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Posts Tagged ‘increase productivity’

pexels-photo-261577Working or volunteering at an NFP can be a time-consuming task. It can feel like there are not enough hours in the day to get through the to-do list, let alone come up with creative ideas for fundraising activities. So what can you do to make the most of your volunteer hours?

Create a workable system

You will need to come up with a system so you can use the time you have to the best of your advantage. Organise everything so you can find it quickly; make lists, create folders, manage a diary – whatever works for your particular job or project. The better organised you are, the easier it will be to manage your time effectively.

Stop procrastinating

Often when things get busy, it is easy to spend time worrying about the mountain of paperwork or the number of items on the to-do list. The trick is to tackle them one at a time. Cross an item off the list and move on to the next one. Don’t spend your energy worrying about things – just do what needs to be done when you have the time.

Work from home where necessary

Sometimes working from home is in your best interests when you have a long or complex task to do. It can mean you can work on it in your own time without interruption, reporting back to the office as necessary. It may not work for all projects, but it could help when you are time limited and could save on much travel time between locations.

Break projects down into mini-tasks

If you are overseeing a big project, then it is often easier to bring things down into workable chunks. Plan your day so you can work on one project to completion. Then move onto something else and repeat. This will take much of the stress and overwhelm out of the work day and minimise time wastage from switching from task to task.

Avoid checking emails and messages first thing

Emails and messages can cut into your day. Try to get out of the habit of checking your emails as soon as you arrive at the office. Start working on your to-do list and save the message checking until mid-morning or mid-afternoon when you feel like you need a break. Add an automatic reply which states you will respond within a 24 hour period, so you don’t feel rushed to answer immediately.

Give yourself a break

You are only human, and you cannot do it all TODAY. Burnout will be no good for you or the NFP you are volunteering for. Do what you can, when you can and be happy with that. And if the NFP is struggling to get through the tasks set, then it may be time for them to look for an extra pair of hands to help you out. While challenging work is good for the soul, self-sacrifice will do you no good at all.

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promotional-products-694790_640Nearly everyone these days is pressed for time. We all have things that we need to get done each day in our personal and professional lives, but there simply aren’t enough hours in each day.

As new assignments, unfinished work and deadlines continue to pile up; stress continues to build and eventually takes its toll.

Thankfully there is a way to get more done each day, without losing your last bit of sanity!

Increase Your Productivity by Reducing Your Stress Levels

In the year 2001, the renowned productivity expert, David Allen first published his groundbreaking work, “Getting Things Done, The Art of Stress Free Productivity.” In his book, Allen explains that the key to increasing your productivity is to learn how to unwind and relax.

According to Allen, as you release things that cause stress and bring more order into your life, you can gain clarity and increase your productivity. To help readers to be able to relax by introducing order and organisation into their lives, Allen uses what he calls the GTR or, Get-Things-Done, approach.

What is GTD and How Can it Help You to Accomplish More?

GTD helps you to be able to lower your stress by helping you to organise, manage and keep up with all of those things that bring us stress: to-do lists, assignments, deadlines, schedules, and priorities. Rather than having to keep up with all of these different pieces of information by storing them in our active memory, GTD helps you to develop your own system for recording them and getting them off of your mind.

Since you don’t have all of this work constantly on your mind and looming over you, and interrupting your thoughts, you can relax. This allows you to focus on whatever task is at hand and most important to you at the moment, and enables you to actually able to complete tasks more quickly, and with greater creativity.

