Photo by Polina Kovaleva on Unsplash
If there’s anything the past almost year-and-a-half has taught us, it’s that it’s so difficult to maintain focus, what with everything that’s been upended by the pandemic.
With all the drastic changes to our routines, our attention has become even more split. This is most especially true to the things we used to pay little to no mind. More and more things now demand more headspace, more mindfulness, than we used to accord them with.
What used to be minor errands have become major production numbers. Once upon a time, we could easily go to the grocery. Top-up on some items we need for dinner prep, and went straight home.
Now, each and every item must first be aired out for an hour or so and then rinsed rigorously. Only afterwards we can be put them away in the fridge or prepared as a meal ingredient.
Neither can your packages simply be dropped off at your doorstep. Nor would you just pick them up without first spraying it generously all over with alcohol.
The Struggle To Stay Focused In This Stressful World
Given all these things that now occupy our minds, it’s amazing that we’re still able to stay focused. Most importantly, we still stay productive day in and day out.
As we check social media first thing in the morning and all throughout the day, it is teeming with news–both real and fake–that are sure to raise our stress levels. It’s definitely tough for many to keep focus and be productive at work, when work and home have become blurred almost beyond recognition.
We’re Actually Built For This
Fortunately, we humans have evolved and hardened through hostile circumstances, to prepare us for any and every form of adversity that we may encounter in the world.
This current pandemic reality is definitely one of them. And the challenge is how to stay productive even as we try to navigate through what is definitely a very uncertain era in modern human history.
Productivity Tips For This Pandemic Reality
Productivity has long been a tricky topic even under normal circumstances. And yet, the truth is, the pandemic is fast becoming a fact of life, a given, a backdrop against which we must still live our everyday lives.
So, to a certain extent, a lot of the things we have to do to remain productive, actually remain the same.
Start Your Mornings With Breakfast
Working from home or back in the office, it doesn’t hurt to have breakfast first thing in the morning. Nothing sets people up for a productive day ahead than having a good sleep without distractions, and then waking up in the mornings to a good breakfast. You can visit Taste Atlas which lists the top 9 breakfast items preferred by Filipinos.
A Productive Day Begins With Breakfast!
For some, it might mean a full meal. For other people, just a cup of joe–whether brewed by oneself in the comfort of one’s kitchen, or picked up from a trip to one’s favorite coffee shop.
Productivity, therefore, is not just about completing as many tasks, and making as many phone calls and replying to as many emails as possible.
Sure, it’s vital to get things done, to cross out as many commitments, and to make as many important decisions.
However, productivity is also about organizing your tasks in a way that ensures proper time management, to allow you to create time windows to regroup oneself, clear your mind, and regain energy.
And this begins with a good start to your mornings.
How To Be Productive? Breakfast Is A Way To Start Your Day Right
Before you even read, let alone reply to, even one email, make sure to have breakfast. That way, you truly hit the ground running when the mornings come, by stocking up on much needed energy to power you through the day.
Most don’t count breakfast in their list of productivity tips, but not this author!
Productivity Means Plotting Important Tasks Throughout The Day
Next, plot out your tasks for the day. Some people draw motivation from imagining the level of productivity they will achieve during the day. Nothing programs the brain to achieve a goal after another, than plotting the day’s to-dos, a task after another, in order of importance. Actually, there are various apps or software you can use to maximize productivity. Workplays sites five useful ones.
Nonetheless, a most common way to plot your tasks is to check your email inbox. Go through them and check which emails need replying to, and which don’t. Lists really help, and what better list than the one that’s already sorted for you–your email inbox.
Needless to say, you need fast internet to help you breeze through this!
How To Be Productive? Go Through Those Email Invites First!
Here’s something that helps many a busy person everywhere–and this author can vouch for the effectivity of this, as with the rest of the tips you will find herein.
Email invitations to meetings and other commitments must be among the first to be read.
Why? Because it helps arrange your schedule, prioritize which item needs your attention the most, and which ones you need to get off your plate.
A Productive Day Means Tasks and Email Communications Must Align With Your Day’s Goals
Once your commitments are plotted in your calendar, go through your emails again to sort which needs your attention the most, which needs decisions to be made but not right away, and which ones are just newsletters.
