Productivity For Dummies book cover

Productivity For Dummies

By: Ciara Conlon Published: 03-21-2016

Take your productivity to the next level and make the most of your time!

Do you have too much to do and not enough time to do it? Don't we all! Productivity For Dummies shows you how to overcome this common problem by tackling key issues that are preventing you from remaining focused and making the most of your time. This insightful text gets to the root of the problem, and shows you how to identify and analyse the items on your to-do list to deliver on deadlines and maximise your schedule. Numerous techniques and technologies have been developed to address productivity needs, and this resource shows you which will work for your situation.

Productivity is crucial to your success - whether you want to find a new job, earn a promotion you've had your eye on, or generally progress in your career, understanding how to improve your productivity is essential in increasing the value you bring to your organisation. At the very least, increased productivity means that you get things done faster—which translates into fewer overtime hours and more time concentrating on the things that are most important to you.

  • Eliminate procrastination and laziness from your daily routine
  • Organise your work environment to create a space conducive to productivity
  • Increase your concentration and stay focused on the task at hand
  • Make decisions quickly, and stay cool, calm, and collected no matter what the situation is

Productivity For Dummies helps you solve the age-old problem of having too much to do and not enough time to do it.

Articles From Productivity For Dummies

9 results
9 results
Productivity For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet / Updated 04-07-2022

Wouldn’t it be nice to boost your productivity and performance at work without having to put in extra hours or break your back in the meantime? Being effective at what you do takes a little bit of planning, some basic tools, and a lot of positivity.

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How Music Can Help You Focus and Increase Productivity

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Music is a wonderful addition to life and can help you be more productive. It can lift your spirit, comfort you when you feel blue and even help you to focus and get more done. Following are three areas to consider when deciding to use music to help you to focus. The type of music The type of music that assists focus depends on the job at hand. If you’re doing a boring and repetitive task, something that doesn’t require much cognitive function, any music you like can help to make the task more pleasant. This is similar to the way you can drive and listen to your favourite tracks without it affecting the quality of driving, unless of course it’s Barry White because you may need to pull over and have a boogie. When you need to focus intently, for example when you’re studying or writing, disco music is probably not the best choice. Classical music can be a good choice. You can try out different pieces of music to see what effect it has on your ability to focus, or you can use a website with a choice of music that has been specifically chosen to assist focus. Websites such as Brain.fm or Focusatwill.com are definitely worth trying out. The science behind it Experts in music for concentration at [email protected] have created a library of instrumental music that has been remixed, re-edited and scientifically remastered specifically for focus enhancement. The trick, they say, is to engage your brain’s limbic system, to increase your attention span and general concentration. The Limbic system is a primitive part of the brain that is responsible for reacting to stimulus. When you are faced with a threat the limbic system reacts to the threat before you are consciously aware of it. In simplistic terms music engages the primitive part of your brain long enough for you to get some focused work done. Familiarity of the music The more familiar you are with a type of music, the less likely it is to distract you. When you’re familiar with the beats and rifts, you’re more likely able to focus. Your brain has a filter that alerts you to change. Anything different from the norm is likely to alert you. When the music is habitual and well known, the brain has no reason to disturb you. Listening to music can not only calm the internal monkey mind, but it will also help to block out the external distractions and interruptions. Oh, and remember to wear the biggest headphones you can find, and hopefully the rest of the office will get the message.

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The Secrets of Productive Leaders

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Ever wonder why some leaders seem to be productive and have it totally together? They are calm and collected yet assertive and confident. They make problem-solving seem effortless and always have time for everyone. The most productive and effective leaders have a number of habits that help them to be their best everyday. Read on to see what they are. Looking after body and mind: Productive leaders have one thing straight: They understand that regular exercise is essential for success. All high achievers carve their workout into their day whatever way they can. Exercise keeps you alert, gives you more energy, and helps you to focus. This, combined with regular meditation to calm the mind, keeps stress at bay. Rising early: Rising early is another habit that many successful people share. Life is too short to waste it sleeping. Don’t get me wrong; you still need to get at least seven in, but getting up early takes advantage of the most productive time of the day for most adults: the morning. You can often get more done in the mornings while others sleep; you also run into less traffic and fewer people at the gym. Whatever you need time for, the early morning will give it to you. Becoming excellent at communication: Communication is key for a productive leader. Ensure that all members of your team have clarity around their roles and responsibilities and are clear about the common goals and purpose. Without regular and clear communication, you waste time with confusion, mistakes, and misunderstandings. A productive leader is an excellent communicator. Doing what only they can do: Productive leaders understand their limitations, one of them being time. They know they can’t do everything and be effective, and for this reason, they have become excellent delegators, doing only the work that only they can do. Creating an environment of trust: An environment of trust is essential for a productive work environment. When team members trust each other and their leader, they’ll be more engaged and happier at work. Productive leaders also do as they say and follow through.