GTD Basics – Steps to Get More Organised Each Day

  1. Choose a recording method that’s easy for you to use. The first step in the GTD process is to decide how you are going to record all of your to-do-lists, deadlines, thoughts, assignments, projects, appointments and more. It should be a system that’s easy for you to use, regardless of where you happen to be. Some people find that it’s easiest to use “old school” methods such as pads of paper, physical journals or day calendars, sticky notes and whiteboards. Others take the tech route and use one of the incredible apps, such as Evernote, OneNote and more that are available to help you organise your life and keep up with everything that’s important to you. Regardless of how you decide to record everything that’s important, pick an option and stick with it.
  1. After you record your thought or assignment, break your thoughts out into steps to take and complete the action.
  1. Assign categories and priorities for each of your thoughts, and include due dates or projected times for completion into your record. This one simple step will help you to be able to organise your day and to help you keep up with all of your deadlines.
  1. Take the time to look over your list each day and throughout your day to decide which task or record you want to complete first. You will get more done through the day if you first choose those tasks that you can do quickly and that don’t require a lot of effort or energy. Move on to more detailed tasks through the day. Periodically review the progress that you are making with your lists. Over time you may find that you need to change the priority, or even completely change the steps necessary to complete certain tasks and achieve certain goals.
  1. Focus on the task at hand, and then move on to the next assignment. Since you’ve already broken up each task into the steps that it will take to complete it, and have assigned all of your tasks a priority and a due date, you no longer waste time wondering what item you should work on next. Removing this ambiguity and uncertainty will also help to reduce your stress levels so that you get more accomplished.

Your GTD System Should Evolve and Grow With You

Over time, you may find that your system of recording your lists isn’t working out for you. In fact, this is likely to happen if you allow your system to become too complicated and cumbersome to keep up with.

The best thing about the GTD system is that there aren’t any hard or fast rules, and it’s open to your interpretation. Personalising the system to use recording tools that are easy for you to use and keep up with, and keeping your system straightforward and easy to understand will increase your organisation as well as your productivity.

Periodically review your GTD system and continually look for ways to simplify your processes over time so that your system continues to evolve and grow with you, while reducing your stress.

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pexels-photo (7)So, there is still no way of squeezing more hours into the week, but there are things a person can do to fit more into the hours available. If you find yourself wishing you could be more productive, you are not alone, and there are some small but impactful changes you can likely make to your overall lifestyle that will help you get things done. Let’s take a look at some of the best ideas yet to boost your productivity.

Get off to a Good Start

It might seem simple, and fairly non-work related, but making your bed when you rise in the morning is what productivity experts call a “keystone habit” that can set the tone for your entire day, and spur you to make other positive, mature decisions that will effect your overall productivity.

Make Room for Self Care

As well as treating yourself to a nicely made bed after a good day’s work, it is very important to get adequate exercise and sufficient nutrition. Skipping gym time or meals will not, overall, help you get more done. On the contrary, a healthy alert mentality relies on you being well nourished, and in turns physically stimulated and rested.

Deactivate Distractions

Unless entirely necessary, leave social media at home. Allocate certain times of the day to check email, and turn off notifications so no pinging device will interrupt your flow. If possible, maintain a tranquil, uncluttered work environment. It is thought that many types of music can be distracting and detrimental to getting work done, but ambient and natural sounds can help you focus. Adjust your soundscape accordingly.

Review Your Purpose

Take a look at your to do list, and make sure you truly care about everything on it. Particularly if you find yourself not excited by what needs doing, pay attention to why the items are necessary, and what is likely to follow their successful completion. Being crystal clear about what you have to do and why will help you stay on task.

Prepare for Tomorrow

To keep on the right track, and have your work chug along at a steady pace, spend a few minutes before you leave writing a new list for the following day. This will allow you to walk away from work for the evening or the weekend with a clear mind, and when you get back there, you will have a step-by-step plan for success waiting for you.

Making the effort to tweak these few things everyday will have a big impact in a short space of time. Being more productive is a noble, and completely achievable goal.

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When we think of habits we often think of bad habits. Our habit of reaching for chocolate when faced with a crisis or as a child we left our homework until the last minute, every time! There are however, good habits. Yes, there really are and the good news is you can create them easily and quickly and they will help to reduce your stress levels both at home and at work.

We all know what our weaknesses are and the bad habits we create around them. It’s time to find good habits to replace the bad and reduce our overall stress levels.

