How to Solve Common Tech Issues that Reduce Productivity

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This is a guest post by Joe Peters (@bmorepeters). Thank you, Joe for writing this for us.

Technology is a massive boon to your productivity and efficiency. With task management tools, you can organise your day into a simple schedule, placing crucial tasks at the head of your list, so you never miss a deadline.

With email software and instant-messaging apps, you can communicate with your team members quickly and effectively, without having to wait for them to respond to a voicemail or be available for a meeting in-person.

To make the most of the benefits offered by technology, you need to learn how to overcome the little issues that can often harm your efficiency.

Rather than automatically calling tech support every time something goes wrong with your essential tech, you’ll get more done if you take the collect, organise, do approach to solving your own IT issues.

Before You Do Anything Else: Collect Information on Your Issue

As useful as the digital world can be, it’s not foolproof. Everything from internet connectivity issues to problems with device functionality can stop you from getting work done.

Before you can start solving your own problems, you’ll need to figure out what’s going on with your tech.

Ask yourself: What’s stopping me from working right now?

If it’s your internet connection, you can troubleshoot your connectivity by right-clicking on the connection icon at the bottom right of your taskbar and clicking “Troubleshoot problems.”

If it’s something going wrong with a piece of software, go into the settings for that tool and see whether there’s a troubleshooting feature available.

If not, type your issue into the search bar on Google to find out if anyone else has encountered the problem before. You can often find helpful guides online that teach you how to fix numerous problems that commonly occur with everything from operating systems to popular devices.

Organise Your Resources

  • Once you understand what your tech problem is, think about the resources that you have to help you solve the issue. If you’re having trouble with your internet connection, free resources such as Speedtest.net will shed some light on the speed performance. Just make sure that there isn’t a device that’s hogging your bandwidth when you perform the test.

  • If your upload or download speeds aren’t as fast as they should be, then you can contact your internet service provider to find out if there’s a problem with your service. You may also be able to find out about outages by visiting the ISP’s website.

  • If there’s a specific software or hardware that’s causing headaches, see whether there are any manuals available either offline or online that can help you to tackle the problem.

  • There are plenty of technology forums out there that offer downloadable manuals for free. If you can’t find what you need in these documents, consider asking a question about your issue on a website like Quora or Reddit.

  • If the problem is that your computer performance is lower and your PC is slow, find out if you have plenty of free space on the hard-drive responsible for your operating system.

  • Search for the Microsoft System Configuration tool in your start menu by pressing Windows-R, and typing MSConfig, hit the enter key and navigate to the Services tab.There, check the manufacturer and startup item columns to find out if there are any tools you can safely disable to speed up your computer’s performance.

  • Usually, software like Spotify, Steam, and Google Update are all fine to shut down. If you’re not sure whether it’s safe to close a program, don’t disable it. Alternatively, you can go to the Startup Tab to disable high impact programs that run on startup immediately to give your PC a performance boost.

Create a List of Things to Do if You Encounter a Technical Issue

You might wonder why you would bother figuring out how to solve technical problems for yourself if you could call your IT team to do the work for you. The simple answer is that learning how to rectify these issues now makes you more self-sufficient in the future.

If you know how to solve the issues that could be damaging your productivity in a matter of seconds, you can save yourself a lot of time and disruption when something goes wrong.

It’s much easier to click on a file or hit a couple of buttons on your keyboards than call IT and wait for someone to be available to solve your problem. For instance, it might sound like a no brainer, but one of the easiest ways to fix a lot of technical issues first-time is to restart your computer.

As fundamental as the process seems, sometimes your network can get overwhelmed by a stray bit of data or code going awry. Restarting the computer gives your system a chance to refresh. While you’re at it, make sure that your operating system is fully updated by using the Windows Update service. Neglecting your updates can often deprive your computer or devices of crucial performance (and security) fixes.

Be Your Own IT Team

Rather than turning to an IT professional every time your internet connection slows down, or a program won’t open, become your own IT expert, and learn how to fix the common issues for yourself. You’ll get more done in the long-term, and you’ll also have something impressive to add to your resume when you’re looking for your next job.

