Go paperless – bring focus to your workplace

To start with : Don’t get me wrong. I love books and I sure do appreciate the quality and feel of a great print in my hands. This is for my private side. But this blog is about our professional lives, and if you’re someone who travels a lot or just appreciates the cleanliness of a tidy office place there are some huge benefits of going paperless. In this blog post I’m explaining my view on a paperless office space and how I’m organizing without (a lot of) paper.

1. Less stuff to carry and worry about

Let’s start with an easy to digest fact. No paper weighs less than some paper and some paper weighs less than lots of paper. In an office environment you might be moving around a lot and in an optimal paperless scenario that involves your laptop, smartphone and… yourself.

Imagine you have a day stuffed with meetings and obviously you need to prepare and have your notes ready before each of them. Doing this with written notes can be a mess if you’re proceeding through your day. Additionally, did you remember to bring all of your notes ? Did you bring a notebook to jot down additional stuff ?

Using tools like Evernote, OneNote, etc… is a huge benefit to your office life. Your notes will never get lost, there is endless space to add new ones, you can implement pictures, videos, voice memos, you name it. And they weigh nothing at all!

I personally use Evernote as my go-to place for my notes. Evernote has one huge benefit for me : i can shoot pictures of documents and Evernote will be able to search for any given word on that document, even if it is a handwritten one ! Try looking up keyword XYZ in your written notes from 2014!

2. FOCUS

If you’ve been following me for a bit, you know I’m all about focus. If you’re new to this, here’s your short TOP 5 to 200% more efficiency.

  1. Don’t multitask – ever.
  2. Shut down e-mail notifications on any device
  3. Disable any tones or noises you can influence during times you really need to concentrate
  4. Start your day with clear targets and end your day with a review of your accomplishments
  5. Utilize the 80/20 principle !

Go through my posts on Multitasking , „The productivity project““Deep Work” to read more on this and get some interesting inputs.

Now, where does a paperless office fit into this ?

Imagine sitting at your desk, working on that one important task you need to get done right now. You’re thinking about next steps, maybe you’re putting some deep thoughts into future strategies. Your eyes are wandering around the room looking at nothing specific and then they cross your recently jotted down notes – BOOM. Need to send your boss that one important piece of information he’s been asking about just 10 minutes ago.

This little interruption will put you seriously off track of efficiency. Science says it will take around 15-30 minutes to return to your original state of focus. This New York Times Article perfectly describes what happens . Small cause, big effect. Your brain will be seriously screwed by distractions like this, that directly start a chain of thinking processes.

3. Electronic Notes merge with our modern world

Chances are you’re using Microsoft Outlook in your office. Let’s go to a situation where you’re contributing to a specific project. Wouldn’t it be useful to have all important notes for this project at one place ? How would you do in case you don’t use electronic notes ?

Seriously, I have seen enough examples of people printing every single e-mail to a specific project and putting them into one specific folder with all the other notes they’ve been accumulating for this. And make no mistake : if you’re used to doing this, it will be quite efficient !

To me however it looks something like this

But it can be so much easier. Send an E-Mail to your Evernote, OneNote, Todoist, whatever account, tag it with the project name, add a couple of comments to it, maybe attach some to-do to it – done. You will be perfectly organized. And the best thing : it is everywhere! On your PC, on your Tablet, on your Smartphone.

A big portion of the route to effectiveness and efficiency is about having the resources to focus. Being able to store away every piece of information where it belongs and later being able to find it back is one huge leap forward in your journey to being more productive !

There’s an excellent book on this you can refer to :

It describes both the method to productivity, but also discusses the specific means to utilize this method in your daily work – it has changed my game !

Verdict

Personally, I go with a mix of paper and paperless. I like the calming effect of physically writing down my notes. It allows me to focus better on the matter and it is as though the words get a deeper meaning if i put them on paper. This would be notes on my goals for the day, notes on meetings upfront, etc..

However, after I finished noting the next step is to open up Evernote on my Smartphone and take a snapshot of the notes, aligning them to the specific project / task / topic and effectively throwing the paper away moments later.

