Get Focused

Plan to make productivity a priority

(Family Features) Although there are many reasons to feel stressed in the workplace, productivity is often at the root. After all, productive employees are often perceived as the most valuable employees and when productivity fails, it tends to put everyone on edge.

Concerns about productivity are broadly founded. They may be related to your self-assessment of your own performance, or it could be that a manager is demanding more. Or maybe you’re collaborating with a team of peers and are struggling to find your footing, and collectively productivity is down.

Productivity is not only good for business; it’s good for worker morale, too. A productive work day can produce a sense of accomplishment and pride, and may result in a less stressful work environment. You can take a proactive role in improving your own productivity with these ideas.

 

1. Face a challenge head on. Procrastination can be the ultimate roadblock to productivity. For many, that means saving the least desired task on your to-do lists for the end of the day. However, by the end of the day, it’s too easy to delay the task until tomorrow. Instead, start the day with your least desired task. This is when you’ll have the most energy and you’ll kick off your day feeling accomplished, ready to tackle whatever comes next.

2. Be intentional with your time. It may seem counterintuitive, but taking breaks can help you have a more productive day. When you feel your energy start to wane, give yourself a timeout. Take a 15-minute walk, run the stairs or spend some time drawing in your notebook. Over the course of a week, pay attention to your schedule and start to plan your meetings and tasks around breaks so you’re working during periods of the day when you’re the most energized.

3. Capture ideas when they come. Let’s face it: not every great idea arrives at the ideal moment. While it’s possible to key your ideas immediately into your smartphone, that can come with multiple obnoxious distractions. However, trying to recreate that flash of inspiration at a more opportune time more often than not falls short with missing details.

An option like the Bamboo Slate smartpad allows you to write naturally with pen on any paper without the social media notifications and email alerts. With the push of a button, you can then convert your handwritten notes into “living” digital files. With Wacom Inkspace, you can organize, edit and share your notes and sketches on your enabled smartphone, tablet or other devices. In case you’re not near your mobile device when inspiration strikes, you can store up to 100 pages on your smartpad and sync later. Learn more at bamboo.wacom.com.

4. Identify areas for collaboration. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. The key is knowing yourself well enough to know when you need to ask for help to be more productive. Wasting time on tasks you don’t excel in can slow everyone down. Rather, find others whom you can collaborate with and learn from to help you improve your productivity over time.

5. Stay organized. When you’re working under continuous deadlines, things can really start to pile up – literally. Digging through a mess to find the report containing the data you need or the invoice to cross reference is a waste of precious time. Allow the clutter to build during the work day if you must, but make it a goal to never leave the office without bringing some order to the day’s chaos. Coming in each morning to a desk that is de-cluttered and ready for the day ahead can be a big productivity booster.

Learn to Make Lists with Purpose

List-making has long been revered as the classic time management tool, and technology makes it easier than ever to blend this analog task with your digital world by using smart notebooks like the Bamboo Slate to create an online to-do list.

Consider these three list styles to determine the approach that best fits your work style to put you on your way to more productive days:

Categorized lists. Most people start with a daily to-do list, focusing just on the most urgent tasks for the day. Once you’ve mastered that approach, try looking ahead to the future to help you meet your goals. For this technique, you might consider an annual list or even a life list to help put the big picture in perspective and make it more manageable to accomplish your desires. Others go so far as to categorize their time to focus their attention on different types of tasks on different days.

To-do vs. done lists. Another option is to use lists to catalog both the items you need to do and those you’ve already completed. A “done list” can be a motivating factor in pushing forward with your to-do list by letting you see your accomplishments in writing.

Bullet journaling. The bullet journal approach is a four-step process designed to make the to-do list less of a chore and more efficient. A step-by-step guide shows you how to create more productive lists you can easily reference in the future.

SOURCE:
Wacom

8 Ways to Keep Your Brain Healthy and Sharp

(Family Features) The brain is the body’s most complex organ. It’s also the most important one. That’s why keeping it healthy is critical, especially as you age. Every day, scientists are discovering how closely our minds and bodies are connected. As it turns out, the things that you do to keep your body and heart healthy may also be good for your brain.

Incorporate these eight healthy habits and activities into your daily life to help you optimize brain health and stay sharp in the years ahead.

Get Moving
Physical activity is good for your health at every age. Studies show being active is associated with a lower risk of brain issues. Whether it’s nightly walks, playing with the grandkids or taking your favorite yoga class, find an activity that meets your needs and gets your heart pumping for at least 30 minutes every day.

Eat to Thrive
The antioxidants in nutrient-dense foods like berries, broccoli and legumes, including some fats such as olive oil, may lower some risks to your brain. Try eating a healthy, low-fat, low-cholesterol diet with lots of vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains such as oatmeal and brown rice.

Know Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can have serious effects on your brain health. If your blood pressure is high, get it under control. It may help reduce some risks to your brain.

Drink Moderately
How the body handles alcohol can change with age. Some older adults can feel “high” without increasing the amount of alcohol they drink. This can make them more likely to become confused or have accidents. So limit the amount of alcohol you drink – or don’t drink it at all.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Poor sleep, or inadequate sleep, due to issues such as insomnia or sleep apnea, doesn’t just leave you feeling tired. It can have serious physical effects and can impact memory and thinking, too. Get comfy and go to bed. Seven to eight hours is a good night’s rest.

Discover a New Talent
When you learn new things, you engage your brain. Try something you haven’t done before – learning French, ballroom dancing or carpentry, for example. Challenging your brain on a regular basis is fun and beneficial.

Stay Connected
Science has shown that regular engagement in social activities can help reduce some risks to your brain. Stay connected and invite family or friends over for a healthy meal, go on a hike together or just hang out.

Talk to Your Doctor
As you age, some changes in brain function, including short-term memory, happen more frequently than when you were younger. If you have questions or are concerned, ask your doctor at your next appointment.

For more tips on keeping your brain healthy and thriving, visit BrainHealth.gov.

SOURCE:
Administration for Community Living