Now that practically all jobs require some manner of technical skill, the quicker you start working on your tech troubleshooting knowledge, the better off you’ll be in the long-term.

Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate techie. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie devours the news on the latest gadgets and binge-watches his favourite TV shows. Follow him on @bmorepeters


Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit those clapping hands below many times👏 It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

How to overcome cyberbullying

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Another post by the fantastic Lucy Rose this week. Thank you, Lucy, for allowing me to share this.

Cyberbullying has become a huge global issue now that people are spending more and more time online, and across multiple different social media platforms. There is no doubt that social media has a great responsibility when it comes to safeguarding users from harm, but this can be hard to manage without breaching someone’s privacy.

There are however certain steps that can be taken online to put a stop to cyberbullying, and it’s important that anyone who thinks that they may be a victim of cyberbullying, seeks support and advice in order to take action and put a stop to it rather than suffer in silence. Research shows that only 38% of young peopleare willing to admit it to their parents. So this goes to show that there is still work to do in order to break the stigma and humiliation around it and to educate people on the steps to take if they think they may be a victim of cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying can affect anyone

Cyberbullying can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender hobbies or occupation, and it can affect people to different degrees of severity. Cyberbullying can be defined as “the use of digital technologies with an intent to offend, humiliate, threaten, harass or abuse somebody”. It can be very damaging to someone’s self-esteem and overall mental health, so it is important that people know how to deal with and combat cyberbullying if they think that they are being targeted.

Don’t suffer in silence

The first thing that someone should do if they think they are being targeted is to talk about it. Whether it be a friend or family member, discussing it will help to lessen the burden and enable the victim to seek much needed support and advice. If the victim is a young person of school age, it should definitely be flagged up with the schools safeguarding team so that they are aware of it and can offer support and take steps to put a stop to it. If the cyberbullying is of a serious nature, for example if someone feels as if their personal safety is threatened or the perpetrator is sharing out their personal information online, then this could be a matter for the police.

Never Respond

If someone receives an intimidating and spiteful message that intends to harm or harass the victim, then there is no doubt that this would constitute cyberbullying. The golden rule is to never respond, as this can quickly escalate the situation and make matters worse. The cyberbully is looking for someone to retaliate, so that they can continue with the torment and take it to the next level.

Screenshot for evidence

You should keep records of any offences in the form of a screen shot or by taking a picture of the screen so you can provide evidence if you need it. This would be important if it was a matter for the police or a safeguarding team at school or in the workplace.

Block and report

While it is hard for social media platforms to control and prevent cyberbullying from happening all together, most platforms do have a function to report any offensive material and to block certain contacts. So you should ensure that you block the individual in question across all social media platforms and report any offensive content. By following the above steps you can take the necessary action to stop cyberbullying in its tracks and seek much needed support along the way.

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit the like button below👍. It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

How to make your workplace more accessible.

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This week, we have another guest post from the wonderful, Lucy Rose.

There are numerous benefits to having diversity in the workforce, from improved employee retention and productivity to improved employee safety. However, diversity in the workplace is also important as far as inclusion is concerned. This means taking into account the different needs of all workers, and making sure that everyone feels safe, acknowledged and supported, and that the ability for someone to do their job is not limited by their disability. With this in mind, making sure that your workplace is accessible and inclusive for all is paramount.

Start with the essentials

In order to reap the benefits that having a diverse team brings to a business, you’ll need to make a few changes to your workplace and procedures to make sure that it is accessible for and inclusive of everyone. However, given that making your workplace accessible to absolutely everyone can be a huge undertaking, it is sensible to start off with those accessibility requirements for which there is a legal mandate.

Focus on the most relevant

The Americans With Disabilities Act states that accommodations must be made for qualified individuals with disabilities who are both employees or applicants for employment. So if you have someone about to join your team who is visually impaired for example, it make sense to start your efforts there, so you can get the most relevant changes in place from the get go.

