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9 Better than Average Tips for Workplace Productivity

Workplace Productivity Need to find ways to be more productive at work? Overburdened and nearing burn out at the office due to overwhelming demands? Can’t possibly get everything done?

Disconnect.

But I am expected to be available, reachable, and connected, you say. But you are also expected to be productive. You are expected to get your work completed – on time and accurate. If you aren’t able to get your work done, how can you be productive?

Silence is the new noise. Turn down the distractions to turn up the production. When you really have to get something done now, disconnect.

The Better than Average use these workplace productivity tips daily to get more output, quicker results, and keep their sanity.

9 Ways to be More Productive at Work

  1. Close Your Email – Many surveys suggest that email is the number one workplace distraction. However, I’m guessing that “checking email” is not your primary job description. Email is not an urgent form of communication, so anyone who uses it as such doesn’t know how to properly communicate. Therefore, you shouldn’t need to incessantly check it. Nor jump every time a little bubble pops up in the lower right corner of your screen notifying you of a message. Close the inbox. Get your work done. If you need to respond to messages, find the “disconnect from server” setting and work offline while you compose your replies. Why do you need to instantly reply?
  2. Turn Off the Phones – Forward the phone to voicemail. Turn off the cell phone. There’s nothing like a ringing phone with a harried caller to redirect your attention from your work. They can leave a message. Or call back later. Or, better yet, call someone else. That kills two pigs with one bird – they are not squatting on your phone and you don’t need to return a call. What should go to voicemail?
  3. Close Your Browser – The grand thing about the Internet is that there are limitless distractions – news sites, social media sites, gossip sites, shopping sites, video sites, you name it. But when you are trying to get something done, the last thing you need to do it putter away your day distracted by the World Wide Web. Like a Pandora’s Box, once it is open, there is no stopping it. So don’t open the browser. Just…don’t…do…it. If you really have no discipline, get a program that will actually block you from opening the browser or limit your viewing to certain sites. Why do you need to see that status update right now?
  4. Shun Visitors – Tell them to go away. Nicely, of course. Offer a better time when they might be able to speak with you. Or have them send you a brief email about their needs. Take a rolling whiteboard and place it at the entrance of your cube to act as a door. Draw a knob if you are so inclined. If it is purely a social visit, explain that you are busy and offer to catch up later. They will understand. Was that last conversation important?
  5. Limit the List – If your To Do List reads longer than War and Peace, that’s a problem. Sure, we all have stuff that we need to do. But what needs to get done today? Limit the list to two to three main items. Do those items first when you arrive with a completion preferably before lunch. I try to put one main task on the list per day, with a usual maximum of two large tasks. If there are multiple, small critical tasks, I’ll let the list length slide to three or four. However, all of them should be able to be completed with relative confidence. As things arise throughout the day, they go on the longer term list, to be placed on future daily lists. What two items will you complete tomorrow?
  6. Be Selective – Do you really need to attend that meeting? Do you need to stay for the entire conference call or could you ask to go first, get your items out of the way and move on? Is someone else better suited to reply to that email? Are you letting others waste your time? Your time is valuable. Treat it as such. Scrutinize requests for your engagement. What is your time worth?
  7. Block Time – Put blocks of time in your calendar to get work done. When you look at the day ahead, if there are open slots, fill them with appointments with yourself. Use this time to crank out that project. Complete the items on your longer term To Do list. Think creatively for a moment. Whatever you need to do – use this time to get work done. Don’t allow people to schedule same-day meetings unless it is truly urgent. How much time do you have in your schedule now?
  8. Change the Scenery – Get outside of your cube. Go to the cafeteria. Or a conference room. Or a local Starbucks. Get away from the desk to help you focus on the work that needs to get done. If they can’t find you, they can’t distract you. It might even help you with creativity. Where will you hide?
  9. Run Away – If you are working on a large project and need extended time to focus on this output, take time away from your usual environment. Maybe work at home. Or at a hotel. Or at the library. Leave notifications that you will be out of the office working on a special project for the next few days. It will naturally keep the distractions down and minimize the additional burdens when you return. Where will you go?

Now, close your browser and go get something done.

 (photo courtesy of Flower Factor on Flickr)

 

QUESTION FOR YOU –

Paraphrasing from Ferris Bueller, “What? You’re still here? Go on.”

SOMETHING FOR YOU –

For the awesome first chapter of the #1 best selling book Better than Average: Excelling in a Mediocre World, send an email to me and you score it for free!

_____

Todd Brockdorf
Better than Average Guy
#1 Best-Selling Author, Speaker, Thought Leader
[email protected]

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4 Ways to Make Mindless Tasks More Productive

4 Ways to Make Mindless Tasks More ProductiveWhen you have those mind-numbing tasks – copying numbers into a spreadsheet, creating an expense report, watching paint dry – what do you do with your time? Do you dottily complete the job? Or, do you find a better way to use the time?

Rethink your idea of time management. Don’t allow mindless tasks to waste your day. You might be able to cram an extra hour into your schedule by doing two things at once.

How can you best use this time?

When you have those mind-numbing tasks, look at time management from a different perspective. What else can you do to maximize the time?

