We’re all victim to procrastination. The distractions that now come from cute pictures of pets and babies on Facebook; the constant string of emails to catch up on (and those darn
notifications on your phone that you just have to get rid of); or
the endless cycle of 24-hour news coverage that sucks you in
to watch the same story you heard about yesterday, only from
a different point of view. We all have a bit of ADD, and we all
are over-worked, over-stressed, and over-stimulated.
Help is here, though. The internet is not only a source for
wonderful distraction, it is full of great tools to help you be more
productive. Coupled with some additional tips to integrate into
your routine, you can be on your way to improved efficiency.
CREATE YOUR FIVE MUST DO’S BEFORE BED
We all mentally do it. We think about what we have to
accomplish the next day; what meetings we have; what
appointments we can’t miss. And then we can’t fall asleep
because we worry about accomplishing it all.
Take the time to write out the five most important “Must Do’s”
that you absolutely must accomplish the next day. By writing
them out before we sleep, studies show that your brain will
relax with a false sense of accomplishment, thus allowing you
to fall asleep faster. This also saves you time from having to
write your to-do list in the morning.
PACK UP THE NIGHT BEFORE
Now that you’ve thought about what you have to accomplish
tomorrow, get a jump-start. Lay out your outfit, pack your
gym bag, prepare your lunch. Waiting until the morning
always leaves you feeling rushed. Not to mention the possible
derailments – your kids refuse to get ready; the dog rolls around
in the mud when you take him out, you spill your coffee on the
outfit you laid out the night before. Being proactive can give
you a little wiggle room for the unexpected.
For many people, checking email is the first thing they do
when they get to the office (or even when they wake up). It’s
hard-wired into our brains and we feel guilty if we don’t check.
STOP CHECKING EMAIL IN THE MORNING
Sure, there are several different techniques for minimizing the
drain on your focus, but one of the biggest problems: checking
your email in the morning.
Just don’t do it.
Studies show that we are most productive in the first few
hours of the morning. We are alert (maybe once we’ve had our
coffee), we have energy, and we are focused on what we have
to accomplish. Until we start reading those emails…
Ever noticed how quickly you get sidetracked with new
projects? And those great intentions for the day start to unravel
faster than that cute kitten on YouTube can unravel that
yarn? And for those of you who get inundated with countless
irrelevant emails, you are wasting precious productivity hours
sifting through them in the morning.
I understand this may be too difficult. Start small for a week.
Take five minutes to look for the urgent messages from the
people you cannot ignore, and then close it for the next hour.
Work on at least one of the five “Must Do’s” that you wrote
down the night before. If all goes well, add a half hour the
FIVE WAYS TO BE MORE
(AND A FEW APPS TO HELP!)
BY ALEXIS FERMANIS