Accommodating the visually impaired

In this case it may be that you need to make arrangements to accommodate a guide dog or another visual aid, or even just make small changes around the office such as providing screen reader technologies, providing braille signage around the office or facilitating navigation around the office by installing differently coloured or textured floor mats. This would help the visually impaired differentiate between different parts of the office.

Consider alternative working arrangements

Being flexible with working hours or allowing some employees to work remotely is an important part of adapting to different employee needs. For example, employees that may be approaching retirement and wish to reduce their hours rather than leave altogether could benefit from this arrangement. It may also be beneficial for certain disabled employees if part of their working week could involve working remotely as opposed to going in to the office.

Cultivating an inclusive atmosphere

Accommodating employees with disabilities goes beyond making certain physical and technological adaptions in the workplace. Investing in employee education and training will help to make sure that you foster an inclusive environment and atmosphere in which all employees are aware the things that they can do to contribute towards an environment that works for everyone.

Some ideas for best practice

Some ideas include embedding practices such as reserving front seats at presentations for disabled access, tucking chairs in at the end of a meeting to create more space for disabled employees to navigate, and distributing slides before a presentation so employees have the opportunity to absorb the content beforehand. Enlarging the font will help the visually impaired, while printing on green or pink paper can help people with dyslexia to better access the information.


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Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit those clapping hands below many times👏 It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

You Do Have Enough Time.

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“I don’t have time!”, “I’m too busy”, “There’s not enough hours in the day”

I hear these words every day and I know it’s not true. The truth is you do have time. You can do your work and have a family and social life and there are enough hours in the day. The problem is not with time, the problem is with you.

First, let’s deal with the issue of time. Everybody gets the same number of hours per day. Twenty-four hours. That’s it. You and I are not going to be able to bend the laws of time and physics. Wishing for more hours is not going to help, it’s not going to happen. So rather than praying for more time, we need to use the time we have each day more effectively.

Now out of those twenty-four hours, we need to sleep, eat and spend some time with our loved ones and ourselves. And that should be your starting point. Too often, I see people starting with their work. Their calendars and thinking begin and end with their work. But out of the 168 hours in each week, we spend only forty to fifty hours of those at work. That still leaves around 120 hours.

Let’s say you also need ten hours per day for sleeping and eating, we still have fifty hours each week for ourselves. That averages out at seven hours per day! What are you doing with those seven hours to leave you feeling stressed out and overwhelmed?

Rather than stressing about the time you have available, you would be far better being strategic about how you are spending your time.

The first step to gaining control of your time is to find out what you are doing with your time. What do you do when you are not working? Your work is fixed. For most people that means Monday to Friday 9 AM to 6 PM, you are contracted to be somewhere or doing something. That’s fixed. The question you should ask is what am I doing with the rest of my time each day?

Now there’s nothing wrong with coming home from a day’s work and sitting down on the sofa to watch TV if that’s what you want to do. But if you are doing that every day and complaining about how little time you have for your hobbies and interests you are deluding yourself. The truth is you do have time, it is just you are choosing to use your time in a way that is not benefiting you.

To get control of your time you need a plan. That does not mean you have to plan out every minute of every day, what it means is you begin the day with the intention of accomplishing a number of objectives. For example, if being fit and healthy is important to you, you need time for exercise. There are plenty of people who work ten hours a day and still have time for a one-hour gym session six days a week. There are people like Dwayne Johnson who spend more than two hours a day working on their fitness and still have time to be on a movie set at 7 AM, spend a whole day shooting and gets another session in the gym in. How do they do that?

Yes, of course, Dwayne Johnson has the money for assistants, but he still only has twenty-four hours a day just like you and me. He manages his time by prioritising what is important to him. Dwayne Johnson understands his success is partly built on the foundation of the way he looks so he prioritises maintaining that look every day. There is nothing that Dwayne Johnson does with his time each day that you and I could not do.

Part of getting control of your time is understanding what is important to you. What is it that you want to spend your time doing? Whether it is working out, knitting, studying for a Masters degree or learning to beat match on a CDJ, you do have time. All you have to do is prioritise it and schedule it on your calendar.

