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8 Key Ways You Can Work Smarter Instead of Harder

Life shouldn’t be difficult. It should be fun and exciting, even when we’re at work. That’s why it is so important to maximize our productivity. There’s a good chance that you’re working harder than you need to be to achieve the results you want. Here are 8 key ways you can start working smarter today instead of harder.

#1. Give yourself time to think. Rushing around during the day is a guarantee that a bad decision or two is going to get made. Make sure you give yourself time to think at strategic points during the day so that you can keep your day on track. Eliminate the distractions and let your mind operate at its peak efficiency.

#2. Give yourself permission to take a break. Most people take a 10-15 minute break about every 2 hours during the working day. Try doubling that whenever possible. People who take a 15 minute break for every hour of productive work they complete see a productivity boost of at least 10% on average.

#3. Give yourself a different job in the afternoon. After a good lunch and an extended break, the last thing you want to do is go back to work. You’re also more tired in the afternoon and more willing to say “Forget this – I’ll do it tomorrow.” Make your afternoon time be when you meet with people, schedule appointments, and shift gears so your fatigue doesn’t get the best of you.

#4. Give yourself permission to take a break. Really. Just do it. Even if you’re just watching cat videos on YouTube, it is important to let your mind rest. That’s why we’re counting this twice.

#5. Give yourself a good plan to get through the day. This might just be the most important thing on this list to include for your day. Having a flow chart of the things that you need to get done can really help you power out some good work. It will also keep you on track, keep you focused, and give you an intense feeling of satisfaction when you meet your goals. Just make sure you plan for emergencies because there is always something that invariably comes up during the day.

#6. Give yourself time with your family. It is important to connect with your family on a daily basis. Have dinner together. Pick the kids up at school if you can. Call your folks on the phone if you live alone. Go out with friends after work. Relationships are the glue that keep us together and let us stay within our sweet spots of productivity.

#7. Give yourself a real bed time. Real sleep means giving your mind time to wind down. Being free of technology can really encourage this. Have some warm milk, a cup of caffeine-free tea, and read a book… or do what works best for you and then stick to that routine.

#8. Give yourself enough time to get a good night of rest. Sleep is essential. If you’re only getting 4-6 hours of sleep every night, then your body is running out of fuel prematurely during the day. Shoot for 7-9 hours instead to see the best results possible.

You don’t need automation or passive income generation to work smarter instead of harder. You just need to have a solid routine that lets you be consistently productive every day. Implement these methods and you may just find that you have a lot more time in your day for fun things to do than you ever realized.

7 Ways You Can Stay Productive During a Bad Day

We all have bad days. The only problem is that work still needs to get done on those bad days. It can be hard to kick yourself into an overdrive gear to keep working, yet those who are consistently productive are able to defeat their bad days all of the time. How do they stay productive when they’d rather be doing something else? Here are their 7 secrets that you can also try.

#1. Plan Ahead

You’ve got to do more than just turn off your distractions. Don’t just close your Facebook page or turn off your phone. Tell people you’ll be out of contact for awhile. Give them an expected time frame for when you’ll be available once again. If there’s an emergency, set up an alternative contact. That way you won’t have to worry about what is happening when you’re working on something important.

#2. Set Real Deadlines

“If I get this done in the next 3 days, then I’ll be fine.” We all work to the expectations that we set for ourselves. If we allow ourselves 3 days to get something done, then we’ll take all 3 days to get it done. Set a firm deadline instead of a fuzzy deadline to stay productive. Even if work isn’t due for awhile, setting a deadline that is sooner rather than later can let you start working ahead.

#3. Change the Routine

At 4am, the world is very peaceful. Hardly anyone is awake. The late-night parties have wrapped up and the early risers are still an hour or two away from having their alarms wake them up. This is the perfect time to get to work. Once you get used to an earlier start to the day, you will be amazed at how exceptionally productive you can be.

