getting things done http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/10760/all en-US 11 Time Saving Hacks From the World's Busiest People http://www.wisebread.com/11-time-saving-hacks-from-the-worlds-busiest-people <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-time-saving-hacks-from-the-worlds-busiest-people" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/business-meeting-471500577-small.jpg" alt="business meeting" title="business meeting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Being busy does not always mean real work,&quot; said Thomas Edison.</p> <p>Seeming to do a lot but not accomplishing anything is a complete waste of time. For example, <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brain-trust/201202/is-your-brain-multitasking">only 2% of people can multitask successfully</a>. Instead of working harder, you need to work smarter.</p> <p>So check out these 11 time saving hacks from some of the world's busiest people.</p> <h2>1. Never Say Yes on a Call</h2> <p>This is a must for Dharmesh Shah, Hubspot CTO and Founder.</p> <p>He points to this <a href="http://theoatmeal.com/comics/phone%20">cartoon from The Oatmeal</a> as a great explanation why people have a hard time saying &quot;no.&quot; However, he insists that you need to enforce a strict policy to <a href="http://onstartups.com/tabid/3339/bid/92302/Sorry-No-Calls.aspx">never say yes to something on the call</a>. You need to give yourself time to think about the issue and follow-up via email. This reduces your remorse about commitment too fast, prevents you from getting involved with time-suckers, and avoids &quot;he-said-she-said&quot; arguments through documentation.</p> <h2>2. Check Email Only Twice Per Day</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/030746363X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=030746363X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=QZA2OBAP5HVKMEOU">4-Hour Workweek</a> was a #1 The New York Times bestseller because it was filled with great time saving hacks. Its author, Tim Ferriss, recommends that you <a href="http://fourhourworkweek.com/2007/03/22/how-to-check-e-mail-twice-a-day-or-once-every-10-days/">only check your email twice a day</a> and have everybody, including your boss, accept it. It is a fact that the average person spends <a href="http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/high_tech_telecoms_internet/the_social_economy">about 13 hours every week</a> sorting through email.</p> <p>A writer from Fast Company test drove checking out email only twice a day and was able to cut down her <a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/3030999/work-smart/what-i-learned-from-checking-email-only-twice-a-day">time spent on email from 14 to 5 hours per week</a>. Tim recommends using these <a href="http://fourhourworkweek.com/2014/07/14/autoresponse/">two tried-and true email autoresponders</a> to train others to follow your new email regime. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-get-people-to-respond-to-your-email?ref=seealso">15 Ways to Get People to Respond to Your Email</a>)</p> <h2>3. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate</h2> <p>Now that you are spending less time on your email, you need to be more efficient at it.</p> <p>Like Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, you can burn through your email inbox by delegating tasks to the appropriate person. He famously manages his email inbox by forwarding every message with just &quot;?&quot; to the appropriate person. The lesson is that you don't need to do everything yourself and that you should trust others to do their jobs. They will be more efficient in solving the problem than you.</p> <h2>4. Outsource Non-Priorities</h2> <p>Matt DeCelles, Co-founder of William Painter, recommends that you need to <a href="http://www.quora.com/As-a-startup-CEO-what-is-your-favorite-productivity-hack/answer/Matt-DeCelles?srid=n2Fg&amp;share=1">prioritize the most important tasks</a>. Whatever is not important (e.g. transcribing a one-hour meeting recording or breaking down the data from six email lists into the fields of an email database) needs to be outsourced. He recommends using sites, such as <a href="http://www.elance.com/">Elance</a> and <a href="http://www.fiverr.com/">Fiverr</a>, to hire freelancers for a wide variety of tasks at reasonable rates.</p> <p>Also, he recommends the use of <a href="http://www.fancyhands.com">Fancy Hands</a> and <a href="http://www.zirtual.com">Zirtual</a> to hire virtual assistants for about $10 per hour. This way you can focus on the work that truly matters.</p> <h2>5. Have a &quot;No Meetings&quot; Day</h2> <p>Facebook Co-founder, Dustin Moskowitz's favorite time saving hack is &quot;<a href="http://www.quora.com/How-does-Asana-approach-No-Meeting-Wednesday">No Meeting Wednesdays</a>.&quot; The idea is is that most people should have have at least one day of the week completely clear of meetings so that they can focus on critical work.</p> <p>For example, on his &quot;No Meeting Wednesday&quot; Dustin focuses only on coding. After all, that's how he became one of the world's youngest self-made billionaires. Dustin recommends to use judgment and decide when to make exceptions (e.g. an outstanding candidate is only available to interview on Wednesdays). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-youngest-entrepreneurs-to-make-it-big?ref=seealso">The 6 Youngest Entrepreneurs to Make It Big</a>)</p> <h2>6. Run Meetings Effectively</h2> <p>When you do need to meet, run meetings like Google's Larry Page. The company's VP of Business Operations <a href="http://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/start-up-speed-kristen-gil.html">Kristen Gil broke down Larry's rules on meetings</a> into a clear list of key items.</p> <ul> <li>Every meeting must have a decision maker. If it doesn't, then no meeting is required.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Meetings should consist of no more than 10 people. No &quot;flies in the wall.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Decisions should never wait for a meeting. If meeting cannot be held ASAP, then make a call.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Empower decision makers to kill projects and, more importantly, meetings.</li> </ul> <h2>7. Keep a List of Action Items</h2> <p>Even though Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg runs one of the highest valued companies in the world, she still leaves around 5:30 p.m. every day to have dinner with her husband and spend time with her kids. Mark Zuckerberg describes her as &quot;superhuman.&quot;</p> <p>Her trick is that she doesn't work eight hours a day &mdash; she completes a finite number of tasks per day. In a high tech company, she goes analog by keeping a <a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/3021002/bottom-line/the-5-secrets-to-sheryl-sandbergs-super-powers">spiral-bound notebook with discussion points and action items</a>. As she goes through her day, she crosses out the action items. If she can cover the action items from an hour long meeting in 10 minutes, she adjourns the meeting.</p> <h2>8. Use the Two-Minute Rule</h2> <p>Keep your list of action items, but be willing to <a href="http://gettingthingsdone.com/fivesteps/">accept a new task if it takes less than two minutes</a> to complete. If it takes more than that, then delegate it or include it in a future list of action items.</p> <p>This is the mantra of David Allen, author of <a href="https://gettingthingsdone.com/store/product.php?productid=16175&amp;cat=3&amp;page=">Getting Things Done</a>. David Allens' GTD management system and two-minute rule is used by some of the busiest people, including <a href="http://www.withbeans.com/2011/07/11/famous-people-who-use-gtd-getting-things-done/">Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, and Tom Cruise</a>.</p> <h2>9. Make Time for One-on-Ones</h2> <p>If you go over the <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericjackson/2014/05/11/the-top-8-reasons-your-best-people-are-about-to-quit-and-how-you-can-keep-them/">top 8 reasons your best people are about to quit</a>, you quickly realize that people quit their bosses, not their jobs. There are plenty of <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/alanhall/2013/03/11/im-outta-here-why-2-million-americans-quit-every-month-and-5-steps-to-turn-the-epidemic-around/">employee surveys</a> to support this.</p> <p>That's why Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman makes times to meet one-on-one with one of his direct reports every week. He claims that this is the <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1q6xqn/i_am_jeremy_stoppelman_ceo_and_cofounder_of_yelp/">single most important management tip</a> he has learned. By listening to the personal and professional problems of his employees, he shows that he truly cares about his employees and nips any issues in the bud.</p> <p>After all, one estimate puts the <a href="http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/83774">average cost of recruiting, hiring, and training a new employee at close to $4,000</a>.</p> <h2>10. Take a Nap</h2> <p>Job stress is estimated to cost America <a href="http://www.apa.org/practice/programs/workplace/phwp-fact-sheet.pdf">over $300 billion a year</a>.</p> <p>That's why Arianna Huffington provides her team with <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/arianna-huffington-sleep-nap-rooms-2013-10">two nap rooms at The Huffington Post</a>. By taking and letting others take one-hour naps, Arianna maintains a high energy operation at all times and puts a dent on job stress related costs. Additionally, chasing your cup of coffee with a nap is a great habit to maximize the effects of a caffeine fix. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-habits-you-must-start-right-now-and-be-a-better-person?ref=seealso">20 Habits You Must Start Right Now and Be a Better Person</a>)</p> <h2>11. Take a Serious Vacation</h2> <p>The busiest people are so busy with the day-to-day that they often cannot concentrate on the strategic, long term issues. By taking serious vacations, they invent the time to think about those issues.</p> <p>It may sound contradictory, but in countries where people take more vacation each year, <a href="http://www.bus.ucf.edu/faculty/rhofler/file.axd?file=2011%2F2%2FHouggy-Vacation+and+productivity.pdf">employees are more productive per hour worked</a>. Jim Moffat, chairman and chief executive of Deloitte Consulting LLP, takes serious notice of this fact and <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesleadershipforum/2013/06/04/take-a-serious-vacation-a-ceos-advice-to-all-ceos/">forces himself to take a summer break</a>.</p> <p>He believes this is time saving hack because during that time, he can:</p> <ul> <li>Focus on developing a strategy for the upcoming 9-to-24 month period;</li> <li>Evaluate whether or not hired employees are qualified for serious tasks; and</li> <li>Test his succession strategy.</li> </ul> <p>In a nutshell: If your company cannot survive without you for a few days, then there is a big problem.</p> <p><em>What is your favorite time saving hack?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-time-saving-hacks-from-the-worlds-busiest-people" class="sharethis-link" title="11 Time Saving Hacks From the World&#039;s Busiest People" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-time-saving-hacks-from-the-worlds-busiest-people">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-little-productivity-killers-you-need-to-stop-doing-today">10 Dumb Little Productivity Killers You Need to Stop Doing Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-to-do-lists-more-effective-with-these-5-simple-hacks">Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective With These 5 Simple Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-no-stress-ways-to-do-more-in-less-time">10 No-Stress Ways to Do More in Less Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-ways-to-work-smarter-not-harder">The 5 Best Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/multitasking-sucks-even-more-than-you-thought">Multitasking Sucks Even More Than You Thought</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Productivity getting things done organization productivity time-savers Wed, 24 Sep 2014 17:00:08 +0000 Damian Davila 1219249 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best Ways to Spend the First 10 Minutes of Your Workday http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-ways-to-spend-the-first-10-minutes-of-your-workday <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-ways-to-spend-the-first-10-minutes-of-your-workday" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businessman-morning-494373053-small.jpg" alt="businessman morning" title="businessman morning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As Plato wrote in 380 B.C., &quot;The beginning is the most important part of the work.&quot; It's a truth that still stands today: How you begin your work day sets the tone for the rest of it. If you do your morning right, you're apt to have an overall day where you accomplish more, stress less, and earn more recognition for your productivity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-successful-people-do-every-morning?ref=seealso">13 Things Successful People Do Every Morning</a>)</p> <p>Read on for our roundup of the top tips and tricks on starting the work day off right.</p> <h2>1. Don't Check Your Email</h2> <p>Julie Morganstern's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0743250885/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0743250885&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=B5W2ELQZKCNTSVID">Never Check E-Mail In the Morning: And Other Unexpected Strategies for Making Your Work Life Work</a> preaches the near-unfathomable: Don't start the day by checking your inbox.</p> <p>Email is often a black hole and our number one time suck. Checking it never feels like much of an accomplishment because while you're reading, deleting, and responding, more and more messages are piling up. Instead, Morganstern suggests we begin the work day by crossing off a task with a single focus &mdash; something we can truly feel accomplished about.</p> <p>If you fear a vitally important email might slip through the cracks if you delay checking your inbox, we recommend <a href="http://www.awayfind.com/">AwayFind</a>, a program that cuts through the clutter, notifying you on your cell phone about only the most urgent messages.</p> <h2>2. Clear Your Desk of Clutter</h2> <p>Throw out yesterday's empty disposable coffee cup and that stack of memos from last week. Studies show that a cluttered workspace actually hinders our ability to process information and concentrate. We aren't aware of it, but <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21228167">clutter competes for our attention</a> in much the same way as a whining child or a barking dog does.</p> <h2>3. Organize Your Day</h2> <p>Just like school children who attend a homeroom period at the start of the day, adults in the workplace should carve out a few minutes in the morning to review schedules, assess priorities, and set goals. A little organization can go along way to getting your day on track.</p> <h2>4. Make Big Decisions</h2> <p>Research shows that morning time is when we're best equipped to <a href="http://pss.sagepub.com/content/25/1/95">make clear-headed decisions</a> relating to ethics and tough situations. So it's best to pull the trigger on any hiring, firing, financial, or otherwise important quandaries at the very start of the day, before your mind gets strained or overwhelmed.</p> <h2>5. Take Advantage of a Clear Mind</h2> <p>Decision-making isn't the only task a clear mind is good for. A focused mind helps us complete tasks of all sorts more quickly and accurately. &quot;In considering the <a href="http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/01/05/the-benefits-of-focused-attention/">limitations of attention</a> imagine the following scenario,&quot; writes Jamie Hale for PsychCentral. &quot;You find a parking spot that is tight and requires parallel parking. One of the first things you will probably do is turn the radio down. You turn the radio down so you can focus on getting the car in the parking space.&quot; So while when your brain is at its sharpest, begin working on the most important assignments of your day.</p> <p><em>How do you start your day for maximum productivity? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-ways-to-spend-the-first-10-minutes-of-your-workday" class="sharethis-link" title="The 5 Best Ways to Spend the First 10 Minutes of Your Workday" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-ways-to-spend-the-first-10-minutes-of-your-workday">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-productivity-apps-for-really-busy-people-like-you">The 10 Best Productivity Apps for Really Busy People Like You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-love-lists">Why I Love Lists</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-make-multitasking-actually-work">The Simple Way to Make Multitasking Actually Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-youre-wasting-time-without-realizing-it">10 Ways You&#039;re Wasting Time Without Realizing It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-useful-things-you-can-do-in-15-minutes-or-less">101 Useful Things You Can Do in 15 Minutes or Less</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Organization Productivity getting things done mornings to-do work Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:00:05 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1211249 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-ways-to-work-smarter-not-harder <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-ways-to-work-smarter-not-harder" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/office-3726435-small.jpg" alt="office" title="office" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Work smarter, not harder.