Articles on ways that I stay productive …

Why Deadlines Matter (And How to Set Deadlines You’ll Achieve)

It’s crucial to create deadlines for yourself to help you achieve your goals.

Whether you want to complete a project at work – or achieve a personal goal – it’s important to set realistic deadlines for yourself.

I started this blog to force myself to publish content every week. If I don’t set deadlines, then I’ll just let articles sit forever because I’m never fully satisfied. There is always a way to tighten it up a paragraph. There’s always a way to tweak a word and make a sentence sound better.

If I don’t set deadlines, then I’ll just keep tweaking my work and never accomplish anything.

Here are some reasons why deadlines are important:

Deadlines force you to think about what it will take to accomplish your goal.
When creating a deadline for yourself, it forces you to think through the steps you need to achieve it. Each step will require a certain amount of time – and that will better inform how long it will take you to finish the project. Visualizing all the steps involved (and finishing it) can help motivate you to start tackling each small step.

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5 Ways to Stick to Your Goals This Year (And Make Them Happen)

Goal planning is not just for a new year – it’s something you can do anytime.

The trouble with goal setting is that sometimes we lose focus or momentum because we haven’t armed ourselves with everything we need to make them a reality.

Here are five ways to help you reach your goals . . .

1. Make sure your goal is realistic (and recalibrate when necessary)
It’s important to set goals that will stretch and challenge you – but your goals should also be achievable. If you set a goal for yourself that is not realistic, you should adjust your deadline so that you will achieve it.  Audit your progress regularly so you can see if you’re on track – and re-set the deadline date if you fall too far behind.

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Overcome Email Overload: 7 Ways to Spend Less Time in Your Inbox

One of my goals this year is to spend much less time on email – which has been a productivity killer for me.

I began researching different strategies to cut down my time in my inbox and want to share some strategies that I’ve learned lately.

First, some fascinating facts about how email kills our productivity:

According to a July 2012 McKinsey Global Institute report on “the social economy,” the average knowledge worker now spends 28% of her work time managing email. If you work 50 hours per week, that’s 14 hours stuck in the inbox. – CNN

A study on a group of workers at Microsoft took, on average, 15 minutes to return to serious mental tasks, like writing reports or computer code, after responding to incoming email or instant messages. They strayed off to reply to other messages or browse the web. – New York Times

In 2005, a psychiatrist at King’s College London did a study in which one group was asked to take an IQ test while doing nothing, and a second group to take an IQ test while distracted by e-mails and ringing telephones. The uninterrupted group did better by an average of ten points, which wasn’t much of a surprise. What was a surprise is that the e-mailers also did worse, by an average of six points, than a group in a similar study that had been tested while stoned. That’s right. Stoned. Those people were literally burned out, and they did better. – New York Magazine

If you’re the type to meticulously file your emails in various folders in your client, stop, says a new study from IBM Research. By analyzing 345 users’ 85,000 episodes of digging through old emails in search of the one they needed, researchers discovered that those who did no email organizing at all found them faster than those who filed them in folders. – MIT Technology Review

Here are 7 ways that I’m reducing time in my email:

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How to Get into the Zone: 7 Ways to Get Hyper-Focused

Do you ever have trouble getting focused?

Do you want to know some ways to block out distractions to help you accomplish a specific task?

Here are seven ways to get into the zone:

1. Create a hard deadline for yourself (with a time)
One way to get focused on a task is to assign a deadline on when it needs to get done. It needs to be a deadline that is realistic – but also one that will challenge you to stay focused. Set-up time slots in your calender to achieve certain portions of your project.

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How to Fight Distractions: 4 Mindful Ways to Stay on Task

It’s easy to get distracted – especially when you’re juggling a lot of projects.

The secret to staying productive is recognizing the moments of distraction and immediately getting back on task.

There’s always an email to read, a text message to send, a Facebook stream to read, etc.

You see, there are distractions all around us – and there are plenty of excuses on why we’re not finishing up a project that has been sitting on our “to do” list.

So how do we fight distractions and stay on task?

Here are four ways …

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