Go airplane mode. If someone totaled up all the time you spend in a given day responding to emails, answering calls, and responding to text messages, you’d probably be surprised—if not incredulous—at the results. If you want to actually get things done, shut down everything and focus on the tasks at hand interruption-free. Inbox Pause for Gmail lets you literally pause your inbox, which does the trick perfectly.
Clutter on your desk leads to clutter in the mind. A messy workspace can make you feel disorganized, unfocused, or even downright panicked as you look at all the papers and junk around you. It doesn’t take long to clear things off—especially if you have a lot of trash lying around—and the benefits of working on a cleaner desk are immediate.
It’s true that focusing on the present helps you get tasks done faster, but working on your next day’s to-do lists will help in two ways: First, you’ll help your future self by setting aprioritized list of items in advance, and second, you’ll be clearing your mind of tasks you don’t need to worry about today.
Forming a long-term habit, like a morning meditation routine, takes time. Forming a short-term habit yields similar benefits, but can be implemented immediately. Instead of introducing some new activity to keep track of, sort your current requirements into digestible circuits. For example, you could break each hour down into a repeatable process: 15 minutes of communication catch-up, 15 minutes of simple tasks, and 30 minutes of a difficult, larger task.
Breaks are important. Taking 10 minutes to clear your mind can give you enough of a mental boost to save 15 minutes of eventual effort. Even though it might be tempting to take a break when you finish a task, since you’ve reached a natural milestone, it’s actually more beneficial to break in the middle of a complex task—that way, it’s easy to jump back into things.
Large, complex tasks are the usual culprits in slowing us down. The idea of a large task can distract you or weigh on your motivation. Instead of trying to plow your way through it,break it up into sections of effort. You’ll trade one large task for several smaller ones, and it will be easier to motivate yourself and measure your progress.
Mindless tasks are annoying when they’re on a task list, but when you’re actually doing them, they can be quite relaxing. If you don’t have time for a real break, take time away from your current sprint to work on something mindless. It will keep you productive while giving your mind a chance to decompress.
No matter how focused or busy you are, the Internet is always a temptation. Even if your motivations are purely professional, such as checking in on your LinkedIn contacts or tweeting on behalf of your company, there are heavy distractions on every corner of the Web. To stop yourself immediately, choose a handful of tasks to work on offline, and disconnect your Internet for a set amount of time.
Some meetings are genuinely productive. Most meetings are not. Find an unnecessary meeting to skip—possibly an internal one—and replace it with a bulleted email that contains a list of objectives, a list of deliverables, and a list of questions (if applicable). It will keep everyone organized and on track without wasting time in circular or redundant discussion.
You need to take time to relax on the weekends in order to keep your sanity, but working Sunday night can be a great way to catch up and prepare for the week ahead. On Sunday night, you won’t be bothered with phone calls or emails. Instead, you can look at the week to come with a refreshed mind and tackle a few tasks while you’re at it.
The low-priority tasks on your list will only serve to distract you or make you feel more pressure throughout the day. Find a way to get rid of them. If they take less than two minutes to complete, do them. If they take longer, then either delegate them to someone else or schedule them for completion on a future date.
We all have tasks on our lists that we dread, but we can’t postpone them forever. Getting the worst tasks out of the way first can clear your path for the rest of the day, so commit to at least starting those tasks as early as possible. You might find that once you get started, you’ll be more motivated to finish quickly. If you need to break in the middle, you’ll have still accomplished the start of the task.
Your list is long and it grows longer by the day. Sometimes the easiest way to get something off your plate is to avoid accepting it in the first place. Don’t be afraid to say no to a task or a meeting that you feel would be unproductive.
Depending on how close you live, you could have half an hour or more time to catch up on voicemails, listen to an audiobook, make voice memos for the day ahead, or just relax with some calming music. Make the most of your trip.
The mind craves stimulation, and staying behind the same desk day in and day out can get stale and stressful. At least one day a week, make an effort to work in a new location. It can be a home office, a coffee shop down the street, or even a picnic table in the park. It’s a great opportunity to get a fresh perspective and a calmer environment in which to focus.