&quot;</p> <p>It's a cliche, but one that most smart people aspire to. Reason being, working harder is&hellip; well, harder. Working smarter requires a lot less effort, while also making you a shining diamond in the eyes of supervisor and colleague alike. Read on for a quick guide on how you can make this old workplace cliche a way of life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-move-from-being-busy-to-actually-getting-things-done?ref=seealso">Go From Busy to Getting Things Done</a>)</p> <h2>1. Get in Sync With Yourself</h2> <p>There's one thing that you <em>can't</em> schedule in life: Your body. It does what it wants, whether it's getting tired or wanting food. But what if you could hack the natural rhythms of the body to work smarter, not harder? There are a few ways to do this:</p> <ul> <li>Eat the lion's share of your food during the eight hours of the day <a href="http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10000872396390444180004578018294057070544">when you're most productive</a>. A recent study found mice that did this were significantly leaner, with lower cholesterol. Make your dinner a light meal earlier in the evening.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>On the subject of food, breakfast is the best time to take your vitamins for maximum effect.</li> <li>For those who nod off in the afternoon, take a quick, 20-minute nap between 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. This will help to restore your energy and avoid drifting off. It's also more in line with <a href="http://blog.bufferapp.com/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need-to-work-productively">natural, pre-industrial body rhythms</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>For readers, 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. are the best times to read something and retain it over time.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Work out between the hours of 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. During these hours, your body strength is 6% higher than at its lowest point. Doing cardio? Shoot for between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.</li> </ul> <p>Your body's natural rhythms can be a powerful ally in the battle to work smarter, not harder. Leverage them to maximum effect. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-working-out-makes-you-smarter-too?ref=seealso">6 Ways Working out Makes You Smarter</a>)</p> <h2>2. Prioritize Your Goals</h2> <p>Setting goals and making an effort to reach them is wonderful. But what happens when you have too many goals? You can't focus on reaching any of them. You have to prioritize.</p> <p>Elizabeth Lang recently shared with Wise Bread a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-steps-to-prioritizing-and-reaching-all-your-goals?ref=seealso">six step plan for prioritizing your goal list</a>. Here's the short version, but be sure to read her post for all the details.</p> <ol> <li>Decide if accomplishing one goal will help you reach another. If so, bump it up the list.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Is the goal health-related? Bump it up because a healthier you is a happier, more efficient you.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Will you miss an opportunity if you wait? If not, wait. Otherwise, move it up.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>How will the goal affect your happiness? There is not an easy up or down answer to this one, but keep in mind that anticipation is a kind of happiness, and many small jolts of happiness can add up to one big one.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>How long will it take to reach the goal? Try to mix up your long term and short term goals. That way you get some easy victories to tide you over while the long term projects are ongoing.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>How much will it cost? If you can't afford it, put it on the back burner. And if one of your goals is making more money &mdash; move that one up, and you'll be able to afford this one that much sooner.</li> </ol> <h2>3. Plan Distractions</h2> <p>It's easier than ever to get distracted from your work. Even if your company blocks social media, you might get sucked down a Wikipedia wormhole or even just get engrossed in a long-form article on <em>The Atlantic's</em> website that's totally related to your job. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tools-that-stop-computer-distractions-and-help-you-stay-on-task?ref=seealso">6 Stops That Stop Computer Distractions</a>)</p> <p>Yeah, right.</p> <p>However, if you <em>plan</em> for distractions, you minimize their impact. What percentage of your time are you willing to waste away due to distractions? Figure it out and set a mental timer for a window. Say that it's 10 minutes every hour. Let yourself get as distracted as you like from :50 until the top of the hour. Then get back at it.</p> <p>Miss the window? Sorry, no makeups. You need to wait a whole other hour to waste time.</p> <h2>4 . Keep a &quot;Nothing to Do&quot; List</h2> <p>We've all had times at work when there's &quot;nothing to do.&quot; Rather than letting this down time be an unproductive dead zone, make a list of things that you can do when there's &quot;nothing to do.&quot; Avoid the temptation to make this busy work. Instead, list the things that are tasks you need to get done but &quot;never have time for.&quot; This way you kill two birds with one stone: productivity during down times and more completed tasks. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-to-do-lists-more-effective-with-these-5-simple-hacks?ref=seealso">5 Hacks to Make Your To-Do List More Effective</a>)</p> <h2>5. Delegate or Cut Down</h2> <p>If you have people reporting to you, use that resource. Remember that being swamped with work isn't a badge of honor. In fact, it can be a sign that you're taking on too much. Delegate tasks that other people can handle down the chain of command. If something falls in your lap that isn't entirely in your department, share the task with the person whose job is more aligned. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-delegate-at-work-and-at-home-in-4-easy-steps?ref=seealso">How to Delegate in 4 Steps</a>)</p> <p>If you're working for yourself, you might not have the luxury to delegate. However, you do have the option to cut down on work by looking critically at tasks that take up a lot of your time for little benefit.</p> <p><em>How are you working smarter? Spend your distraction time sharing your secrets in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-ways-to-work-smarter-not-harder" class="sharethis-link" title="The 5 Best Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nicholas-pell">Nicholas Pell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-ways-to-work-smarter-not-harder">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-time-saving-hacks-from-the-worlds-busiest-people">11 Time Saving Hacks From the World&#039;s Busiest People</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-move-from-being-busy-to-actually-getting-things-done">How to Move From Being Busy to Actually Getting Things Done</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-successful-people-do-every-morning">13 Things Successful People Do Every Morning</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-little-productivity-killers-you-need-to-stop-doing-today">10 Dumb Little Productivity Killers You Need to Stop Doing Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-make-multitasking-actually-work">The Simple Way to Make Multitasking Actually Work</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Productivity getting things done productivity working smarter Fri, 14 Feb 2014 11:36:15 +0000 Nicholas Pell 1125262 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Move From Being Busy to Actually Getting Things Done http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-move-from-being-busy-to-actually-getting-things-done <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-move-from-being-busy-to-actually-getting-things-done" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/desk-5319819-small.jpg" alt="man at desk" title="man at desk" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Today more than ever, we all seem to get busier and busier, with many feeling like they&#39;ve become so busy that nothing productive actually gets done. If you&#39;re feeling like you&#39;re running around in circles, here are some tips on how to move towards getting more things done in the same amount of time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-doing-less-helps-you-get-more-done?ref=seealso">Do Less to Get More Done</a>)</p> <h2>Keep To-Do Lists</h2> <p>By having an agenda of items to do each day or week, you can focus your attention towards what actually needs to be done. Keeping track of tasks on a list also helps to prioritize things to do and can help you better understand what may be triggering any feelings of anxiety or &quot;over busyness.&quot; If you&#39;re a techie, there are apps for smartphones and tablets that are designed specifically as to-do lists, but if you&#39;re like me, there&#39;s no better satisfaction than being able to physically cross off completed tasks on your daily planner. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-to-do-lists-more-effective-with-these-5-simple-hacks?ref=seealso">Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective</a>)</p> <h2>Have Specific Work and Play Times</h2> <p>Learning to discipline yourself by limiting your time for tasks can help your mind focus on what needs to get done. By having work deadlines (and leisure deadlines), you are able to put your tasks into a specific window of time. Doing this mental exercise can also give you perspective on what tasks are taking the most time and which ones are trivial. Also, allow yourself to quit once the deadline comes. Give yourself time to hang out and unwind; it can help recharge your brain and lower stress. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-to-have-fun-give-yourself-a-deadline?ref=seealso">Want to Have Fun? Give Yourself a Deadline</a>)</p> <h2>And Have Specific Email Time, Too!</h2> <p>Tim Ferriss, author of the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307465357/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0307465357&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">4 Hour Workweek,</a> made the idea of getting away from email famous. He really pushed the idea of allowing yourself time away from unimportant emails by practicing what he preached: He will only check email twice a day, at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Incorporating a disciplined email schedule into your work day can help you avoid distractions and getting caught up in mundane tasks that are taking you away from what needs to get done. Set specific times for checking email and make sure to let your colleagues know that this will be happening.</p> <h2>Back Away From Social Media</h2> <p>Unless social media is part of your job, it&#39;s probably one of the biggest drains of time in your day. Everyone needs a break here and there from work, but until you have the discipline to allot small windows of time to Facebook and stick to that, it&#39;s best to go cold turkey and avoid social media and games until after your work window has passed. Also, if you have an iPhone, use the &quot;Do Not Disturb&quot; function (and if you don&#39;t have an iPhone &mdash; there are plenty of Do Not Disturb apps available), so that emergency calls can get through, but distracting texts and push notifications won&#39;t. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-break-your-social-media-habit?ref=seealso">How to Break Your Social Media Habit</a>)</p> <h2>Learn to Delegate</h2> <p>We all like to feel needed, but we probably aren&#39;t as needed as we think. Start to take a look at your daily responsibilities and see if there are tasks that can be delegated to other capable individuals. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-delegate-at-work-and-at-home-in-4-easy-steps?ref=seealso">How to Delegate at Work and Home</a>)</p> <p>Hiring a virtual assistant or bringing on a part-timer to do tasks around the office can free up your time to handle larger projects, which can help to close deadlines faster and help to pay for themselves in no time. Even if you don&#39;t have the authority to hire new employees or don&#39;t think you can bring on the expense of a virtual assistant, there may be tasks on your to-do lists that could be handled by a colleague or co-worker just as well as you&#39;ve done.</p> <h2>Cancel Routine Meetings</h2> <p>Status meetings are useful &mdash; if there are statuses to be updated.</p> <p>When I was a project manager for a website firm, the majority of my week was tied up in meetings about status updates for each client. Do you know what the majority of those meetings were actually about? Learning there weren&#39;t any new updates from the last meeting and that we were still on pace. It was frustrating to get pulled away from work for nothing. Having a meeting for the sake of having a meeting takes everyone away from their duties and stops the workflow.</p> <p>If you have the ability to schedule meetings, limit status meetings to bi-weekly at most and notify your team that you&#39;re adhering to the idea that &quot;no news is good news.&quot; If you can show your team that you trust them to do the job assigned, it will help them respect your position and know that you have faith that they can handle whatever comes their way. Just be sure to mention that you&#39;re there to help in emergencies. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-id-love-to-change-about-meetings?ref=seealso">7 Things to Change About Meetings</a>)</p> <p>If you&#39;re not able to cancel meetings, look at your schedule and decide if a meeting is important or if your time would be better spent working on your to-do list. Talk to your boss about your concerns regarding your use of time and ask if you could abstain from meetings where you don&#39;t feel you&#39;re able to contribute. If your boss doesn&#39;t budge, compromise with a request to stay for the first half of the meeting only.</p> <p><em>How have you gone from busy to productive? How did you do it? Take a moment (but only one!) and share it with us in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-move-from-being-busy-to-actually-getting-things-done" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Move From Being Busy to Actually Getting Things Done" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/megan-brame">Megan Brame</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-move-from-being-busy-to-actually-getting-things-done">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-time-saving-hacks-from-the-worlds-busiest-people">11 Time Saving Hacks From the World&#039;s Busiest People</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-why-your-projects-always-take-longer-than-you-expect">This Is Why Your Projects Always Take Longer Than You Expect</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-no-stress-ways-to-do-more-in-less-time">10 No-Stress Ways to Do More in Less Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-ways-to-work-smarter-not-harder">The 5 Best Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-successful-people-do-every-morning">13 Things Successful People Do Every Morning</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Productivity getting things done planning productivity Fri, 17 Jan 2014 11:24:13 +0000 Megan Brame 1111398 at http://www.wisebread.com The 10 Best Productivity Apps for Really Busy People Like You http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-productivity-apps-for-really-busy-people-like-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-10-best-productivity-apps-for-really-busy-people-like-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/post-its-4676604-small.jpg" alt="post-it notes" title="post-it notes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="178" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I have three kids, a business, and a few blogs, and I just signed up to become a Girl Scout leader. When people ask me, &quot;How do you do it all?&quot; my usual reply is, &quot;I give up, how?&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-your-best-productivity-advice">What Is Your Best Productivity Advice?</a>)</p> <p>Turns out, &quot;How do you do it all?&quot; is not a joke, or if it is, I'm still waiting to hear the punch line. In reality, I'm supposed to figure out how to get it all done in a day, on my own. Well, not completely on my own. I have a smartphone, and therefore I have a choice of to-do list apps to help me.</p> <p>Here are the 10 apps that most experts consider to be the best at helping people like me get it all done.</p> <h2>1. Todoist</h2> <p>Works on: <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.todoist">Android</a>, <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;RD_PARM1=https%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus%252Fapp%252Ftodoist-to-do-list-task-list%252Fid572688855%253Fmt%253D8%2526uo%253D4%2526partnerId%253D30/">iOS</a>, Windows, Mac, Web</p> <p>Cost: Free or $29/year for Premium</p> <p>A recent <a href="http://mashable.com/2012/08/29/to-do-list-apps-mobile/">Mashable post</a> commended <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;RD_PARM1=https%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus%252Fapp%252Ftodoist-to-do-list-task-list%252Fid572688855%253Fmt%253D8%2526uo%253D4%2526partnerId%253D30/">this uncluttered app</a> because it &quot;has enough power to take on a nearly infinite task list, meaning that there's no data ceiling to hit.