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Posts tagged with "productivity"

Distractions Can Derail You

We live in an age of endless distractions. Our phones are constantly alerting us with email and social media notifications, and our desktops make it all too easy to click on a video or news article. It seems we just can’t get away from these distractions no matter how hard we try to escape them. Many of us have days where we feel it takes a tremendous sum of energy just to stay on-task.

How can we avoid these distractions, especially when they are unwelcome, unanticipated and quite frankly, a nuisance? What measures can you take to fight back?

How to Stand Strong Against Distraction

Here are some suggested methods to keep your mind focused on the tasks at hand.

Prioritize your day. For most of us, distractions become more seductive as the day wears on.  Prioritizing your day to manage your pressing matters and important tasks should be handled first thing in the morning—knocking them out while you’re as focused as can be.

Stick to your plan. It is a smart practice to create a checklist of things to be accomplished for the day. Set realistic goals that align with the number of tasks and time required to complete each task and stay on point. If you overwhelm yourself, you may fall susceptible to seek out distractions to manage the undue stress – essentially doing the opposite of your intended plan.

Turn off your phone. No, really. And while you’re at it, turn off any notifications on your computer. These distractions can seem insurmountable sometimes, but the good news is you have the ability to control it – turn them off.

Sleep well. You need your eight hours each night. Again, lack of sleep can decrease your energy and stamina, meaning when distraction comes, you are less likely to resist it.

Acknowledge your progress. After completing a task, get into the routine of taking a quick breather, and make sure you cross the item off your to-do list. This is a great way to get closure, and to have a little momentum for the next task.

Get physical. Science confirms again and again that physical activity—even a quick burst of it—can focus your mind and clear away some of those cumbersome distractions. You don’t have to spend an hour at the gym to get these effects. Walk up and down a flight of stairs once or twice, or close your office door and do a minute of jumping jacks.

Eat a meal. Skipping meals makes you more prone to distraction. Why? For one thing, your blood sugar drops, and as such your stamina and your energy decline. Also, the actual act of sitting and chewing can have a “reset” effect on your mind. Take at least half an hour for lunch and start the afternoon with a fresh canvas.

With these tips, you can be more resilient in the face of distraction—and hopefully get more work done each day. To learn more about enhancing your workplace vim and vigor, reach out to Loeb Leadership Development Group today.

How to Make Your Meetings More Effective

The phrase “necessary evil” is overused, but for many of us, there is no better way to describe workplace meetings. Although intended to produce results, poorly structured or misguided meetings can be ineffective and a waste of precious time.

With “Collaboration” at the top of mind at many firms, it is more important than ever to structure meetings and provide the ground rules to be more productive. Effective meetings can produce results and positive takeaways, encouraging further collaboration amongst team members.

How to Keep Your Meetings Productive

Your allocation of time and resources may vary, depending on the size and nature of your team, but some general guidelines are as follows:

  1. Clarify who’s directing the meeting. It’s always best to have one person who is leading the meeting and who can clarify for the rest of the group what the focus of the meeting is. Be clear from the outset who’s directing, and what he or she hopes to achieve.
  2. Set clear start and end times. When the meeting is first scheduled, always be clear about when it starts and when it ends and stick with it! If there is still unfinished business at the meeting’s end, either schedule a follow-up or encourage participants to work things out privately.
  3. Distribute materials in advance. You don’t want to waste valuable meeting time reviewing data together, so instead distribute stats and reports in advance—allowing participants to get up to speed and arrive at the meeting ready for discussion.
  4. Leave devices outside. This one is tough to implement, and at some companies may be impossible—but if you can encourage participants to leave their phones and tablets in their offices, you can maximize mindful engagement and get rid of needless distractions.
  5. Stick to the meeting agenda. Have a written structure to your meeting—a list of topics and decisions that need to be addressed —and stick with them. If talks drift into unrelated matters, the meeting leader’s job is to refocus the group.
  6. Abide by the two-minute rule. A good way to ensure everyone has their say: Allow each participant to have a full two minutes to share their thoughts—without anyone else jumping in with interruptions.
  7. Review action items. At the end of the meeting, clarify the next steps meeting participants need to take—including the action plan for all decisions made together as a group.

Meetings, if not structured effectively, can be wasteful—but by applying these strategies, you are more likely to have a productive meeting.

Learn more about the best ways of running efficient, effective meetings by reaching out to the executive coaching team at Loeb Leadership Development Group.

Develop the Right Morning Routines

Being productive means making every minute count. One of the best ways you can do that is to start each morning right, laying the foundation for energy, focus, and savvy time management all day long.

That’s why many of the most productive leaders have morning routines in place—structures and rituals that allow them to get things accomplished before other people even get out of bed!

There’s no one “right” routine, but there are some basic guidelines and suggestions you can consider.

Formulating Your Morning Routine

Manage your creative energy. One of the first things you should do is take a self-inventory: When are you most energized? When are you most focused and creative? If you tend to be more creative in the morning (as many of us are), be intentional about blocking off that time on your schedule, using it to get creative work done. Schedule meetings, phone calls, and administrative tasks for later in the day, when that creative energy starts to wane.

Prepare for the next day. Another important step is to take the last 10 minutes of each work day to prepare for the next morning. Draft a to-do list, and lay out any papers or materials you’ll need. Be ready to hit the ground running as soon as you get into work.

Give yourself a break from email. This one is hard to do, but it’s worth it. Emails (and social media messages) can drain your energy, overwhelm you, or simply distract you—so put them off for a few hours until you get some work done. Turn off your notifications. Save email until noon if at all possible.

Take care of your body and mind. Always leave room in the morning for the basics of good health—eating a nutritious breakfast and taking a few minutes for physical activity. Yes, this may mean waking up a little earlier, or getting to work a little later—but it will pay off in the form of energy throughout the day, allowing you to get a lot more accomplished.

Be positive. Another thing to consider is spending a few minutes each morning on something that brings you joy—allowing you to start the day with a positive outlook. This can yield more patience, more focus, and heightened problem-solving abilities. Consider just a few minutes each morning meditating, doing yoga, reading a good book, or listening to music that you like—whatever gets you into your “happy place.”

Good Mornings Yield Good Days

Of course, not every morning is going to go smoothly. Things happen, and fires need to be put out. But it’s worth having a basic routine in place so that you know what a productive morning looks like, and can aim for it whenever possible. Ultimately, building these disciplines can help you get a lot more done, all day long.

Another way to get more accomplished? Work with an executive coach. We’d love to consult with you and help you reach your professional goals more efficiently. Contact Loeb Leadership Development Group to learn more.