#4. Give Yourself Incentives

Rewards will help you muster up some additional enthusiasm during a bad day. If you put in 4 hard hours of work, then take a lunch at your favorite restaurant. Buy a bottle of your favorite wine after work. Download some new music. Just don’t reward yourself before you get the work done because then you won’t want to be productive.

#5. Recharge

Bad days drain your battery like nothing else. It’s important that you consistently recharge those batteries with healthy options. Avoid high caloric content foods. Sit when you feel tired. Get active if your mind feels dull.

#6. Take a Break

This doesn’t mean you stop working to hop onto Facebook or send out some tweets. Take a real break from the rest of the world. Go for a 10 minute walk. Shut the office door and close your eyes. Being inactive mentally for awhile can really transform a bad day.

#7. Staple Your Legs To the Seat

Push through the pain of a bad day and get the job done. Don’t leave until it gets done because that just makes a bad day seem even worse. Sure – you might be working longer than normal, but the reward is that you won’t be reminded of your bad day tomorrow.

Staying productive during a bad day is a chore. It takes a lot of work. If you can implement these habits, then you will join the ranks of people who are consistently productive every day and you won’t believe how much you can get accomplished on even your worst days at work.

Exploring Mindfulness At Work

Relaxation at work might seem impossible, but it can be done when mindfulness is involved. When the day just doesn’t seem to be going your way, don’t let the stress wear you down. Find a place where you can experience some peace right there in that bad moment. Here are some simple ways that can help you achieve that calm moment that can make all the difference in the world.

#1. Forgive yourself.

You are your own worst critic. It’s true for all of us. We tend to be harder on ourselves than anyone else around. This makes it very difficult to find any sense of peace because all of your free time is being used to beat yourself up with mental mind punches. The most important thing you can do at work is learn to forgive yourself for the mistakes you’re going to make. Look instead at the positive things you’ve done so far that day. It’s an easy way to take away the negative energy.

#2. Explore the moment.

There is perfection in every moment. Sometimes this perfection is difficult, if not impossible, to see, but it is there. As you’re drawing up your to-do list for the day, considered creating a to-be list at the same time. Set goals for yourself on how you’ll react to negative or emotional moments. Don’t just keep this to-be list in your mind either as writing it down or typing it up can reinforce the goals internally that you’re planning on setting.

#3. Learn to listen.

Most of the communication that humans give one another isn’t verbal in nature. Our body language and tone of voice are just as important as the actual words that are being said. Sometimes the stress that gets experienced at work happens because someone has misread your non-verbal communication. At other times, we haven’t realized what our body language is actually communicating. Close your eyes, listen to what your body is telling you, and take a deep breath. Repeat 3x. You may be surprised at what your body is trying to say.

#4. Make your own luck.

We all have superstitions that we follow to bring about good luck. Some people have favorite pants, socks, or a shirt that they believe will bring them luck. Others won’t wash their favorite shirt for luck. At work, it’s probably better to do the former rather than the latter. Putting on your favorite things works because you make yourself believe that something good is going to happen. This is the first step in a journey of mindfulness where you begin to seek out the perfection in each moment of the day.

#5. Disconnect.

This is absolutely required every day in some way. We are all hyper-connected to each other thanks to the internet today and there comes a time when you need to shut down that noise. Social media, business networking, emails, news alerts, and instant messaging give us virtually no free time whatsoever – even if we’re at home. Try to disconnect for 20 minutes to decompress and make this protected time so you get left alone.

There are ways that mindfulness can be explored at work. Consider these options today and you may just find that a sense of calmness and peace won’t be far behind.

7 Bad Productivity Habits That Need To Change

Ever notice how productivity tends to get a little worse at the end of the day? This happens because people get mentally tired. They process information slower, so productivity lessens. This is a natural process. What isn’t natural are the bad productivity habits that develop over time because there is no encouragement to change them. Eliminating these habits could boost your productivity to incredible levels.

