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Survive: Learn the Productivity Cycle

Anything that you can do in tough times to enhance your productivity is to the good

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If you think the last 14 months have been tough, wait ’til Joe Biden’s civilization-destroying, $6.0 trillion, socialist spending binge kicks in, given that Congress is sufficiently moronic enough to pass it.

Taxes will have to rise markedly. The U.S dollar will be worth much less. The return of crippling inflation is likely. More companies will elect to operate elsewhere and jobs are bound to decrease. U.S. productivity will drop. The we want more ‘free stuff’ chorus will only become more demanding, and each year expect more.

Productivity Matters

On a personal basis, anything that you can do to enhance your productivity is to the good. The person who always knows best about what will keep you most productive is you. As often as you can, you want to work with your internal rhythm so that you get the best of yourself.

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For example, if you’ve been seated at your desk for twenty minutes or so, it’s best to get up and stretch, even if for a few seconds. Your veins need this and so does your heart.

Physiologically speaking, your body gives you the cues you need at precisely the right moment. It’s actually counter-productive to ignore bodily messages that say it’s time to stand up, to stretch, to take a drink, or what have you.

Daily Performance Ability

While we each have what is called a “normal” temperature, rarely does your body temperature maintain a steady 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Body temperature fluctuates over the course of a day in a relatively stable pattern controlled by the brain. Why does this matter?

Most aspects of your body’s performance ability are highest when your temperature is highest. This is true for physical coordination, memory, and alertness – all of which decrease as temperature decreases.

John Poppy, a health writer whose articles have appeared in Esquire, Men’s Health and Look Magazine, offers these tips for undertaking work-related activities, given your body’s natural capacities at different points in the day:

  • 10 a.m. Mental skills begin to rise. From now to noon is the best time to attack a challenging project or to make that pitch for a raise.
  • Noon. Brain power starts to dip. Contrary to popular belief, this “post-lunch dip”  can’t be entirely blamed on your midday meal. Scientists are not sure what prompts it. The dip occurs even though temperature is still curving upward.
  • 3 p.m. Alertness returns. Whatever the reason for the noon dip, it loosens its grip and you get your mental acuity and efficiency back.
  • 4 to 5 p.m. Best time for exercise. Muscle tone is at its peak at this time of the day. So good, in fact, that for many people, late afternoon is fitness time.
  • 8 p.m. Last call for alcohol…. if you want to sleep soundly during the night.

Tackling the Day’s Toughest Task

Has this ever happened to you? You approach the end of your workday and realize that you didn’t get to the most difficult tasks. If you’re like most people, you’re likely to accomplish more of what’s on your daily task list if you start with the hardest tasks. Moving on to the easy tasks then seems like a downhill bike ride.

Tackling tough tasks in the morning generally enhances your confidence level for the whole day. By increasing productivity at the beginning of your day, you often are motivated to perform better and accomplish more throughout the rest of your afternoon and evening.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



 
 
 

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Business

Smart Move in a Rough Economy: Help Your Boss to Shine

Stay on top of your job, your department’s goals, and your company’s objectives

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Making your boss look good can only reflect favorably on you. Both your boss and his or her supervisors will appreciate this.

The best way to make your boss look good is to handle your work efficiently and thoroughly. If your boss is fair, he or she will give you credit for the work, increasing your chances of promotion.

If your boss is not doing his or her share of the work, leaning on you unfairly without giving you the credit, it’s still likely that you’ll be promoted when your boss is promoted. That person knows you’ve been doing more than your share, and he or she won’t be able to take a new position without your help.

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Becoming a Mentor to Others

Maybe you’re only 27 years old, or perhaps you’ve only been with your present firm for a year and a half. Yet, with your previous experience and achievements, you may already be in a position to serve as a mentor to junior members of your organization. This can be accomplished on an informal, ad hoc basis, and you can literally choose the amount of energy you’re willing to commit. Helping junior members always looks good to those above you, especially at performance review time.

Stay on top of your job, your department’s goals, and your company’s objectives. This three-way strategy includes reviewing your job description, deciding precisely what your department’s goals are, and determining your company’s objectives:

Your Job Description

First, knowing your job description and honoring it, or amending it if necessary, protect you from any misunderstandings. It will also give you an idea of the part you play in the total picture of the organization, an important factor in your work satisfaction and chance of promotion.

Your job description ideally contains all the important activities of your position, the knowledge you need to have or acquire to perform those activities, and some sense of your overall role. If your job description does not adequately detail the information you need to know and the responsibilities you have, now is the time to change it.

Company Goals

Second, learn and understand the goals of your part of the company. By whatever method your organization is broken into groups — department, division, project team — your group has objectives.

Goals are important to guide actions as well as to mark milestones. Knowing your group’s goals will help you to set priorities for your own work and make wise decisions concerning how jobs can best be done.

What is the Mission?

Finally, be aware of your organization’s mission. Any organization, from the smallest business to the multibillion-dollar corporation, has a mission. If you don’t already know it, find out. Your organization’s brochure, annual report, promotional literature, or employee handbook will have the mission spelled out.

The mission will unify and give meaning to all the division or department goals. Although conflicts among divisions will occur because of the nature of different responsibilities, a solid base can be produced when all employees realize the overall mission of the organization.

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Business

Lessons of the 2020s: Unanticipated Events Happen

Unforeseen tasks that arise represent intrusions on our mental and emotional state of being as well as on our time

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By now, nearly everyone has mentally marked the first few years of this decade as strange and, for those on the right, entirely upsetting. While we can’t guard against the unknown, or anticipate radical moves emanating from Washington DC, we can seek to do our best with what we have and what we know.

Each day when you compose your to-do list and begin proceeding merrily down it, do you take into account what is likely to occur in the course of a day? No matter how well we organize our lists and how productive we are in handling the products and tasks unexpected obligations, interruptions, and other developments arise that are going to throw us off.

How do you react when you are humming along, and all of a sudden, you get an assignment from out of left field? Perhaps your boss has asked you to jump on something immediately. Maybe a client calls. Maybe something gets returned to you that you thought was complete.

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To Be Flustered No More

If you are like most professionals, you immediately will become flustered. The intrusion on your time and your progress means that you are not going to accomplish all that you set out to before the end of the day. Is there a way to proceed and still feel good about all that you accomplish?

I believe there is, and it involves first making a miniature, supplemental to-do list that accurately encapsulates the new task that you need to handle. Why create this supplemental to-do list? It gives you focus and direction, reduces anxiety, and increases the probability that you will remain buoyant at the time of its completion and be able to turn back to what you were doing before the task was assigned.

If you don’t compose such a list, and simply plow headlong into the unexpected challenge that has come your way, you might not proceed effectively, and you might never get back to the to-do list on which you were working.

Anticipating the Unexpected

Unforeseen tasks that arise represent more than intrusions on our time; they represent intrusions on our mental and emotional state of being. Some people are naturally good at handling unexpected situations. Most of us, however, are not wired like this. Interruptions and intrusions on our workday take us off the path that we wanted to follow, and tend to be at least momentarily upsetting.

So… when executing the items on your to-do list, proceed ‘knowing’ that there will be an interruption of some sort. You don’t know when it is coming or how large it will be, but it will pull you off course. The key question for you is: can you develop the capacity to maintain balance and equanimity in the face of such disruptions?

The good news is that you can, and it all starts with acknowledging that the situation is likely to happen, devising a supplemental checklist to handle the new task, and as deftly as possible, returning to what you were doing.

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