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Have a Digital Depository for All Thoughts

Coming up with thoughts and ideas is easy but keeping and storing them is a completely different story. Trying to remember and recall all your tasks is probably one of the biggest challenges you will have to face on a daily basis. 

Your brain isn’t meant to hold all those large and small details. If you let little things pile up, you might find yourself at a loss of what you should do next. This is why it is important to look for ways that will stop you from forgetting your thoughts and safekeeping them the proper way. 

Here are some ways to avoid getting lost amidst thoughts, ideas, and tasks. 

Take Down Notes Immediately 

Your to-do list can help you get it through the day. But, how about things that take place throughout the day that you also need to remember? Make it your habit to make a note about your thoughts immediately. Whether it is about an appointment or buying an important gift for your brother, taking notes lets, you keep up with unexpected surprises. 

Make the Most Out of the Your Smartphone’s Lock Screen 

If you are like any other average phone user, you probably check the time on your smartphone every now and then. Why not use the lock screen of your phone as a great place for stashing reminders, then? For instance, if you always forget about cleaning your desk, take a photo of your desk and make this your lock screen. Who would want to see a messy desk every time you open your phone? 

Setup a Reminder 

You can set up important reminders on your phone for current things you wish to turn into a habit or things that you constantly forget. This is especially so if there is a deadline involved, such as garbage day. 

Set an Alarm 

In case there is a specific time when you have to leave your office or home, attempt to avoid traffic, or return an important call, you can set the alarm as this remains one of the ideal ways to be punctual and be on your feet all the time. 

Automate It 

You can have your entire bill payments automated to make it easier on your part. Also, try to schedule your next appointment while you are still at your doctor’s office. For those ongoing food or beauty purchases and home maintenance needs, you can request an online shop to ship the items you need automatically when they would run out. 

It is Time Download Your Mind 

When you are too busy paying attention to larger and more important tasks, it is common for your mind to be swarmed with those minutes life details that you have set aside. Maybe you have long been planning to replace your favorite coffee mug that got broken courtesy of your dog or maybe you want to get rid of that pesky stain on your favorite shirt. Take time to organize these pending tasks and write down all those little things that have been causing you stress. By doing so, you can finally finish them off and just breathe out a sigh of relief. 

Managing Your Inbox Using Color Coding and Routine

How many minutes or hours do you use up just to read, answer, and sort emails on a daily basis? How often do you stop your activities every day just to manage your personal or work inbox? 

For many people, email is already a common way of life. Jobs that require constant communication with customers, clients, managers, and colleagues consider email as a faster and more efficient means compared to attending meetings or picking up that phone. But, this convenience of emails doesn’t mean that they don’t affect your overall productivity. 

With the onslaught of emails comes the overwhelming feeling of not getting everything read and checked. If you are having a difficult time managing your inbox, now might be the perfect time to follow a routine to organize your inbox and keep it this way. 

Make Email Organization a Daily Task 

Make managing your email a regular part of your routine, such as a coffee break, lunch, revenue report, or daily sales meeting. This is something you should include in your schedule and not just something you should squeeze in just when time is running out.

Stick with Color Coding and Flexible Filing System 

The online filing system you use is composed of folders you make in your email system. This can be with the use of colors to distinguish the most important emails to the least important ones or emails that come from specific persons. No matter what colors you choose, it must be something that works for you. 

Keep Email Files Tidy and Clean 

Schedule a review of files every week or every month. Eliminate those you no longer need. Consolidate files and move them to their respective folders. 

Say No to Panic-Checking 

Checking your inbox every 5 minutes or so is counterproductive. Instead, try to set a timer or use the clock to serve as your reminder to check your inbox every 30 minutes. It will keep your incoming work in proper order, and at the same time, it lets you complete other tasks at hand. 

Checking Your Inbox Should be the First and Last Thing You Do Every Day 

Emptying your inbox should be the first and last task you do for the day. This way, you can clear the path for other activities you have. This will also help you prepare your to-do list for the next day and gives you that sense of achievement at both ends of your day. 

Use the FAST System 

After reading the email, decide if you will File it, Assign it, Store, or Scan it for future reference, or if you can already Trash it. 

Filter the Spam

For paperwork that arrives by email, you can set your junk or spam email filter to eliminate mass and unsolicited emails from marketers, advertisers, and other similar time-wasters. 

Don’t Give Out Your Work Email Address to Friends

Even though you love to look at those cute photos of your friend’s baby daughter, it is best to refrain from giving your work email to them. When you do so, your email will be linked to your friend’s, and sooner or later, your inbox will be filled with unwanted articles on breastfeeding and coupons for diapers and baby clothes. 

How to Utilize “Deep Work”

Distraction is the biggest and most serious archenemy of productivity. Unfortunately, you are faced with all types, shapes, and sizes of distractions every minute of every day. How will you get things done if you don’t get into the flow of working in the first place? 