&quot; You can create any number of projects with deadlines for each, break each one down into the steps you must take to accomplish it, and color code everything to keep it straight.</p> <p>If your to-do list isn't only for you, try their free online collaboration product, <a href="https://wedoist.com/">Wedoist</a>.</p> <h2>2. Awesome Note</h2> <p>Works on: <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;RD_PARM1=https%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus%252Fapp%252Fawesome-note-%252Bto-do-calendar%252Fid320203391%253Fmt%253D8%2526uo%253D4%2526partnerId%253D30">iOS</a> or Galaxy Note</p> <p>Cost: $3.99</p> <p><a href="http://ipod.about.com/od/bestiphoneapps/tp/Top-To-Do-List-Apps-For-The-Iphone.htm">About.com's iPhone/iPod expert gave this app 5 out of 5 stars</a> because you can easily sync your to-do list with Evernote or Google Docs.</p> <p>&quot;I also love the monthly calendar view for getting an overview of your tasks for the coming weeks,&quot; wrote iPhone expert Tanya Menoni.</p> <p><a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;RD_PARM1=https%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus%252Fapp%252Fawesome-note-%252Bto-do-calendar%252Fid320203391%253Fmt%253D8%2526uo%253D4%2526partnerId%253D30">Awesome Note</a> isn't just a to-do list, either &mdash; it's a full-function note-taking and organizational app. That means it has a bit of a learning curve, but the time invested is reportedly worth it.</p> <h2>3. Wunderlist 2</h2> <p>Works on: <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;RD_PARM1=https%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus%252Fapp%252Fwunderlist-to-do-task-list%252Fid406644151%253Fmt%253D8%2526uo%253D4%2526partnerId%253D30">iOS</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004TMPJP6/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004TMPJP6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=best-apps-20">Android</a>, Mac, Windows</p> <p>Cost: Free</p> <p>Simple and good-looking,&nbsp;<a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;RD_PARM1=https%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus%252Fapp%252Fwunderlist-to-do-task-list%252Fid406644151%253Fmt%253D8%2526uo%253D4%2526partnerId%253D30">Wunderlist 2</a> was flagged as one of the best by <a href="http://www.techradar.com/us/news/software/applications/6-best-to-do-apps-and-extensions-to-manage-your-time-1144266">TechRadar, which raved about its ease of use and flexibility</a>. You can view your to-do items as a simple list, or you can have alerts or emails pop up to remind you when things come due.</p> <p>Your lists are stored in the cloud, and you can share them, turning this into a group productivity app.</p> <h2>4. Remember the Milk</h2> <p>Works on: <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;RD_PARM1=https%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus%252Fapp%252Fremember-the-milk%252Fid293561396%253Fmt%253D8%2526uo%253D4%2526partnerId%253D30">iOS</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00657XVYY/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00657XVYY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=best-apps-20">Android</a>, Blackberry, Web</p> <p>Cost: Free or $25/year for Pro</p> <p><a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;RD_PARM1=https%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus%252Fapp%252Fremember-the-milk%252Fid293561396%253Fmt%253D8%2526uo%253D4%2526partnerId%253D30">Remember the Milk</a> plays well with others, interacting with Siri on iPhone, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-gmail-account">with Gmail</a> and Google Tasks. The Pro version syncs with Outlook. <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5924093/five-best-to+do-list-managers">LifeHacker raves about the recent iOS and Android overhauls</a> that make the app &quot;even easier to use.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Do It (Tomorrow) HD</h2> <p>Works on: <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.adylitica.android.DoItTomorrow">Android</a>, <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;RD_PARM1=https%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus%252Fapp%252Fdo-it-tomorrow-hd%252Fid418104857%253Fmt%253D8%2526uo%253D4%2526partnerId%253D30">iOS</a></p> <p>Cost: Free for phones, $4.99 for iPad</p> <p><a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;RD_PARM1=https%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus%252Fapp%252Fdo-it-tomorrow-hd%252Fid418104857%253Fmt%253D8%2526uo%253D4%2526partnerId%253D30">Do It (Tomorrow) HD</a> tops <a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/3009179/dialed/a-list-of-the-6-best-alternative-to-do-list-apps">Fast Company's list of &quot;alternative&quot; to-do apps</a> because it helps users &quot;efficiently procrastinate&quot; by moving items from today's list to tomorrow's with one little swipe. I like this idea, because there's nothing more disheartening than looking at a to-do list full of unchecked tasks at the end of the day. I'm not sure if this app would actually help me get things done, but it could help me sleep better at night.</p> <h2>6. Any.do</h2> <p>Works on: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006HUC29E/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B006HUC29E&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=best-apps-20">Android</a>, <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;RD_PARM1=https%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus%252Fapp%252Fany.do%252Fid497328576%253Fmt%253D8%2526uo%253D4%2526partnerId%253D30">iOS</a></p> <p>Cost: Free</p> <p>The San Francisco Chronicle recently named <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;RD_PARM1=https%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus%252Fapp%252Fany.do%252Fid497328576%253Fmt%253D8%2526uo%253D4%2526partnerId%253D30">Any.do</a> the <a href="http://www.sfchronicle.com/technology/article/App-of-the-week-Any-do-4651566.php">App of the Week</a> because it doesn't wait for you to tell it what you need to do &mdash; the app tells you. It integrates with Gmail and other email, and it guesses based on your messages what you need to do to follow up. If it guesses right, you don't have to type the to-do item, just accept it.</p> <h2>7. Conqu</h2> <p>Works on: <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;RD_PARM1=https%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus%252Fapp%252Fconqu-for-iphone%252Fid478176628%253Fmt%253D8%2526uo%253D4%2526partnerId%253D30">iOS</a></p> <p>Cost: $4.99</p> <p>There's nothing more maddening than driving right past the library without remembering that you've got a trunk full of overdue books to return. So I love the idea of <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;RD_PARM1=https%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus%252Fapp%252Fconqu-for-iphone%252Fid478176628%253Fmt%253D8%2526uo%253D4%2526partnerId%253D30" click.linksynergy.com="" fs-bin="">Conqu </a>in its <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/article/2027216/master-your-tasks-the-10-best-to-do-list-apps.html">best apps list</a> because it doesn't merely let you list tasks, but helps you prioritize them. &quot;You can set up the app to organize tasks automatically by context, energy level, time required, and so on,&quot; the magazine enthuses. And look at all the devices it works on!</p> <h2>9. Toodledo</h2> <p>Works on: <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;RD_PARM1=https%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus%252Fapp%252Ftoodledo-to-do-list%252Fid292755387%253Fmt%253D8%2526uo%253D4%2526partnerId%253D30">iOS</a>, Web</p> <p>Cost: $2.99 for iOS, free for Web</p> <p>You <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-benefits-of-a-task-management-system?wbref=slide">may already be familiar</a> with <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;RD_PARM1=https%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus%252Fapp%252Ftoodledo-to-do-list%252Fid292755387%253Fmt%253D8%2526uo%253D4%2526partnerId%253D30">Toodledo.com</a>, the popular online task manager. The app takes your Toodledo to-do items on the road, and <a href="http://www.macworld.com/product/89336/toodledo-to-do-list.html">MacWorld praises its powerful sorting and filtering functions</a>.</p> <h2>10. Yahoo To-Do?</h2> <p>Works on: ?</p> <p>Cost: ?</p> <p><a href="http://astrid.com/">Astrid</a> deserved a spot on this list, but it was acquired by Yahoo, which shut the <a href="http://blog.astrid.com/blog/2013/07/08/astrid-winding-down/">service down</a>. Keep an eye out for new improved to-do functionality from Yahoo.</p> <p>As if this isn't choice enough, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-benefits-of-a-task-management-system">stand-alone to-do lists aren't your only option</a>. You could turn to overall productivity apps such as EverNote or OneNote, or just use the Google Tasks built into the Gmail you probably already use.</p> <p>Me? I chose Remember the Milk because I've been meaning to increase my use of Google Calendar, with which it interacts, and also because I liked the cute line drawing of a cow's face that represented the app in the Android store. I would have chosen Checkmark if I had an iPhone.</p> <p>So far, I've found Remember the Milk easy to use for setting up and checking off to-do items. Setting up reminders and figuring out how to get it to play with Google Calendar have proved more challenging. But I like having a handy way to keep myself focused without having to search my purse for that dog-eared list that I probably forgot at home anyway.</p> <p><em>What's your favortie to-do app or tool?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-productivity-apps-for-really-busy-people-like-you" class="sharethis-link" title="The 10 Best Productivity Apps for Really Busy People Like You" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-productivity-apps-for-really-busy-people-like-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-love-lists">Why I Love Lists</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-ways-to-spend-the-first-10-minutes-of-your-workday">The 5 Best Ways to Spend the First 10 Minutes of Your Workday</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-free-apps-to-boost-your-online-productivity">8 Free Apps to Boost Your Online Productivity</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-make-multitasking-actually-work">The Simple Way to Make Multitasking Actually Work</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Organization Productivity apps getting things done lists to do Wed, 07 Aug 2013 10:24:31 +0000 Carrie Kirby 980651 at http://www.wisebread.com Why I Love Lists http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-love-lists <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-i-love-lists" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/notebook-5002427-small.jpg" alt="notebook" title="notebook" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I love making lists. In fact, lists of all sorts organize and drive big parts of my life. I scrawl <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-tips-for-streamlining-your-shopping-list" target="_blank">grocery lists</a>, make quick lists of what I need to accomplish each day, make detailed lists of my tasks at work, keep lists of books I want to read, make lists of financial goals I want to achieve each year and &mdash; this one&rsquo;s weird &mdash; I even make a list of every single article of clothing I&rsquo;ll need to pack before I leave on a business trip or vacation. Call me anal, call me obsessive, call me a Type A personality &mdash; just give me a pen a piece of paper so I can keep track. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-hi-tech-to-do-lists-get-it-done" target="_blank">5 Hi-Tech To-Do Lists: Get It Done!</a>)</p> <h2>A List Is an Idol</h2> <p>For me, and I suspect for many others, list-making is an exercise in meditation. It&rsquo;s a clearing of the mind long enough to understand what needs to be done, what gets priority, and how many of our to-dos are interrelated and mutually dependent. Lists become a way to not only keep several balls in the air (a juggling trick many readers have practiced to perfection), but also a way to structure our days, or weeks, or months so that all of these little lists add up to some serious accomplishments.</p> <h2>A List Is a Promise</h2> <p>There&rsquo;s something about making lists that&rsquo;s supremely active. After all, isn&rsquo;t making a list the very first step in achieving everything on it? Isn&rsquo;t writing down what needs to be done a sort of declaration that you intend to do it? I think so. An honest and well-intentioned list is a promise to your future self, even if that future is just eight hours or a week away. Together, the humble list and the reflective list-maker plot to get things done &mdash; and it&rsquo;s all documented on sticky-notes, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system" target="_blank">on the backs of receipts</a>, in daily planners, on our laptops and smart phones, on blackboards and whiteboards &mdash; even in the dust on the dashboards of our cars.</p> <h2>Making and Managing a List, Step-by-Step</h2> <p>My personal list-making process has been refined by years of trial and error. It goes something like this.</p> <ul> <li>I make each day&rsquo;s list the night before in my daily planner (a cheap little thing that I buy for $2.29 at my local dollar store quite ceremoniously every January).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>As I complete each task, I check it off my list &mdash; an act that&rsquo;s so sweetly satisfying that I blush to write about it here (die-hard list-makers, you know what I mean). The goal is to have nothing but a series of checkmarks by day&rsquo;s end (and that&rsquo;s a good day indeed, a red-wine-before-bed kind of day).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Whatever I didn&rsquo;t accomplish from the previous day gets carried over to the next.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>I review my lists briefly at the end of each day, considering what I accomplished or didn&rsquo;t accomplish as I craft a more realistic and strategic list for the next day. Now, I&rsquo;ll be the first to admit that I have some serious nerd tendencies (a moniker I wear with pride), but I truly enjoy these end-of-day list reviews. It&rsquo;s as if in these moments I&rsquo;m able to tell myself, &ldquo;If you accomplished nothing else today, at least you did these things.&rdquo;</li> </ul> <p>The list creation and list review become bookends to my day, and the cycle seems to work.</p> <p>In our multitasking world where we&rsquo;re expected to check email, complete a report, and review a spreadsheet all while driving and cooking a nutritious meal, lists are a line drawn in the sand of insanity. They are a methodical, reasonable, wonderfully old-fashioned method of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-accomplishing-more-in-a-day" target="_blank">getting things done consciously</a>. Lists are a nod to the joy and the wisdom of mono-tasking; they're a way to carve out some mental space to plan, to keep a healthy pace, and really complete a task before moving on to the next. And when you factor in those hard won checkmarks, well&hellip;let&rsquo;s just say that list-making can be deeply rewarding.</p> <p><em>Are you list-maker? How do you keep yourself motivated as you work through each task? What advice would you give to new list-makers?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-love-lists" class="sharethis-link" title="Why I Love Lists" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-love-lists">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-productivity-apps-for-really-busy-people-like-you">The 10 Best Productivity Apps for Really Busy People Like You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-ways-to-spend-the-first-10-minutes-of-your-workday">The 5 Best Ways to Spend the First 10 Minutes of Your Workday</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-make-multitasking-actually-work">The Simple Way to Make Multitasking Actually Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-youre-wasting-time-without-realizing-it">10 Ways You&#039;re Wasting Time Without Realizing It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-useful-things-you-can-do-in-15-minutes-or-less">101 Useful Things You Can Do in 15 Minutes or Less</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Organization Productivity getting things done lists love Tue, 28 May 2013 10:00:34 +0000 Kentin Waits 975249 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Stick to Personal Deadlines http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stick-to-personal-deadlines <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-stick-to-personal-deadlines" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/clock-4986991-small.jpg" alt="clock" title="clock" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's a big difference between a deadline that your boss sets for you and one you set for yourself. Even if there's a little grumbling along the way, you'll work hard to meet a deadline that a manager imposes because you know that there are serious consequences to not getting your work done. But if you've set a personal deadline, it can be harder to stick to &mdash; there's just not the same type of consequence in place. You aren't going to fire yourself, so you can feel like pushing a deadline back a little won't be a problem. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tools-to-get-organized-family-style" target="_blank">Tools to Get Organized, Family Style</a>)</p> <p>But there are ways to make sure that you can stay on track to meet your personal deadlines. The process isn't always easy, but if the deadline you're shooting for is an important one, working to keep it makes sense.