April Miller of April Miller Professional Organizing once described life like having a plate of food. Even when it is full we keep putting more food on top.
Let’s think about stress, do you
- feel overwhelmed by not being able to shut your mind down
- feel anxious that there is too much to handle
- feel frustrated because you don’t have control
Think about how you feel in different situations and why you feel that way. Once you can determine what problems cause your feelings of stress you can start to solve them.
Clare Kumar of Streamline your Life has developed a Lifetime Management Wheel. She has divided time it into 6 areas:
- Purpose – work and volunteering
- Health – mental physical and spiritual
- Development – personal growth and learning
She says to “note your level of satisfaction with each area of your life by giving it a rating of 1 to 10 with 10 being your ideal.”
Now you can see which areas of your life need some attention. You can tie some of your feelings of stress to certain areas of your life.
Productivity – another way of managing your time
1. Take care of yourself
If you are healthy and happy you will be more motivated and productive. I walk each morning for an hour. It allows me to start the day with no questions or demands on my time. I get physical activity and time to reflect. I can start my day ready for action, whatever that maybe. What do you do the take care of yourself?
2. Establish repeatable routines and systems.
This helps you to automate things that need to be completed so they become a habit. I have a “networking bag”. It has everything I need for going to business meetings, business cards, brochures, marketing material, note pad, pen, cash. I can leave the office quickly for meetings not forgetting anything and not spending a lot of time looking for items I need to take. I have a two month meal plan. I know what groceries I need for the week and what is being cooked for supper. Then I repeat the plan 6 times, that is a year. You only have to eat any one item 6 times in 365 days. Routines and systems will help you to feel in control and have less on your mind reducing your stress.
3. Slow down to become more productive.
About 5% of the population can multitask successfully. Multitasking slows down your productivity because moving from unfinished task to unfinished task means you need to look back to see where you left off on the previous task and where to start on the new task and all those seconds add up to minutes making you less productive. Finish one task completely and then move onto the next. There is relief and satisfaction in completing a task reducing anxiety and stress. You also need time to think and reflect on the work you are doing so you can be more intentional and less reactive. You’re in control and less overwhelmed.
4. Work with your personality not against it.
Discover where you are most productive. It might be in different spaces for different tasks. When I write I like to be in the kitchen. What time of day do you work best? Do you like it quiet or prefer to have some background noise? There are articles that suggest that if you are trying to brainstorm ideas you have to leave your office and that physical activity helps in brainstorming activities. I have found that 90-15-90-30-90 works for me. I concentrate on one task for 90 minutes and then do something completely different for 15 minutes. Then 90 minutes for working on the same task or a new one and 30 minutes doing something completely different and then a 90 minute work session. Don’t cheat on the breaks. The breaks help you to remain energized and focused throughout the day.
Fill your plate with only as much as you can bite off and chew. Enjoy each morsel and spend time ruminating over the experience. Reflect on what you are doing and what you could be doing more productively.
Send me your tip for increasing your productivity
Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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