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Category: Productivity

How to Boost Productivity During the Dog Days of Summer

Filed under: Attitude, Behavior in the Workplace, Distractions, Focus, Good Habits, Organization, Productivity, Quick Tips, Strategy

You may have loved your job when you started, but it’s not unusual to get in a rut. If you’re experiencing burnout, changing your mindset can bypass it, says Daniel M. Cable, author of Alive aWork: The Neuroscience of Helping Your People Love What They Do, during his interview with Stephanie Vozza of Fast Company.

“Our brains are not wired for routine and repetition at work,” he says. “Disengagement isn’t a motivation problem; it’s a biological one.”

Cable was a professor at the University of North Carolina when he says he lost his zest for his own job and slowly descended into boredom. After being diagnosed and treated for Hodgkin lymphoma, his perspective changed, and he found a sense of gratitude for his job. He stumbled on research about the part of the brain called the ventral striatum, also called the “seeking system,” and its role in being your best self.

“This part of our brain urges us from the time we’re babies to explore what we don’t know,” he says. “Little kids can be given an awesome toy with noises and buttons and they’ll be really into it for a week or few days. Then they find something else that hadn’t seen before, like car keys, and they find that way more interesting. It wasn’t because the thing is cool; it’s because the thing is new.”

When we succumb to these urges, our brain delivers dopamine to reward us and that makes us feel more alive, and the same thing can happen at work, says Cable, currently a professor of organizational behavior at London Business School.

“When we’re in the rut of routine for the 502nd time, this part of the brain shuts off,” says Cable. “Your brain is saying, ‘You’re better than this. We’re not built of this. We’re built for bigger things.’ Then the brain stops the release of dopamine, which makes it seem not only boring but that it takes forever.”

There are three ways you can trigger your brain release dopamine, and get out of your rut, says Cable.

1. Play to your strengths

Identify your signature strengths and the impact you can have by using them on a daily basis. “How can you bring value to the team by using your unique strength?” asks Cable.

When he started tapping into his strength—humor—Cable says he regained an appreciation for his job. “It made me feel good and I saw my students lean in when I used humor,” he says. “As a professor, it was something unique to me. I decided to bring it when I teach class instead of leaving it at home.”

Think of your job as a flexible vehicle and determine how you can bring your strength to it.

2. Be willing to experiment

Avoid the risk of routine by shaking things up. Cable decided to develop new classes instead of teaching the same class over and over.

“A sales manager who was promoted and never got a chance to get out in the field might start going into the field again to talk to clients,” suggests Cable. “It’s just a way to refresh and learn new things.”

Activate that seeking system by going outside of your comfort zone, suggests Cable.

3. Tap into purpose

Finally, analyze cause and effect in your role. We all want to see the impact of our actions, says Cable. Leaders can help employees personalize the purpose of work by providing direct conversations with the people who use work as well as internal decision makers.

“Try to think about the story you want to tell yourself about why you do your job,” says Cable.

You can read the rest of the article on Fast Company.

Here’s How to Spend the First Hour of the Workday for Maximum Productivity

Filed under: Cognitive Ability, Focus, Good Habits, Productivity

Let’s divide work into two categories.

There’s “work,” and then there’s real work. “Work” is email correspondence, and group meetings, and other administrative tasks that are technically necessary, but don’t meaningfully contribute to your professional success.

Real work, on the other hand, encompasses those bigger projects and tasks that help you achieve your goals and your organization’s. It’s the kind of work that drew you to your job and your line of work in the first place.

Click here to read the rest on Business Insider >>

What Entrepreneurs can Learn About Brainstorming from TV Writers

Filed under: Communication, Productivity, teams

Wendy Calhoun is a veteran TV writer, who has worked on hit shows including Empire, Justified, and Nashville. Which sounds like a fun gig, but why did she recently spend time talking to Google employees at the company’s re:Work 2016 event?

Because, as Calhoun makes plain in the first minutes of her Google presentation, writing for TV these days isn’t the lonely pursuit many of the uninitiated expect it to be. Rather than hunkering down alone with a computer, their own creativity, and endless cups of coffee, TV writers mostly spend their days hammering out ideas in collaboration with others in a writers’ room.