If it’s important to you you will find time for it

The key to gaining control of your time is your calendar and the way to do that is to first get all your commitments on to your calendar. That’s your work commitments, your social commitments and anything else such as medical appointments or picking the kids up from school. These are what I call my ‘fixed commitments’ and they need to be on your calendar first.

I recommend you colour code your calendar. Choose a different colour for your work commitments, family and friends and your personal activities. When you do this you can easily see how you are spending your time each day by category.

Once you have your ‘fixed commitments’ on your calendar you will see where the gaps are for your activities. Now you can schedule in your gym time, writing your future best selling novel or time to spend reading. Whatever you have decided is important to you.

Do this every Sunday evening. Sit down with your calendar and plan out your week. You do not need to schedule beyond a week, our lives are not fixed. A lot of unexpected things will come up. Scheduling out your week on a Sunday evening gives you the mental space to objectively design your week. You won’t get it right every time. Your fixed commitments will change — appointments get cancelled at the last minute or events are rescheduled — but you will have the framework in place and you can modify and adjust your calendar as the week goes on. The important thing is you will have a plan.

The final piece is to adopt a golden rule “what goes on my calendar gets done.” This rule is non-negotiable. If it’s on your calendar you do it. You always have the freedom to reschedule, cancel or delay, but if it is on your calendar, then you do it. If you are putting an hour of study time on your calendar for 8 PM to 9 PM on Tuesday and then ignore it, what’s the point of your calendar? You are only fooling yourself and that is not going to solve your time problem. Sure, if you come home on Tuesday and you are exhausted, then you are free to reschedule your study time, but never ignore it.

Time can be your best friend or your worst enemy. How you use your time is in your hands and if you embrace it, use it wisely it will work hard for you. If you abuse it and show it no respect, it will hurt you. So get control of your time. Plan out your week and use your calendar to manage it. You will soon find you have enough time every day to do the things you want to do.


Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit those clapping hands below many times👏 It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

Why You Should Stop Using Due Dates.

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When you use due dates in your to-do list manager for everything your due dates become meaningless.

One of the best features of any digital to-do list is you can add a due date to any task and that task will then appear on your today list on the date you set. It means you can date and forget. However, this can lead to bigger problems. Most of these due dates are not due dates. The date you set is not the date the task is due. It is just the date you think you will be able to complete it. And that would be true if that was the only task you had to complete on that date but as you are randomly adding dates to tasks you are going to have a lot more tasks that are ‘due’ that day, but are not really ‘due’ that day.

When you have a list of tasks for the day that are not due, your daily to-do list loses its power. There’s no sense of urgency and a lot of those tasks will be rescheduled for another random date in the future and the cycle is repeated.

Now several things are happening here. The first is you do not trust your system which is why you are dating everything and secondly you are unlikely to be doing a weekly review or, if you are, you are not consistently doing a weekly review.

Below are a few ways to develop better trust in your system and help you to stop feeling you have to date everything.

The weekly review

The weekly review is where once you have reviewed all your projects and appointments for next week you are in a much better-informed state on what you can do next week. You also know which projects are close to their due dates and you can make informed choices about what you will do on a particular day based on where you will be, who you will be with and what tools you have with you.

When you are doing a full weekly review each week, your trust in your system gives you the security to know that nothing is being missed and the dates you have set for tasks are meaningful and are genuinely due on that day. You are also much more aware of what is going on on a particular day and you can make sure you are not overloading yourself with tasks on days where you have back to back meetings or perhaps doing a training course or on holiday.

The daily mini-review

Our weeks are not static. Things change. Appointments get cancelled, meetings are postponed and new commitments are made. While the weekly review gives you some perspective on what is likely to happen during the week, because things are fluid and changes are happening every day, reviewing the tasks you have assigned yourself for the next day before you close down the day helps to keep your daily to-do list relevant and meaningful.