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5 Steps to Organise Your Workspace for Productivity

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

It’s difficult to work productively if your workspace is cluttered and disorganised. Take some time to get organised and you will be better able to focus and get things done. Follow the steps below to a clutter free well arranged workspace. Do an office purge. The best place to start is with the big clean up. If you have a disorganized office, you may want to take a Saturday morning to tackle it. Dump all the obvious junk, and remove items that just don’t belong in your office. If you have paperwork, put all the paper together in one pile before separating it into three bundles: filing, shredding, and actionable work. Invest in the tools. To get organized after your purge, you need to set yourself up with the tools. A filing cabinet, hanging files, manila folders, a label maker, a step file organiser, and trays for “paper in” and “filing” should get you on the right path. File the documents you need to keep for reference in your filing cabinet and file the actionable documents in folders and place them in a step file organizer on your desk. Label them clearly with the label maker and — voilà! — a clean, organized desk. Organise electronic files. For those of you who don’t work with paper, your workspace is probably your computer desktop. Clear your desktop of all files. File them in folders on the hard drive in a structured way. Plan your folder hierarchy before starting, and try to save all files in the right place. Spend some time clearing up any stray files and make your mother proud. Clean up your inbox. Don’t let your inbox drag you down. Remember email is a form of communication, though not always the best form, and shouldn’t take up more than an hour a day. Don’t use your email as a to-do list. Use folders to file emails you need to keep. Plan the work to be done in your email by putting tasks into a task management system or planning them in your calendar. Delete as many emails as possible. Do a weekly review. To maintain the calm control, do a weekly review to keep things in order. Spend some time planning your work in your calendar, filing your papers, and processing your emails in your inbox. The weekly review is a time for organizing your work, not doing it.

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10 Top-Notch Productivity Apps

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Taking control of your time, attention and habits can be made easier by trying out some of these cool apps. While they may not all be specifically designed with productivity in mind, using them will help you to get organised, exercise more for energy and meditate for greater focus and concentration. Evernote: Remember everything with Evernote, a note-capture app that you can also use as a task manager. Evernote can run your life and your work, giving you a virtual space to store everything. Todoist: This app is a simple yet effective task manager that has full integration with most email clients. Save your tasks in different projects and get more work done. Dropbox: Cloud storage is essential in a world of multiple devices. Save a document to Dropbox, and access it on your computer, tablet, or phone. MyFitnessPal: Stay in control of your diet and exercise with this essential app. Become aware of the composition of the meals you eat, and track your steps and daily exercise. Tracking is a great way to increase awareness and encourage you to stick to your goals. Lift: If you want to create a new habit, Lift is a great way to track and monitor what you’re doing. Don’t fool yourself — get the facts. Headspace: If you need help meditating or learning how to live more mindfully, Headspace can help with that. A small monthly fee gives you all the benefits of a personal Zen master. Asana: A wonderful team task management tool, Asana is easy to use and free for small teams. The website comes with lots of easy-to-follow videos to help you get up and running and gives you ideas for how you can become a more effective company. Eisenhower: This little app helps you to figure out what’s urgent and what’s important. It also has a Pomodoro timer to help you to focus in short bursts of time. [email protected]: [email protected] is a music app created in conjunction with neuroscientists. The makers have digitally remastered music to help people to focus. Pomodoro Keeper: A free timer app based on the Pomodoro technique. Pomodoro keeper helps you to focus your work efforts in timed 25-minute chunks with a 5-minute break in between.

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Boosting Performance at Work

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

If you want to be productive and boost your performance at work, take a look at these three simple things below that you can focus on. Paying attention to these three areas will have a big impact on your effectiveness in the workplace Focus on the goals. Many people at work have trouble with prioritization. But the solution is pretty simple: Be clear about your goals, and your priorities will be evident. Plan your day according to your goals. Ask yourself which tasks will get you closer to your goals, and focus on them. When you spend your day working on these tasks, you’ll know you’ve been productive. Take control of your inbox. Email can take over your day if you allow it to. Start your day in your calendar with what you have planned for the day, not with what others want you to do for them. Take control of your workday by planning your day in advance. After you’ve looked at your calendar, you can either start work straightaway or open your inbox to see whether you have any urgent requests that will take priority over what you’ve already scheduled. Stay positive at all times. Having all the techniques and tools in place to be productive will only go so far if you don’t have the right attitude. Having a positive, can-do attitude is the most significant contributor to enhancing performance. If you’re positive, no task is too difficult and no problem can’t be overcome. With a positive attitude, you’ll develop better and stronger relationships with your team. Positive attitudes breed more positive attitudes, and if you can create a pleasant work environment that is optimistic and empowered, there is little you can’t achieve.