Deep Working – Why Do You Need to Practice It? 

Many people are blessed with amazing skill sets and personality traits, including determination, willpower, and an exceptional ability to manage their time. Using these learned skills and innate personality traits can create a colossal difference in your productivity. However, even these people endowed with such traits can become the victims of distractions that are found everywhere in their daily working lives. Let’s be honest. How many times do you feel like you just don’t “feel” it? 

It is normal for you to get stressed out and overwhelmed every so often that makes it tempting to just tick off boxes with your work instead of challenging yourself to be better and do more. While running on autopilot once in a while wouldn’t hurt, this form of shallow work doesn’t really help you reach your fullest potential. 

This form of work and deep work has a huge difference in and both have their respective spots in your daily work schedule.

What is deep work, anyway? Deep work is defined as the capacity to focus with no distraction on cognitively demanding tasks. This skill lets you master complicated details faster and create better results within a shorter period of time. 

Having said this, it is easy to see how you can improve your productivity and take it to higher levels by incorporating deep work to your day. On the other hand, shallow work is composed of actions that need less intense level of focus like filing taxes or replying to your emails. While these tasks don’t call for a high level of brainpower, these are usually as important as the tasks included in your deep worklist. It is important to take note that shallow working and deep working alike share the same value. 

Why Deep Working is Better Than Multitasking

Probably the direct counterpart of deep working is multitasking. Multitasking refers to the act of working on several tasks simultaneously or switching from task to task without any interval. Multitasking is considered bane when trying to get into the flow.  Here are some of the most notable downsides of multitasking:

  • Chronic distraction 

Working on different tasks at once can be very distracting. As you focus on various tasks at hand, you will be distracted from the rest, and this distraction could become chronic. You may find it hard to focus on something else. Singular or simple tasks might not require enough focus, and you might get drawn to repetitive minor tasks that could have been automated or completed quickly without too much brainwork. 

  • Reduce quality 

Speed is necessary when multitasking. It can result in increased production and efficiency, but most of the time, this can also result in a compromised quality and possibly lots of mistakes along the way. 

  • Misplaced priorities and procrastination 

Multitasking doesn’t separate tasks according to significance or priority. It can lead to the misconception that you can get the task done anyway and anytime. Procrastination can result from this.  

Make Time Visual Using Time Blocking

Do you feel a bit unproductive lately? Are you always disconnected from the things you were supposed to do? Then, time blocking might be the perfect solution to all your problems with productivity.

Today’s modern world has become too hyperactive that it can be very easy to feel overwhelmed or distracted by your lengthy to-do list. Good thing that you can now improve your efficiency and stabilize your work-related anxieties that are probably blocking off your productivity. Some of the world’s busiest people such as Elon Musk and even Bill Gates himself actually use time blocking to get their work done. 

But, what is time blocking, and how do you use it as your personal to-do list?

Time Blocking at a Glance 

Time blocking refers to the practice wherein you plan out every single moment of the day ahead of time and dedicate certain “time blocks” for specific responsibilities and tasks. 

Standard to-do lists just tell you the things you have to do but time blocking, on the other hand, tells you the time as to when you should do those things. 

It might sound as if your calendar will turn into one chaotic mess yet the effect might actually be the opposite. By filling up your calendar with things and tasks you want and need to do, others will find it more difficult to rob you of your time. 

Steps to Set Up Your Time Blocking System 

Here is a simple step by step process to help you set up your own system for time blocking. 

  1. Start with top priorities. 

Before anything else, you have to determine why you like to use the time blocking system in the first place. Do you wish to be more focused on your work? Or maybe you want to lessen the time you spend in meetings or on emails? No matter what your reasons are, identifying your primary goals and priorities can help you shape the things you will include in your schedule as well as how you should block out the day. 

     2. Plan your day’s “bookend template.”

This is the time to create your blocks. But, you don’t need to jump into your day right away. Begin with guardrails for the time you spend outside work. It includes your routine every morning and how you disconnect from your work to apportion time for family, friends, and hobbies. These are important tasks just like other things you do throughout the day.  

    3. Save time for shallow and deep tasks. 

After you have taken care of your personal priorities, this is when you follow a similar approach for your workday. Time blocking is appealing for most people because it allows them to set aside a long time for more focused work. You need to find the perfect balance for both deep and shallow tasks. 

    4. Include blocks for your reactive tasks daily. 

Time blocking won’t work if you are too optimistic when it comes to your time. But, what makes it powerful is that you can choose when you can do other tasks instead of simply allowing them to take up each moment of the day. 

    5. Write down a daily to-do list. 

After you have created a template as to how you envision your day to go by, it is now time for you to see if or how it works. Write down your daily tasks then fit these into their respective slots. Are there adequate slots for shallow and deep work tasks? 

Take note that time blocking only serves as a framework. This isn’t ironclad. At the end of the day, suppose that it will take time for you to find and set a schedule that will really work for you.