in the workplace and improve the work environment in general. To bring this change to your business, contact Andy Core for more information. To learn more on Andy’s programs 

 

The Secret Recipe to Productivity

Productivity is one of the most used words in our vocabulary. It’s a quality that matters to both a business and the individual. Everyone wants to feel like their life has purpose, and productivity is a measure of whether or not you’ve applied yourself and have something to show from your day.

There are apps, books and careers dedicated to getting us to be productive and yet, the average person tends to trudge through their day and force their productivity to come out. It’s a chore, not a habit.

In a recently discovered blog called, TYNAN, the article, Why Obsess About Productivity?, got me wanting to pinpoint the key ingredients for productivity.

  1. Be Excited

This might seem obvious, but too many people are living a life that they simply aren’t passionate about. It’s no wonder why the daily tasks that make up their day are less than stimulating. For instance, if you like writing and yoga, these tasks will be easy. They make you happy, and with some intention, they’ll become habits. If you hate running and coding, these tasks will most likely take forever to finish, and even when you did manage to, it’d most likely be done badly.

So before you can change your day to become the better version of yourself, first decide if the way you’re spending your time is actually the way you want to spend it. Reflect over your day. Are you proud of your work, your hobbies, and your habits? If not, what else would you like to do? Zen Habits Leo Babauta gives this encouragement in his article, Letter to an 18-year-old on the Career Path Less Traveled, “Try a lot of things. When you get good at something, by the way, you’ll like it much more. You’ll suck at everything at first.”

Imagining change is scary, but the idea of doing something that makes you miserable just because it’s available is even scarier. You have one life. Get excited about it.

  1. Make your work a Sprint. Not a Marathon.

This advice comes from Jamie Herzlich’s article, “Small Business: How owners can reduce stress.” The concept is essentially to work hard and stay focused when you’re doing a task rather than attempting to work constantly and running out of steam.

Jeff Haden’s article “The 8-Hour Workday Doesn’t Really Work,” gave this advice, “Instead of thinking, “What can I get done in an 8 hour day?” I’ve started to think, “What can I get done in a 90 minute session?”

Also, Give yourself breaks after you finish a task and clear your head. This keeps you from “multitasking” for the sake of working, which usually equates to scattered, unproductive effort with little product. If you’re bogged down, try to stretch, walk, or laugh rather than sit in your chair and go on autopilot.

  1. Stop Rushing and Get Organized.

Have you ever been to a restaurant where your server was going nonstop? Did you enjoy the experience? Did it make ordering your food easier? Was your server even doing a better job?

Now imagine that your coworker rushes like this hypothetical server. Does working with a manic manager make you a better employee, or a scattered one? Most people would agree that it’s easier to accomplish a task and enjoy yourself while you do it if those involved stay calm and collected. This point is expanded upon in Will Yakowicz’s article, “Stop Rushing at Work: Stress Makes you Less Productive.” “The key is to plan and prioritize instead of being reactive. Being in control instead of being rushed helps your employees to stay calm, avoid stress, and be more productive.” The point: don’t rush your tasks, rank them.

On this same thought, you don’t have to respond to every email immediately. Instead, try to set aside a few times in your day to respond to all your emails at once so that you don’t lose focus on what you have set out to do.

  1. Stay Motivated

Now that you’re passionate, focused, and organized, the only thing you’ve got to do is maintain that energy. This is done by accomplishing the tasks you’ve set for your day and giving yourself the credit for these achievements. Whether it’s making a checklist and steadily eliminating your tasks, or the positive momentum you’ve collected from knowing that you’re having a successful day, recognize your pattern and repeat it with joy. Because you are now doing a job you love, and you’re doing it well.

Living the dream is possible. You just have to enjoy yourself and set your pattern.

 

Is Expecting Workplace Happiness Expecting Too Much?

Employee HappinessIf you’re like most working adults, you have a Linkedin profile that connects you with other professionals. This month, one particular article caught my attention.

The article, “Four keys to happiness in your job” by Gary S., a CEO of oDesk spoke on what a person needs to thrive in their career. To me, all the factors were pretty self-explanatory and even common sense: impact, growth and development, financial reward and work-life balance.

What got my attention wasn’t the content of the article itself, but the comment a man named Kevin Rockwell left in response. “Nonsense to your 4 points…Most people could care less about what kind of impact they’re going to have on the world, their growth and development within the company, or for the flipping work-life balance. Geez, that last one is ridiculous. People want to pay their bills… Here’s a suggestion, Gary – one night this week sit down with your family to a dinner of noodles with cream of mushroom soup as a sauce and a side of pinto beans. Then get back to me about how important your four points are.”

Regardless of who I agree with, this debate sparked my curiosity and caused me to ask some questions around the office. One coworker in particular surprised me when I asked him if he cared about the impact his job made on the world. The man I asked is one of those fit, All-American men with a cheerful disposition, a happy family at his remodeled home and a job that he’s good at. But when I asked him my question, he stared at me with a stumped look. He said he had never thought about it. He said that as long as his impact and integrity at home were positive, he didn’t care about his job.

Hmm…

Why are the two not intertwined, I asked. Well, I guess they are, he said. He then went on to describe a past job at a large corporation you’re quite familiar with where he made lots of money but he hated every second of it. For you Harry Potter fans, he compared his workplace to Azkaban and his coworkers to dementors. He was literally drained of happiness.

Obviously we work because we need to pay our bills, but beyond that, shouldn’t we work because we enjoy it, we’re good at it, and we care about what we produce? From serving tables to protecting the President, we all have a role to play and when a person is doing his or her best at all hours of a day, expressing fully his or her values and beliefs in a consistent manner, a habit is forged that produces character. Life becomes integrated. What is held to be true, good, and virtuous in one setting . . . is true, good, and virtuous in ALL settings. There is no switching from “work mode” or “work values” to “home mode” and “home values.”

What do you think? Have you thought about these keys to happiness before? Do you care about how your work and home life integrate with each other?

 
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Change Your Day, Not Your Life
A realistic guide to sustained motivation, more productivity, and the art of working well
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About Andy Core
Author and speaker on work-life balance, productivity and wellbeing
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