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The Essential Kit for a Budding Productivity Geek

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

If you’re serious about getting organised, you will need to invest in some basics tools for your productivity toolkit. Your productivity toolkit consists of all the things that you will use daily to keep your work space ordered, structured and clutter free. A calendar: Whether paper or electronic, you need a calendar to track your appointments and meetings and plan time for your work to do. A task management app: A task management app is great for storing all your tasks to do. Choose an app that allows you to categorise your tasks into different projects. An in-tray: Use your in-tray to put all your unprocessed work. Anything that you haven’t defined exactly what needs to be done with should go in the in-tray. A filing tray: Use a filing tray(s) to separate paperwork that needs to be filed from actionable work. Manila folders: To keep your paperwork organised, you need a bunch of manila tabbed folders. Create a folder for each project. A labeller: A labeller helps keep your files looking pretty and also makes them easy to find. A step file organiser: A step file organiser is ideal for your work in progress. Use it to house your current files and paperwork on your desk. Add labelled manila folders, and you’ll always have the file you need at hand. A notebook: You can’t beat pen and paper. Sometimes it’s best to pick up a pen and jot down your good ideas, your plans, or the things you don’t want to forget about.

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Daily Habits for Powerful Productivity

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

You may think that the daily habits for powerful productivity are all about scheduling and to-do lists. You may be surprised to know that some of the things that will have the biggest impact on your performance and productivity are the things you do outside the office! Exercise: Exercises gives you energy, improves your mood, and helps you to focus. There are so many benefits to exercise it’s a wonder TV was ever invented! If you introduce the habit of exercise to your daily life, you’ll get way more done. Rising early: The habit of rising early is a habit of most successful people. Rising early enables you to fit it all in. It’s a great time of the day to exercise, to write, or to meditate. Meditation: Meditation is no longer just for monks; it has become a widely accepted habit in the workplace. Many organisations have become aware of the many benefits of meditation and recommend it to their employees. Meditation provides a calmer mind, greater focus, and reduced stress. Positivity: Success begins with positivity. Having a positive attitude and a belief in yourself and your ideas are crucial for success. Believe in your ability to get things done and you will succeed. A positive attitude at work will improve your relationships and performance. Scheduling: What gets scheduled gets done. Planning your work in advance is a primary habit for productivity. It will help you beat procrastination and help you get it all done. Take some time each week to plan the week ahead. Schedule time for all the projects you need to get done.

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7 Household Routines for an Easy, Productive Life

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Keeping control of the daily routines at home can make a big difference to the quality of your life. Spending a little time each week planning the week ahead can go a long way to help you live in a more organised and relaxed environment. Following are some tips to get you started. Have a place for everything. Clutter and mess are created when you don’t know where to put something. When you have a place for everything, you’re more likely to put an item back in its place after you’ve used it, and you eliminate the mess and disorganised chaos. Clean as you go. Cleaning as you go is the best way to keep an organised, clean home. While you’re cooking, wash and put away the utensils as you finish with them; when boiling the kettle, wipe the kitchen surfaces while you wait; and never leave the dinner dishes until the morning — that’s a sure way to start the day on a negative note. Rise early. Rising early is a habit that many successful people share. Rising early gives you a head start and helps you start the day in control. If you have children, it can help to have half an hour of peace before the day erupts with noise. Rising early is a great way to start the day in an organised and calm way. Create a schedule. If you plan the household chores for the week, choose the day that you’re going to do them. For example, you may do the clothes washing on Mondays and Wednesdays and floor cleanings on Tuesdays and Fridays. Creating a schedule helps you keep up with the jobs that need doing. The more habitual these chores become, the less you think about them and the less stress they cause you. Bring the crowd with you. Get into the habit when your family is small to include them in the daily chores. If you can make daily tasks part of the everyday routine, they’ll become second nature before your kids become teenagers and will hopefully reduce the amount of complaining and resistance you get. Plan the weekly meals. Spending 10 or 15 minutes a week to plan your weekly menu can not only help keep your week calm and organized but also mean you don’t waste money buying food that you’re not going to use. Read the bedtime story. Stick to daily routines with your children. Children function better and are less likely to cause a fuss when they know what’s coming next. Reading that bedtime story is a great time to connect with your children and help them become happy and secure.

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