Get the most out of your day…and your career!

We have all experienced those frustrated thoughts, in a moment of desperation, which sound a little like, “There isn’t enough hours in the day” or “How do they find time to do that, I’m too busy!” Yes, we are all guilty of doing this at one time or another. Sometimes, with the weight of our jobs, family, leisure time and those dreaded trips to the gym (or lack there of) it is hard to get everything we want to get done. However, it isn’t impossible…

It is pretty straightforward to understand that the more productive we are, the more we will get done, thus the more we can achieve. So, we have to be productive to be successful! But… how?! Follow these four simple tips to being more productive (and more successful):

1. Commit

Whatever it is you’re doing, BE FULLY COMMITTED. Taking on tasks or jobs but trying to complete them while being distracted does not allow for high quality results. It’s great you are taking on an extra task or a new hobby, but if you don't fully commit it could yield lower results than what you are capable of. Even if you get it done (eventually) and you try and convince yourself that you’re productive, because you got it done, being distracted and not dedicating the correct time and energy while performing these tasks will only negate positive results but cause the task to take longer than necessary. Whatever you do, do your best, fully commit!

2. Multitasking is the enemy

We all have been lead to believe that multitasking is a talent, a skill, and a virtue for us fortunate enough to be able to do it. What we aren’t realising though is that multitasking leads to distractions, which causes tasks and project to take longer than necessary. Research has stated that the human brain is not actually meant to multitask and that we are actually pretty terrible at it (GULP). The extra tabs up on your computer (Facebook, YouTube, maybe some online shopping) leads us to lose focus on the task at hand, which just adds time to the project and deducts time from our other jobs or personal time.

3. Cut out all interruptions, even the friendly ones!

“Hey, can you take a look at this quickly for me and let me know what you think?”

This line is a little too familiar to us all, whether it is someone at work or someone at home. Helping out and looking over others’ work is a great way to gain a second opinion and some advice. However, it’s got to be given at the right time. It sounds a little harsh at first because we all want to help our friendly co-workers but we have to help ourselves as well. When you are working on something, and you are really ‘in the zone’, any distraction or tiny break from your work can derail your train of thought and momentum. To avoid this happening we cannot give in to ANY distractions, but you don’t have to say “no” and offend anyone. To get the best of both worlds we simply (and kindly) have to tell our friendly co-worker that “I’m just working on Project X, can I take a look in 20 minutes?” Thus, no feelings are hurt and we are still KILLING this project!

4. Hang out with productive people

Your mothers’ probably gave you the same speech about what kids you should be friends with at school, and they were usually always the ‘good kids’, the ‘smart ones’, the ‘teacher’s pets’, star athletes etc. Well, mum was kind of right! To get the best results within yourself it is imperative to constantly be motivated and strive hard towards what you want to achieve. Hanging around unproductive, uninspired people will only cause you to mirror their behaviour and attitudes. You don’t have to go through all of your friends and completely cut everyone who doesn’t seem to fit the ‘over-achiever’ role, however you need to learn to evaluate who uplifts you and causes you to work harder, compared to the ones who don’t. Try to spend more of your time with the people who make you want to try harder and succeed more, all the while inspiring them at the same time! It’s the circle of success.

Workday #Inspo

Yes, they have been over-used. And yes, they are a little cliché. But sometimes, when it’s shaping out to be the day from hell, it is sometimes helpful to gain inspiration from others.

Next time, when you are struggling, have a look at these beliefs and phrases and find your own motivation… These quotes are the perfect ‘pick me up’ if you are experiencing harsh critics, or a tough manager who likes to try and tear you down.

“Too many people overvalue what they are not, and undervalue what they are.”

– Malcolm Forbes


“A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her.”

-David Brinkley


“What lies before us and what lies behind us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson


“You are very powerful, provided you know how powerful you are.”

-Yogi Bhajan


“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”

-Carl Gustav Jung


Try having a list of phrases and quotes that inspire you at your work station, ready to be read and injected when you need that burst of energy and motivation to strive further. 

