Productivity: The Art of Staying Focused

Whether you already have an efficient routine or you are yet to find one, many of us could do with mastering the art of productivity. Planning our working day as efficiently as possible enables us to reap the benefits of hard work, whilst also enjoying some free time too. This guide offers tips on how to foster productivity, minimise distractions, and the art of prioritisation.

cup of aromatic cappuccino on table in cafe
Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels.com

Sleep

Sleep sets you up for the day. Avoid waking up on the wrong side of the bed by getting the recommended 7-8 hours. Create a warm, cosy bedroom environment to make getting enough sleep as achievable as possible. Calm a busy mind before bedtime by utilising the 4-4-4 breathing technique. Breath in for four seconds, hold it for four seconds, then exhale to the count of four. According to scientific research, slowing your breath triggers a relaxation response in the brain and body, setting you up for the perfect night’s sleep.

Efficient Planning Tool

Have you ever come across Eisenhower’s urgent/important matrix tool? If you have, I’m positive that you can testify its effectiveness. If you haven’t, you can check out a visual here. This time management tool is a powerful way to prioritise time, tasks and goals. The planner displays four quadrants which enable you to divide tasks by their level of urgency and importance. This matrix allows you to visualise and determine what tasks you need to do and which tasks should be prioritised. Often we are productive, but none of it has real value in the long run. This method will empower you to plan and prioritise long-term goals each week.

Start with the Most Important Tasks

According to Laborit’s law, we should start with the most mentally draining task at the beginning of the day. The following scenario may sound familiar to you. You have a dreaded task to do, instead of doing it right away you procrastinate, carrying out simpler tasks that bring immediate satisfaction. Also known as “The Law of the Least Effort”, we’re essentially perpetuating the sensation of that unpleasant task hovering over us. To master productivity, start the day with the most difficult task and reward yourself as soon as it’s finished.

Adios Distractions

Are you susceptible to distractions such as Whatsapp messages, aimlessly scrolling on social media or googling random thought processes? Guilty as charged! If, like many, you tend to get distracted by your phone, leave it another room. Keep it on silent and out of reach in order to let your focus flow. Also, try not to constantly check emails and carry out several tasks at once. Focus on the task in hand; monotasking, not multitasking, is the secret to getting things done efficiently.

macbook air flower bouquet and magazines on white table
Photo by Jess Bailey Designs on Pexels.com

Get Inspired

The subconscious mind is one of the most powerful tools and, in turn, ultimately the key to our success. Every day our mind is shaped by the environment in which we live. Our memories, beliefs, fears, subjective maps of reality are all examples of our subconscious mind that govern the course of our life. It’s essential to override subconscious negativity with inspiration. Listen to podcasts, read books, and spend time with people that inspire you. Fill your environment with inspirational quotes, vision boards, get out in nature.

Productivity is the result of commitment, efficient planning and focused effort. I highly recommend Stephen R. Covey’s best selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to learn more on efficiency and expertise in purposeful productivity.

“The key is not to prioritise what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen R. Covey

6 Simple Ways To Effectively Enhance Productivity

If you are lacking motivation or looking for ways to enhance your efficiency, look no further. Productivity is all about diligence and establishing good habits. This guide is full of practical tips to effectively enhance productivity, and can be tailored to each individual’s preferences.

Start The Day As You Mean To Go On

Firstly, aim to start your day feeling refreshed. Make yourself a nutritional breakfast, a warm drink or just a glass of water to stay hydrated if you don’t have much of an appetite. Healthy habits are best achieved with a healthy diet, providing us with optimum nutritional value and energy for the day. In order to start the day well, try doing something you find uplifting. That might be spending time with your pet, going on walk or journaling. Focus on feeling replenished and ready for the day ahead.

Motivational Mentors

Secondly, find a mentor. This does not necessarily have to be the conventional mentor, it could be something like a podcast, a book or even a YouTuber that motivates you. Look for something uplifting that leaves you feeling energised to enhance your productivity. Remember, even on the days in which you struggle to find motivation – mind over matter. Find a mentor that leaves you feeling inspired, empowered and motivated. Take a task like cooking or having breakfast and listen simultaneously. Another tip for increasing your motivation is to decorate your most-used spaces, e.g. your office or bathroom, with some beautiful quotes or affirmations to keep the positivity flowing.

macbook pro on white table
Photo by bongkarn thanyakij on Pexels.com

Achievable To-Do Lists

Thirdly, create a to-do list and ensure it is realistic. Sometimes our optimistic selves write out unrealistic to-do lists. This ends up creating pressure and stress as we try to squeeze everything in. Write your list the day before and ensure that it’s reasonable. Finding out what is too much and what is not quite enough is all about trial and error. There will be days when you run about like a headless chicken but get everything done. Then there are days where you might aimlessly stare at the screen and wander around filling your day with distractions. Experiment with how much you are capable of doing in a day. Do not beat yourself up about the not so productive days – learn from them. Maybe you need a more in-depth to-do list or maybe you just need a break, this happens to the best of us.

Create An Enjoyable Work Space

Ensure that where you work, study or get things done is a pleasant, inspiring environment. Have all the necessary things at hand like some water, your laptop, your books and whatever else you deem crucial. Then, think about what you can do to make it a space that inspires productivity; design an aesthetically pleasing space for yourself. Of course, this is subject to the individual’s taste. It could be anything from buying a nice plant, adding in a family photo or even a motivational quote. Keep it tidy by dedicating five minutes at the end of each day to organising your space and, voila, keep up the flow of productivity!

himalayan salt lamp near laptop on wooden table
Photo by Andrea Davis on Pexels.com

Avoid Social Media

Avoid social media, and yes, that includes WhatsApp. It’s considered a bad habit due to its addictive nature, while it also serves as a distraction to productivity. If discipline is something you are working on, it might be a good idea to put your phone in another room, put it on flight mode or even just keep it in another place entirely. Save yourself from losing time and only check your phone after the working day or during your breaks. You could even consider a digital detox. We all know how easy it is to get caught up in viewing people’s Instagram stories, but distractions lead to lower levels of productivity.

