5 Earth Day Tips for the Office

It’s Earth Day today.  It really should be Earth Day everyday, but let’s start today to being more conscious of what we do today moving forward.  Here are  5 simple tips to use less carbon footprint at the office – no matter where your office is – at work, home, or on the go:

…and I know I’m being ‘Captain Obvious’ with some of this stuff, but we all just need a little reminder or checklist to get us going 

  1. Go Paperless.  Stop printing all those emails & docs – it’s overkill.  Start using tools like Evernote to take digital notes and tools like DocuSign to digitally sign your contracts – no more printing, faxing, mailing, waiting… it’s quick, easy, and perfectly legal.   Remember, by printing less you’re not only saving precious trees, but you’re also saving money by buying less paper and toner for your printer (hence less waste).
  2. More Rs.  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Refuse.  Be conscious about what you purchase (biodegradable & recycable products).  And when you’re no longer in need of something – either donate or recycle it.  With that being said, stop the plastic and styrofoam whenever you can – they’re just so toxic for our planet.  And stop the bulk madness – you really don’t need those 15 boxes of staples!   
  3. Buy Green.  Look for products & services that have a lesser or reduced impact on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose.  And do your research on this one – don’t just go for ‘cute’ labels some of these companies use to get you to buy their stuff  > most are lies <   Yeah, I know, shocker.
  4. Less Power.  Turn off unnecessary electronics when not in use and set your computers on sleep-mode after 15-minutes of not being in use.  Also, look for energy-efficient products when buying new computers, appliances, etc.  Oh and use less water of course!recycle
  5. Stop Polution.  Walk, bike, or carpool to work.  Or better yet – work from home.  With today’s technology people can work from home, hold virtual meetings, and collaborate on projects in virtual workspaces.  Not only will you save our planet, you’ll save on travel expenses and travel time as well!

Remember, every little step you take is just another step closer to a cleaner & happier environment. It starts with You!

Are you doing anything special today to celebrate Earth Day?  Like a group clean up day in your neighborhood.  Please share!

Happy Earth Day 

How to Focus in a Crazy Busy World

Ask anyone how they’re doing and you’ll most likely get a response like ‘I’m crazy busy’.  In today’s fast-paced world we’re expected to do more in less time!  Not only are we expected to do more, we’re also dealing with a lot more information today, and with all that busyness going around it’s getting harder and harder to focus on the important stuff.

Last week I covered the topic of multitasking and how it’s affecting our productivity (in a negative way); this week I have some tips to help you boost your focus.

Focus is more important than intelligence


5 Tips that Boost Focus

  1. Have a Goal.  If you don’t know what your goals are, how do you know what you’re supposed to be doing?  By having a goal (big or small) it’s easier to maintain focus on accomplishing that goal.
  2. Organize Your Space.  Having a messy or even busy workspace is distracting.  By clearing your space you’ll have less distractions.  That doesn’t mean you need to have an über organized workspace, just one that you’re comfortable in – it’s all about You!  Tip:  Less is better.
  3. Brain Dump.  Stop trying to remember everything – always have a (paper or digital) notebook to jot down notes or stuff you need to remember.  By clearing your headspace, you’ll have more space to focus on the important stuff.  My favorite tool for this is my Evernoteit’s with me wherever I go!  
  4. Focus Time.  If you’re like me, once you start working on something you go non-stop and that’s not always a good thing.  Studies have shown that it’s important to take breaks throughout the day.  In his book ‘The way we’re working isn’t working‘, Tony Schwartz recommends doing three 90-minute laser focus sessions throughout the day and taking in between breaks.  Another great technique is the Pomodoro Technique where you set short focus times with intermittent breaks throughout the day:  Start your timer for a specific amount of time and get to work – focusing only on that one task at hand – once the timer goes off you get a certain amount of time to take a break – use this time to get off your chair and do something different (go for a walk, meditate, stretch, do something creative, …)  Once the timer goes off again, it’s time to get to work.  Just look up Pomodoro timers in the app store.  I’ve used the Pomodoro Timer app and like it – even though their recommended 15-minute focus sessions are too short for me – I adjust them to my workstyle, which is more like 45-minute focus time sessions.  Try it out and see what works best for you!
  5. TIO!  Turn it off!  When working on important projects make sure you turn off any distractions on your…
    • Phone:  Put it on silent for a while – you can return calls and messages later.
    • Email:  Unless your project depends on it, turn off email notifications – or better yet, shut it off completely – the emails can wait!   Remember, emails are typically other people’s priorities – get your stuff done first, then worry about the everyone else’s stuff.
    • Social Media:  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, … they’re all screen suckers!  Limit the amount of times you go into social media – go in twice or three times a day and set a limit on the amount of time you stay there.  If you’re still having a hard time getting off social media:  There are apps on the market that will only allow you to be on certain sites for so long.  Tip:  Avoid temptation and turn off notifications for your social media accounts.do not disturb
    • Shut the door:  Do you work at an office or at home where others can just barge in?  Close the door and put up a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign.
    • Your TV.  I’ve been guilty of this – watching TV while working on a project – and this is a huge distraction!  Rather than taking 30 minutes to finish a particular task, you’ll spend 90 minutes getting that same task done – and most likely not nearly as good (see my blog on multitasking & productivity).

