We all need a kick in the seat of the pants sometimes or boost in motivation. We all get in a rut at work sometimes and the beginning of the week is always a good time to focus on productivity. We usually re-access our to-do’s, re-prioritize and reevaluate our goals for the week. Here are some tips that have been on my agenda lately to find ways to keep the minutia from creeping in and killing the major goals.
1. Go for water over coffee. We all think we need some wake up juice in the morning. I am a big coffee drinker even though it took me well in to my late 30’s to develop a taste for strong, black coffee. When I worked in the high pressure industry of auto sales I drank a lot of Red Bull but over time I have some to realize my most productive, most energetic, best feeling days are the ones where (sometimes by sheer force of will power) I choose to drink water and only water. The health benefits are too numerous and already well documented for me to bother listing here. Make yourself into the habit of drinking lots of water 32oz to 64oz is what I usually go for and it makes a huge difference in how I feel which effects my productivity, concentration and creativity, as well as nerves.
2. Have an agenda for every meeting and come out of every meeting with actionable next steps, or at least an outcome or goal in mind. If you don’t have those things in place a meeting can become a black hole of a time suck. If those wanting to meet with you don’t have these things then ask them do we really need to take the time to meet.
3. If you do need multiple details from an individual then Do Meet Face To Face. I find this over connected age of email and texting, often long emails don’t get a thorough answer and short texts end up becoming back and forth affairs that take longer to get the answers you would get if had a face-to-face or over the telephone conversation. Texting is not conversation and it even seems to have shifted our thinking on email. I find that most people just don’t respond if they get a detailed email, or if they do respond they don’t respond with the depth that a simple conversation would elicit. This is not a meeting just a conversation and you will be surprised that if you are up front with someone and say “I don’t want to schedule a meeting but I would like to have a quick conversation about this project or that next step,” people will respond favorably.
4. Use blocks of time to your advantage. Whether you use the Pomodoro Method or an app like 30/30 set out blocks of time to focus on one task and be diligent to guard that time and only work on one thing. Also schedule breaks in. The Pomodoro for instance is a method of 25 minutes of work, a 5 minute break and 25 minutes, then a 5 minute break. You continue on until you have had four 25 minute sessions and then you take a longer break. Repeat.
5. Remember innovation and creativity not only refers to new ideas but also making old ideas better or new AGAIN. Copy and innovate, create a better way to do something by tweaking it. Often in the creative space we put pressure on ourselves to create something from nothing but there is an old adage that says “There is nothing new under the sun.” So find ways to copy/recreate, someone already invented the wheel, be the one to make it better, make it your own, or repurpose it. That is still innovation. Put your voice, your spin, your methodology into something and you have created something new.
So to summarize: Drink water. Have an agenda. Have conversations. Work in blocks of time. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. No to quote the famous MTV philosopher from the reality TV show Rob and Big “Do work son.”