Category: Productivity Tools

Building a Routine for Efficiency and Quality

Routines are potent mechanisms in our daily life that help us achieve more. They create structure in our days to help us deal with the complexity of everyday life. By having time and spaces designated for various activities, our tasks become automatic and allow us to do more.

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Best Practices for Managing Priorities and Productivity

In his book, The Executive’s Compass: Business and the Good Society (public library), James O’Toole describes the use of a compass with the ideas of liberty (North) and equality (South) on the vertical axis and efficiency (East) and community (West) on the horizontal axis. These poles, notably the liberty-equality continuum, represent tradeoffs we must make as we search for the ideal society. I read about the tension between the idea of full liberty and full equality, but I had never

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Finding Focus in a World of Multiple Projects and Distractions

As managers, much of our daily work is problem-solving – going from one issue to the next and resolving each one. We need to approve transactions or discuss with others how to proceed with a question. This type of work requires being able to solve one task at a time and think on our feet. It may also require building consensus and teamwork. It is dynamic work and is full of activity.

There are other times, though, when we need to do a more intense kind of work. Sometimes we must do a deep-dive and research a new topic. We may have to think through an entrenched problem or start and engage with a challenging project that requires concentrated attention. Here, a different type of performance is necessary: one in which we take the time to immerse ourselves in an issue and think through it.

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Building Resilience to Navigate the Ups and Downs

Life happens every day. Over time, we will experience a bit of everything – good, bad, great, sad, and sometimes, like the recent crisis we are living through, catastrophic. Our work life is no different. With the ups come the downs: in typical times, a great team player may leave the company, or perhaps a loan does not come through. It can be very frustrating and sometimes scary.

Growth is not linear; it is all over the place. To be able to work with the uncertainty, I’ve found that as leaders, we must develop resilience. If we are not feeling well ourselves, it will be much more difficult, if not impossible, to lead.

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Build Your Schedule Block by Block

Your schedule is what determines what you will do daily. And your daily actions are the steps that will take you to achievement. Therefore, how well you set up your schedule will define how successful you are reaching all your goals, no matter what they are. What you seek to achieve may be professionally related, but it may also be about creating more time for yourself, your community, and your loved ones.

A well-designed schedule will establish where you will spend your time and will be the foundation for your results over time. Your schedule can be supportive if you design it to be so — otherwise, it can be part of the reason you are not where you strive to be.

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Your Growth: Developing Good Habits and Eliminating Bad Ones

Habits are powerful mechanisms in our routines. They are at the core of the actions we take and therefore the results we achieve. With time, they can help you incorporate more positive actions into your day.

According to Charles Duhigg in The Power of Habit, habits emerged because the brain tries to save as much effort as possible to conserve energy. They are so useful to us because the brain can automate our actions into a routine. As examples, exercising, eating healthy food, cleaning our inboxes, and keeping our desks clean can become a routine so that we don’t have to think about doing them each time.

Therefore, with habits, we have room in our minds that can be used to solve non-routine problems. We also have more energy to think creatively and grow.

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