If for example, your boss informs you a project you thought was due next month has now been moved forward and needs completing by the end of the week, that will change everything you had planned during your last weekly review. It means you can reassess what you planned out for the rest of the week and make the necessary changes.

Now if you still feel uncomfortable not dating everything there are a few more things you can do.

Create reminder tasks

These are tasks that come up every once in a while that ‘remind’ you to check a particular project. For example, if you have a slow-moving project that is due in two months, you can add a repeating task inside the project that comes up once a week that tells you to review the project. I write these tasks like this:

[REMINDER] Review Project X

The “Reminder” at the beginning of the task informs me I do not have to do it, but it alerts me to check the project if I feel I need to. I don’t use many of these, but when I do they give me the peace of mind knowing that nothing is being missed and I am always on top of my projects.

Use tags, labels, contexts

One set of tasks I see a lot of people dating are calls and emails. Now, most of these are dated just so they are not forgotten, yet they do not have to be done on that specific day. It is far better to create a tag, label or context for these and create a single daily repeating task to tell you to check these tags, labels or contexts. Doing it this way reduces your daily task list, yet still allows you to make a judgment about whether a call needs to be made or an email sent without having several of these cluttering up your daily to-do list.

Use the 2+8 Prioritisation Technique

The 2+8 Prioritisation technique restricts you to just ten tasks a day. Two of those tasks are objective tasks that must be done and the remaining eight are those tasks that need to be done today but it would not be the end of the world if they were not done.

When you restrict yourself to only allowing ten tasks per day (not including your routine tasks — those tasks that just need doing on specific days but do not drive your projects or goals forward) you are being much more realistic about what you can achieve each day and you allow yourself enough flexibility to handle any issues that arise throughout the day.

This technique forces you to be selective about what you will do each day and forms part of your daily mini-review. It’s a great way to prioritise your day and leaves you safe in the knowledge that what is on your daily list is meaningful and will have a positive impact on your day and projects.

If you want to feel less stressed, less overwhelmed and be more productive stop dating everything. Trust your system, make your weekly review a priority never to be missed and adopt the 2+8 Prioritisation technique. You will feel much more in control and the trust you have in your system will give you the peace of mind knowing you are on top of everything.

For further reading on this subject, check out Peter Akkies post on the OmniFocus blog.

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hither like button below 👍 It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

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If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

How to become more financially responsible.

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This is a guest post by the wonderful Lucy Rose. Once again, thank you so much for doing this, Lucy.

We all reach a stage in life where we realise that it is time to start making an investment in the future. Whether that means getting a deposit together for a house or putting money away each month to save for something big or even for a rainy day, there comes a time when this will start to take more of a priority. The key to being financially responsible, put simply, is ‘living within your means’. This article will give some top tips to help you become more financially responsible, starting today.

The risks of getting into debt

Having the ability to organise your finances and plan and budget ahead requires some level of foresight and maturity. Living from day to day without thinking ahead for extended periods, significantly increases the chances that you will end up in debt with friends, family, or at worst with service providers or credit card companies.

This can be a slippery slope, as yet get further into debt and start missing bill payments it could severely affect your credit rating, which will harm your prospects and limit your opportunities for getting onto the property ladder. It’s a vicious cycle that you don’t want to get into.

Budget your income

This is the first and most important step towards becoming financially responsible, and it is something that you will need to do every month to make sure that you are covering all monthly expenses and outgoings at the same time as leaving enough money left over to buy any essentials you may need to tide you over until the next pay check. This is the basic framework that any financial success is built on.

Make a debt plan

One you start making debt payments and you can see the amount you owe decreasing every month you will start to feel a lot better and more motivated to see it through and keep the momentum going. Getting any debts paid off will be a massive weight off your shoulders, giving you much more freedom with your finances.

The first step is to get in touch with the service providers in question and organise a manageable debt payment plan with each of them directly, or if you prefer and find it easier to manage, there are ways that you can consolidate all of your debt into one and make a regular monthly payment that encompasses all of them.