</p> <h2>Create an External Deadline</h2> <p>If we work better when someone else assigns our deadlines, why not find a way <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-get-back-on-track" target="_blank">to make your personal deadlines external</a>? Something as simple as tying your personal deadline to something bigger &mdash; something that you have to do for someone else &mdash; can help dramatically. For instance, if you're trying to get some repairs done around the house, you might consider inviting someone over for dinner the day after the deadline you've set. That way, since you don't want visitors to see problems in your house, you've got a hard deadline to complete those repairs.</p> <p>The same approach works for a variety of different tasks: planning to submit a project to a contest can help you focus on a deadline, as can scheduling a review or a critique with a professional. External deadlines are even more effective if you can connect them to consequences, like losing a fee paid for a critique if you aren't ready for it by the deadline.</p> <h2>Arrange for Accountability</h2> <p>We're all reluctant to look bad in front of other people. That unwillingness to embarrass ourselves makes it easier to arrange for accountability. Just mentioning a project to someone who is likely to ask about it in the future means that you have an incentive to keep working on it, so that you don't have to tell that individual that you forgot all about your grand plan.</p> <p>You can also arrange for more formal accountability. Tell a friend or a family member that you want them to keep asking you about your progress. Ask for a little nagging so that you keep moving towards that deadline. Don't ask anyone you know who will give you slack, though. You may find yourself pushing back a deadline with his or her permission.</p> <h2>Break Down That Deadline</h2> <p>Setting an ambitious goal is a good idea, but if you don't know how you're going to get there, your deadline may roll around with nothing accomplished.</p> <p>Break down the work you need to do <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-benefits-of-a-task-management-system" target="_blank">into the smallest pieces you can</a>. If a step will only take you a few minutes to complete, it's a lot harder to procrastinate. It may even take you more time to figure out a way to procrastinate than to cross that first step off your list.</p> <p>You can tie smaller steps into external deadlines or accountability of their own. If you're working on a project for the long haul, creating some small wins and met deadlines can help you build up some momentum.</p> <h2>Create a Habit of Work</h2> <p>Unless you're regularly tackling big projects of your own, it's likely that pursuing a particular deadline isn't part of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-accomplishing-more-in-a-day" target="_blank">your daily routine</a>. If you can make a habit of doing a little work towards a particular goal or deadline every day, it's going to be a lot easier to accomplish it.</p> <p>Sure, you may still need to carve some big blocks of time out of your schedule to do some of the work, but having the habit means that you're thinking about the next step you need to complete each day.</p> <h2>Work on One Deadline at a Time</h2> <p>All of these approaches can help you make good progress towards any deadline you set yourself. But don't push too hard. Trying to meet big, overlapping deadlines can mean that you're taking on too much to realistically accomplish. Make sure your deadlines are realistic.</p> <p><em>How do you stick to personal deadlines?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stick-to-personal-deadlines" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Stick to Personal Deadlines" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stick-to-personal-deadlines">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/but-i-dont-want-to-secrets-to-self-motivation">But I Don&#039;t Want To! Secrets to Self-Motivation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-it-done-how-to-measure-your-goals">Get It Done: How to Measure Your Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-boost-creativity">25 Ways to Boost Creativity</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-benefits-of-changing-your-routine">The Benefits of Changing Your Routine</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Personal Development Productivity deadlines getting things done self-motivation Thu, 18 Apr 2013 10:24:34 +0000 Thursday Bram 973457 at http://www.wisebread.com 101 Useful Things You Can Do in 15 Minutes or Less http://www.wisebread.com/101-useful-things-you-can-do-in-15-minutes-or-less <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/101-useful-things-you-can-do-in-15-minutes-or-less" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5093016443_be0312f6a3_b.jpg" alt="office" title="office" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you have 15 minutes to spare?</p> <p>You can't tackle a long-term project or a complicated problem that requires deep concentration and uninterrupted thinking in the busyness of a typical day. But there are many things you can accomplish in 15 minutes or less. These can help boost your career, manage your finances, strengthen relationships, reduce clutter, save money, improve your health, and lots, lots more.</p> <p>So the next time you have 15 minutes to fill, fill it with something productive. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-take-five-minutes-for-yourself">25 Ways to Take Five Minutes for Yourself</a>)</p> <h2>Career</h2> <ol type="1" start="1"> <li>Document <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/awesome-accomplishments-50-questions-to-ask-yourself-and-figure-out-what-youve-done">recent career-related accomplishments</a> for use in your LinkedIn profile, private resume, upcoming interview, or <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-ace-your-next-performance-review">performance review</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Ask your boss if the company will pay fees for your professional development, such as the cost to attend an industry conference or a certification exam that will allow you to earn a professional designation.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Practice a speech or short presentation.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Get ready for a meeting instead of showing up unprepared. Define what you want to get accomplished, such as approval for a decision.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Offer yourself as a resource to a valued colleague or customer via a short email, LinkedIn message, or handwritten note, particularly if you are looking to expand your professional presence and build your portfolio.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Follow up with a colleague, vendor, employee, whoever to make sure a task has been completed. If yes, express gratitude; if no, make a note to troubleshoot obstacles soon.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Reserve a book from the library that will help you in your career. Ask your boss, mentor, coworkers, customers, and friends for recommendations if you don't have a list of must-read titles.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Design an online survey to assess satisfaction among customers, employees, or groups your team serves. Use free versions of <a target="_blank" href="http://www.surveymonkey.com/">Survey Monkey</a> or a similar tool.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Ask a trusted and discriminating friend for input on ways that you can <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-communicate-better-today">improve communications</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Sign up for and/or try a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-online-tools-that-help-organize-people">new automated tool to see if you can recruit and organize people</a> more efficiently.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Join your college or university alumni network via LinkedIn or <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-career-changes-you-can-make-today">consider another one of these 25 career changes</a> you can make today.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>For job hunters, start or revitalize your search by naming 10 companies you admire.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Conduct research on a desirable employer by reading about their products, getting familiar with its history, identifying those in your network with ties to the company, or reading latest news so that you will be prepared when you conduct an <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-informational-interview-what-not-to-say-and-more">informational interview</a> or participate in a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/secrets-to-a-great-phone-interview-for-job-hunters">phone interview</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Visit the careers section of targeted employers, locate opportunities that match your qualifications, and apply for a position or identify new skills you can acquire to increase your market value.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Send a congratulatory note or <a target="_blank" href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesleadershipforum/2012/04/25/15-big-little-things-you-can-do-in-15-minutes/">acknowledge someone else's accomplishment</a> as a kind gesture and way to show respect for a colleague.</li> </ol> <h2>Money</h2> <ol type="1" start="16"> <li>Determine how much life insurance you need. Remember to consider the economic value of a stay-at-home parent. Find an insurance calculator online or visit <a target="_blank" href="http://www.lifehappens.org/life-insurance-needs-calculator/">this one</a> from LIFE Foundation.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Learn the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.kiplinger.com/article/insurance/T028-C001-S001-why-you-need-an-umbrella-policy.html">rationale for getting an umbrella (insurance) policy</a> and decide if you need personal liability coverage.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Figure out whether you still need <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-drop-collision-coverage-on-your-car">collision coverage on your car</a>, especially if you drive an older model.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Check your homeowners' policy to make sure that you have <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/insur/20020305a.asp">replacement insurance</a>, which is coverage based on how much you would need to replace the home (not just get a payout on the depreciated value).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Contact your insurance agent to make adjustments to your coverage, if needed.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Set up and/or update alerts on your credit card and bank accounts. You might set up an alert to notify you when your credit card payment is due but yet unpaid or your checking account balance falls below a certain amount.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Gather coins from inside furniture cushions, junk drawers, or other <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/forget-saving25-place-to-look-for-spare-change">places</a>; store your coins in a sturdy canister for an upcoming trip to the bank, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-ways-to-count-and-cash-in-your-change">where you can cash in your change</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Transfer excess funds from PayPal to your bank account.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Set up automatic contributions to your <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-examine-your-healthcare-plan-and-save">Health Savings Account</a> or transfer funds on a one-time basis for an upcoming visit, procedure, or prescription so you'll get a tax break for health expenses.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Cash in rewards from credit cards, claiming statement credits or requesting gift cards you know you'll spend quickly.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-cleaning-your-wallet-benefits-you-financially">Clean out your wallet</a>, find receipts that need reimbursement, and make plans to spend unused gift cards.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Set up an <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-savings-accounts?ref=bankbar">online savings account</a> for recurring expenses, a large purchase, or emergency fund.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Improve control of your finances by a) identifying non-monthly but recurring expenses such as property taxes, car insurance, etc; and b) setting aside money in a savings account to pay these bills when they come due.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Set up electronic reminders to review free credit reports, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-management-in-5-minutes-a-day">one of many money management tasks that you can handle quickly</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Open an account with an <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-guide-to-online-brokers-for-investing-newbies-and-beyond">online brokerage firm</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Contribute to a regular investment account or retirement account with your brokerage firm, making a one-time deposit or setting up automated monthly transfers.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Review your profiles on various financial accounts, verifying your email address, security questions, phone numbers, bank account information, and card numbers. Update or delete information to keep things current.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Update beneficiaries on your retirement accounts, making changes online or starting the process by completing and mailing forms.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Check on the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/step-by-step-guide-to-rolling-over-your-old-401k">status of an IRA rollover</a> and take the next step to complete the move from your former employer's 401(k) plan to an IRA.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Create a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-quick-tips-for-organizing-your-finances">file or folder (paper or electronic)</a> for all of your tax information. You may need to accumulate records throughout the year as many organizations send reports after a tax-related event instead of mailing statements at tax time.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Document <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/surprising-charitable-tax-deductions">charitable activity</a> that has happened recently. For example, note the cost of supplies for bake sales, value of items donated to Goodwill or yard sales benefiting non-profit organizations, and mileage associated with volunteer travel.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Review bank and bank card statements for items relating to tax deductions, which may include property taxes and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">freelance expenses</a>, such as professional subscriptions.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Make a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-last-years-taxes-right-now">last-minute contribution to retirement and/or health savings accounts</a>, lowering your tax bill.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Decide how you are going to <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-more-smart-things-to-do-with-your-tax-refund">spend or save your tax refund</a> (if one is coming to you) before money is deposited into your bank account.</li> </ol> <h2>Relationships</h2> <ol type="1" start="40"> <li>Respond to an invitation. Let the host or hostess know of your intentions, whether you can attend the event or not.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Send a <a target="_blank" href="http://oceansnsunsets.hubpages.com/hub/What-Should-I-Write-in-a-Card-or-Note-of-Encouragement">note of encouragement</a> to someone who has experienced turmoil in her life recently.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Take care of a chore that your spouse, roommate, or friend hates to do, such as arranging a babysitter for a date night, emptying out the dishwasher, or finding a movie that both of you will enjoy watching together.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Tell your beloved that you love him (or her) in person, through a handwritten note, or via text message.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Read a short book or a chapter of a longer book to your child.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Call a friend on the phone. You can make a genuine connection yet politely end the conversation within 15 minutes.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Take a moment to set a lunch date with a friend.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Say <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-straightforward-ways-to-say-no">&quot;no&quot; to a request</a> that doesn't sync with your personal or professional goals.</li> </ol> <h2>Food</h2> <ol type="1" start="48"> <li>Mix up a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-quick-homemade-breakfasts">breakfast smoothie</a> before you head out the door for a busy day.