And from this deep experience with creative collaboration (as well as diverse, and probably occasionally difficult) personalities, Calhoun and TV writers like her have become world-class experts on the finer points of creative teamwork and effective brainstorming. At the Google event, she shared several of her top lessons for any group trying to come up with better ideas, including these.

1. Warm up.
Just like athletes, creative minds can’t just go from stock still to top speed in seconds. They need to gradually warm up to reach their full capabilities. Different creative teams use different techniques, but Calhoun insists that, if you want to get the best from your people, you should kick things off with a fun activity that flexes their innovation muscles in a fun way.

Click here to read the rest on Inc. >> 

9 Things Highly Effective People Do After They’ve Been Away on Vacation

Filed under: Focus, Good Habits, Productivity, Professional Development

As an American, you legitimately could spend every day of your life on vacation–and still make a good living. But the truth is, few of us actually do this. Instead, we work hard, take time off when we can, and face the inevitable letdown when it’s time to get back to work.

I spent last week at the beach, and now I have to go back to work. So, while I was gone I asked entrepreneurs, business leaders, and others for their tips on how to get back to work productively after a great vacation.

Here’s the best advice they gave me.

1. Come back on a Wednesday or Thursday.
The No. 1 tip I heard from people was not to go back to work on the first day after vacation. However, Dr. Chris Allen, a psychologist and executive coach with Insight Business Works, takes it a step further.

“If possible, return to work on Wednesday or Thursday,” Allen says. “Then you only have to get through work for two or three days and you have the weekend off. It’s a good way to ease back into work. Airline travel is cheaper mid week too.”

 

Click here to read the rest on Inc. >>

Office Organization Tips to Help You Work More Productively

Filed under: Behavior in the Workplace, Good Habits, Organization, Productivity

More than half of the people surveyed in an Express Employment hiring trends survey said they lose nine work hours a week due to lack of organization; 57 percent said they lose six work hours a week because of a lack of time due to disorganization, reported Corp Magazine.

Clutter happens to the best of us you get a report in and it goes on your desk (on top of the several papers already awaiting your review).

You attend a trade show and all those gadgets from the exhibitors you couldn’t resist taking home pile up in the back of a drawer.

What you may not realize is, clutter affects the brain. When your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus, cited unclutterer as a paraphrase to a Princeton University study.

Organizing your office does not need to be a big project it’s quite simple when you keep up with it. Here’s how to get started.

Click here to read the rest on Business.com >>

3 Efficient Strategies to Be More Productive When You’re Overwhelmed

Filed under: Efficiency, Productivity, Strategy, Stress

You’re absolutely swamped–there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. And, despite the fact that you know your to-do list is overflowing with things that require your attention and action, you’re frozen. You have so much to do, you only feel paralyzed.

We’ve all been there. Dealing with a plate that’s far too full isn’t fun. But, while your first inclination might be to head for the couch and curl up for a lengthy nap, you know that’s not necessarily the most effective strategy for tackling your workload.

Instead, you need to take a deep breath, chug a few mugs of hot, strong coffee, and get to work. Here’s how to best wade through that daunting to-do list of yours–categorized by what exactly you need to accomplish.

Click here to read the rest on Inc >>

How To Make To-Do Lists Better, Faster, And More Fun

Filed under: Efficiency, Good Habits, How To, Productivity, Time Management

It’s the oldest, simplest, yet probably still the most effective method for making sure you get everything done: the humble to-do list. But is there a way to get more out of your daily check list? We asked the experts: How can we make our to-do lists better, how can we streamline them to get things done faster? Is is possible to make a to-do list fun?

Check out their answers below:

BETTER
Use a to-do list as an intake document and not as a working tool, says Peter Bregman, author of 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done. Make a list of what you need to get done and assign it a time on your calendar. Then run your day from your calendar, not your to-do list. “You’re more likely to complete a task if you give it a when and where,” he says.

FASTER
Use a to-do list app to record your errands and shopping items, and get an automatic reminder when you’re near the appropriate location, says ­Carley Knobloch, Today show tech contributor and digital lifestyle expert.

Click here to read the rest on Fast Company >>