Control your spending habits

This involves bringing some awareness around your expenditure; what kind of things are you spending the most money on? Are you spending too much money on buying non-essential items, i.e. things you want but don’t need? In the meantime, while you build up your finances, you will need to weed out any bad spending habits such as impulsive buys or getting sucked into sales.

If you are spending too much money on addictive substances, like alcohol or tobacco and you know that this is a massive drain on your finances, maybe it is time to start addressing any addictions you might have and getting into healthier and more sustainable habits.

A brighter future

You will find that once you have better control of your finances, you will reduce a significant source of stress and worry in your life which will leave you feeling much happier, more secure and in control. Being able to save up to buy things you need that will make your life easier or save for a holiday or weekend away to visit family or friends will mean that you can start enjoying your life more and planning for the future.


Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit that like button below👍 It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

To be Productive You Don’t Need A Complicated System.

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When Ian Fleming sat down to begin writing Casino Royale on 17th February 1952, all he had was an idea, an old Remington typewriter and a few reams of paper. Every day over the next six weeks, while he was on holiday in Jamaica, he began his day with a swim then breakfast in the warm Jamaican sun and afterwards went into the living room of his bungalow, closed the blinds, sat down at his typewriter and for the next three hours wrote.

He did this every day for six weeks. At the end of the six weeks, he had the first draft of Casino Royale and James Bond was born.

If you study anybody who has created something special, from Ernest Hemingway to Pablo Picasso, you will find they never had a complicated system of task management. There was no hierarchy of projects, contexts, filters or Kanban boards. There was just an idea and a consistent amount of work produced every day until the masterpiece was completed.

Yet many people believe if they create a complex hierarchy of projects and sub-projects with an array of assorted tags, filters and dates they will miraculously become super-productive and all their work will get done.

It won’t.

To become super productive, you need two ingredients: focus and consistency. Focus on the project or goal you want to accomplish. When you begin each day with the sole purpose of working on your masterpiece (the project) and you dedicate time every day to work on it, over a period of time you will have a masterpiece. That is how great things are made. Focus and consistency.

Ian Fleming did not wake up in the morning, check his mail, review a long list of to-dos, have a chat with his colleagues and review his social media feeds (which did not exist in 1952 anyway) He woke up, ate breakfast and began writing.

This consistent routine, repeated every day for six weeks, resulted in a finished draft yet he still had the afternoon to go snorkelling, sunbathing have dinner with his friends and explore the beautiful Jamaican island.

Even in our time, the most industrious people still do not have a complex hierarchy of projects, sub-projects, tags and filters. They have instead a focus on what it is they want to accomplish. Sir Richard Branson, the British entrepreneur, runs numerous companies with multiple projects and manages all this armed only with a little notebook. When he wakes up in the morning he follows a simple routine of exercise, breakfast and work. He knows exactly what he wants to achieve that day and he remains focused on that outcome. He has no need for a complex to-do list manager because he is completely focused on the outcome he wants to accomplish.

To achieve this level of super-productivity all you need is to apply a little focus consistently every day. You do not need to isolate yourself from the outside world. You only need to begin each day with a purpose. A purpose to move forward on whatever project you are working on at the moment. Focus two to three hours on that project every day and within a matter of weeks, you will have a completed project. There is nothing complex about that and there is no need for complex productivity systems. A notebook, a pen and clarity for what you want to accomplish is all you need.

Every Monday morning I begin the day with two objectives for the day. Write my blog post and do my exercise. The first thing I do after waking up and making my coffee is sit down at my computer, open my writing app and begin writing. For the next ninety minutes, that is my focus. Email is off, my phone is on do not disturb and I write.

Likewise, at 2 pm my phone goes back on to do not disturb and I will exercise for about one hour. By 3 pm, my objectives for the day are completed and I still have plenty of time to handle replies to emails, work coming in from clients and any admin tasks that need to be done for the day. That’s just two-and-a-half hours out of a day that has twenty-four. There is nothing complex about that.