What To Do With Industry Newsletters In Your Inbox?
Most of these latter types, while not spam, are actually helpful to your job and industry, but they are often one article after another in your inbox.
As such, they are time-consuming if you fall into the trap of trying to read them all first thing in the morning, just to mark every unread item in your inbox as “read”.
Remember, you will have rest windows. And that’s why you’re doing this list–to also plot out when you’ll have the time to unwind and breathe a bit, even just for a few minutes.
How To Be Productive? Some Emails Can Wait!
It may be part of your goals to read an article or two, to help clear the things that you need to mind, or to lessen your distractions in your inbox if you’re the zero-email type of person.
But you must remind yourself that this type of email can wait, once you have a bit more free time later on in the day.
Does Reading Industry-Related News Qualify as Rest?
You can read an article when you still want to do something worthwhile but also need a way to relax a bit. You can go over an article or more before you go to bed if that is part of your definition of a productive day.
Sure, some people would rather stay focused on work tasks throughout the day, and leave times for relaxation that do not involve email communications, later on in the day. But that’s not the case for all.
Some actually feel that their idea of rest is reading an article, work-related as it may be before they go to bed. An example of this is the author, who certainly thinks it’s okay. And that’s a consideration on counting it among these tips as a way to rest.
Does Reading Useful Blogs also count as a Breather?
Of course, it does. Just like some other forms of hobby, reading, in general, is a way of relaxation to some people. There are a lot of Filipinos reading useful blogs or content such as those featured in When in Manila, Panlasang Pinoy, PinoyMoneyTalk.com, Click the City, and 8List.ph.
When in Manila is an online hub of creative people who share their experiences via their own forms of art, such as writing, photography, and video creation. On the other hand, Panlasang Pinoy is a famous food blog site. PinoyMoneyTalk.com talks about everything about money, form stocks and investments to trading and business. Addedly, 8List.ph is more on feature of the entertainment side of things while Click the City is a fusion of lifestyle, entertainment, and events guide.
Just the same as industry-related news, you will need to have fast and reliable internet, if you wish to do read these.
A Productive Day Means Getting Things Done… and More
A common way of navigating work life, as far as productivity tips go, is to measure productivity in terms of whether they complete a task–as many as possible! Others measure it by the key decisions they make–the more, the better–and then focus on every other task at work that need attention the most, and then sleep.
Some people do draw motivation from very regimented ways of life such as this. But this writer does not necessarily believe in the idea that you must power through a productive day by checking a thing, task, or email after another, as if your goal in life was to just tick more and more boxes, and then call it a day.
That’s not productivity. That’s just task completion. This writer does not believe in that kind of motivation.
Getting Task After Task Done Means Not Just Checking Boxes
Ensure that things you are actually accomplishing things. Those that matter, to be more specific. How’s that for another of our productivity tips?
This is what the investor, author, and entrepreneur Tim Ferris meant when he said, “Focus on being productive instead of being busy.”
Eating The Frog: How Is It Done Best?
Sure, some tasks ought to be done, and done immediately with immediate focus–or as they say, just eat the frog. But this author does not dispense tips that count the quantity of email communications that you engage in, as an important goal to focus on or draw motivation from.
Indeed, among the valid ways of measuring productivity are:
- Keeping your focus on a task at hand
- Achieving the goals you set out for the day
Even if it’s just maintaining focus by replying to every single email that’s in your inbox, or setting meeting times and actually sitting through them and resolving the matters that need addressing.
Go ahead and eat the frog, yes, but do it in an orderly fashion.
A Productive Day Means Achieving Goals In An Orderly But Fun Way
Among the online programs that help you organize every task and thus ensure that you have a productive day ahead is Trello. This is among the truly important tips this author can give in this article. It plots out your tasks into cards.
You have more tasks? Then just make more cards! The program and its founder was actually praised upon its initial release in 2011 as something that “makes project collaboration simple and kind of enjoyable.”
Every member of your team can make their own list of tasks on their Trello board, allowing everyone to see each other’s goals and which items on their plate need immediate focus.
