Posts tagged: Productivity

It’s time to schedule self-care into your life


The more we sit at desks, compulsively scroll social media, and (perhaps) obsessively check the news, the farther away we get from our own needs as human beings — physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally.

But since we all can’t just move to a tropical island and scoop ice cream all day for a living, we should at least try to make time and space for small tactics that will help keep us balanced and happy, even when things in our lives and in the world around us can seem hectic.

Why self-care is crucial

Before we dispense some strategies, let’s just briefly take stock of how modern life, whether it’s in the office, at home, or on-the-go, has become a minefield for our mental and physical well-being.

The Mayo Clinic and many, many others have declared sitting to be “the new smoking.” And while that might sound a little
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Why the first thing you should do every day is make your bed


If you’re anything like us, the hardest part of starting your day is…well….starting it.

The allure of hitting snooze, checking email or social media, or just idly daydreaming can be magnetic or downright irresistible. And then, the next thing you know, you’re either running late or you’re probably a little less enthusiastic about the day ahead.

This doesn’t seem like a struggle you’d face if you were a Navy SEAL, but as it turns out, a Navy SEAL might just have the perfect antidote to this problem. In 2014, when Admiral William McRaven took the podium to deliver the commencement address at the University of Texas, he offered some sage advice about life that started with this recommendation: Make your bed every day. Watch below to see
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How to make the perfect soundtrack for your life


Planning weddings can be stressful, and one of the most fraught parts of planning my own recent wedding was choosing which song would play during our first dance. (We eventually went with “Razor Love” by Neil Young). 

That’s because music is important. Even in much lower stakes scenarios than weddings, music simultaneously sets the mood and communicates the significance of whatever’s happening. The wrong music can make a task impossible — imagine trying to fall asleep to heavy metal — while the right song at the right time can make a moment magical and a party come alive.

So that all said, how should you go about DJing your day? How should your soundtrack change to suit all of your diverse activities?

Waking up

In my own life, I’m what’s not always affectionately referred to as a “morning person.” I generally greet the day with a smile on my face (so long as I
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Why you should always nap with a spoon


The slow part of my day — when there isn’t any wind in my sails — is usually between 2:30 and 4:30. With lunch eaten and afternoon work piling up, time seems to slow down. Minutes take what feels like hours to pass. Thoughts seem to slow down with the time and energy takes a massive dip. For me, the choice it always comes down to seems to be between coffee and a nap.

For a long time, coffee usually won. That’s because of an abiding love of coffee, of course, but it’s also because I used to be a terrible napper. In fact, it wouldn’t be much of an overstatement to say that I actually hated naps. Instead of refreshing breaks, they felt more like terrible miniature comas that I would awake from even more drained and grumpy than before. And they almost always lasted much longer than I expected, so
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How procrastination can make you more productive


As anyone with a Twitter handle or eBay bookmark can attest, we live in a golden age of procrastination. Technology gives us unfettered access to information and communication, which in turn makes the siren song of putting things off only more impossible to drown out.

Now, researchers suggest that wasting a little bit of time here and there can actually be good. When employed correctly, procrastination helps us think creatively and make informed decisions.

And hey, it worked for ancient Romans and Greeks. Back then, power players who did nothing but think all day were revered for their wisdom, according to Frank Portnoy, author of the book Wait: The Art and Science of Delay. It wasn’t until the Puritans came along, hatching such catchy ditties as “a stitch in time saves nine,” that procrastination was vilified.

Curious about how to transform your tendency to procrastinate into productivity? Consider these four strategies.

Be an active procrastinator.
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Why can’t I finish what I started?


Idle Achiever

There’s great satisfaction in getting things done.

We get involved. We learn things. We find order in chaos. And the ultimate reward: We make progress that is appreciated (even if it’s just by us).

This kind of soul-nourishing effort rates as high as money, if not higher, when it comes to motivation. It helps define purpose and give us the ambition to stick with it.

But every so often, almost unwittingly, our ambition withers and things languish half finished. At Unstuck, we call this acting like an Idle Achiever. We’re unable to commit to the project or the person or the mission at hand. Instead, we start and stop like we’re driving a stick shift for the first time.

To smooth out this herky-jerky moment, it helps to understand how we got there in the first place. Take our mini-quiz to find out what type of Idle Achiever you tend to be. Then,
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You’re overwhelmed — so why won’t you ask for help?


Lone Leader overwhelmed

Leading by doing — we could write the book. We see the big picture, organize the details, meet the deadlines, and never let them see us sweat.

Yep, we’re on top of it all the time…except when a task veers beyond our arsenal of expertise. But that rarely happens. And since we’re so good at figuring things out, we soldier on, on our own. Until we can’t.

Sometimes the task is too foreign, the time too short, the energy too finite to pull it off. And then we’re stuck acting like a Lone Leader, trying to operate without the necessary support.

There are at least three reasons a Lone Leader prefers to operate solo, even when overwhelmed. Knowing which one you’re prone to is the first step toward being able to issue an SOS. Take our mini-quiz to find out your
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15 ways to stay focused in a distracted world


Stuck Moment: I feel like my day is one big interruption. A steady stream of questions, last-minute requests, and texts that just won’t quit. How am I supposed to focus on what I already have to do? And how long can I keep this up?

*  *  *

Modern life is a minefield of distractions. Ever burgeoning gadgets, games, information sources — even open-plan offices — conspire to divert our attention away from whatever we need to concentrate on. Neuroscientist Frances Jensen recently dubbed this “the dementia of the preoccupied,” referring to how it feels to continually shift her attention throughout the day. “Things fall through the cracks,” she says.

Indeed, our daily frenzy probably is causing us to miss a lot, perhaps without realizing it. Take it one step further, and that fractured focus gets in the way of doing our best, or doing it at all, even when it’s important
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Quick health tip: 5 benefits of kicking your coffee habit


Want to know the real reason your morning cup of coffee works as a pick-me-up? Because a caffeine-addicted body is cranky and low-energy without it — and that unpleasant state is your new baseline. Simply put, a shot of jolting joe makes you feel like you’re climbing to new heights, but you’re really just climbing back to normal.

Research says that an easy way to boost your day-to-day productivity is to kick your coffee habit. Here are five great benefits:

• better sleep (caffeine has a six hour half-life, which means that the effects of a morning cup linger until bedtime);
• better control of your mood and emotions;
• better cardiac health, including lower blood pressure;
• decreased jitters and anxiety;
• fewer headaches.

And if you can’t kick caffeine completely, avoid drinking coffee after 12 pm; a cup at noon will leave 50% of the caffeine still in your system at 8 pm.
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How to work like a human


Julie Felner

When I was 23 years old, I found myself in a job for which I was vastly under-qualified — associate managing editor of Ms. magazine. I’d walk around with a clipboard, creating and enforcing deadlines for the rest of the editorial staff, including the magazine’s beloved copy editor, Joan. She was a wise and patient woman, more than twice my age, who had been at Ms. for as long as anyone could remember. One night, in the frenzy of putting the latest issue to bed, the ever-meticulous Joan became a workflow bottleneck. So, I approached her, clipboard in hand, and impatiently explained that she needed to pick up the pace.

“I’m tired,” she said. “I’d really prefer to finish in the morning when I’m fresh.”

“I understand,” I said, not understanding in the least. “But we need to finish tonight. I’m sorry, but you’ll just have to keep going.”

Joan dutifully stayed late
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