#1. Everyone is 5-15 minutes late for a meeting, even though it has been scheduled for more than a week in advance. The meeting doesn’t start without everyone there, which means people get stressed out when they’re on time. This negative productivity habit spreads quickly.

#2. Taking the time to hold a conversation over emails or texts instead of picking up the phone to call someone. When you’re conversing a few sentences at a time, the length of a conversation can extend to an entire day.

#3. Holding multiple conversations on multiple platforms at the same time. The average person loses 15 minutes of focus every time they switch their attention to a new task. One Facebook conversation, one texting conversation, and one email conversation represents 45 minutes of lost time per hour.

#4. Doing the easy work before doing the harder work. There are always going to be days where we don’t feel like doing something that irritates us. If we avoid this task until the end of the day, then there is a 99.9% guarantee that the work won’t get done until at least tomorrow.

#5. Browsing the internet without any rhyme or reason. Everyone has been guilty of this at one time or another.

#6. The worst habit in the workplace that inhibits productivity might just be the enjoyment of stress. That’s right. People today go out of their way to add more stress to their lives. It’s done because it draws attention to their plight. It creates drama. The only problem is that stress also reduces productivity because it takes longer to find solutions to problems.

#7. Socializing before, during, and after work functions. The “smoke break” would be included in this. Having workers stop for 10 minutes every hour so they can go outside to have a cigarette with their co-workers not only kills productivity, but it will also lower employee morale as well. Workers who don’t smoke will want the same 10 minute breaks and they’ll take them with or without authorization.

When these bad productivity habits are affecting the workplace, everyone winds up suffering in some way. Recognizing them is the first step toward making a change.

5 Ways Productivity Improves With Meditation

Organizations are turning to meditation like never before thanks to what science is discovering about this ancient practice. When an employee is encouraged to take time from their working day to meditate, many organizations have discovered that their productivity levels per employee increase in return. There are also numerous benefits that will be directly experienced by the employee. Could you benefit from these productivity boosters?

#1. Meditation reduces individual stress levels.

Stress is something that everyone at work experiences at just some level. It’s also something that happens outside of the professional environment. If employees are focused on stress, then they aren’t focused on work. By encouraging meditation, stress levels can be reduced so that a greater focus on the project at hand can be achieved. As a side effect, employees may also notice less tension, lower blood pressure, and other health improvements.

#2. Meditation helps with concentration.

“How would you describe your multitasking skills?” It’s a common interview question because the demands on the average employee are higher than ever before. The only problem is that 98% of workers need time to switch between two different tasks. That time gap can be as large as 15 minutes for some individuals. Through meditation, the brain can transition more quickly between tasks, be able to shut out distractions, and therefore be more efficient.

#3. Meditation improves emotional intelligence.

Being in touch with personal emotions and the emotions of those around them is important to the professional environment. Meditation helps employees get to know themselves better, which then helps them get to know everyone else around them a little better as well. Compassion naturally increases with meditation because people understand each other a little more. This emotional intelligence allows an employee to be more productive because they have more wisdom.

#4. Meditation encourages higher levels of creativity.

It can be difficult for an employee to be creative if they have a mind full of clutter. Racing thoughts and worries cloud the creative process. Meditation is like a strong wind which blows all of that away. In return, an employee can become more creative because their mind isn’t overloaded with other issues that are being processed. In return, the organization will receive new points of view that they may have never encountered before, allowing it to become more competitive within its industry.

#5. Meditation improves health.

This benefit will definitely impact the overall budget. Employees who meditate regularly take fewer sick days when compared to employees who say they don’t meditate at all. It’s a practice that slows down the aging process, strengthens immune function, and can even reduce inflammation. After meditating, employees feel refreshed and ready to take on a challenge.

Meditation helps to calm the mind and from a professional perspective, a calm mind is a productive mind. By having a meditation room or allowing specific break times to encourage meditation, productivity levels could potentially go through the roof.

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