Check out an audiobook – Remember the library? If you haven’t been there for a while, they’re one public institution that has upgraded to the 21st century. Now, you don’t even have to visit the library to use their resources. You can go online, borrow an audiobook, download it to your computer, throw it on your MP3 player, and listen to it without leaving the comfort of your pajamas.

Complete some “mandatory” training – If the training is simply a check-in-the-box (and where you really don’t need to pay too close attention), knock that out while doing your other activity. Webcasts and audio classes work best here, of course.

Listen to a podcast – Find something interesting and educational. It will stimulate your brain while the other task is trying to suck it out like a zombie. Mmmm….brains. Maybe the two forces will balance out.

Watch a video – Again, educational in content here, not the fuzzy kitten swatting at a ball of yarn or the cute puppy doing the Macarena.

I usually have two computers going while I am working. One computer has my work, while my other computer has the additional learning opportunities – audiobooks, educational videos, podcasts, or webcast replays. Could I use one computer while working? Probably. But I’m old school like that and prefer separate screens for separate tasks.

If it’s a thinking task, concentrate on thinking. But if it’s a “busy” task that must be completed, look for something else to do simultaneously to help you gain wisdom, be entertained, or meet other requirements. You’ll squeeze more time into your day.

 

QUESTION FOR YOU –

What will you do during your next mindless task?

SOMETHING FOR YOU –

For the awesome first chapter of the forthcoming book Better than Average: Excelling in a Mediocre World, send an email to me and you score it for free!

_____

Todd Brockdorf
Better than Average Guy
Author, Speaker, Consultant
[email protected]

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Thinking – The Other White Meat

Forget certifications. Forget technical skills. Forget high-priced degrees. The three skills that are needed most in the new world of work are initiative, creativity, and the ability to think. Demonstrate those skills and employers will come running.

It’s the later, thinking, that we investigate today.

Thinking – it’s the new white meat. It’s actually a yellowish gelatinous meat as you look at the brain, but that’s not important now.

We are no longer cogs in a wheel. We are no longer told to rinse and repeat. We are expected to initiate, perform, and accomplish.

Systems may be established, frameworks may be outlined, structures may be defined, but there is flexibility within those confines to get the job done.

And you are expected to find a way to make it happen.

Thinkers corroborate diverse data to get an overall design.

Thinkers search for deeper meaning in the swampy sea of statistics.

Thinkers take the silver platter that is handed to them, melt it down, and create an elaborate candelabrum.

As more transformational leadership practices enter the workplace, more thinking will be expected. If you examine the four factors that compose transformational leadership, one is “intellectual stimulation.” It is the idea that leaders allow their followers to think independently and they encourage creativity. In other words, transformational leaders believe humans are thinking beings.

Are you ready to think in this new world of work?

 

QUESTION FOR YOU –

What’s on your mind?

SOMETHING FOR YOU –

For the awesome first chapter of the forthcoming book Better than Average: Excelling in a Mediocre World, send an email to me and you score it for free!

_____

Todd Brockdorf
Better than Average Guy
Author, Speaker, Consultant
[email protected]

 

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Stimulate Creativity by Changing the Scene

Stimulate creativty through new sceneryIs your creativity crummy? Are you snoozing through life? Do you do the same things day in and day out?

It’s not your fault. You get stuck in a routine. You drive the same roads to work. You see the same people every day. You rehash the already hashed. We are all creatures of habit.

Standard is stifling. Average is adequate. Mediocre is mundane.

To wrangle us awake, to shake us from our slumber, to drive us from our dormancy, change the scenery.

Add a new plant to your office. It will give it a new dynamic.

Work from a Starbucks for a day. All of your senses will be stimulated.

Change the meeting location to the golf course. The endorphins will help generate ideas (as long as you minimize the beer intake).

Kick yourself from the common to build brilliance.

To stimulate creativity, to stir new ideas, to discover new insights, change the scenery.

 

QUESTION FOR YOU –

How to you stimulate your creativity?

SOMETHING FOR YOU –

For the awesome first chapter of the forthcoming book Better than Average: Excelling in a Mediocre World, send an email to me and you score it for free!

_____

Todd Brockdorf
Better than Average Guy
Author, Speaker, Consultant
[email protected]

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Can there be love at the office?

HeartIs there love in your work? I’m not talking about spousal relations or the office love triangle. I’m talking about love between yourself and your work. Do you care enough about your work that your output is given with love?

Every time you send an email, it has your signature on it. Every time you produce a report, it has your name on it. Every time you chair a meeting, it has your guidance. Do you offer it out of love?

What you send out to the world is you – your raw talents and abilities. Do you simply ship it out the door with a carefree “good enough?” Or is it elegant, clean, and simple to understand? Do you take the time to make it shine?  Is it an accurate mirror of who you are?

Every interaction. Every connection. Every output is your mark. Are you offering it with love?

 

QUESTION FOR YOU –

Does your work reflect who you are?

SOMETHING FOR YOU –

For the awesome first chapter of the forthcoming book Better than Average: Excelling in a Mediocre World, send an email to me and you score it for free!

_____

Todd Brockdorf
Better than Average Guy
Author, Speaker, Consultant
[email protected]

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