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>In the evening, get ready for mornings by making <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-make-ahead-freezable-hot-breakfast-recipes?wbref=readmore-2">garlic cheese grits or breakfast burritos</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Toss dinner in the crock pot. Choose shredded buffalo chicken, pork roast, pot roast with vegetables, or another one of these <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-cheap-and-easy-crock-pot-recipes">cheap and easy dishes</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Fix veggie tortillas with black beans, tomatoes (in sauce, salsa, or diced form), taco seasoning, and chopped vegetables, topped with guacamole or sour cream; or choose another dish among these <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-healthy-and-cheap-5-minute-dinners">five-minute healthy dinners</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Prepare a hearty meal with lettuce, leftover chicken or meat, and other <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/super-salad-add-ins?wbref=slide">salad add-ins</a> from your pantry or refrigerator.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Create an elegant appetizer with a few ingredients that you already have on hand, like <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/quick-easy-and-festive-cream-cheese-appetizers">cream cheese and salsa</a> or similar recipes.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Make a family-sized or potluck-ready dessert in the oven using <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/dump-cake-and-other-sweet-easy-treats?wbref=readmore-4">boxed cake mix</a> and a few other items. Note that baking time takes longer, but you can put together the ingredients in just a few minutes if you have the items on hand.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Satisfy your sweet tooth with a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/fast-single-serving-fake-desserts">made-for-one dessert on this list</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Make energy bars in the microwave. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/dessert/other-dessert/microwave-energy-bars.html">Try this recipe</a> and make adjustments that work for your preferences (like substituting honey for corn syrup).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Prepare a side dish by cutting up vegetables and serving them raw with dip or roasting them in the oven at 450 degrees with olive oil and salt (roasting takes longer than 15 minutes, but the prep time should take about 5-10 minutes).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Put leftovers in a meal-sized container to take to work for lunch.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Start planning meals for the next week. Find new favorites in the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/frugal-living/food-and-drink">Food and Drink section of Wise Bread</a> or the &quot;Top 20&quot; in various categories (such as pasta, chicken, or &quot;easy&quot;) at <a target="_blank" href="http://allrecipes.com/Recipes/Everyday-Cooking/Quick-and-Easy/Top.aspx">allrecipes.com</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Calculate your weekly expenses for <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-lower-your-grocery-bill">groceries so that you can set a goal to control or reduce this amount</a>. Also, note expenses for dining out so that you won't overspend in another food and drink category.</li> </ol> <h2>Household</h2> <ol type="1" start="61"> <li>Empty out the dishwasher or load and run the dishwasher. You might include <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/almost-40-everyday-things-you-can-wash-in-the-dishwasher">your kids' toys or other everyday items in one of your loads</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Time yourself when handling a household chore, such as putting up a load of newly laundered clothes, making coffee for the next morning, or taking out the trash. You'll probably find that the task doesn't take as long as you think.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Clean <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">drains with baking soda and vinegar</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Polish your <a target="_blank" href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-polish-a-stainless-stee-129192">stainless steel appliances with olive oil</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Change sheets or towels or both.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Put away shoes, books, and anything else that unintentionally gets left on the living room floor.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Vacuum or sweep one room of your house, the outside steps, or the deck or patio.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Find missing socks (see tips on <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-find-missing-socks">where to look</a>).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Freeze food that will not be consumed but will go bad in a few days. For example, peel and freeze bananas for smoothies, toast and food-process bread for breadcrumbs, and save vegetables and beans for soup.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Clear a <a target="_blank" href="http://unclutterer.com/2013/03/04/get-a-jump-start-on-spring-cleaning-with-15-minute-microtasks/">small surface in your house or office</a> such as a bedside table or corner of your desk.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Read a chapter of classic books that you typically don't have time to read. Download titles (like &quot;Anna Karenina&quot; or &quot;Moby Dick&quot;) for free.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Start or add to a list of books to read (I use <a target="_blank" href="https://evernote.com/">Evernote</a> to keep and maintain an electronic list that I won't misplace).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Clean out your car, or tidy at least one section.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Check out potential contractors on Angie's List or public review sites in addition to asking for referrals from friends.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Schedule an appointment to get a quote from a qualified professional on home repair projects that are out of your league.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Pull out cloth napkins and use them instead of paper ones for at-home meals.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Set aside old t-shirts and use them as rags, or <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-recycle-and-reuse-old-t-shirts">consider up-cycling them into cloth napkins or other objects</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Prune trees or shrubbery.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Cut flowers and place in a vase.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Prepare your garden space by pulling weeds, tilling the soil, removing rocks, planting seeds, or watering plants.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Check trees, plants, etc. for growth and harvest fruit or vegetables from your garden.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Go through items in <a target="_blank" href="http://www.flylady.net/d/getting-started/flying-lessons/decluttering/">one closet, one drawer, one shelf, etc. to find things that you no longer need or want</a>. Place usable but unwanted items in a bag or box.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Place bags or boxes of unwanted stuff in the car. If you have enough time left in this 15 minutes, carry stuff to a drop-off site. If not, remember to make a stop when you are commuting or running errands.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Finish reading an old magazine and toss in the recycling bin.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Tidy up your inbox for 15 minutes or less: archive emails, delete emails with expired offers, and/or place a filter on emails to make checking your inbox faster and easier.</li> </ol> <h2>Health and Fitness</h2> <ol type="1" start="86"> <li>Take a walk alone to help you relax and clear your mind.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Conduct a walking meeting with a coworker or step outside with your spouse and/or children for family time.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Jump rope or do bodyweight exercises from &quot;<a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-exercise-in-under-5-minutes">15 Ways to Exercise in Under 5 Minutes</a>.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Climb stairs instead of taking the elevator or escalator.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Run or walk a mile.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Train for the swim portion of a sprint triathlon.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Make an appointment to get a <a target="_blank" href="http://healthfinder.gov/">health screening</a> according to your age or risk factor. Check out ways to find <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-free-or-cheap-health-resources">free or cheap health resources</a> to get what you need if cost is a concern.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Do a self exam of whatever body part may need attention, including your skin.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Make a dentist appointment for yourself, your spouse, or your children if you are not yet on a regular schedule.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Stretch. If you don't have a routine already, consider <a target="_blank" href="http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=1261">these exercises to build flexibility</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Wrap a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/last-minute-wrapping-paper-5-options?wbref=readmore-2">present with supplies you have on hand</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Post for vacation time and/or reserve time on your calendar to take time off, whether you are staying at home or taking a trip.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Poll your Facebook friends about must-do experiences in your choice of vacation spot or ask about favorite vacation places if you are undecided about where to go.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Ask a friend if you can <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-delayed-spending-tricks-that-help-pay-off-debt">borrow camping items</a> or find out where you can acquire durable items cheaply so you won't blow your travel budget on equipment.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Set up alerts to find <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pocketyourdollars.com/2012/09/5-easy-steps-to-getting-cheap-airfare/">cheap airfare</a> for your next trip.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Get ready for tomorrow, whether it's making a to-do list or packing a bag for a fun outing.</li> </ol> <p>Even if you are super busy, you should have snippets of time throughout the day to get things done. Don't spend spare moments doing the same things, like checking game scores and stats, commenting on status updates, and reviewing emails. Use my list or think of things you can handle in 15 minutes or less. Then, you'll have time to contemplate more complex issues or simply enjoy <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-free-or-cheap-ways-to-be-blissfully-unproductive">blissful unproductivity</a> whenever you want.</p> <p><em>How do you like to spend spare moments during the day?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-useful-things-you-can-do-in-15-minutes-or-less" class="sharethis-link" title="101 Useful Things You Can Do in 15 Minutes or Less" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-useful-things-you-can-do-in-15-minutes-or-less">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-productivity-apps-for-really-busy-people-like-you">The 10 Best Productivity Apps for Really Busy People Like You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-time-saving-hacks-from-the-worlds-busiest-people">11 Time Saving Hacks From the World&#039;s Busiest People</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-ways-to-spend-the-first-10-minutes-of-your-workday">The 5 Best Ways to Spend the First 10 Minutes of Your Workday</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-it-done-how-to-measure-your-goals">Get It Done: How to Measure Your Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-boost-creativity">25 Ways to Boost Creativity</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Productivity cultivating relationships getting things done managing finances Mon, 01 Apr 2013 10:36:30 +0000 Julie Rains 971470 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Ways to Boost Creativity http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-boost-creativity <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-ways-to-boost-creativity" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6130623650_a509ab0228_z.jpg" alt="mustache drawing" title="mustache drawing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Even those who go, go, go all day long can run into creative walls every once in a while. And once you&rsquo;ve been knocked down, it can be hard to get back up again &mdash; despite what 90s annoyance Chumbawamba professes. So to help you reclaim your creativity in the event that you&rsquo;re at an intellectual impasse, here are 25 tips on how to boost your creative brainpower. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-less-creativity-can-make-you-more-creative">How Less Creativity Can Make You&nbsp;More Creative</a>)</p> <h2>1. Listen to Music</h2> <p>Turn on your favorite tunes and get lost in melody. Don&rsquo;t just listen to the music though. Hear it. Digest the lyrics and imagine in your head the scenes they set.</p> <h2>2. Meditate</h2> <p>Turn down the lights, power off your devices, and become one with yourself again. Meditation helps increase creativity by creating a condition for insight, easing artistic anxiety, and improving attention and concentration, among other benefits.</p> <h2>3. Doodle/Draw</h2> <p>Even if you&rsquo;re not a particularly good hand artist, you can doodle endlessly and without a real purpose to help clear your mind of some of the clutter that has accumulated.</p> <h2>4. Daydream</h2> <p>This is one of my all time favorite pastimes. Daydreaming allows us to escape the burdens we carry and facilitates open-mindedness. There are no restrictions when daydreaming, which is why this tactic can be useful when you need a creative boost.</p> <h2>5. Keep a Notepad by Your Bed</h2> <p>I often wake up in the middle of the night &mdash; either from a dream or for a bathroom break &mdash; with something on my mind. If I don&rsquo;t write it down immediately, I will likely forget it by morning. To preserve these creative surges, even when I can&rsquo;t or don&rsquo;t want to do anything about them in the moment, I keep a notepad next to my bed to jot down those dream filled ideas, words, and thoughts for later.</p> <h2>6. Skim Through a Magazine</h2> <p>Visual aids can often help in the creative process, so skimming through a magazine relevant to what you&rsquo;re working on may help. For instance, if you&rsquo;re looking for design inspiration, page through a home improvement publication. If you want to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/have-houseguests-how-to-be-the-host-with-the-most">make a delicious meal for houseguests</a>, look through a cooking magazine. There are magazines for virtually everything you can think of, so you should be able to find something that piques your creativity rather easily.</p> <h2>7. Have a Cocktail</h2> <p>Some of my best ideas have come after a few glasses of wine. In fact, if it weren&rsquo;t for alcohol, famous writers like Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, and F. Scott Fitzgerald would have never had a hit. To inspire your creativity, throw a few back (in moderation) and wait for the ideas to start flowing as freely as the moderately free flowing booze.</p> <h2>8. Take a Nap</h2> <p>When you&rsquo;re overwhelmed and overworked, it&rsquo;s hard to be creative. Sometimes all you need is a nap to get your mind back on track.</p> <h2>9. Visit a Museum</h2> <p>Museums burst at their seams with creative excellence. Take a leisurely stroll through an art gallery or educational facility to see what those who have come before you have created to ignite ideas of your own.</p> <h2>10. Browse the Internet</h2> <p>If your brain is drained, spend 30 minutes browsing funny videos, reading articles, looking at pictures, or otherwise searching for the most outlandish things you can find. Just don't overdo it.</p> <h2>11. Play Video Games</h2> <p>Another great way to relax your noggin is to engage in a round of video games (or board games even). Some games can energize their players (especially Wii or Kinect games that make you move), and they can assist in improving your problem-solving skills.</p> <h2>12. Make a List</h2> <p>Whenever I have to come up with creative taglines for advertising copy, I take out a sheet of paper and write down all associated words and words that rhyme with those words, and I search for idioms that have relevance to the concept at hand. This technique unlocks ideas which lead to more ideas that I never would have thought of otherwise.</p> <h2>13. Decorate to Inspire</h2> <p>If you have an extra room in your house, decorate it to inspire you. Paint it a bright, energetic color; hang artwork that evokes emotion; and keep within reach those items you need when you need a creative insurgence &mdash; like coffee and your iPad.</p> <h2>14. Brainstorm With Another Creative</h2> <p>You know the old saying &mdash; two heads are better than one. When yours is running on empty, join forces with another creative to get your brain back in the game.</p> <h2>15. Get a Massage</h2> <p>Take a load off your back and your brain with a soothing massage that will help you relax. While you&rsquo;re lying there for those 30 to 90 minutes, let you mind rest and wander.