There are people that do even this on a Tablet. They use tools like GoodNotes, OneNote or as well Evernote. It may be a hybrid between paper and paperless. I tried and decided I like the feel of a real pen better.

Again, productivity in the first place is what allows you to focus. It is focus that is missing for most people in today’s environment. It is the non-ability of getting into a flow state of mind and to really get into a task. Observe kids if you have some – they do every single thing they do with this flow state of mind. Try calling a kid playing with lego for dinner – no chance ! It is something we professionals have to learn again. If it’s your beloved filofax that does the trick for you – go ahead. But if you’re looking for truly integrated notes – go paperless !

 

5 reasons why you should put „The productivity“ project to work

What’s in it for me?

Today’s workplaces operating in an increasingly competitive environment have made almost every one of us facing the ailments like work pressure, missing deadlines, errors, lack of concentration, distractions and so on.  If you have constantly been failed to overcome these challenges, showing exceptional performance and get a reward, the first thing you must have in your life is a productivity booster. The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey, is a fresh, personalized and interesting exploration of your work productivity problems, and most importantly, it gives you realistic solutions to be productive at work and maintain a good work-life balance. Chris has tackled the hard task of personally experimenting the techniques that can positively boost one’s productivity. Here I present the top 5 reasons behind why “The Productivity Project” by Chris Bailey is your best companion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reason # 1 Gain a Perfect Blend of Time – Attention – Energy

You must be agreed to the fact that our productivity at workplace lies in three most important factors; time, attention and energy.

As both our workplace and nature of work have become more complex than ever before, we need more creativity, focus and physical and emotional energy. It is impossible for you to live in a distraction free environment; therefore, you need to work harder to manage your energy, focus and time. “The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey” facilitates this objective by letting you know how to optimize your behavior and routine like adequate sleep, regular breaks and exercise.

Reason # 2 Beat the Procrastination Triggers

Though most of us don’t know the exact definition of procrastination, yet we all have been a victim of it at our workplaces. Chris explains this factor by highlighting its 6 triggers that unintentionally make you procrastinate on the tasks., including boredom, difficulty, frustration, unclear, lacking in personal meaning and free of intrinsic rewards.

Chris has shown that knowing these triggers helps you as you can see exactly where you are procrastinating on a specific task. Based on this information, “The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey” helps you devise solutions to make that task easier and interesting to do.

Reason # 3 Get the Most of PEAK Times

You must be aware of the times in a day where your brain is most functional and energy at its peak. Usually, we keep challenging and highly analytical tasks for this period, called “Biological Prime Time” by Charis Bailey. He explains that Biological Prime Time differs from person to person and how you can determine your BPT. Knowing your BPT is important since once you figure it out, you can take the benefits of the steps mentioned by Chris to sync it with your challenging tasks.

Reason 4 # Keep Your Commitments

It happens quite a lot of times that you commit to do something in future but that future doesn’t come, eventually putting you into a guilt. Chris defines it in a very interesting as well as psychological way. He says that we think of our future selves exactly the same we think of strangers; don’t feel the pain, stress or weight of the burden strangers pass through. We treat our future selves the same way.

Chris mentions that he uses an app called AgingBooth that lets him create an older picture of him, by looking at which, he becomes less inclined to put extra commitment or burden onto his future self. He also sometimes writes letters to his future self via FutureMe. Know more interesting aps and techniques in The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey.

Reason 5 # Put Things on Waiting

Many of us fail to manage time by focusing the less important tasks and ignoring the important ones. The “Waiting for” list, as explained by Chris, is the best place to keep those less important things. Doing this, you become focused on more important and action-oriented tasks on time. Just a regular check on the list is required.

 

 

Recommended Reads

 

why deep work by cal Newport

Why Deep Work by Cal Newport will be a revolution to your workday

What’s in it for me ?

Cal Newport’s newest book Deep Work is an offense to anybody who likes the buzz of a busy office, telephone ringing all the time, busy chattering, you name it. He will get across to you why the following two attributes can only be achieved by Deep Work

  1. The ability to speedy master hard things.
  2. The capacity to produce at an elite level, in terms of speed and quality.

