Focus On Prorities — But Don’t Neglect the “Bottom” of Your To-Do List

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When it comes to productivity, there are things that you must do and then there are things that you would like to do. Those things that you must do are always at the top of your to-do list and they are there for a reason. They keep the lights on. But then there are a handful of things you would like to do but for which you can never seem to find the time to get done.

They always sit at the bottom of your list waiting for that arbitrary “someday”.

But the real question is — when is that “someday”?

Chances are when you say someday, that translates to never. But don’t always neglect the bottom of your to do list. Here’s why.

There is never a good time.

Frankly, if you keep pushing what you want to do off, you’ll never do it. There will always be something more important or more urgent. For things that are only “nice-to-do”, there is never a good time to do it. That is why you have to find the time. You can be productive and get all the things that you need to do done, while working on some projects you are passionate about as well.

What’s not important now may be later.

You may be putting things off because they’re not necessarily important to you now. But that doesn’t mean they won’t be later on. It takes time to work up to your goals and passions. Get a head start now. Chip away a little at a time and before you know it, you’ll be done.

Learn to prioritize the non-essentials.

Being productive doesn’t mean getting as much done as possible. It means getting the right things done. Some things are super important but that doesn’t mean you should just forget about it. We all have a long list of what we deem as non-essentials or nice-to-dos. While we can’t do them all, learn to prioritize a few.

Focus on self-improvement.

Our to-do list too often only consists of doing things for others, whether it be family, friends or coworkers. We push the “me time” down all the way to the bottom. Don’t forget to focus on yourself. Think about what you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time for. Maybe it was writing a book or going on that trip. Do it now. Focus on your passions. Giving yourself time to do things you love is just as important as everything else.

4 Tips to Make Your Conference Call More Productive

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If you’ve read this previous post, you know how I feel about conference calls. Conference call overload is a major productivity killer and time waster.

Sometimes, however, such calls are simply unavoidable.  If you must host one, here are 4 tips to make it more productive:

1) Make sure you start and end on time.

Most meetings never start on time. When you’re in an office, it’s not a terrible thing to be a few minutes late. People saunter into the room and have random chit-chat with the person sitting next to them before the meeting gets underway. When you’re on the phone however, being late is much more noticeable. If a conference call doesn’t start on time, it makes people agitated. Afterall, they are just sitting there waiting. People might drop off the call altogether. Be respectful of people’s time and start on time.

2) Periodically ask for feedback.

The problem with conference calls is that you never know if people are paying attention or not. To keep everyone on their toes, ask the participants what they think or if they have any questions periodically. Keeping an open discussion going during a conference call keeps everyone involved, not only the host. It also drastically increases the productivity of the call.

3) Speak loudly and concisely.

Technology isn’t always reliable and you’re not sure what kind of equipment your participants are using to join the call. Whether they’re on their cell phone or office phone, do what you can to make sure everyone can hear you. Speak loudly and concisely. Before you start, ask if everyone can hear you. You’d be surprised how many people won’t speak up if they can’t hear you properly.

4) Act as if everyone is in the room with you.

The best tip to having a conference call, whether you are the host or the participant, is to act as if everyone is in the room with you. Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do if other people were there. For instance, would you check your email or surf the internet in a meeting with other people? Probably not. If you are giving your time to this call, give you undivided attention as well. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of time.

 

Why it’s important to celebrate the small wins

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We love to celebrate big wins. The milestones, achievements, promotions. We never fail to recognize when we’ve accomplished something big. It might not happen very often, which is why it’s such a big deal to us when it does.

But we also shouldn’t forget to celebrate the small wins.

It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that you’ve achieved something huge. But on that same note, you can apply that thinking the other way around. When we only celebrate the big wins, we also overexaggerate the issues we face. It gives us a tendency to put even more emphasis on what has gone wrong and mistakes we’ve made. When we do that, our motivation to persevere dwindles.

In business, there will be wins – big and small. There will also be failures. To be successful, you have to learn to celebrate the smalls wins and not let the big setbacks discourage you.

Take a moment to acknowledge the small steps.

There are small wins every day in our lives, both personally and professionally. Most of what we do leads up to a bigger goals. It’s easy to stare straight at the end point. But take a moment to acknowledge the small steps we take to get there. Accomplishments are made up of stepping stones and while they seem small, they all play a significant role. So don’t downplay them. Every small step gets you closer to your goal.

Small wins add up to big ones.

When you’re celebrating your small wins, remember that small wins add up to big ones. Some things seem insurmountable when we look at it as a whole. But when we break it down, it’s not so bad. Dissecting our goals into smaller, easier-to-manage ones gives us the ability to focus on one thing at a time. And when you do finally complete one checkpoint, don’t let it go unnoticed.

You have win the battle in order to win the war.

This may sound cliche but at the end of the day, have you to win the battle in order to win the war. In other words, you can’t get to where you want to be without putting in the hard work day-to-day. Without the small wins, there would be no big celebration.

However, there is one caveat – you don’t have to win EVERY battle. Failure is going to happen and you should celebrate that as well. Celebrate what you’ve learned from it and use that to move on to your next step.