Archive for December, 2015

The Top 5 Time Management Mistakes You’re Making

We keep to-do lists and try to stay on top of our schedules, yet no matter how hard we try, tasks continue to evade us. The to-do list gets longer and it feels like time is slipping away by the hour. Ever wonder why?

This week we’ll show you some of the most common time management mistakes and how to fix them:

 

In a recent survey by the online time-tracking tool Toggl, the following five mistakes were identified by customers as the top things that were standing in their way of time management success.

  1. NOT PRIORITIZING TASKS.

While a to-do list may be an effective way to organize your thoughts about what needs to get done during the day, failing to prioritize tasks means your most important work can slip off your radar. As you’re planning your day, week, or month, ask yourself what are the most important tasks. Don’t ask what tasks you feel like working on, but what you have to work on. It’s more tempting to do those small five-minute tasks throughout the day rather than the one that requires intense focus, even when it’s that larger task that will get you further ahead.

  1. UNDERESTIMATING THE EFFORT SOMETHING WILL TAKE.

Overachievers are especially guilty of this time-management sin. Thinking something will only take a few minutes and it ends up eating up a half hour is a common pitfall of A-type overachievers who never want to turn down an opportunity but don’t calculate how much of their time that opportunity will eat up. To avoid this time-management mistake, Medlock recommends jotting down the amount of time each task on your to-do list will take.

If a task takes 25 or 30 minutes, it should be scheduled on your calendar. Another trick is to double the amount of time you think each task will take. So, if you think a task will take a half-hour, block off an hour, just to be safe. Otherwise, you may end up pulling an all-nighter.

  1. MANAGING DISTRACTIONS.

“Distractions are triggers to procrastination,” says Aho. Among the top distractions are email and social media. To avoid distractions, Medlock recommends turning off email notifications when you’re trying to focus on a particular task or schedule notifications to come once every hour or two so you aren’t distracted every two minutes by a pop-up.

Blocking off a specific time in the day to check email is also a great way to manage this distraction, and will improve your performance. Physical clutter is another distraction that is easily avoided.

 

We have two more ways you can manage your time better, check them out here: fastcompany.com

Catch up on your favorite Friday Focus in our Archives page!

3 Reasons Your To Do List Is Stunting Your Growth

The To-Do list is traditionally where productivity begins. But is there a wrong way to do a To-Do list? In short, Yes.

This week on Friday Focus, we’re going to show you how making a To-Do list the wrong way can stunt your growth and how you can make one that actually gets done:

 

I know, it may feel a bit like heresy as you’ve been trained to write down the things you want to accomplish. After all, you’re an achiever and you take pride in crossing items off that list. So let me show you why this perceived productivity tool is actually stunting your growth.

You’re mixing short-term and long-term goals. Because your current To Do list does not take into account which goals are easily accomplished today versus ones that will take weeks or even months, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed out over a tool that was designed to make you more productive.

The language you use is demotivating. Language can serve to pump you up or bring you down. Choose different language that gets you excited about the outcome you are looking to achieve. Why go to the gym at all if not to live longer, healthier and with more energy. Use language that will motivate you toward your desired outcomes.

Most of these items are not scheduled. When you use your To Do list as your alternative schedule, you end up bouncing back and forth between your meetings, appointments and To Do list. With short-term and long-term goals given equal weight on your To Do list and not setting specific time aside to accomplish each task, is it any wonder why we feel chronically behind?

There is a better way. It starts by creating three categories that will allow you to separate out any item that comes to mind that you wish to accomplish:

Doing Now–These are items you can finish today (or this week if you like longer To Do lists)

Not Doing Now–These are items that you can accomplish within the next 12 weeks

Not Doing Never–These are items that take more than 12 weeks or that you are unable to begin during this 12 week cycle.

This simple categorization causes you to take a moment and ask yourself, “What is the realistic timeframe in which I can get this task done?” Remember to use motivating language as you transfer your list to your schedule. This becomes much easier if you break down your list into the personal and professional outcomes you seek to accomplish.

  

To know more about how to make a better To-Do list, read the full article here: inc.com

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The Tools we use – Asana

Companies are built around teams and when working in a team communication is important. But how does this translate to team that work remotely?

This is a question that we’ve had to face ourselves and we’ve overcome this obstacle using Asana. What is Asana? Well……

 

Asana is a modern web application that keeps teams in sync, a shared task list where everyone can capture, organize, track, and communicate what they are working on in service of their common goal. Rather than trying to stay organized through the tedious grind of emails and meetings, teams using Asana can move faster and do more — or even take on bigger and more interesting goals.

Asana re-imagines the way we work together by putting the fundamental unit of productivity – the task – at the center. Breaking down ambitious goals into small pieces, assigning ownership of those tasks, and tracking them to completion is how things get built, from software to skyscrapers.