Be healthy (and happy) at work

Being chained to your desk is not just a sure-fire way to end up despising your boss – it can also be bad for your health.

Some people in office jobs sit at their computers for hours on end, forgetting to step outside for fresh air even once during their eight-hour workday.

The key to longer lasting energy throughout your work day is to be active. Walking to work or getting off the tram, train or bus a few stops earlier is a great way to boost your activity level. Many organisations offer lunchtime gym classes or corporate challenges, giving employees the flexibility to squeeze in a sweat session during their working day.

If you do work in an office, make a conscious effort to get off your chair every 30-60 minutes, whether it’s for a bathroom break, to fill up your water bottle, speak with a colleague or simply walk to the printer.

Eating lunch is not a desk job either – go outside to eat, or in a shared space within your office environs. One of the healthiest and hip-pocket friendly ways to enjoy your lunch is to bring it from home. But before you start walking from the fridge back to your desk, consider heading outside to a local park or communal area to eat. Leaving your desk for lunch can also be a good opportunity to socialise with your workmates and make the most of the fresh air.

Limit your drinks at work to coffee, tea and water. One or two cups of coffee, copious amounts of green or herbal tea and at least 2 litres of water means you’ll be healthier at work and avoid the sugar crash that comes from consuming sugary drinks.

You could also follow Learoy’s approach to creating a healthy, happy workplace and take it in turns to bring in fresh juices for the office to enjoy. Or you could dedicate one day a week for each team member to bring in something healthy for everyone to munch on. It doesn’t have to be a gourmet, super expensive lunch either – it could be homemade muesli bars for mid-morning tea or a grain-free, sugar-free loaf to beat the afternoon slump.

The art of keeping a clean inbox

With most people having access to their emails from their smartphones, there’s a newfound tendency among the masses to hit refresh every five minutes; fire off emails at all times of the day and night; and respond to emails within a matter of minutes of receiving them.

First thing’s first – allocate time to learn about your email software and set up filters. Once you set up a filter, every email you receive will automatically get filed away into the different folders you’ve created.

When you receive an email, if it only requires a two-word reply or a 30-second response, answer it then and there. If it’s going to require a more considered response, send a quick email back letting the person know you’ve seen it and when you’ll be responding.

In today’s 24/7 world, it may seem easy to squeeze in emails while watching the kids play sport on Saturday – but make a habit of saying no. There will always be emails to answer and people who claim their messages are urgent or important. Drawing the line means you’re not only creating a better work/life balance, chances are you’ll be more productive when you actually need to get down to business.

On the flipside, if you want to get better responses to the emails you’re writing, check out this story from The Australian for the best times to hit send.

Be productive when working from home

Working from home can be a blessing and a curse. While the office space is free and the commute short, there’s more distractions, less “water-cooler” interaction and fragmented working hours. Follow the Institute of Careers’ simple tips to ensure your working day is a successful one.

Dress the part:

Even though your office shares the same address as your bedroom, it doesn’t give you free reign to greet your laptop in your Peter Alexanders. Stick to your usual workday routine – that means shower, eat breakfast and put on your work clothes. Wearing work clothes at the home office puts you in a mind-frame to work, not watch Sunrise.

Create a task list:

Write a list of all the actions you need to do that day, and objectives you’d like to achieve, and allocate the amount of time needed to undertake each task in one-hour blocks. Stay focussed and stick to the schedule, otherwise you could find yourself procrastinating and slacking off from the task at hand.

Set boundaries:

Don’t do your laundry during the workday and avoid personal calls until after work. If you wouldn’t do these kinds of things in an external office, don’t do it while working at home.

Take a proper lunch break:

Allocate yourself one hour for lunch. Make yourself a healthy meal and then go for a walk or short run to clear your head, thereby avoiding the afternoon slump. The advantage of working from home is that you can be super healthy by preparing your own lunch every day and making exercise fit around your schedule.

Say no to midday movies:

Tempting as it might be, don’t switch on the TV – Dr Phil's background chatter will only distract you from work. Surround your workspace with work-related things instead of items that might remind you of all the personal chores that need to be done.