</p> <h2>16. Read a Book</h2> <p>You can&rsquo;t help but visualize people and places when you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-choose-traditional-books-over-e-books">read a great book</a>. So when you feel like you&rsquo;re experiencing a block, pick up your favorite story and escape to where your imagination and the prose take you.</p> <h2>17. Exercise</h2> <p>What else do you have to do on the treadmill besides watch the clock? Use that time to think about your projects and how you plan to approach them when you&rsquo;re all buffed up. Thinking while working out also helps the minutes go by a little faster, which for someone like me, who hates the gym, is a blessing.</p> <h2>18. Eat Brain-Boosting Foods</h2> <p>Want a sharper mind bursting with creativity? The answer may be in what you eat. Put down the burgers and donuts and instead stuff your face with <a target="_blank" href="http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/healthy_aging/eat_for_a_sharper_mind_5_brain_boosting_foods">healthy, brain boosting foods</a> like fish, soy, greens, and berries.</p> <h2>19. Follow Your Curiosity</h2> <p>The only way your creativity will know no bounds is if you let your curiosity run wild. One of the ways I expand my horizons is through Wikipedia. It never fails that when I look up one topic, I click on 20 other related links until I&rsquo;m so far from my original topic that I forgot what I searched for. The result, however, is that I&rsquo;ve just learned a ton of stuff that will influence my creativity, even if I don&rsquo;t know it yet.</p> <h2>20. Set Aside Time</h2> <p>Sometimes you have to schedule time to think. If you find that you don&rsquo;t have enough time during the day and your creativity is suffering as a result, it&rsquo;s time for a break. Schedule a half hour where you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-areas-where-you-can-eliminate-distractions">put all your distractions aside</a> and relax. This brief respite will help you destress and think more clearly when you return to work.</p> <h2>21. Take Risks</h2> <p>When you take risks, you open yourself up to new experiences &mdash; and new experiences contribute to your overall creativity. So the next time you go back and forth in your mind about &quot;should I or shouldn&rsquo;t I,&quot; just do it. You&rsquo;ll thank yourself later.</p> <h2>22. Think Outside the Box &mdash; Literally</h2> <p>It may sound like a cliché, but <a target="_blank" href="http://www.spring.org.uk/2012/04/five-effortless-postures-that-foster-creative-thinking.php">sitting outside a physical box has shown to enhance creativity</a>.</p> <h2>23. Have Fun With Children</h2> <p>Who better to help you open your mind that children? Children have no stress; their lives are simple. So it only make sense that their imaginations run wild 24/7. Get in on some of that action by having fun with a few of the kids in your life so you can free your mind like one again.</p> <h2>24. Ponder the Future</h2> <p>What&rsquo;s great about thinking about the future is that it&rsquo;s yet to be written. In your version, you&rsquo;re the author, which means there are endless possibilities. Tap into your creativity by thinking about life 20 years from now. And think big, for goodness' sake. Your future will be what you make it.</p> <h2>25. Manage the Mood</h2> <p>Is your environment preventing you from being as creative as you&rsquo;d like to be? Change that. Remove those distractions and make your thinking space conducive to creativity. Maybe that means turning up the music or opening the windows or shutting off the lights. Whatever you need to do to think clearly, do it.</p> <p><em>What do you do to boost your creativity?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-boost-creativity" class="sharethis-link" title="25 Ways to Boost Creativity" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-boost-creativity">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-more-eureka-shower-moments">How to Have More Eureka! Shower Moments</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-it-done-how-to-measure-your-goals">Get It Done: How to Measure Your Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/but-i-dont-want-to-secrets-to-self-motivation">But I Don&#039;t Want To! Secrets to Self-Motivation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stick-to-personal-deadlines">How to Stick to Personal Deadlines</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-power-of-lists-getting-more-creative-and-efficient">The Power of Lists: Getting More Creative and Efficient</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Personal Development Productivity cheap fun creativity getting things done Tue, 05 Mar 2013 11:00:31 +0000 Mikey Rox 968009 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Benefits of Being a Night Owl http://www.wisebread.com/13-benefits-of-being-a-night-owl <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-benefits-of-being-a-night-owl" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man%20at%20night.jpg" alt="nighttime portrait of a happy man" title="nighttime portrait of a happy man" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Though our culture seems to esteem the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-benefits-of-being-a-morning-person" target="_blank">morning person</a> (&ldquo;<a href="http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/The+early+bird+catches+the+worm" target="_blank">The early bird catches the worm</a>&rdquo; and &quot;<a href="http://www.ushistory.org/franklin/quotable/quote10.htm" target="_blank">Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise</a>&quot;), there are distinct benefits to being a night person. Sure, we may not be able to participate regularly in a pre-dawn fitness boot camp or arrive first at the office every single day. But when 8 p.m. rolls around, we still have hours worth of energy and motivation.</p> <p>If you are a night person like me, not only are you energized for more than the standard workday, you have career-related flexibility that lasts well past 5 p.m. Plus, because you probably recognize your inability to function coherently in the early hours of the morning, you are more likely to embrace the value of collaboration with morning people (as well as your nighttime cohorts). As a result, you have unique strengths and capabilities, 13 of them I&rsquo;ve highlighted below. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-effective-sleep-tips-you-havent-tried-yet">5 Effective Sleep&nbsp;Tips You Haven't Tried Yet</a>)</p> <h2>1. Workplace Flexibility</h2> <p>As a night person, you have probably learned to adapt to the typical &ldquo;morning-person&rdquo; schedule, arriving at work at 8 a.m. and leaving at 5 p.m. Not only can you thrive on a typical schedule, though, you can also adapt easily to a less-standard day or extended hours. This capability enables you to excel on late-night shifts as an employee and helps you to handle extended hours as a business owner.</p> <h2>2. Strength to Meet Deadlines</h2> <p>Just because you aren&rsquo;t at work an hour earlier than everyone else doesn&rsquo;t mean that you can&rsquo;t get things done. Your productivity may soar in the evening and, when deadlines loom, you can easily put in extra hours then.</p> <p>On workdays that last longer than usual, you still have time in the evening to relax. Then you can sleep on whatever work-related obstacles you may have encountered and enjoy problem-solving epiphanies the next day.</p> <h2>3. Extended Career-Related Availability</h2> <p>Being able to have a lucid conversation in the evening can be a significant benefit for those who must work late or have colleagues in different time zones.</p> <p>If you are a night person on the east coast, for example, you are often ready to talk or exchange emails with your west coast colleagues in their late afternoons. Your freshness and availability can portray you as hard working, independent of whatever you have (or have not) accomplished earlier in the day.</p> <h2>4. Deep Engagement in the Community</h2> <p>If you have interest in advancing a cause and serving people in less fortunate circumstances while <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/networking-basics-for-regular-people" target="_blank">expanding your network</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/translating-volunteer-experiences-and-skills-to-workplace-credentials" target="_blank">developing new skills (which can help boost your workplace credentials</a>), and contributing to society, then being a night person can be advantage.</p> <p>Many avenues of engagement with the community &mdash; such as leadership roles associated with non-profit organizations and volunteer opportunities with at-risk children &mdash; are available to those who have discretionary time and energy in the evening.</p> <h2>5. Energy to Tend to Young Children</h2> <p>While the morning person can handle childcare and school preparedness in the morning, the night owl is invaluable to watching over young children at nighttime. You have the energy to hang out with them, watch (or play) their games, read to them, and get them ready for bed.</p> <h2>6. Closeness With Teenage Kids</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/teens-health/CC00019" target="_blank">circadian rhythm of adolescents is well-documented</a>. What you might not know is that teens often wait until midnight to disclose important information. As a parent, you may not be able to change their sleep patterns. But as a night person, you can stay awake to have meaningful discussions with your teenagers when they are ready to talk.</p> <h2>7. A Rich Social Life</h2> <p>As a night person, you have the physical and emotional reserves to visit with friends in the evening. You may be more likely to enjoy dinner, drinks, and conversation after hours. As a result, you can expand your social circle and deepen bonds with friends.</p> <h2>8. Professional Connectedness</h2> <p>When you are traveling on business, you have the energy to interact with colleagues, customers, etc. during conferences, remote meetings, and site visits. When the mandatory tasks are done during the workday, you can get to know people and connect with them beyond the business niceties during evening sessions. Late-night chats, for example, can be rewarding on a personal level and lead to business opportunities that may not otherwise materialize.</p> <h2>9. Physical Fitness</h2> <p>The evening is a great time to work out, especially in the summertime. You can have a leisurely dinner and then <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-run-your-first-5k">go for a 5K run</a> (or longer) at, say, 7:30 or 8 p.m. while there is plenty of light. You could also take a bike ride, walk, or visit the gym.</p> <p>In the morning rush, you may not have time for a great workout. But the evening holds many more possibilities without distraction.</p> <h2>10. Preparedness</h2> <p>The nighttime is perfect for preparing yourself and your family for the following day. You can prep coffee for the morning, pack gear for an early start to an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/close-to-home-outdoor-adventure-basics" target="_blank">outdoor adventure</a>, prepare meals or elements of an entrée or side dish for a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/managing-a-holiday-potluck-how-to-keep-things-under-control" target="_blank">potluck dinner</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-cheap-and-easy-crock-pot-recipes" target="_blank">gather items for a crock pot meal at home</a>, launder clothes for wear the next day, and more. Actually, I recommend that you go ahead and do these things at night because &mdash; if you are like me&mdash; you may not have the decision making skills and presence of mind to tackle them the morning.</p> <h2>11. Commitment to Self-Development</h2> <p>No matter how hard you try, if you are a true night person, you probably can&rsquo;t get a good night&rsquo;s sleep if you go to bed before 10 p.m. (or 11 p.m., if you are like me). That leaves an expanse of free time that you can either squander or use to enrich and develop yourself.</p> <p>On those evenings when you are not working out, volunteering, prepping for the next day, listening to your kids, etc., you have time to read, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-succeed-as-an-online-student" target="_blank">study online</a>, or take a course at the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-frugal-resource-the-community-college" target="_blank">community college</a>. You might partake of your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-clubs-as-therapy" target="_blank">book club&rsquo;s monthly pick</a>, brush up on the latest business or social trend, or get inspired to take action that will improve your life and that of your community.</p> <h2>12. Collaborative Spirit</h2> <p>My husband is a morning person, and I marvel at his ability to think clearly at 6 a.m. Though some <a href="http://www.deseretnews.com/article/150196/EARLY-BIRD-NIGHT-OWL-UNION-CAN-BE-FOUL.html?pg=all" target="_blank">marriages may suffer from morning-night conflicts</a>, I have found that we are able to support each other more. While I may take care of the kids more in the evening, I can count on him to deal with morning crises and, on a more regular basis, make sure I get up on time for early appointments.</p> <p>As a night person, I especially appreciate a morning person's strengths. So, I especially value collaboration for school, work, and community projects because of my experiences at home.</p> <h2>13. Strategic Thinking Capabilities</h2> <p>Leisure at night can give you the time and space to think deeply about whatever is happening in your life, specifically your personal dreams, career aspirations, and financial goals. Darkness can bring peacefulness, which can help you to contemplate your current situation. As a result, you may be able to think strategically, consider how to deal with underlying issues of existing problems, lay the foundation for future opportunities, and determine next steps that will help you realize your hopes for the future.</p> <p>As a night person, I have often felt diminished because of my lack of perkiness in the morning. First, just to be clear, please know that I can get up early and get things done if required. For example, I can arrive on time for 7:30 a.m. dental appointments or 7:00 a.m. starts for a bike ride. My regular rhythm, though, favors mid-morning productivity and nighttime activity. Counting the advantages of being more alert at night has helped me to use my natural capabilities even more.</p> <p><em>Are you a night person? How has that helped or hindered you in your career and personal life?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-benefits-of-being-a-night-owl" class="sharethis-link" title="13 Benefits of Being a Night Owl" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-benefits-of-being-a-night-owl">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-useful-things-you-can-do-in-15-minutes-or-less">101 Useful Things You Can Do in 15 Minutes or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-productivity-apps-for-really-busy-people-like-you">The 10 Best Productivity Apps for Really Busy People Like You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-time-saving-hacks-from-the-worlds-busiest-people">11 Time Saving Hacks From the World&#039;s Busiest People</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-ways-to-spend-the-first-10-minutes-of-your-workday">The 5 Best Ways to Spend the First 10 Minutes of Your Workday</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-boost-creativity">25 Ways to Boost Creativity</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Productivity free nights getting things done sleep better stay up late Thu, 17 Jan 2013 11:36:33 +0000 Julie Rains 963713 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Make Yourself Accountable http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-make-yourself-accountable <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-make-yourself-accountable" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5805554235_4c39601e9d_z.jpg" alt="marathon" title="marathon" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="189" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sometimes motivation likes to play hide-and-go-seek, leaving you lethargically poking around, trying to find it, until you finally give up and flop onto the couch. It can be especially hard to find the motivation when there isn't an external force holding you accountable, like your boss needing work from you. If you're struggling with achieving your personal goals, whether they have to do with money, health, or something else entirely, follow these tips. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/but-i-dont-want-to-secrets-to-self-motivation">But I Don't Want To! Secrets to Self-Motivation</a>)</p> <h3>1. Set a Deadline, and Make Changing It Beyond Your Control</h3> <p>I signed up to run a 10 mile race this morning. I'm not telling you this so I can be one of those expansive-ego people who brags about how much they run (also, the next time you're annoyed by one of those healthier-than-thou guys, remember that he probably has weird bruised toes and/or <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xzwf8O4ZCKk">chafing in very delicate areas</a>). Honestly, I'm not a great runner, and while I like to be healthy, running is not my top priority. But I know that if I've spent the money on registering for a race, I'm going to follow my darn training schedule and be able to run 10 miles by early October, because I am not wasting cash on a race fee.