How does one domesticate these core capabilities? It’s right here that we arrive at a relevant thesis of this book: the two core competencies totally depend upon your ability to carry out deep work. in case you haven’t mastered this foundational skill, you’ll struggle to research hard things or produce at an elite stage.

This book has two goals, pursued in two parts. The first one is to convince you that the deep work hypothesis is true while the second one is to teach you how to take advantage of this fact by training and transforming your brain and working habits to place deep work at the core of your professional life.

 

Why Deep Work?

Nowadays our work makes a shift towards shallow work and we need to stay available on numerous communication channels to fulfill the need of today’s work environment. For example, it requires you to take part in conferences and to reply asynchronous messages instantly. In this regard, it is difficult to perform deep work but there are deep work demanding professions to fill. These professions are opportunities for individuals who can perform deep work.

In our working environment, there is excessive noise. People schedule conferences to appear effective & productive hence there is less time to perform deep work. Cal Newport describes it as metrics black hole where you have no possibilities to evaluate the productive outcome of an individual person. For example, no one can measure the impact of too many meetings and everybody knows that. Technologies are well suited to distract us nowadays. On each occasion E-Mail, messengers and social media apps are used whenever we feel a slight sign of boredom. Our phone notifications keep us distracted all the time.

Deep work is becoming increasingly rare and turning into a more valuable thing in our economy. Accordingly, the few who cultivate this ability and make it the core of their working lives will thrive. From professional point of view deep work is essential in our lives but it can cause a state of flow on a personal level too.

How to do Deep Work?

“Deep work is an activity well suited to generate a flow state”.

You must aware of your finite amount of willpower. “It’s like a muscle that tires and cannot be deployed without limit.” Your willpower depletes as you use it. It happens whenever you try to concentrate again after distraction. Every time when you multitask and switch subjects. And every time you have to make a decision. All of it drains your willpower.

Depth Philosophies help you to deploy deep work schedules that support you to follow an overarching strategy and to stick to it. Cal Newport presents 4 depth philosophies that you can apply.

  • The monastic philosophy “maximize deep efforts by eliminating or radically minimizing shallow obligations”.
  • The bimodal philosophy suggests to divide your time into shallow obligations and dedicated deep time stretches. During the deep time, you perform the monastic philosophy.
  • The rhythmic philosophy transforms deep work into a routine. It becomes a habit. There are different techniques to make something a habit.
  • The journalistic philosophy is the last and most advanced philosophy. In that approach, you can rapidly switch between shallow to deep work.

Whenever you are going deep, you have to ritualize it and there are 3 basics to assist your deep work session: time, support and metrics. Give yourself a specific time limit otherwise, your deep work session will be an open session. It is hard to measure the output of an open session, it is hard to collect feedback afterward and it is hard to commit effectively to the remaining time. A fixed time limit gives you less time for distraction. Make sure that you have every support you need at the place. For instance, make sure that you have enough beverages at your place. You shouldn’t waste mental energy to figure it out during your deep work session.

Last but not least measure your success and set goals for your deep work session. For instance, a writer can measure the success in words written by time. In turn, the measurement needs a fixed commitment to a time limit.

Conclusion:

Deep work is essential from a professional point of view, but it can also create a flow state of mind on a personal level. In any case however it is ground breaking as a general thought process and key asset to your work ethics.

Recommended Reads:

This is an easy-to-use handbook that contains scientifically proven, field-tested methodologies to improve your skills in professions like sports, music, art, math, and business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

if you are serious about Turning Pro then this book is perfect for you. It helps you to explore the mindset of an amateur and how you can break out – and turn pro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 3 reasons why Multitasking is killing your efficiency

Top 3 reasons why Multitasking is killing your efficiency

What’s in it for me ?

The strong belief that multitasking is still among us. For decades it has been one of the factors we were led to believe that will improve our efficiency. Today however this picture has changed. With the gaps being more and more obvious through modern society development. If you’re looking after the single most important cause why you’re forever bouncing back and forth between tasks, feeling bad because your doing this one and not the other, then this is for you ! We will take you through the three top reasons why multitasking is actually the worst idea to boost efficiency, what you can do in your everyday work to overcome it, and what are the top reads that you should go through to master efficiency by denying multitasking.

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