Some of our customers have said they’ve tried many different tools to make their teams more productive, but Asana is the only one that’s actually stuck. They typically identify these key differences in the Asana approach:

  • It’s ridiculously fast. Thanks to our in-house “Luna” technology, Asana is as responsive and lightweight as a text editor.
  • It’s versatile. Asana is one tool for many uses – from simple to-do lists, to complex projects, and more. It doesn’t force a single workflow, so you can mold it to your own processes and style.
  • It’s for the individual, too. Asana is the place to organize your own task list. In doing so, you automatically communicate what you’re prioritizing and everything you’ve done.

 

To know more about what Asana can do for you, check out their blog here: blog.asana.com. To hear how Asana has helped other companies find success, you can check out their video here.

Interested in using Asana for your own organization? Then you’ll also want to see this excellent guide on getting started with Asana!

Catch up on your favorite Friday Focus in our Archives page!

The Global Economy in November

The global market calm that prevailed in October was broken in November, following a spate of terror attacks in Paris and anticipation around the decisions of few high profile meetings by the US Federal Reserve (Fed), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the OPEC. The ECB disappointed markets by increasing stimulus measures by less than expected, sending the Euro higher. The move comes even amid mounting concerns that the ECB’s QE program could cause liquidity shortages in markets.

The OPEC concluded its meeting by deciding to maintain its production at current levels, setting aside their previous cap of 30 million barrels. The move sent oil prices lower, towards a six-year low that was last reached in August of this year. However, that was not the end of oils worries. Analysts predicted that any rise in prices above $50/bbl would reinvigorate the supply glut, while a Fed rate hike would serve to strengthen the dollar, further weakening commodities. The International Energy Agency (IEA) also warned that record oil stockpiles could potentially worsen the rout in prices as storage capacity approaches its upper limits.

The fall in oil, among other commodities, has had negative effects on the currencies of nations that depend on them. Russia’s Ruble, which appeared to be recovering due to better Russia-US relations, is expected to sink once again with the fall in oil prices. The Malaysian Ringgit fell to a 6-week low, following the smallest quarterly increase in GDP in more than two years, in addition to the fall in oil prices. The Zambian Kwacha fell to a record low on the back of falling metal prices, before Central Bank intervention buoyed the currency by the most in 7-years.

In Asia, the Chinese Yuan’s inclusion into the IMF’s reserve basket had some experts questioning whether the currency truly met the criteria for inclusion. However, other concerns that the Peoples Bank of China (PBOC) would take the opportunity to weaken the Yuan and boost growth were put to rest, as the bank pledged to keep it largely stable. The Japanese economy was seen to fall in to technical recession once again, for the fourth time in five years.

The El Nino weather phenomenon sparked concerns of supply disruptions across many varieties of food, causing food inflation to rise the most in 3-years. Japanese inflation turned positive last month, when removing the effects of oil costs on prices, as the government shifts its focus to economic reforms to aid growth. Higher inflation saw India’s Central Bank leave rates unchanged as well, although analysts see further rate cuts even after the Fed hikes rates.

3 Ways to Use the Internet In a Productive Way

Sometimes social media and smartphones and the “always on” mentality of the Information Age can feel overwhelming. Do you ever get time to think anymore, or are you just jumping constantly from one digital task to another?

This week we’re gonna show you some of the ways you can use the internet productively:

 

Digital tools and the Internet were supposed to make us more productive and efficient, but sometimes it feels like they’re just making us more stressed out. Here are a few key concepts for how to make sure you’re using the Internet the “right” way, improve motivation and productivity while avoiding distractions.

  1. Monitor your information diet

Everyone is a consumer – of products, services, food, and experiences, and on the Internet we are non-stop consumers of information. But just like some food is unhealthy for us, consuming too much of the wrong information can be unhealthy for our emotional state as well.

Pay attention to how much time you spend online and what you’re reading and which media you’re consuming. Sometimes our moods are affected by the ideas we choose to bring into our minds – is the Internet helping or hurting you?

  1. Curate content from key sources

There is too much information online – and every day, more gets added to the pile. One way to make sure the Internet is serving your interests well is to rely on other people to “curate” content and information for you.

I try to follow some of the top experts on Twitter in my industry and fields of interest – and then I “listen” to their daily Twitter updates to get breaking news and information that is useful for me. It helps to filter and curate content to avoid getting overwhelmed and overstimulated by too much information at once.

  1. Use self control

Do you tend to waste time on certain websites (like Facebook)? Would you be more productive if you could just block yourself from visiting those sites during work hours? If you struggle to stay focused at work (and who doesn’t in this day and age?) there is an app for Mac users that is literally called “Self-Control” that might be useful. With the Self Control app, you can block yourself from visiting a “blacklist” of websites of your choice for a pre-specified length of time – 15 minutes or 1 hour or 3 hours or more. Get work done by avoiding online distractions!

 

To know more about how information overload is reducing your productivity (and what you can do about it), check out the full article: addicted2success.com.

Catch up on your favorite Friday Focus in our Archives page!