Category Archives: Productivity

work-journal

Keeping a Journal at Work

You may have a collection of notes, letters and journal entries you’ve recorded over the years documenting all of the personal happenings throughout your life. Sometimes we do this to blow off steam or to create a memory we can look back on to someday laugh at or see how far we’ve come.

Keeping a professional daily diary of your work is an excellent way to keep track of your progress as an individual and as a professional. Plus, keeping a running log of your accomplishments and short comings will serve as a great training tool for the next person to come behind you and fill your shoes. Maybe, when your performance review roles around, you can pull out your day-by-day recordings of your work and really impress an employer.

My challenge to you this new year is to start a work log. Before you shut your laptop and grab your keys each day to head home, take a few minutes to jot down what you did at work from the mundane to the extraordinary. Include lessons you’ve learned and mistakes you’ve made. You will find that recording these notes create a platform from which you can learn from yourself unlike every before.

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Ways to Manage a Busy Schedule – Shifting out of AutoPilot

If you are anything like me, you can get bogged down in the busyness of life. With the holiday season quickly approaching, it seems that everything you do is hustle and bustle, running back and forth, to and fro. Possibly one of the most important things you can do to relieve the stressfulness of being booked solid is adding one more thing to your schedule–“you-time.”

As absurd as adding another element to your schedule sounds, I have found this technique of “you-time” to be extremely beneficial. When we are running around like chickens with our heads cut off, it is difficult to take time and look back and reflect on what we have been doing or look forward to where we are going. This is what I call autopilot. We get in this rut in our day-to-day routines and we become robots simply doing the next thing on our agenda to get one more thing crossed off our agenda and getting closer to being less busy. The ironic thing about being stuck in autopilot is that the fuel for keeping your plane of chaos up in the air seems to be to add more and more items your schedule when in reality, a break from the craziness will suffice.

The Manual Override

To get down off autopilot and try to regain control of your life so you can enjoy every moment, one of the most practical things I have found is to take a moment for yourself. I know in the midst of everything else you have going on, that seems impossible, but in reality, we have a lot more time in our days than we actually think. On your calendar or in your daytimer or wherever you keep your agenda, schedule 30-minutes to an hour of just “you-time.”

Set apart this time for you to get out of your workspace, out of the places that stress you out or associated with your to-do lists and separate yourself from the world and technology just so you can reflect on life. For me, there is nothing that slows me down and let’s me regain the wheel to my life than to take a long walk through a park or a hike through woods and the mountains. As you walk, take time to reflect on what you have been doing and why you have been doing it. Take time to look to the future, not to the things you have to get done, but to the big picture of where you are going. If you are like me, I take that time to talk with God and just pray. Sometimes I’ll even bring a journal and sit down by a river and just write my thoughts.

Scheduling in just a little bit of you-time can very possibly be the most fundamental element of success as you move forward with your busy schedule. These tranquil alone times bring you back to being a person. They allow you to think on your emotions, collect your breath and they can serve as a reminder of why you are doing everything that you are doing.

It is absolutely amazing what a simple 30 minutes of reflection outside of your workspace can do in terms of helping you manage your schedule. This will also give you energy to manage your time more efficiently and work more effectively. So, in the midst of the parties and the shopping and the end-of-year work, just take a moment to yourself and remember why you do what you do.

Name a Time and Place

It is Monday. You have a stack of things to get done this week. You just want to be productive.

Here is a quick an easy solution. You have probably done that exercise before where someone tells you to “Imagine sitting on a beach, you hear the waves along the shore and feel the ocean mist on your face…”  This solution to unproductiveness is similar to the exercise. When you imagine the peaceful ocean water, you desire to be at the beach. Your mind shifts momentarily.

You can do the same thing with your work.

  • Think of a place where you will get your work done. I’ll choose Starbucks.
  • Pick a task that needs done. Let’s say you need to finish your taxes.
  • Set a time and determine the approximate time it will take you to finish your task.
  • Eliminate distractions for the duration of your task.

And now put it to work for you.  For me, I’m imagining sitting in Starbucks, sipping a mocha on a Tuesday afternoon. I have my paperwork spread out in front of me and an allotted 2 hours to get my taxes done.

By creating a goal that we can visualize with outcome we know we can achieve, we are much more likely to accomplish our tasks in a timely matter.  Ordinarily, If I have my taxes sitting on my desk, I would keep putting it off until the last minute.  April 14th will roll around and I’ll frantically be pulling documents together to get them done.

So be productive and take the time to imagine when and where you will accomplish a task. You will be much more likely to do it!