Start Off the New Year Right!  Increase your personal productivity and effectiveness.Heather

 Our economy's shift into more "knowledge work" roles combined with ever increasing distractions have resulted in a growing focus of many employees on how to improve their personal productivity and get stuff done.

Distractions from phone notifications, social media, limitless information on the web, email, etc. have made achieving focus and productivity both a science and fine art.

Here are some basic tips to improve your focus and productivity for the upcoming year:

1.  Turn off notifications.  Turn off any pop-up notifications both on your computer and phone -- including email.  For most people the vast majority of the email they receive is neither urgent nor important.  Yet, when the little window pops up notifying us that we've received a new message, it takes a titan effort not to jump out of our current task to just take a peek.  Try to limit the number of times you check your email by utilizing a schedule -- every hour or mid-morning, lunch, mid-afternoon, and right before leaving.

2.  Maintain a separate task list that is NOT your email inbox.  Try to get away from using your email inbox as your to-do list.  One productivity expert refers to your email inbox as a to-do list that other people create.  Additionally, because subject lines are not typically written in a way to indicate the task required, you will waste a lot of time reading and re-reading emails to remember what you need to do.  Instead, when an email includes a task, write it on a list or add it to a task manager.  Write the task in an actionable way, starting with a verb.  Think of it as a command to your future self.

3.  Implement the two-minute rule.  If there are any tasks (including email tasks) that take two minutes or less to complete -- do it!  When you look through your email inbox with this lens, you will be amazed at how many two-minute tasks on which you've been procrastinating.

4.  Develop a larger system for task management and develop effective habits and routines.  If you're feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities and tasks in either or both work and home lives, I strongly encourage you read Getting Things Done by David Allen.  He lays out a foundational system for getting your commitments under control and creating more calm and peace.  His five stages of workflow management are: 

Capture: write tasks down

Clarify: decide what the next action is

Organize:  park your task in a trusted system

Reflect:  review what you could be doing

Engage: do!

Our team is here to help you with your productivity journey!  I offer a four-hour class called Get More Done, inspired by David Allen's book. 

The next class is scheduled for Friday, March 3, 2017, from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.  You can register by going HERE.  I am also available for one-on-one coaching to help individuals organize their workspace and start their own journey toward more productivity! 

Please feel free to contact me directly at hfraizer@nmc.edu or 231-995-2200.
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