Increase Productivity by Going Out More

getout

Earlier this year if you asked me to go do something my response would have been something like “Sorry I’m too busy” or “I have too much work to do”. I’m sure you’ve said that to someone before as well. The funny thing is that lately I have been going out a lot, yet I have been much more productive. How could that be?

Well first lets examine why I was “too busy” before. Working for myself I set my own hours, deadlines, etc. Being your own boss makes it extremely easy to become lazy. I had been doing minimal work each day and was “keeping busy” rather than doing the important tasks that needed to be done. So I would put the important things off. This meant when someone asked me to do something I didn’t have time because I was rushing to get certain things done because I had been lazy.

Going out more changed all of that. If you truly have a good time when you go out that is something to look forward to right? Hence it gives you motivation to get your work done. If I plan on going out with friends at 7PM that means I have until that time to get my work done for the day. Instead of putting things off and working all day till midnight and not really accomplishing that much.

Going out with friends or even just getting out of the house will drastically improve how you feel as well, especially if you work from home. I’ve had times where I had barely left my apartment for weeks. I was extremely depressed and felt like going crazy!

So stop making the excuses, go out with friends, go to the gym, go see a movie, etc. Do not be trapped by your work. If you have the right motivation you can get all of your work done and go and enjoy life!

Work and Getting Things Done…

Hey blog! It’s been a while! It really has and I really need to get back into blogging. At the end of the day it is good to sit down and let the words flow out. Also I always look back at old blog posts to see what I was up to. I have been blogging since 2005 so it is great to look back.


Pittsburgh, PA (Greenfield Area) – May 8th 2013

Anyways back to what this post is about…getting things done. Do you ever feel like there is just not enough time in the day? That you are always behind on your work? This happens to me constantly and you would think by now I would have a handle on it, but I never do. There are many reasons for it, but let’s not get into that right now. Let’s talk about how to fix it.

So many times I wake up in the morning and I go “Damn I have so much work to do!”, but do I really? I am a master of procrastination so that never helps. You know if someone told me “hey let’s go to a Penguins game I have free tickets” and the game was in an hour you bet your ass I would get my work done before that. Think about that, when there is something important we will get all of our work done. But the thing is important things do not happen that often so what do we do? I have a couple of tips to help you get things done.

Set a Prize
Do you remember how awesome it was to get a prize for doing something good in school? This is the same thing. Set a goal and a prize associated with that goal. Say for me it would be to have 5 reviews written in three days. If I do that maybe I’ll treat myself to a nice dinner. This may sound stupid, but when you reinforce goals with prizes it does tend to help.

The 1 Hour Rule
I put things off, like I said I am a procrastinator. Work can suck sometimes and it can be a pain to complete the most important tasks of the day. I tell myself let me work on this one important task for an hour. I usually knock out this important task and now I have the rest of the day to complete the easier and less stressful tasks.

15 MINUTES!
Another way to really get things done is to just stop what you are doing and ask yourself “how can I get this done in 15 minutes”, believe me it works. Doing this really helps you be effective rather than just slowly doing work tasks.

Pomodoro
This is a productivity technique of breaking time down into 25-minute intervals with 5 minute breaks in between. So you work for 25 minutes, take a 5 minute break then back to work for 25 minutes and so on. This again helps you be effective and really limits distractions.

Hopefully these tips help you get work done! I know I need to use them more, if I did you would see more blog posts!

How To Get All Your Work Done In 2 Hours A Day

Most people think of work as an all day affair. That is what we are programmed to think and what most people do. They go to work in the morning, work all day and come home in the evening. The question you have to ask yourself is how much of that work day is actually spent doing real work? So many people I know complain at how boring their jobs are and how they sit on Facebook all day so I assume most people who work 8 hours a day or not “working” for that full 8 hours.

I happen to be lucky enough that I can pretty much set my own schedule and work when I want, but at the end of the day work needs to get done. For years my work day would last all day and sometimes it seemed like there was not enough hours in the day to get my work done! Working like this is one not productive and two can really stress you out! I know this because I have burnt out many times over the years.

Last month when I went to Hilton Head for a week I was able to get all my work done in 2 hours. How is this possible? I was just as surprised as you that I was able to do this! After coming back I examined how I did it and have come up with the pretty solid set of rules on how you can achieve the same thing no matter where you are or what your job is.