Most of these productivity hacks are short-term duct-tape fixes. They don’t significantly reduce your workload or magically create a system to get things done. But they do eliminate some of the micro-annoyances keeping you from staying on schedule and set you up to get more things done in less time. Your life may never fully calm down, but taking small steps to make your life easier will improve your performance and give you more of that irreplaceable resource—time.
I have been enraptured by the idea of the “pass it on” / compassion is contagious philosophy for some time. Being an eternal optimist, I believe that things get better, that people can change, and that at heart we are all innocent beings who want to be loved deeply and were created to love deeply as well.
I came across this piece, and had to share. I believe at this moment of pain and violence in our nation and across the world, we have to pause and remember what we do have control over…ourselves. And, what we create within our bodies can literally change the world.
Four of the Most Powerful Words Ever!
Dr. Marcia J. Hootman
There is a phrase in the New Testament of the Christian Bible that says it all. “As within, so without.” Thousands of years ago, Gautama Buddha rephrased the concept. “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” Contemporary spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama repeated the thought in different words, “We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”
We live in a time where, because of technology, the world is so interconnected. News is instantaneous. Ten minutes after a plane crashes, we can read about it on Twitter and Facebook, or watch the drama unfold on television. Almost immediately after a shot is fired at a person, or a country, the whole world is aware of the incident. We sit, we watch, and we wonder, “What can I, one person, do about any of this?”
The greatest sages of the world did have the answer. Peace begins from within. Ask yourself if you are at peace with all the ups and downs of your life, with your family, with your co-workers, even with your appearance. Do you look into the mirror and focus on those parts of your body you wish looked different? This is where your work can begin – with yourself.
What kind of energy are you creating in your inner world? Are you practicing self-acceptance? This is a good start. To paraphrase the contemporary mystic, Osho, once you being to accept all parts of yourself, you will release judgment of others. Where does conflict get its roots? From non-acceptance – of another’s beliefs, religion, politics, lifestyle, etc. Only acceptance creates an energy of peace – a peace that stays with us always. That peace radiates like ripples in a pond – out to everything and everyone we meet.
“As within – so without.” These four power-packed words describe everything that goes on in our world. That’s because beliefs, thoughts and ideas as well as actions are energy. Everything in the universe is energy. Not only is this true according to spiritual teachings, but to scientists as well. “Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.”…Albert Einstein
Commit to doing your part today. Accept yourself as the divine human you were created to be. Allow others to be who they are. When enough people develop peace within themselves, the world will live in peace. “Peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
"Women can wait, and they can wait infinitely, their patience is infinite. It has to be so, because a child has to be carried for nine months. And look at a mother, a woman who is just about to be a mother: she becomes more beautiful, she attains a different type of grace, an aura surrounds her. Now she is blooming, soon she will flower."~Osho
Open Heart, Open Mind,
To finally surrender ourselves to healing, we have to have three spaces opened up within us—and all at the same time: our opinionated head, our closed-down heart, and our defensive and defended body. That is the summary work of spirituality—and it is indeed work. Yes, it is also the work of “a Power greater than ourselves,” and it will lead to a greatluminosity and depth of seeing. That is why true faith is one of the most holistic and free actions a human can perform. It leads to such broad and deep perception that most traditions would just call it “light.”
Remember, Jesus said that we also are the light of the world (Matthew5:14), as well as saying it about himself (John 8:12). Strange that we see light in him but do not imitate him in seeing the same light in ourselves. Such luminous seeing is quite the opposite of the closed-minded, dead-hearted, body-denying thing that much religion has been allowed to become. As you surely have heard before, “Religion is lived by people who are afraid of hell. Spirituality is lived by people who have been through hell and come out enlightened.”
The innocuous mental belief systems of much religion are probably the major cause of atheism in the world today, because people see that religion has not generally created people who are that different, more caring, or less prejudiced than other people. In fact, they are often worse because they think they have God on their small side. I wish I did not have to say this, but religion either produces the very best people or the very worst. Jesus makes this point in many settings and stories. Mere mental belief systems split people apart, whereas actual faith puts all our parts (body, heart, and head) on notice and on call. Honestly, it takes major surgery and much of one’s life to get head, heart, and body to put down their defenses, their false programs for happiness, and their many forms of resistance to what is right in front of them. This is the meat and muscle of the whole conversion process.