Productivity In Four Easy Steps

Productivity In Four Easy Steps

If all of us got everything we wanted to get done everyday, we’d all be superstars of success. Sometimes no matter how well thought out our goals, we still fall short of our daily, weekly, monthly objectives. “How,” we lament, “can I accomplish what I need to do within the limited time I have everyday?”

There are all kinds of methods for increasing productivity and focus, so the answer to that question will be different for each person. They key is finding the productivity hack that works best with your schedule, your mentality and your aspirations. Here are a few to get you started on your quest for the perfect one!


Top 1, 2, 3

Everyday you’re probably faced with a list of things that need to get done as long as your arm. All those things are probably significant (otherwise they wouldn’t be on your list) but some of them are definitely more important to your success than others. Often we’ll spend our day dealing with whatever issues are currently under our noses. The ding of our email or the ring of our phone. The day ends up getting squandered in little bits, while the big things fall behind in the queue day after day.


So at the beginning of each day, pick the three things most essential for your success out of the list and put them at the top of your to-do list. Put the most important first, followed by the second and third. Make those three things your priority. Let the emails and phone calls and the rest of the day’s distractions take a back seat. Even if you only complete the top thing on your list, you’ve completed the most important task for the day!


25 minutes on, 5 minutes off

Go at your chosen task full on for twenty five minutes. At the end of that time, take a five minute break then spend twenty five minutes on the next task. Because you’re working in such a short time frame you’re ultra focused on not wasting a second of the time you’ve got allotted to the task. You may not be able to squeeze in very many twenty five minute intervals into your day, but you’ll find great productivity in the ones you do create!


Time blocking

At the very beginning of the day or even the night before block the full day out in advance. Fill your calendar in blocks. Hour, half hour, quarter hour, however long you choose. Be sure to give yourself solid blocks to work on your priorities and also to leave blocks open where you can deal with the miscellanies of the day that will come up, like returning phone calls and emails.


As best you can, start and finish each task in its allotted time so nothing on your list falls through the cracks.  This kind of forced structure is just what some people need to keep them on track.


90 minutes at a time

There’s been lots of research that indicates most people can concentrate well for a stretch of about 90 minutes and then our focus starts to disintegrate. So to take advantage of your body’s natural focus rhythms, schedule your most important tasks in 90 minute blocks. In between take 20 or 30 minute breaks where you can attend to less absorbing tasks.


That’s my ninety minutes. Off for quick walk about to replenish my energy levels!

Job Interview? Don’t Forget These Things

Job Interview? Don’t Forget These Things

With everything you need to keep in mind when you interview for a job, some basics you may not even think about can get lost in the shuffle.  You spent a lot of time figuring out what questions they might ask and coming up with answers. That’s the meat of the interview, but what about the bread? Did you check directions to the location in advance? Did you remind yourself to keep eye contact and have a firm handshake?

Here are a few things to remember when your going for job interviews.

Don’t Be Too Early

Timing is everything. Showing up late is worse, but showing up too early demonstrates a difficulty with scheduling and planning appropriately. If you show up really early it signals that you don’t care if your arrival disrupts other things. If you are very early wait near by. Find a coffee shop to pass the time so you can arrive closer to the expected time.

Personal Hygiene

You might be the best applicant, but if there is something unwashed about you, something in your teeth or if your hair is greasy, you can count yourself out of the game. Give yourself a very good once over in the mirror before heading out. Make sure your clothes are clean and wrinkle free! If you use a mint or some gum to give you fresh breath, make sure it’s gone by the time you arrive at the job interview.

First Impressions

Make sure you look your best when you arrive for the job interview. First impressions last! If you have the chance, spruce up in the washroom before heading into your interview.

Phone Interviews

If you’re conducting your job interview over the phone, make sure to find a quiet spot where you won’t be interrupted. The interviewer has much better things to do than listen to you shush your dog.

Online presence

It’s commonplace for interviewers to search your online profiles like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Make sure your privacy settings are what you want them to be so everything others can see is positive and professional.


Turn Success Into A Destination

Turn Success Into A Destination

How many times have you heard, if you want to get somewhere, you need to know where you’re going. You probably can’t even keep track.  Of course you know that. But have you ever taken the time to write out not just what your goals are, but the whys behind them? Your reasons for choosing the objectives you’ve chosen? What it is about yourself that makes you think you’d be good at this thing you’ve decided to focus your energy on?