Less Emailing, A More Productive Day For All
This actually kind of helps the whole team have a productive day too. This also lessens the amount of email communications the team must engage in, especially with each other, since everyone has their tasks on the Trello board.
One less email to write, one less email address’ inbox to clog, one less email for someone to focus on and waste time on. Definitely another gem among our productivity tips here.
Less email communications, more actual productivity. That’s how many a CEO actually view productivity–and so that’s another of our more important tips here.
Speaking of CEO Think: A Productive Day is A Balanced Day
It doesn’t matter if you’re a CEO or a founder or a chairman. There’s always a frog–or two, or more–for you to eat.
Your email address must be the one that receives the most items on a daily basis. Email communications, needless to say, must be your most common form of getting in touch with everyone in your firm. There’s also that one task that you most likely hate doing in life.
And yet even these bigwigs know those age-old sayings–that while it’s always “business before pleasure”, the truth also is that “all work but no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
Run Your Productive Day The Way A CEO Would
They know when to focus, and what to focus on–and boy, do they focus like crazy.
But they are the masters of time management, and are their own sources of motivation. They power through email after email, one task after another, even as phone calls pepper their day.
They certainly encounter various forms of distractions–social media being among the worst offenders. The decisions they have to make are countless. Their stress levels are definitely through the roof.
They lack sleep, for sure. But they do not let these derail them from their goals. They still get accomplish.
Work-Life Balance Is Not A Cliché
And when the tasks that need doing are finally accomplished for the day, they set aside time not only for sleep, of course, but for the many interests that they love to pursue, because these enrich their person beyond business and work.
Some go to the gym. Some play sports, like golf, or basketball, or tennis. But some pursue interests that actually require the use of gadgets and, you guessed it, fast fiber internet.
Streaming Series? Your Net Must Measure Up!
CEOs are humans too–and you’d be surprised that they are also binge-watchers of drama and action series, and of course, documentaries.
They will definitely be big on Netflix, YouTube, and even K-drama streaming sites like Viu, Viki, iQiyi, if that’s their thing.
Which also means that they will definitely be big on having a fast internet connection!
Streaming Sports? That’s Fair Game!
If they happen to be big sports fans, then you will also find them logging on to NBA.com, or if they’re more of a European persuasion, then PremierLeague.com or UEFA.tv might be their thing.
From live matches, to commentary, to score line updates, to reaction threads and banter forums featuring fellow fans–you will find them on those sites and pages.
You won’t enjoy all the real-time exchanges if your internet is not up to standard.
What Watching Sports Can Do For Productivity
But with the NBA crowning a new champion recently, and the European (Football) Championships also just drawing to a close with a new titleholder, expect productive and sports-loving CEOs to turn to the Olympics to unwind–and perhaps even recharge their competitive spirit.
Watching competitive sports also definitely helps sharpen their analytical and strategic thinking skills–which are highly valuable attributes of productive corporate leaders.
Inspiration and Motivation For A Productive Day
They take inspiration from the motivation and mind-setting techniques taught by top-class coaches, as well as from the career-defining and medal-winning performances by world-beating athletes.
This, in turn, helps them in encouraging their staff to achieve more. It also helps them to psych themselves when it comes to eating those frogs.
Get things done! Barrel through those commitments! Make those decisions wisely, sharply, and sometimes, quickly. Because there are many other commitments to make, and many other decisions to be made.
So that’s definitely something to pick up on and adapt.
A Productive Day Is Not Just About What We Achieve
Productivity is not just about what you do at work, but also where you get your motivation from, and how you use this to help you arrange your day, order your goals, and achieve them.
It is also about how you complete the other side of you unseen at the office.
How you spend your free time, and how it enriches you as an individual, and how it, in turn, makes you a better, more focused, and more productive workplace contributor.
And because what we do professionally ties increasingly to living a digital lifestyle, almost everything we do to complete a productive day most often includes the internet.
A Productive Day Depends on The Type of Internet You Have Access To
Indeed, productivity nowadays is always in relation to the kind (and speed) of internet connection that we have.
Improve your workplace contribution; send email after email even with sizeable attachments; get various motivational sources; or even if it’s just that one thing that you need to focus on for work–Streamtech helps you get things done!
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