Have Something To Look Forward To

Always have something to look forward to. Healthy habits must be rewarded! After all, self-love is taking care of your happiness. It is so important to reward yourself for all your hard work by doing something fun after work, or making some exciting weekend plans. When times get hard and all you want to do is turn off your laptop, instead of focusing on your momentary lack of willpower, focus on how much fun you can have when you finish.

woman turning around on green fields
Photo by Jackson David on Pexels.com

Wishing everyone a healthy, happy, productive day. Remember, as Sean Covey says, “depending on what they are, our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do.”

Monday Motivation: Mountain-Inspired Quotes

The Mountains are one of nature’s finest gifts. They provide us with freshwater, enable us to hike, to absorb breath-taking views. But above all, they remind us of how beautiful our planet truly is. So, on this Monday morning, let’s start the day right with some mountain-inspired quotes.

trees near body of water
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Visualise your Goals

“When everything feels like an uphill struggle, just think of the view from the top.” –  W. Michael Scott

Everyone struggles with a case of the Monday Blues every once in a while, right? We’re in need of some Monday motivation. Luckily, looking at the mountains helps put things into perspective. Today is Monday, we’re at the bottom ready for the week ahead. Find motivation by visualising the moment in which you reach your goals. Whether that be your dream career or a fitness challenge, each goal counts. In fact, scientific studies have shown that visualization has a positive impact on goal achievement. There are no views without the climb much like there is no Friday without Monday. Everything worthwhile presents challenges and that’s part of the fun. We have to put the work in to reap the rewards. So grab that cup of coffee and give it your all.

It’s OK to Have a Bad Day…

“What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it’s curved, like a road through mountains.” – Tennesse Williams

OK, so for anyone struggling with Monday motivation, this quote is for you. It brings complete peace of mind knowing that life is not all sunshine and rainbows. As Tennesse famously said, life is as tumultuous as the mountains that give depth to the Earth. It’s reassuring to know that we also form part of that tortuousness. So, if you are having a bad day or something didn’t go as planned, remember it’s completely normal and only temporary, of course.

grey road near mountain near body of water photo
Photo by Ketan Kumawat on Pexels.com

Your Only Competition is Yourself

“Climb the mountain so that you can see the world… not so that the world can see you.” – David McCullough Jr.

In a world which revolves around social media, sometimes we post things or even do things based on what we think others will think of us. It has become second nature to post the best of ourselves, only showing our best life. But you can only compare yourself to who you were yesterday. You are your only competition. Work hard and persevere for what you want.

What are your favourite mountain quotes? Let me know in the comments below!

The Five Wonders of Working from Home

Many of us are currently adapting to COVID-19 and part of this means working from home. Initially, as a relatively new concept, working from home was a concern for many. Yet, studies have shown that it can increase employees’ productivity and it may even be better for the planet.

As a teacher and when I first embarked upon online teaching, I struggled. It was so different to face-to-face teaching and I missed classroom interaction and engagement. Fortunately, thanks to an abundance of accessible material and online features, I was quickly able to adapt. Plus, seeing a student start the class with a glimpse of sadness and being able to turn that into a smile is a great feeling.

So, what are the five wonders of working from home?

three white ceramic pots with green leaf plants near open notebook with click pen on top
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

Enhanced Creativity

Speaking on behalf of anyone who has had to change their approach to work, creativity is absolutely crucial. Exploring the amazing content online, learning about new software, and engaging in videos and quizzes galore, the transition demands creativity and an open mind. Working from home requires initiative in order to face the challenges of adapting to change. In addition to problem-solving skills, enhanced creativity also provides us with a sense of purpose and accomplishment at work to brighten up our day.

Enjoyable Office Environment

Right now, I am working away whilst soaking up the sun rays on my terrace. From cosy attire, to the familiarity of the dining room table with everything you could possibly want at reach, working from home really does have its perks. Plus, the endless cups of tea and coffee are a dream.

himalayan salt lamp near laptop on wooden table
Photo by Andrea Davis on Pexels.com

Enhanced Productivity

Commuting is no longer eating away at our free time and, in turn, increases our desire to work efficiently. For many, the time saved with zero-commuting and flexible schedules lead to an increase in productivity levels. Plus, getting in the zone quicker and taking a break when necessary definitely helps boost productivity.

Pets

Nothing beats coming home from a day’s work to be greeted by your beloved pet. Working from home means we get even more time with our four-legged friends. In fact, pets can be a great help whilst working as they’re known to increase the feel-good hormones in our body such as serotonin and dopamine. Pets can calm and soothe you when feelings of stress or anxiety arise. Whenever you feel a cloud of negativity hovering over you, pets are there to brighten up your day.

selective focus photography of bunny on a leash
Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

Reducing Environmental Impact

Less commuting results in fewer vehicles on the roads and less CO2 emissions. Fortunately, traffic jams and fuel expenses are reduced drastically when working from home.

So, these are the five wonders of working from home. Not only can it be great for enhanced productivity and creativity, but it also reduces our environmental impact helping our planet too.