Ask yourself some questions

To figure out your strengths and the sorts of things that truly inspire you, ask yourself, What values do I want to bring to my life’s work?  Those could be things like integrity, leadership, entrepreneurship.


What makes me excited to get up in the morning? Are you more excited about trying new things or do you prefer the comforting predictability of routine?


If I could choose any job what would it be? What am I really good at? Is there an intersection between what you’re really good at and what you would love to do? Can you create one?


Who are the people I admire most? What attributes do they have that I can find in myself? You can use the successes and achievements of others as a guide for creating your own map to success.


A personal mission statement

It’s not quite enough to simply write down what you want to achieve. Include the impact you will have on yourself and those around you. Also include the sort of person you need to be to achieve that goal. I am a personable, engaging leader with the ability to make others feel good about themselves and their choices.


Marketable skills

What are you really good at? Is there something you want to get better at? What do you want to excel at? What skills do you need to excel at your chosen field?


Do your skills align with your goals? If not either reassess your goals or do what needs to be done to improve your skill set.


You are in charge of your future. You can get choose where to focus your energies. Whether where you are is good enough, or if you want to change it.


Assess your strengths and weaknesses. Figure out if you have any attitudinal issues that may be holding you back and address them. Decide what you can be excellent at then go about making yourself excellent in that specific area.

Confidence Can Be Created

Confidence Can Be Created

Are you one of those people who enjoys the full flower of confidence in yourself and your capabilities? If so then you will probably want to move on to another article. However, if you are someone who’s never quite managed to make their small seeds of confidence take root, then read on. We’ve got some tips that will nurture your confidence into bloom.



Make a list of great things that have happened recently


Reminding yourself of good or great things that have happened lately is a great way to awaken small buds of confidence in yourself. Those things don’t have to be huge. Anything that made you smile will do. Go over the past week. Write them all down. Focusing on the positives in your life will improve your mood overall, and make you feel happier and more confidant.



Tell a friend all the things you like about them


First off, it feels good to be nice. Second off, telling someone what you like about them will boost their confidence. Third off, while you’re busy looking for good in other people in your life, you’ll be better able to see the good within yourself. You will improve your own confidence by proxy!


Do something you’ve been putting off


All of us have things we’ve been putting off. Small things like replying to that email that’s been sitting in our in-box for a week. Calling our mom. Cleaning our apartment. Bigger things like starting the project waiting on the back burner. Continuing work on that project or finishing it off!


Things that need to be done are like a big mountain in the middle of your life. They prevent you from seeing around them to what’s on the other side. Not only that they are like a drought in our confidence field.


As you tackle each one you feel better about yourself and how you’re spending your time. You defy the voice in your head goading you to let things ride. You actually become a watering can for your seeds of confidence.


Noticing the good in your life and creating more by getting things done will sprout the buds of confidence. Keep nurturing them and you will cultivate the bloom you are after.

Have You Considered The Value of Your Time?

Have You Considered The Value of Your Time?

You’ve heard the phrase time is money, but have you actually internalized it? When you think about that phrase, what does it mean to you? Here’s what it means to us.

When you are paid, what are you being paid for? Your time, right? For each hour of your day, you are paid a set amount of money in exchange for your time. Why then, when we know that time has value don’t we give it the respect it deserves even when we are not being paid for it?

If you’re working a minimum wage job, an hour of your time is worth maybe twelve dollars.  So respect that value. If you waste an hour of your day, remember the monetary value you could have gotten if you’d been at work.


Respecting the value of time

Find ways to spend time that make you feel lucky you aren’t being paid for it. Think about it. How could you spend that hour that makes you happy without being paid for it? What experiences can you flip into currency? Would you rather spend your hour doing something new, or sitting at home doing nothing? Would you rather use that unpaid hour to chase your passion or watch TV?


Are the things you buy worth the hours spent accumulating the money?

The same applies to how you spend your money. Whenever you’re about to spend money on something you may not entirely need, or may not entirely love, think about the time you’re spending.


If each hour is worth twelve dollars – do the things you buy feel worth the hours you spent to get them? Do you NEED that thing? Do you feel like it’s benefiting you enough to spend an hour of your life on? If not, don’t buy it.


Infinitely precious

As you think about the monetary value of time, don’t forget, in and of itself, time is infinitely precious.

