5 Powerful Productivity Tips

Ever feel overwhelmed at work? For me, it’s more of a surprise when I get through a workday without feeling totally stressed out. As an account executive, it’s my job to not only make sure my clients feel taken care of, but also to make sure my co-workers in the creative department feel like they have what they need to succeed. When your days are spent trying to keep both sides of the equation moving – and relatively happy – it can be easy to let stress overtake your productivity. When it really becomes crunch time, use these five tips to help you stay focused:

  1. Use a pen.
    I get it. When all anyone talks about is how “we’re living in the digital age now,” it might seem silly to rely on a pen and paper to help you maximize your production, but hear me out. It’s not productive to spend time searching through your email inbox for a due date/project number/detail/you name it. Things like attaching sticky notes to your computer monitor, writing down deadlines on a physical calendar or keeping a whiteboard with project numbers to reference all help you keep important details where they need to be – right in front of you.
  2. Make a to-do list.
    Every morning, no matter how busy or slow I am, I make a to-do list. As a non-coffee drinker, this is my version of a “morning routine.” I take my time and write down everything that I want to do that day. Big projects, briefings, lunch dates and even small tasks like “submit your timesheet” all go on the list. If I can get what I need to do in writing, then I don’t have to think as hard about what needs to be done throughout the day. Don’t worry about going in order, or knocking out tasks based on how hard they are. Just start with one and then tackle another. By the end of the day, you’ll likely have accomplished more than you thought you could. Bonus: being able to physically cross something off a to-do list is one of the greatest feelings ever.
  3. Don’t let email dictate your day.
    It can be easy to get sucked into the rhythm of responding to emails, but don’t let your desire to have a clean inbox derail your plans for the day. Get through the important emails, and then get to work.
  4. Limit how much time you spend on something.
    I once spent two hours trying to perfect an internal spreadsheet. Yes, it was a task that had been given to me by a superior, but my choosing to obsess over making it perfect wasn’t the best use of my time. My advice: Try to track and limit how much time you’re spending on any particular task. If you find that it’s taking you more than an hour to do a task, then take a break and start on something else. You can always come back later with fresh eyes.
  5. Take a break.
    Even on the busiest of days, everyone deserves at least some downtime. Don’t feel guilty for heading into the kitchen to make yourself a snack, or for spending 15 minutes scrolling through Instagram. Taking time to give your brain a break is essential to helping you make it through a long workday.

Every Kind of People

The past two months, I’ve had the opportunity to be among literally thousands of people every week. Mostly in airports all over America, in huge manufacturing facilities, and a packed major league baseball stadium among countless other venues both urban and rural.

Good Lord willing, that will continue to be the case. Because I am fascinated by the diversity – and yet the essential sameness – of all humanity. What I am seeing every day is everyday people just trying to get by. Whether just making ends meet, or getting to the next airline gate, getting healed from a sickness, or raising a child, everyone is trying to get to some destination either mentally, physically or both.

I can’t let go of a song.

“Every Kinda People” is a an older popular song by the late great Robert Palmer. It’s arguably the best song he had in his career. Over the years I’ve had different moods on it. When it first came out it was the coolest thing I had heard. Then later, sometimes I thought it was a bit sappy, but I still loved it.

Today, I love it even more than ever and it is so not sappy.

The song talks about how people of all races and creeds want to protect what they feel is right and fight what they believe is wrong. “Love’s the only goal that can bring peace to any soul” and “every man’s the same.”

“It takes every kind of people to make what life’s about,” the chorus concludes.

Today as shocking events unfold around the world, still it happens that everyday people must make it through this life. It’s essential to embrace the humanity of all people and not let our minds and pride trick us into thinking we are above – or beneath – anyone else.

It takes every kind of people. Let’s help each other.

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