People often say to me “ah yes, but I have to be available for my customers and boss” Really? That’s only true if you do not set any boundaries. Ian Fleming regularly had house guests staying with him while he was in Jamaica, yet everyone knew that between 9 am and 12 pm he would not be available and nobody complained because he told them he needed that time to write. From after lunch until bedtime he was available for his house guests. No one complained. Instead, people respected his time.

No one will respect your time until you respect your time. Take control of it and set some boundaries.

If you want to become super-productive, create your masterpiece and still have time to take care of your colleagues, bosses and customers, then set aside two or three hours every day to focus on your most important project. Tell everyone — colleagues, bosses and customers — that you are doing your important work at that time and you will be off the ‘grid’ for a little while and very soon you will be turning in quality work without the stress and overwhelm so many people have today and no one will complain.

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit those clapping hands below many times👏 It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

Why Your Work-Life Should Never Be Built On The Silicon Valley Model.

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I have been reading Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us by Dan Lyons and I have been amazed that intelligent and incredibly talented people have become so obsessed with working for a Silicon Valley startup that they are willing to sacrifice not just their private lives, but their dignity and health as well.

Our work should be enjoyable and fulfilling, but it should not become all-consuming. Work is something we need to keep us mentally healthy. It gives us a purpose and a reason to get out of bed in the morning. It also provides an income so we can put food on the table and enjoy the benefits of living in an amazing world that allows us to travel to far off places that would have taken months to get to just 100 years ago. But that does not mean we should allow work to consume all our time. We need rest and relaxation too.

One reason you need time for yourself is to preserve your ability to be creative. Our creative ideas do not come from sitting in front of a computer screen twenty hours a day dealing with the same issues. They come from nature, from getting outside and spending time with friends and family and the experiences we have when we are not doing our work. You will never improve your skills doing the same stuff every day over long periods. To improve your skills you need time away from your work.

But far and away the most important reason you need to be taking sufficient rest is for your health. If you are not taking care of your health, then no matter how much money you earn working in a slavish startup culture, it will not be beneficial to you as you will not have the health, energy and vitality to enjoy it. Sure, you might think because you are still young you can slow down and take care of your health later, but that rarely happens. The damage you do to your health today will come back and haunt you later. Heart disease, back, shoulder and neck problems develop when you are young, and become debilitating in your later years. Is that obsession for money really worth that sacrifice?

Instead, you should be developing yourself. Building healthy, positive habits and seeing your work as a purpose. Developing real meaningful friendships will always be better than developing a network of acquaintances you only use to further your career.

Here are a few ideas that will go a long way to helping you develop the right mindset for a healthy, positive life.

Always make time for yourself

This needs to be a daily activity. Whether you meditate, exercise or journal you need time each day for yourself. Giving yourself thirty to sixty minutes each day to do something you love doing will give you the necessary mental space to relax, have fun and focus on yourself. Exercising, walking and meditating are three activities that should form a part of your daily life. It does not mean spending hours in the gym or out running, it just means you get around thirty minutes of physical activity each day and some quiet time to reflect and relax.

Never sacrifice your sleep time

As more and more scientific research is being published on the debilitating effects of not getting enough sleep, we should all be aware now of the dangers of persistent lack of sleep. Without the right amount of sleep each night, you will never be able to perform at your best. So take some time to work out how much sleep you need and make sure you get that each night.

The long-term damage consistent lack of sleep does to your health is just not worth it. Trying to do an all-nighter might sound heroic, but the reality is you are not going to be doing your best work or be efficient if you are in a state of sleep debt. You’d be far better stopping, getting a good night’s sleep and returning to your task refreshed and alert the next day.

Review your personal goals and objectives once a week

When we allow ourselves to become absorbed in the daily grind we lose sight of what is important to us as individuals. We are constantly fire-fighting at work and never stopping to look up to see if what we are doing is important to us as individuals.

This is why each week you should be reviewing what you have done and asking if what you did that week aligned with your personal goals and objectives. If your goal is to start your own business, for example, how much time did you spend developing your business ideas? How much time did you give to yourself and your personal relationships? If you spent all your time on your work issues, then you know you need to adjust things so you are giving yourself time to work on what is important to you.