We can create good habits in the workplace that not only reduce stress but make life a lot easier in the process.  Habits that not only help us to work more efficiently but also more effectively. Without inducing any OCD tendencies, you can actually put in place structured habits that help you to not only prioritise your workflow but also take the stress away from having to constantly be considering what needs to be done next. Imagine how freeing it would be to know you could just flick to a diary/spreadsheet/mind map (insert your medium of choice) and see in black and white what needs to be done. You don’t need to store it all in your head, you don’t need to keep leaving sticky notes everywhere, and you don’t have to constantly be wondering whether you have enough time to get things done.

Here are a few things you can put in place right now to create good habits in the workplace and reduce your overall stress:

  1. Diarise everything – not just appointments but deadlines for documents, meeting times, project deadlines. The more you diarise the more you can structure the rest of your day, the less stress you will have because you know ahead of time what you need to achieve and where you need to be.
  1. You know when you were at school and you were always being told “don’t leave your homework until the last minute”, the same applies with work. If you have a project to achieve or a deadline to meet, start getting prepared right away. If you have to collect data, immediately create a folder either on the computer or a lever arch folder and add relevant inner folders/tabs to start collating information from the outset. Each time you come across something you will need, file it away immediately so that when the time comes you don’t have to think about where and when you saw that particular item.
  1. Plan everything. You don’t need to become a tyrant about it but having a plan laid out for each work day means you don’t have to continuously be juggling tasks. Diarise time for admin work, phone calls, email catch-up etc. so your work will flow rather than having to multi-task all the time. Multi-tasking is only good if it reduces stress not increases it.

We would love to hear about your good work habits that help you get through each day with lower stress levels.

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Have you ever wondered why you’re more productive some days than others? Or why you seem to get so much more work done on the days that have lots of interruptions?

There are reasons for this, and once you know what they are, you can make some conscious choices in your day. You can build on them and turn yourself into a productivity machine.

Take a look at this clip.  It has some excellent information about the way our minds work and the impact they have on our actions. The clip covers:

  • Why worrying about having “more willpower” is a fool’s game.
  • How world class experts stay productive… and what they do differently.
  • The reason why better energy management = a more productive you.
  • Big pitfalls that lead to busywork and procrastination.

Take a look at the video and then at the way you’ve been working. With a few changes, your productivity levels will improve.

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Keeping your office neat and tidy will not only give you a greater sense of organisation but it will also improve productivity.  Having a messy and cluttered office can lead to a lot of frustration and in the extreme be unsafe.

Therefore, you should make the time to clean your office and make friends with your rubbish bin.  Here are some basic tips and good reasons why you should have a neat and tidy office.

  • Get rid of the clutter.  Have you tried to find that key document and found yourself going through the piles of papers on your desk, chair or even the floor?  Getting rid of the clutter and setting up a good filing system will not only save you time but help avoid frustrations when you can’t find the key document when you need it.
  • Where possible use computer based systems to file documents and with the advent of cloud computing and mobile technology consider going paperless especially if you work out of the office.
  • Ensure you don’t have loose power cords, computer cables or equipment lying on the floor that are obstacles and can easily be tripped over.  In addition to this being a safety issue, you also have a number of legal obligations under occupational health and safety laws and regulations.
  • If you eat at your desk ensure you clean it on a regular basis and throw out food packaging or left overs.  Often food particles can get into the keyboard or clog up your mouse so ensure these are cleaned as well.
  • If you use a bookcase ensure folders are accurately labelled so key information can be located quickly, that is current and up to date.  If you need to archive information then also make sure it is accurately labelled and easily obtained if stored in another location.
  • If clients or prospective customers visit your premises then having a messy office can give a wrong or bad impression.

With any system you implement it is important to maintain and manage it, so ensure you allocate time on a regular basis to keep everything in order.  With a clean, neat and tidy office you will notice increased productivity as well as peace of mind.

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