Five Do’s and Don’ts to Achieve More

  • Greg Burn
  • 2019-05-28

The sand of time is one of the most poetic and the saddest metaphors ever. We think we’re sifting the moments of golden inspiration, but the sand slips through our fingers, and so much is left undone. Can we avoid it? Yes, we can, if we resist some of the strongest temptations of the working day. Some of these habits may seem insignificant, others overrated or obsolete, but it doesn’t decrease their efficiency.

Following these recommendations, you can boost your productivity and have more time for what’s important and who’s dear. When it comes to conscious focusing, you need to take away obstacles and implement assistance. And here are five things we don’t (while we should) or we do (a big mistake!); sometimes they interfere, like they should, so they won’t work separately.

I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Mailing Me

person is typing on a computer

It’s okay to get notification each time you get a letter. Maybe you even have multiple mailboxes, an work one and a private one, on your PC and your smartphone. But it’s not okay to get started each time you hear that “beep”. It gets even more severe with Facebook, Instagram, and all the social media competing for minutes of your time.

Of course, in the office a glance at a screen won’t cost you as much as it did for the character of Smithereens (Black Mirror, S05E02, not to miss). But it will distract you, and you’ll waste precious moments to get back to your work, while you could have kept your attention on it.

If this habit is really heavy, or you really expect important mail and messages any minute, a smartwatch can be a solution; it just takes a glance at your wrist to see whether it’s worth your time right now. But it’s still half measures; what you really need is forming a habit (the author writes with his smartwatch on, trying desperately to ignore notifications from Facebook).

Make an Agenda to Follow

If you’re interacting with other people, interactions always take time and place. I mean, definite time and definite place. Keeping it all in mind will be too hard; ignoring may cost too much, because a missed meeting is a guaranteed failure.

So, writing the agenda is the way to make sure all these meetings fit into your timeline. It also helps to schedule them the right way, so you can use the results of earlier meetings during the following ones. If your schedule is too tight for all of the meetings, contact someone of them and arrange a delay.

By the way, the time you give to making a schedule is the perfect time for checking all the emails and answering the letters important for it. And schedule some time of the day to check the rest.

Switch Your Mind to One Track Mode

When you keep several windows on your desktop and switch across them frequently, it makes a misimpression that multitasking is easy. A minute here, a minute there; documents before your eyes, podcasts in your ears, plans on your mind. Sorry to disappoint you, but it doesn’t work this way. And when you recall the multitasking of Julius Caesar, who could dictate four letters simultaneously, don’t forget that he missed the assassination.

So, when you’re at work, act like work is your life! Think of it as a mission within a game that requires full concentration. If you work remotely, try to do it in a workspace or a café, with no home mayhem surrounding you. I practiced this method before writing it, and now I conclude that writing at home often takes twice as long.

Get That Garbage Off Your Desk

Creative disorder is a cult that gets too overrated. In fact, the real “creative disorder” is a sort of order, so personalized that strangers can’t figure it out. But that cup of yesterday’s coffee on your desk, or dust on the screen, or those bookmarks in your browsers or shortcuts on the home screen you haven’t used for months?

If you recognize your workspace, remember it when forming your agenda, and schedule an hour or two to clean it. Probably you won’t trust anyone with this job (then it wouldn’t get so far), but call it making your own, beautiful, exquisite sort of creative disorder.

And Don’t Forget to Write it Down

It seems that nothing is better than Outlook for all three tasks above (it lacks a vacuum and a brush for cleaning), especially assisted by Siri or Google Now, to avoid manual input. But, in fact, you need to make it even more manual to concentrate on your work. Yes, we mean writing notes by hand.

Of course, these notes are a potential security breach, so never use paper stickers for, say, passwords, or other confidential data. But a paper reminder works even better than a digital one, just because you’re processing your records with your fingers.

Think it’s obsolete? Well, get a stylus for your tablet, or just type the notes. It will not involve fine motor skill that much, but still, it’s better than nothing. Any way of taking notes shows your attitude, first of all – to yourself.

On Practicing It

Well, after reading of all these techniques, I found them worth trying, so I wrote this article in a clean café, on a table with nothing but my laptop and my coffee, concentrated on writing only. To my surprise, it took me half of the time, I was ready to give to it. If I worked at home, in my usual manner, it would probably take the whole day. So I tick the box and feel on ease to recommend this to you.

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