How can you avoid the productivity slide?

Start by making a schedule that you can stick to: a Master Task List where you can plan for the week ahead and track important work. Plan all you need to do, either remotely or on paper. Schedule blocks of time to spend studying programming languages, for example. And then, for the unscheduled bits (the gravel) that come up, like “urgent” emails and calls, build space every day.

Ultimately, you should get it out of your mind and onto paper (or a computer), where you can see it more clearly, from the Master Task List. This strategy also makes it easy to stick to your plans, so it’s easier to believe like you have the time to get it completed when you schedule a job with a date and time.

But you need time, of course, to handle the task list, too! So, make sure you arrange 30 minutes a week for preparation and 10 minutes a day. Will you ever let a machine make big choices for you in life? Not obviously. Only you, after all, will really know what’s important to you. But then, to streamline and simplify the decision-making process, what should you really do?

Let’s first explore the four types of input that comprise any option before we address that question:

  1. Scheduled tasks: appointments, including next week’s department conference,
    2. Unscheduled tasks: walking into the office of your manager to ask for a boost
    3. Contacts: consumer, employee and competitor details
    4. Notes: details about your roles that you want to share at the next meeting, such as a leaked report from a rival organization

These four inputs represent various types of information and it is up to you to sort each one into a schedule, to-do list or contact list in the appropriate location. Then, in one position, it is important to collate all these various lists and link everything together.

For instance, you’ll want to link your calendar with your contact list, which includes a list of your upcoming meetings as well as relevant notes, so you can reach fellow attendees easily.

You can start searching for suitable technological resources to support your organizational process once you have found out how to handle this material. To automatically route messages, you can set up an email filter. After all, 121 emails a day are sent by the average office worker, a lot of which are time-wasting spam.

In other words, let technology handle the most basic decisions for you, so you can concentrate on what’s important.

We’ve covered a lot of useful productivity strategies already, but there’s one important thing we haven’t covered yet: if you’re not taking care of yourself, the most successful productivity system is useless. Since a working and functional body is, essentially, essential to productivity. And through energy management, the best way to look after yourself, and particularly your brain, is.

While only two percent of your body mass is taken up by your brain, it absorbs 20 percent of your energy. Therefore, you must make sure that you have enough calories to feed your brain! But, sadly, in this regard, modern life can be exhausting. Most of us work too hard, sleep too little, eat badly and constantly get stressed out. We struggle, in short, to control our energy levels.

It does not have to be this way, however. We need to realize that energy comes from three sources in order to turn things around. Strong purpose is the first source of energy. It relates to the inherent inspiration you get from doing productive work. This may come from doing something enjoyable or from the satisfaction of a job well done (such as charity work).

But even if you have a job you value and enjoy doing, you can mine this source, that alone is not sufficient. You must draw energy from your physical body as well. We were not designed to sit around all day; to keep energy levels up, our bodies need movement.

Lastly, the third significant energy source is interactions. Although you might not know it, energy depends primarily on the health of our social relationships (in other words, relationships and friendships). It is also important that you take the time to establish and maintain close relations with other individuals.

You can become more effective as long as you’re willing to adapt. It’s not a matter of working longer or harder, but of working better and focusing on what’s important. And also, it’s about taking care of your mind and body, so you’ve got the energy to be active.

So give these two tips a shot. Take an hour to organise your inbox if you’re feeling frustrated by email. Archive and sort the remaining older texts. Then set up some automated filters for you in the future to manage the sorting. You won’t get distracted again that way.

And when you are busy, make sure you exercise and eat well. When you’ve got a lot going on, it’s easy to let your workout routine slide. But the supervision is going to backfire. Extraordinarily successful individuals take care of themselves and make time for regular health.

Check out my related post: Should you focus on your strengths as advised by Strengths Finder?

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