Learn To Convey Your Strengths During the Interview

Learn To Convey Your Strengths During the Interview

There are all kinds of reasons that interviews don’t go well. Sometimes it’s as simple as you weren’t the best candidate for the position. However sometimes you were the best person for the job. You missed out because you were too nervous to present yourself in your best light. Or you weren’t able to convey just how perfect you were to the interviewer.

Let your power shine through

Let’s start with the nervous part. Most of us get nervous in competitive or stressful situations. But there are ways of tricking your body into actually feeling more confident. It’s all about creating a feeling of power and strength within yourself. You can do that with power poses. Striking a pose of power and holding it.

For example, before the interview, stand like Wonder Woman. Feet apart, hands on your hips, chin up. Take up space, breathe in and hold. You will start feeling more confident.

Or stand like a star athlete. Feet apart, arms above your head, fingers spread wide – like you just won the race of your life and hold.

Amy Cutty who has a Ted Talk online about how our body language shapes who we are talks about studies that have demonstrated the benefits of standing like a super hero. Testosterone increases significantly cortisol drops, people feel ready to take on more risks, their pain threshold his higher. They also think more abstractly and are more likely to do well in stressful situations – like job interviews.


Move from the general to the specific

While preparing for an interview people will often go online to research the sorts of questions they will be asked. Then they memorize the best way to answer them. The problem with that is they come off sounding rehearsed and mechanical in the interview.


The interviewer doesn’t want to hear the perfect answer to a question. They want to hear your answer to the question. That means read how you should answer the question then create an answer based on your experiences and qualifications.


Why are you perfect for the position?

You might not get asked this question specifically, but ultimately every question you are asked is working toward answering it. Think about your motivations, your strengths, your values, your personality. Bring those into every answer. Come up with examples from your life and your experiences. Make it personal. The more personal you make it the more confident you’ll sound.


You look confident, you sound confident. If you’re a perfect fit for the job, the interviewer will know it.

Learn To Keep The Interruptions At Bay

Learn To Keep The Interruptions At Bay

You know when you get into that flow at work, where what needs to get done pours out of your like water from a tap? You’re in the zone and focused. You and the work inhabit a bubble of time and space without interruption.


When was the last time you were in that bubble? With so many internal and external interruptions coming at most of us all day long, it’s probably been a while. External interruptions are things like other people calling, texting, emailing or walking up to our desk. Internal ones include the compulsive need to check social media, or have a quick peek at the headlines, or whatever it is you fill your personal distraction glass with.


Small interruptions lead to extended production delays

When you are in the zone you are focusing all your energies and thoughts on the task at hand. When an interruption breaks the flow it’s like taking a pair of scissors and cutting all the threads of communication pouring into your head with a single snip.


The time dedicated to dealing with the interruption isn’t restricted to however long it takes to death with whatever Hans came in to ask you. The bigger problem is the break of flow. All the time it takes to gather all the threads of thought back together.


Of course, interruptions to your flow are inevitable. There will always be matters that must be dealt with immediately. However, a great majority of the things that stop our flow aren’t urgent enough to require our immediate attention. By setting boundaries with our co-workers and ourselves we can allow ourselves to get into the flow zone more often and stay there.


Let your coworkers know you don’t want to be interrupted

If people don’t know you want uninterrupted work time, there is nothing stopping them from coming in and interrupting with things that can wait. So, let them know. Set all your alerts to silent. Leave an outgoing message on your phone saying you are busy and will return calls when you are free again. Same thing for emails.


If you have an office with a door put a do not disturb sign on it, if not put a sign on your desk. The do not disturb sign (or whatever words you use) might feel weird the first time you put it up. But you’ll get over it, especially once you see how much you’re accomplishing.


Stop interrupting yourself

For many of us the worst interrupter of our flow isn’t other people, it’s ourselves.  Now that you’ve got your email alerts and your phone silenced, it’s up to you to stop yourself from compulsively checking them on your own every couple of minutes. Set yourself time boundaries. Say I will work on this project for one hour. And stick to it.


Beyond that, close open tabs on your computer. If you can work offline do it. When the internet is two or three clicks away instead of only one it’s a little easier to stay clear of.


Single task

It’s impossible to get into the flow of one thing if you are trying to do more than one thing at once. Multi-tasking is the bane of productivity. Focus on what you need to get done, one thing at a time.