</p> <h3>2. Share Your Goals and Plans With Others</h3> <p>There are those who believe that <a href="http://www.ted.com/talks/derek_sivers_keep_your_goals_to_yourself.html">you shouldn't share your goals</a> because the feel-good social acknowledgment will actually make you less likely to achieve them. But in some cases, telling other people that you're going to do something can be a powerful motivator to get it done &mdash; even if you're the only person affected by it (hey, you don't want to be a disappointment!). You can even start a blog or twitter account to track your progress.</p> <h3>3. Partner With Someone With Similar Goals</h3> <p>If you have a bicycling buddy, it's going to be a lot harder to cancel a bike ride with a friend than it would be to just tell yourself &quot;I'm not going out today.&quot;</p> <h3>4. Sign Up for a Site Like StickK</h3> <p>The website StickK is a more formalized version of number two above &mdash; not only does it help you share goals, but you can also put money on the line. You designate the recipient of the money if you don't achieve your goal &mdash; it could be a friend, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/giving-to-charity-is-great-but-how-do-you-pick-one">a charity you like</a>, or perhaps most deviously, a charity you hate.</p> <h3>5. Reward Yourself for Reaching Goals</h3> <p>Simply giving yourself a random <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-frugal-ways-to-reward-yourself-right-now">reward for achieving a goal</a> isn't the same thing as being accountable. But if you designate a reward that you're not allowed to have until you complete your task, that can help. You can also designate things you'll deny yourself if not successful.</p> <p><em>How do you keep yourself accountable? Share in the comments.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-make-yourself-accountable" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Ways to Make Yourself Accountable" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-make-yourself-accountable">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-do-things-that-scare-you">How to Do Things That Scare You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-make-a-big-life-change-heres-how">You Can Make a Big Life Change: Here&#039;s How</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-it-done-how-to-measure-your-goals">Get It Done: How to Measure Your Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-boost-creativity">25 Ways to Boost Creativity</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/trade-goals-for-values">Trade Goals for Values</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Personal Development accountability acheiving goals getting things done Mon, 03 Sep 2012 10:24:42 +0000 Meg Favreau 952527 at http://www.wisebread.com Get It Done: How to Measure Your Goals http://www.wisebread.com/get-it-done-how-to-measure-your-goals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/get-it-done-how-to-measure-your-goals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/marathon.jpg" alt="Runners" title="Runners" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="130" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How many of us have said to ourselves, &ldquo;I&rsquo;m going to lose weight&rdquo; or &ldquo;I&rsquo;m going to pay off my credit cards&rdquo;? Goals like these are easily measured. We can see how much weight we&rsquo;re losing by the pounds on the scale, and how much of our debt we&rsquo;ve paid off by our total account balance. But what about those goals that <em>aren&rsquo;t</em> so easily measured &mdash; those like spending more time with your family,&nbsp; decreasing the time spent procrastinating, or volunteering more? How can you tell how well you&rsquo;re doing if you can&rsquo;t measure your progress? As it turns out, you actually <em>can</em> quantify goals such as these and use that as a yardstick to see how you&rsquo;re stacking up and whether you satisfy your goals in the end. Here are some helpful hints and tricks for identifying and calculating your progress toward your life&rsquo;s goals. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-without-goals">How to Save Without Goals</a>)</p> <h2>Identify Your Goals</h2> <p>Before you go running off to measure your goals, take a minute to determine whether you can actually articulate what your goals are. I&rsquo;ve <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/trade-in-new-years-resolutions-for-achieving-life-goals">covered this before</a>, but your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/goal-setting-defined-and-deconstructed ">goals need to be sufficiently defined</a> so that assigning measurable units to them has actual significance. The goal that&rsquo;s been on my mind most recently is to keep my house clean. Sounds noble and hygienic, right? But there&rsquo;s a reason that the &ldquo;have a clean house&rdquo; goal has been ever-elusive in my life &mdash; it&rsquo;s not clearly articulated. What does a clean house mean? The bed made every day? All dishes always off the counter? No visible scuffs on the kitchen floor? You see what I mean.</p> <p>In addition to being able to clearly define what your goals are, you should make sure you&rsquo;re setting &ldquo;good&rdquo; goals in the first place. Good goals are:</p> <ul> <li>In line with your overall belief system</li> <li>Able to further other overarching goals you hope to achieve in your life</li> <li>Realistic or attainable</li> <li>Not achieved at the expense of someone else</li> </ul> <h2>Assign Each Goal a Measurable Unit</h2> <p>This might seem obvious, but it&rsquo;s impossible to measure your goals if they aren&rsquo;t framed in terms of a measurable unit. Every goal needs to be assigned both a measurable unit (to quantify success) and a unit of time (against which you&rsquo;ll measure your success). Units of time can be terminal (a &ldquo;one-time deal&rdquo;), or they can be recurring.</p> <p>An example of a recurring unit of time goal might be helpful here. Take my clean house example, for instance &mdash; I&rsquo;d first define what a clean house means to me. I might say, perchance, that a clean house is one that is dusted, vacuumed, and mopped. I would make a &ldquo;chore chart&rdquo; with all the key chores I felt amounted to a clean house. Then, I would assign a unit of time. I&rsquo;m not overly zealous here, so let&rsquo;s go with two weeks. I would know that hitting each of the tasks on my list (or 75% of them, or whatever I deemed a success) in the two-week time period would mean that I&rsquo;d reached my goal. Two weeks later, I&rsquo;d measure again.</p> <p>Take another difficult-to-measure goal &mdash; spending more time with family. Again, this one first needs to be defined before it can be assigned a measurable unit. I might define success as spending one date night a week with Husband. Or I might do a monthly assessment of how I feel about my efforts to make time in my schedule to spend QT together on a 1-10 scale. If I had young kids, I might measure success by the number of new things we try together each month. As you can see, there are a variety of different ways to measure the same end goal, and a number of possible units of time.</p> <p>Struggling with how to assign a measurable unit to your goal? Try one of these:</p> <ul> <li>Money (assign a monetary value to achieving your goal, determine who will be paid)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Scale of one to ten (how satisfied you feel about your efforts; this is more of a qualitative assessment)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Frequency (the number of <em>times</em> you do something, like spend time with your family or significant other)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Volume (the number of<em> things</em> you do, as in my house-cleaning example where I measure success by doing several different chores or my example of trying new activities with kids)</li> </ul> <h2>Review Your Progress</h2> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve got the whole yardstick thing figured out, it&rsquo;s always helpful to take time out of your schedule periodically to reflect upon how you&rsquo;re doing. This is somewhat different than measuring your goal against a set unit of time (as in weekly or monthly). Instead, this involves taking a broader view and assessing whether the whole system is working for you. I have what I call quarterly goals meetings, for instance, which really just involve me thinking about:</p> <ol> <li>Whether I want to be pursuing a goal at all anymore</li> <li>How I&rsquo;m doing</li> <li>Action steps to get closer to achieving my goal</li> </ol> <p>Think of it like a performance review for your personal life. Except you can&rsquo;t get canned if you&rsquo;re not doing well.</p> <h2>Take Some Help From the Web</h2> <p>To get ideas on how to assign measurable units to your goals, get advice on how to accomplish them, or just get cheered on by other people, check out the social networking site <a href="http://www.43things.com/">43 Things</a>. This site lets you list your goals and lets you know how many others are pursuing the same goal. It also tells you what other goals people are pursuing in addition to your goal, and what people are pursuing who have already completed your goal. Alternatively, try the site <a href="http://www.stickk.com/">Stickk</a> to track your progress toward any objective online. This site was born when an Economics Professor at Yale opened a &ldquo;commitment store&rdquo; online, in which users basically up the stakes for goal completion by adding money to the mix. Pick your goal, designate the amount to pay out if you fail, and choose where your money will go &mdash; <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/giving-to-charity-is-great-but-how-do-you-pick-one">charity</a>, friends, or anti-charity (an organization you hate &mdash; even more motivation to succeed!).</p> <p>I hope these tips inspire you to think creatively in measuring your goals, so you&rsquo;ll know when you&rsquo;ve finally succeeded. Best of luck!</p> <p><em>Do you have any additional ways to measure your goals? Share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-it-done-how-to-measure-your-goals" class="sharethis-link" title="Get It Done: How to Measure Your Goals" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/janey-osterlind">Janey Osterlind</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-it-done-how-to-measure-your-goals">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-boost-creativity">25 Ways to Boost Creativity</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/but-i-dont-want-to-secrets-to-self-motivation">But I Don&#039;t Want To! Secrets to Self-Motivation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stick-to-personal-deadlines">How to Stick to Personal Deadlines</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/friends-and-goals-dont-let-a-blue-falcon-bring-you-down">Friends and Goals: Don&#039;t Let a Blue Falcon Bring You Down</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-steps-to-achieving-all-your-goals">6 Steps to Achieving All Your Goals</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Personal Development Productivity achieving goals getting things done performance measurement Mon, 30 Jul 2012 10:24:41 +0000 Janey Osterlind 944072 at http://www.wisebread.com But I Don't Want To! Secrets to Self-Motivation http://www.wisebread.com/but-i-dont-want-to-secrets-to-self-motivation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/but-i-dont-want-to-secrets-to-self-motivation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/507237104_4735021f6d_z.jpg" alt="woman dislikes grocery shopping" title="woman dislikes grocery shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I sat down to write this piece, I thought the &ldquo;slant&rdquo; was pretty obvious. There are, after all, only a few things that truly motivate us to move in one direction or another: fear, money, love, and hate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-get-motivated-today">25 Ways to Get Motivated Today</a>)</p> <p>The key to self-motivating, then, is to find a way to apply those triggers on a day-to-day basis, thereby &ldquo;tricking&rdquo; ourselves into getting things done. Unfortunately, this kind of self-manipulation will only produce limited results because when you get right down to it, you&rsquo;re either motivated to do something or you&rsquo;re not. Some of us thrive on setting goals and then seeing what we can accomplish, while others don&rsquo;t feel that thrill at all. Maybe you just haven&rsquo;t found your passion yet, or maybe there&rsquo;s not enough fear or money to get you moving. Whatever it is, the &ldquo;fire&rdquo; has yet to be lit, and only you can be the one to answer why.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s when I realized that my original slant for this article isn&rsquo;t really the slant you need. I mean, we all know how to bite the bullet and get something done when we have to. But what about when those powerful prompts simply don&rsquo;t exist? Or worse, what happens when you have to overcome those motivators in order to move in a different and conceivably better direction?</p> <p>Truth be told, it&rsquo;s much easier to motivate us to fail or settle than it is to motivate us to succeed. We&rsquo;ll stay in unsatisfying jobs, for example, because we need the money and we have bills that must be paid. We&rsquo;ll stay in equally unsatisfying relationships, too, because we&rsquo;re simply too afraid to leave and venture out on our own.</p> <p>As a result, much of what we don&rsquo;t accomplish isn&rsquo;t because we&rsquo;re not motivated; it&rsquo;s because we&rsquo;re being motivated in a different direction Therein lies the real question &mdash; <em>how can you overcome those traditional motivators to steer your life down a better path?</em></p> <p>Well, in true Wise Bread fashion, I&rsquo;ve come up with a short list of hacks to help you get out of your own way. Here they are, in no particular order.</p> <h2>Eat That Frog</h2> <p>This is something that I picked up from Simple Truths, and it&rsquo;s become my mantra for getting things done. Eat that frog simply means to tackle the worst job first (eating the frog), and then the rest of the day is, well, cake.</p> <p>For my daughter, that means doing her math homework. For me, it means cleaning out my office. But once we&rsquo;ve done those horrible, distasteful jobs, everything else on our to-do list looks much more appealing.</p> <p>For this philosophy to work, you have to be willing to rip off the band aid and jump in. You know that it&rsquo;s going to sting a little, but you also know that the pain is temporary, and once it&rsquo;s done, it&rsquo;s done. The same is true with those things in life that we don&rsquo;t want to do. Maybe they&rsquo;re painful and unpleasant, but if we can just plow through them, we&rsquo;ll ultimately be glad we did. And everything else that follows will seem simple in comparison to choking down that frog.</p> <h2>Face Your FEAR</h2> <p>I&rsquo;ve seen a number of different acronyms for the word FEAR over the years, but there are a few that I think were created specifically with self-motivation in mind, and they work together seamlessly to hold you back and minimize your growth.</p> <p>The first is <em>Frantic Effort to Avoid Reality</em>. Let&rsquo;s face it &mdash; we&rsquo;re creatures of habit. We don&rsquo;t like change, and we&rsquo;ll resist and struggle desperately to stay within our bubble, even when we might actually want or need whatever results the change might bring.</p> <p>As part of our Frantic Effort, we <em>Find Excuses And Reasons</em> that we can&rsquo;t do whatever it is we need to do. These excuses and reasons help us justify putting the thing off indefinitely, while we create <em>False Expectations About Reality</em>. This is where we really excel.</p> <p>We have a knack for making mountains out of molehills, and then allowing those seemingly impossible set of circumstances to influence our decision on how to move forward. The truth is often much less dramatic than we make it out to be in our minds, but we&rsquo;ll allow these False Expectations to keep us from something to the point that <em>Failure (is) Expected And Received</em>.</p> <p>Now, what&rsquo;s really interesting about this scenario is that when we do fail &mdash; or fail to try &mdash; we&rsquo;ll say it was out of our hands. We knew this was going to happen and there was nothing we could do to avoid it.</p> <p>The funny thing is though, our success never stood a chance against our FEAR, and we could have saved ourselves a great amount of worry and stress by just announcing to the world that we weren&rsquo;t even going to attempt this particular step in our evolution.</p> <p>But then, where&rsquo;s the fun in that, right?</p> <p>So before you work yourself into a frenzy, see if you can face your fear instead. What is it that you&rsquo;re really afraid of? Are there truly absolutely awful things that could occur, or are you just setting up those False Expectations?</p> <h2>Break It Down</h2> <p>Sometimes it's not fear or disdain that holds us back but rather, the feeling of being overwhelmed. And using my office again as an example, I can say with certainty that this sensation is almost guaranteed to induce procrastination.</p> <p>For whatever reason, my office seems to be the place that acts as a catch-all for things that don&rsquo;t yet have a place to go. As a result, I have piles of books and boxes and bags that accumulate mysteriously in the corners, and if I don&rsquo;t stay on top of it, those piles can grow rather quickly.</p> <p>Cleaning out my office, then, can sometimes be exhausting before I even get started. I won&rsquo;t deny walking in on occasions only to look around and walk right back out. The key to success in these instances is to find a way to remove that feeling of &ldquo;impossibleness&rdquo; and the best way to do that is to break the job down.