Still having a hard time focusing on that project?  Walk away!  Sometimes all it takes is to walk away – go do something fun or start something else and come back to this later – or better yet, tomorrow.  Sometimes all it takes is to take a break and walk away – you’ll feel refreshed and focused to get it done!

Do you have any tips that help you stay focused?  Please share!

Multitasking & Productivity – There’s no such thing!

Multitasking kills productivity

Do you want to improve your productivity?  Do you think multitasking is the solution?  Think again!  Studies have shown that multitasking reduces your productivity by 40{14f5d89cdb458448eb9fffe01321f06ef5bef8c8ad6d8f6849e8ec1fe6b49dc7} – that’s a huge waste of time!

We live in a crazy busy world; we have so much to do with so little time, so we try to do as much as we can with the time that we have and for some of us that means multitasking; like talking on the phone while answering emails, preparing for a presentation while watching a webinar,  shooting out text messages while listening in on a teleseminar, … sound familiar?

You may think you’re being ultra productive by multitasking, but there’s actually no such thing – what you’re really doing is task-switching.  It’s impossible for your brain to do several tasks at the exact same time, what it’s really doing is switching between all your tasks back and forth and back again, so when you’re talking on the phone while answering emails your brain keeps switching in between those two:

Listen to your friend –switch– read your email –switch– answer your friend –switch– ‘what did I just read?’  Arrrgh, read again –switch– answer your friend -switch- answer question in email, Wait!  What was that question again???  #!&^!!!

When you’re doing light tasks, it’s OK to ‘switch-task’ a bit here and there, but when you’re working on important tasks, just stop!

Multitasking Kills Your Productivity

  • Multitasking is just a fancy word for Task-Switching. Stop switching.You’re not saving time – You’re wasting time.  You think you are getting more done, but you’re actually getting less done.  Every time your brain switches between tasks, it takes a few minutes to concentrate on the task at hand – not only is that exhausting, it’s also a huge waste of time.
  • The quality of your work decreases.  By not focusing 100{14f5d89cdb458448eb9fffe01321f06ef5bef8c8ad6d8f6849e8ec1fe6b49dc7} on the task at hand you’re not able to perform high quality work – is that really what you want?
  • Your stress level goes up.  All this switching back & forth is exhausting on your brain and increases your stress level by trying to stay focused and concentrate on everything all at once… stop the insanity!

Productivity Boosters

Want more productive ways to get things done?  Here are 3 tips to get you started:
  • Batch your tasks.  Rather than working randomly on tasks throughout the day, group like-items together to get them done at the same time.  For example batch the calls you have to make, the research you have to do, the errands you have to run, etc.  This way you’re doing the same type of work all at once.
  • Have dedicated focus time.  Block time out of your schedule to get your tough & important tasks done.  Turn off any distractions, set a timer, and get things done.
  • Take breaks.  While having dedicated focus time, always remember to take frequent short breaks, this actually increases your focus, productivity, and quality of work.  I’ll talk more about this in my next blog.
Do you or someone you know struggle with multitasking or getting stuff done?  Please share this post and join in on the conversation below (or just shoot me an email), I’d love to hear from you.