Make a to-do List
Planning should be a very important part of your work day. The night before each work day make your to-do list for the next day. This way you don’t have to waste the time making a list in the morning when you wake up or when you get to work. When making a to-do list it should include the most critical work items, it should not be longer than 10 items. It is it longer than that you are adding non-important tasks.

Complete the Most Critical and Hardest Thing on your to-do List
Take a look at the to-do list you have made. Identify the most critical item on that list. 9 times of 10 it is also the hardest thing to do on that list. Make sure that task is the first thing you complete on your to-do list. I have always been a procrastinator, but once I had that hard task out of the way all of the other tasks for the day seemed trivial compared to it. It is extremely important that you do this, because if you leave the last thing to the end of the day your quality of work towards that task is not going to be as good…believe me I know.

Eliminate Distractions
One of the biggest things that can kill your productivity are distractions. You know that hour long phone call that you knew you shouldn’t have answered, that YouTube video someone just sent your and of course Facebook. I could go on and on about how you can eliminate these distractions, but that is an entire post in itself. The biggest thing is close off those distractions. Do NOT have Facebook or Twitter open all day. Check e-mail twice a day and that is it! Put your phone in the other room, turn it on silent or turn it off completely. With all of these things you are not going to miss anything believe me, they are just distractions to your work. And once you are done with your work you can catch up on Facebook and Twitter and check your phone for missed calls or messages.

Have Something to Work Towards
When I was on vacation my biggest motivation to get my work done was that after I was done with work I could go hang out on the beach, explore the island or go on some other type of adventure. Obviously most of us do not have that luxury, but we can still look forward to many things once we are done with our work. You could see some of the fun things that there are to do in your area and actually go do them, set a night each week to go out with friends, or join a fitness class. There are many different options, but having something to look forward to after work definitely helps you get your work done as quick as possible.

This set of 4 rules should really help you cut down the hours you are actually working, maybe not to 2 hours, but I know that using this system I have been able to basically cut my work day in half and many days down to 2 hours! There are many other things you can do to really cut your work down like outsourcing, but that is for another post. Imagine what you could accomplish if you were able to cut the hours you are working in half! Try this system and I am sure you will have success!

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Turning my Desk into a Standing Desk!

As I’ve gotten older it seems I have been exercising and working out less and less. This is never good and teamed with sitting down most of the day as I work it is definitely not a good thing. It seemed I was getting more and more tired every day, and half-way through the day I would just crash. This of course would effect my productivity and quality of work so I decided to do some research.

After seeing this infographic, reading this article and a few others just like it I found that one of the problems could be that I sit most of the day. So I went looking for standing desks. To my surprise they were very expensive and not something that I really could see in my office. I first decided to prop my keyboard, mouse, and displays up and stand in front of them. This did work, but was not very comfortable and my desk looked like a mess!

I eventually took the props down and was back to sitting. I knew if I actually was able to raise my desk I could stick with it and actually have a real standing desk. I talked to my dad about it and he made me 3 wood blocks that I could set my desk up on.

So far I’ve had my desk like this for 2 weeks and I don’t feel like changing it anytime soon. Having this higher desk means that I am standing most of the time and when I am not I do have a stool, but I try and not use it when I don’t really have to. Having my desk up higher it seems I tend to keep it cleaner and I have more room under it for things. One thing I would suggest if you do want to move to a standing desk is that you get a floor mat for your feet, standing on a hardwood floor all day is not fun!

TeuxDeux: The Pefect To-Do List

So for the longest time I had been looking for a to-do list app for my iPhone. Not only just an iPhone app, but something that I could use on my desktop or pretty much anywhere. So many of the apps that I found were not simple to do list’s and have so many unnecessary features that makes things confusing and do not get the job done. A couple of months ago my friend Pat told me about TeuxDeux.

TeuxDeux is a simple to-do list. It is web-based so all you have to do is create an account and you are good to go. TuexDeux is so simple you just create a list for each day of the week. When you complete a task just click on it and it will be crossed out. That is it, it is that simple.

It is awesome that something so simple works so great. To give you an idea of how TeuxDeux works check out the video below.

The fact that I can use TeuxDeux anywhere is probably why I like it. I can use it on my iPhone, Laptop, tablet, or any public computer really. This is made possible because it is web-based. TeuxDeux does offer an iPhone app for $2.99, but if you do not want to shell out the cash you can always just use TeuxDeux on the browser on your phone. Give TeuxDeux a try and let me know what you think!