</p> <p>Maybe I clean one pile a day or start by simply cleaning off my desk. Whatever it is that I decide, I do that job and then I move onto something else entirely. Knowing that there&rsquo;s a light at the end of the tunnel makes it easier to tackle the mess, and seeing that one clean area also serves as an inspiration to keep going until its all done.</p> <p>Now, facing a big job isn&rsquo;t the only thing that can cause you to feel overwhelmed. It can also happen when you&rsquo;ve stepped too far outside your comfort zone. Yes, pushing the envelope and expanding your horizons is a good thing. But push too far too fast, and you lose your ability to reason and analyze. This causes you to feel besieged by confusion, and you&rsquo;ll end up walking away from the project or opportunity almost every time.</p> <p>The solution is to get around that feeling of being &ldquo;lost&rdquo; by applying the same milestone strategy to navigating your unchartered territory. Figure out what knowledge you would need to regain your comfort level, and then <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/actually-get-things-done-creating-a-reasonable-to-do-list">break it down into digestible chunks</a>, just like they did when you were in school. You wouldn&rsquo;t try to master complex physics equations on the first day, for example. Instead you&rsquo;d start with a basic introduction into your new area of study. The same is true here, and applying this small-steps method will allow you to move forward with confidence.</p> <h2>Reconsider Your Path</h2> <p>All these self-motivating techniques aside, there is one final suggestion that perhaps should be applied before you try any of the others. Here it is &mdash; if you find that you&rsquo;re frequently not motivated to do the things that need to be done, maybe you should be examining the things you&rsquo;re supposed to be doing, and then <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/feeling-stuck-100-ways-to-change-your-life">consider doing something else on a regular basis</a> instead.</p> <p>We spend a lot of time just going through the motions, believing that we have no choice in the matter and must resign ourselves to the task(s) at hand. If this is how you talk yourself into making your bed each morning, then that&rsquo;s probably a good strategy but if it&rsquo;s how you talk yourself into <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-wake-up-fast-and-attack-the-day">getting <em>out of bed</em> everyday</a>, then you should probably dig a little deeper.</p> <p>Life should offer at least some excitement and adventure along the way &mdash; enough in fact, that we don&rsquo;t mind so much about all those little things that make up the mundane part of our existence. If you&rsquo;re finding that the mundane drastically overwhelms the adventure, then no amount of motivation will make you see it differently.</p> <p>The solution, then, is to find something that doesn&rsquo;t require so much motivation to get it done&hellip;something that lights that fire and gets you excited without any extra effort on your part.</p> <p>Do that, and you won&rsquo;t need to worry about self-motivation&hellip;and this article will have done its job.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/but-i-dont-want-to-secrets-to-self-motivation" class="sharethis-link" title="But I Don&#039;t Want To! Secrets to Self-Motivation" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kate-luther">Kate Luther</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/but-i-dont-want-to-secrets-to-self-motivation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stick-to-personal-deadlines">How to Stick to Personal Deadlines</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-it-done-how-to-measure-your-goals">Get It Done: How to Measure Your Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-boost-creativity">25 Ways to Boost Creativity</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-benefits-of-changing-your-routine">The Benefits of Changing Your Routine</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-steps-to-achieving-all-your-goals">6 Steps to Achieving All Your Goals</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Personal Development Productivity getting things done goals self-motivation Thu, 07 Jun 2012 10:36:08 +0000 Kate Luther 933072 at http://www.wisebread.com Actually Get Things Done: Creating a Reasonable To-Do List http://www.wisebread.com/actually-get-things-done-creating-a-reasonable-to-do-list <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/actually-get-things-done-creating-a-reasonable-to-do-list" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6899768810_7f28930290_c.jpg" alt="to do wall" title="to do wall" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&rsquo;s far too easy to wind up with a to-do list that seems to go on forever. Just as you finish one task, you think of three more that need to get done. I don&rsquo;t know too many people who successfully complete every single item they would like to get done, especially if you look at their to-do lists over time.</p> <p>If you want to accomplish more of the tasks on your to-do list, you have to create a reasonable list &mdash; one that&rsquo;s actually in line with what is practical to handle. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-secret-to-time-management-and-work-life-balance">The Secret to Time Management and Work-Life Balance</a>)</p> <h3>Who&rsquo;s Putting Tasks on Your To-Do List?</h3> <p>The first question you have to address is exactly who is allowed to add to your to-do list. Most of us may be in charge of writing out our own lists, but anyone able to send us a quick email can add to our lists. All it takes is a &quot;could you please do this?&quot; and our lists get that much longer.</p> <p>It is OK to say no to most people, especially if your to-do list is getting out of hand. An employer may not be easy to deny, but if your boss is being unreasonable about what you can accomplish in a short period of time, it&rsquo;s worth pointing out to that person you can&rsquo;t actually accomplish everything on your list in a timely manner. </p> <p>Your significant other may fall into a similar category as your boss. You can&rsquo;t just tell a spouse or partner that you&rsquo;re not going to do something, at least without explaining why. You may need to discuss tasks as they come up. Everyone else, though, it&rsquo;s worth saying no or that you&rsquo;ll have to see &mdash; your own tasks should be a priority.</p> <h3>Prioritization Makes the Difference</h3> <p>Within your to-do list, you need to prioritize what must be accomplished. There are things you have to do today and things that you can put off indefinitely. In general, it&rsquo;s best to focus on what you must accomplish today. But if you only ever do what must be handled today, those tasks without deadlines won&rsquo;t actually be accomplished &mdash; you may get to a few things with deadlines this week or next ahead of time, but that&rsquo;s it. In order to prioritize effectively, you need to set deadlines for every task, and they must be real deadlines. If you just make up a deadline for a given task, the odds of it being completed are incredibly slim.</p> <p>But if you tie a task to an external deadline, such as knowing that you need to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/have-houseguests-how-to-be-the-host-with-the-most">clean out the guest room</a> before your mother&rsquo;s next visit, the odds of it actually getting done go up significantly.</p> <h3>Break Down Big Tasks Into Little Ones</h3> <p>To any extent possible, you want to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-accomplishing-more-in-a-day">break down tasks into the smallest concrete steps</a> you can assign to yourself. We tend to look at something big, like &quot;paint the house,&quot; and put it off as long as possible because there are so many elements to crossing a task like that off of our to-do list. But if we can break it down into steps like buying paint and taping off electrical sockets, we can tell ourselves that we only need to work for a few minutes to accomplish each little task.</p> <p>We get the added bonus of being able to cross more items off of our lists. That feeling of knowing that we&rsquo;ve finished tasks is crucial. It&rsquo;s the main thing that keeps us moving down that list. If we can build up momentum, the whole list is easier to handle.</p> <h3>Don&rsquo;t Be Afraid to Drop Tasks</h3> <p>At the end of the day, there&rsquo;s no punishment for not completing many of the tasks that wind up on our to-do lists. So if something hasn&rsquo;t gotten done and you don&rsquo;t see a clear problem with not doing it, the best way to keep your to-do list under control is to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-do-less-and-why-you-should">drop that task</a>. Take the time to think about the consequences of actually not doing some of your tasks, and you may find that many of them are things you&rsquo;d like to do, rather than need to do. </p> <p>If there&rsquo;s a task that is important to you but that doesn&rsquo;t absolutely need to be done &mdash; that you can&rsquo;t tie to a deadline and that there&rsquo;s no consequence for not doing it &mdash; take it off your to-do list. Add it to a separate list that you can look at and work on when there&rsquo;s room on your to-do list. That way, you&rsquo;re not cluttering up your main list and not getting depressed every time you have to put off a particular task.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/actually-get-things-done-creating-a-reasonable-to-do-list" class="sharethis-link" title="Actually Get Things Done: Creating a Reasonable To-Do List" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/actually-get-things-done-creating-a-reasonable-to-do-list">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-little-productivity-killers-you-need-to-stop-doing-today">10 Dumb Little Productivity Killers You Need to Stop Doing Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-things-to-do-during-your-commute-even-if-you-drive">10 Smart Things to Do During Your Commute (Even If You Drive!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-useful-things-you-can-do-in-15-minutes-or-less">101 Useful Things You Can Do in 15 Minutes or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-productivity-apps-for-really-busy-people-like-you">The 10 Best Productivity Apps for Really Busy People Like You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-time-saving-hacks-from-the-worlds-busiest-people">11 Time Saving Hacks From the World&#039;s Busiest People</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Productivity getting things done time management to-do lists Mon, 04 Jun 2012 10:24:09 +0000 Thursday Bram 929269 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Habits of Highly Productive People http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/6-habits-of-highly-productive-people <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/6-habits-of-highly-productive-people" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/6-habits-of-highly-productive-people</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/6-habits-of-highly-productive-people" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000015333721Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/6-habits-of-highly-productive-people" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Habits of Highly Productive People" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>What behaviors define the highly productive? What habits, philosophies, and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/creating-productive-workspaces-1">strategies</a> make some people consistently more productive than others? First, let&rsquo;s figure out exactly what we mean by &ldquo;productive.&rdquo; Too often, productivity gets conflated with simply being busy. But that&rsquo;s only part of the story. True productivity means not only getting work done; it means getting the right work done most efficiently. We may labor all day through a series of tasks, but have we completed high-impact work (i.e., has our effort produced results or merely shuffled the paperwork)?</p> <p>Highly productive individuals can focus on results-driven work because they&rsquo;ve distinguished productivity from &ldquo;busy-ness.&rdquo; Often the first step in smart productivity is eliminating the &ldquo;task-noise&rdquo; that drains time and resources. Think of it this way: The person who answers 100 emails in three hours may be busy, but the person who takes 20 minutes to create an auto-responder or a filter that reduces email volume permanently, has been productive.</p> <p>So how do you transform busy-ness into productivity?</p> <h2>1. Embrace Simplicity</h2> <p>Simplicity drives true productivity. Think about the small, relatively inconsequential tasks that compete for your attention every day. What can be eliminated, automated, delegated, or relegated to the back-burner? Productive individuals ruthlessly root out those tasks that compete for their time and sap their resources. Maybe you have a staff of five or ten employees that call you throughout the day with small issues. Is there a qualified leader on the team that can field those questions? Is it time to train and empower each employee to make more decisions independently?</p> <h2>2. Manage Distractions</h2> <p>The forces of our hyper-connected, 24/7 world offers us amazing opportunities to engage&mdash;and even more opportunities to become distracted. The truly productive understand the threat of distraction in all its forms and create clear boundaries between the task-at-hand and the host of diversions that vie for their attention. Whether the distractions are work or play, establishing a &ldquo;sacred space&rdquo; for what you&rsquo;re doing is key in becoming more productive.</p> <h2>3. Bend Activities around Inspiration</h2> <p>No strategy can match the motivation that comes from being inspired. Productive individuals understand this and leave their schedules flexible enough to identify and respond to inspiration. Though inspiration doesn&rsquo;t always come and we often have to force ourselves to complete some tasks, knowing how to leverage those motivated moments can transform our work experience, cut the time investment, and improve the quality of what&rsquo;s produced.</p> <h2>4. Seize Small Blocks of Time</h2> <p>What would get done if you waited until you had enough time? Productive people understand that small blocks of time used wisely can whittle away at projects large and small. Whether it&rsquo;s 15 minutes before work or an hour during a commute, being ready (read: organized) to seize the moment can make all the difference.</p> <h2>5. Make Lists and Set Goal Paths</h2> <p>Highly productive individuals understand that<b> </b>every goal, no matter how small is driven by smaller supporting goals. Dissecting this dependency and flow is essential to creating sound goal paths.</p> <p>If you want to change careers, that goal may be driven by several smaller goals like going back to school, improving your networking skills, updating your resume, or getting a new certification. And each of these smaller goals is supported by even more granular sub-goals. Creating daily &ldquo;To Do&rdquo; lists is perhaps the most common way we identify each of these mini goals and understand how they fit into the bigger picture. Productive people tend to be ardent list-makers and are motivated by accomplishing the small daily tasks that, over time, drive larger achievement.</p> <h2>6. Multitask&hellip;Sometimes</h2> <p>Multitasking gets a lot of good press in modern corporate culture. The willingness and ability to juggle five or ten tasks simultaneously is almost assumed, and most employees are trained to be circus performers early on. But what subtleties of concentration, recall and quality are lost as we indiscriminately multitask?</p> <p>The truly productive realize that multitasking can be useful at times and utterly ineffective at others. Choose your occasion carefully. For those jobs that don&rsquo;t require creative problem solving, interpersonal communication, attention to detail, or quick response times, multitasking works great (but what exactly are those jobs?). The rest of the time, embrace the long-forgotten &ldquo;mono-tasking&rdquo;&mdash;it&rsquo;ll boost the quality of your work, reduce your stress, help your communication skills and ultimately, make you more productive.</p> <p>In the end, productivity is one part old-fashioned discipline and one part smart strategy. Organizing our lives so that we optimize our chances of being productive is half the battle. Once we see results and start to build traction, the strategies become habit and we open ourselves up to a life that&rsquo;s powered by smarter time management, more focused work, and greater personal and professional achievement.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/6-habits-of-highly-productive-people">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/actually-get-things-done-creating-a-reasonable-to-do-list">Actually Get Things Done: Creating a Reasonable To-Do List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-little-productivity-killers-you-need-to-stop-doing-today">10 Dumb Little Productivity Killers You Need to Stop Doing Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-things-to-do-during-your-commute-even-if-you-drive">10 Smart Things to Do During Your Commute (Even If You Drive!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-useful-things-you-can-do-in-15-minutes-or-less">101 Useful Things You Can Do in 15 Minutes or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-time-saving-hacks-from-the-worlds-busiest-people">11 Time Saving Hacks From the World&#039;s Busiest People</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Productivity Small Business Resource Center busy-ness getting things done mono-tasking multi-tasking small business time management todo lists Thu, 13 Oct 2011 21:51:07 +0000 Kentin Waits 717157 at http://www.wisebread.com