The productivity hack that helps me win the day, every day

My clients and friends laugh about it. Sometimes they get pissed about it.

I’m talking about my penchant for not answering the phone during the work day.

It’s not that I’m ignoring their calls (most times).  It’s that I usually don’t even have my phone on or nearby while I’m working.

It’s a proactive productivity hack that keeps me focused and on track every single day.

I used to be that guy who answered phones and responded to emails as they came in throughout the day. And you know what? I got nothing done.

By responding to the real time fire hose of communications that came into me every minute, I found it almost impossible to start projects … or finish them.

After years of this madness, I decided enough was enough, and started batching the times at which I check my emails and my voicemails/calls.

Here’s why I did it.

Most Calls Were Non-Emergency

After analyzing my incoming calls, I found that most of them were either non-emergency “checking in” calls, or really non-emergency “chew the fat” calls. Further, when there was an actual emergency, the phone call was accompanied by an email and even a text message (which pops up in a notification on my laptop.)

I’d Rather be Prepared

For those calls for which my client or colleague had a question, I usually had to call them back once I investigated the answer.  That meant that two calls were necessary.  By allowing them to leave a voicemail first, I could listen to their question, investigate, and call them back (or email them — even better!) with an answer. It saves considerable time.

Workflow is Imperative

Much of my day is spent writing.  It’s hard to get a good flow if you have to keep starting and stopping to answer calls or emails. My clients want my best work, and they want it fast. My working to cut down on calls with them, it’s allowing me to serve them better by providing them a better product.

So, to all of you clients and colleagues who joke about me never answering the phone, or seem offended by it — I hope you understand.

This phone habit has stuck for the past several years, and it’s allowed me to get more done, be more productive, be happier and serve my clients better each day, every day.

Workplace Clutter Could Be Killing Your Productivity. Here’s What You Should Do.

A recent study found that a messy desk may be the sign of genius.

While that may be true for some, I still hold to the old notion that a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind.

At the very least, time spent looking for something you need in your office is time that could have been used so much more productively. A few minutes here, a few minutes there, multiple times a day, every work day…it all adds up. And what it adds up to isn’t pretty. Continue reading “Workplace Clutter Could Be Killing Your Productivity. Here’s What You Should Do.”

How to Make Sure Your To-Do List is Actually Helping You Get Things Done

While effective productivity is valued at most workplaces, it is absolutely crucial for startups and entrepreneurs. 

Since time is money, the highest priority is getting things done on schedule, if not sooner. Nothing can fall through the cracks.

If you are going to hit the ground running every day, and get everything knocked out on time, you need to know how to work from the most powerfully effective to-do list every single day. Here are a few tips on how to create it and how to use it for maximum productivity. Continue reading “How to Make Sure Your To-Do List is Actually Helping You Get Things Done”

5 tips to help you be more optimistic

Is your glass half empty or half full? How to stay optimistic in the business world.

Is your glass half empty or half full? How to stay optimistic in the business world.

Is your glass half empty or half full?

Your outlook and attitude has an impact on the outcome of everything you do, whether you realize it not. If you tend to be pessimistic, completing anything can be challenging: You think negatively, and as result, you believe in yourself less.

On the other hand, having a positive and optimistic outlook will make a really noticeable difference when it comes to productivity and even happiness. When you believe you can do something, you’ll be much more likely to not only accomplish it but also do your best in it.

If you have trouble keeping a positive attitude, consider these tips:

Make time for yourself

When you’re pulled in all different directions in the workplace, it’s hard to take a break and make time for yourself. However, you should make it a priority. Take some time to do something for yourself that you enjoy, even if it is only 10 minutes a day. While these moments may be short, they improve overall happiness drastically.

Find the positive in everything

A little positive thinking can go a long way. Even in the face of what seems like an insurmountable challenge, find the positive in it. For instance, maybe you didn’t land that big deal this month. But now you have extra time and funds to pursue something bigger. There is a silver lining in everything; you just have to find it.

Get rid of the negative around you

No matter how hard you try, it’s difficult to be optimistic if there are people around you that are dragging you down. If you feel like someone’s perpetual negative attitude is rubbing off on you, you need to do something about it. Whether it’s confronting them or getting rid of them in your life completely, it’s an important step to take. Surround yourself with only people and things that help you move forward and make you better.

Learn to let go

On the same note, you also need to learn to let go – not only of people, but also of ideas and things. Not everything is going to turn out the way you want to. Learn to accept that and let go of whatever is holding you back, before it’s too late.

Remember to live and laugh

Lastly, remember not to take work too seriously. Some things are out of your control and all you can do is try your best. At the end of the day, remember to live and laugh.

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