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

How to Manage To-Dos and Capture Ideas on the Go

(Family Features) When your to-do list is miles long and deadlines are looming, it can be hard to tap into a creative, problem-solving mindset. Creating a more intentional approach to productivity will let you shift gears to not only cross items of your list, but to deliver higher quality, more effective work.

    1. Keep a notebook and pen on hand at all times. When inspiration strikes is the best time to capture your ideas so you can include the context, references and other details that allow you to develop the concept more completely later on. Keeping all your thoughts and ideas locked up in your head can cloud your ability to dedicate your attention where it’s needed most. Transfer all that brain power to paper or a smart folio like Bamboo Spark, which allows you to export content to an app on your iOS or Android device with the touch of a button, freeing up brain power for more powerful inspirations.

 

    1. Create to-do lists and prioritize tasks. Start each morning by reviewing what’s on deck for the day. Putting your list to paper frees your mind from trying to keep an ever-changing list of tasks straight. Categorize your to-dos and assign priorities to help you manage your time, and at the end of each day, take stock to cross off completed items, reprioritize those that remain and add new projects that will require your attention soon.

 

    1. Set boundaries on your multitasking. Today’s corporate culture rewards the greatest jugglers, but dividing your attention in too many directions can actually be counterproductive. Learn to designate times when you’ll simply eliminate interruptions to keep your focus sharp. This may mean turning off your notifications during meetings, shutting down your email for an hour each day to tackle a task uninterrupted or forwarding calls when you need to cut back on distractions.

 

  1. Give yourself permission to slow down and think. Technology has assuredly enabled greater efficiency at the office, but it brings some limitations as well. Sometimes, simply allowing yourself the time to sit with a pen and paper is the best way to let new ideas flow, free from the distractions of incoming mail and the confines of thoughts conveyed through keystrokes. Sketching, drawing, even creating diagrams and outlines are visual outlets that can help you explore new concepts and solve nagging problems.

“I think that there’s always a benefit to taking a step back and trying to be mindful,” said entrepreneur John Gannon, CEO and co-founder of BEMAVEN. “Every morning I write a journal. I write about the things I’m thankful for, the things I have on my mind then I also generate 10 ideas a day. I decided to try the Bamboo Spark to have a more organic experience of actually putting pen to paper.”

  1. Take regular breaks. It may seem unrealistic when the clock is ticking its way toward a deadline, but stepping away can actually help you regain focus and allow you to complete a difficult task more efficiently. Instead of staring at a blank screen in frustration, grant yourself a 10-minute break to get up, move around and grab a fresh cup of coffee or some water. A brief recharge can be just the cure to get you back on track when you hit a bump or start to feel overwhelmed.

For more productivity tips, and to learn more about Wacom’s consumer products, visit Wacom.com or the Bamboo News blog.

SOURCE:
Wacom