Spend time with the people that matter to you

Relationships are important. We humans are social beings and we need that connection with people that matter to us. If you are not spending time with the people you love and instead spending all your time in your place of work thinking when I am rich I will be able to spend more time with my friends you are deluding yourself. Money never replaces real friendships. And you will never feel you have enough money.

Make sure you spend quality time each week with the people that matter to you. It will give you more balance and happiness than money ever will.

When you take a little time each week to work on yourself, your health and your relationships you will have far better balance in your life, you will find yourself much more relaxed and your creativity will explode. Now that’s a far better way to live your life than being a lab rat chasing something that will never bring you long-term happiness or health.

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit that like button below👍 It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

How To Practise Self-Promotion At Work (Without Being Too Obnoxious)

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This is another guest post by the wonderful Lucy Rose. Thank you Lucy, for allowing me to share this post.

Many of us cringe at the mere thought of tooting our own horn. But in the workplace, this kind of confidence is essential if you want to see significant professional growth. Studies have found that confident people generally achieve more in their careers, and this is largely linked to how they assert themselves in the workplace. Self-promotion doesn’t have to come off as bragging; it’s all about being proud about what you’ve accomplished and owning it. However, the line between self-promoting and boasting is quite thin — here’s how to do it without coming off as a total jerk.

Increase Your Visibility

You have the skill and experience to do the job excellently, but unless people know about it, you could miss out on plenty of opportunities. Make sure that people can see what you’re doing by talking to your colleagues, even those you don’t work with directly. Volunteer to represent your team whenever possible, and participate in your company’s events.

Even though you’re not actively looking for better job opportunities, having an up-to-date LinkedIn account, as well as a professionally designed website or online portfolio, is also crucial for career growth. These are easy ways for potential employers to learn about your services, and without them, you could be losing out on career growth. That said, just having a website isn’t enough — it’s also important that you work on making sure that your site comes up on search engines, so it’s also a good idea to take an online course or two in SEO.

Make The Most Of Performance Reviews

Your performance review isn’t the place or time to practise humility. While it’s a good way to understand your manager’s perception of your work, it’s also an opportunity to highlight your accomplishments. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of talking yourself up, all it takes is preparation and practice. Start by writing down a list of your contributions to the team, and practise saying them. It may feel strange at firsts, but with practice, talking about your accomplishments will come more naturally. Plus, it’ll boost your confidence as well.

Don’t Overdo It

While talking about your accomplishments will make you more comfortable at doing so, you also run the risk of coming off as arrogant if you do it incorrectly. Read the room and pay attention to people’s body language. Take into account how you speak about your achievements, and who you talk to. For example, you don’t have to sell yourself to your coworkers: you want their support. Do this by building positivity by acknowledging their good work as well — this shows that you’re a team player. Talk about your accomplishments to people who have the power to advance your career: your bosses, potential clients, business leaders, and so forth.

Tell A Story

While going into the specifics about how you improved your company’s bottom line may be effective on your resume or even in a job interview, if you talk about numbers in a normal conversation, that’s a quick way to make your listener tune out. Make your accomplishments easy to listen to by telling stories that people can connect to. Instead of making yourself out to be a superhuman worker, allow yourself be relatable.

Learning how to promote yourself effectively is essential to career growth. However, there is a time and place to do so. Figuring out the balance is tricky, but when in doubt, focus on staying true to yourself.



Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit those clapping hands below many times👏 It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

Why You Should Not Confuse Processing With Doing if You Want to Become More Productive.

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Becoming better organised and more productive is about collecting all the stuff that comes your way that means something to you and processing that stuff somewhere that will be easy to find when you need it.

Now the keyword there is processing. It is great that you have started to collect stuff into a digital to-do list, a notebook or even on a piece of paper, the question is what are you going to do with the stuff you have collected?

All that stuff you have collected needs to go somewhere. It needs to show up when you need it and be out of the way when you don’t need it. This is where having a few apps become incredibly valuable. If you don’t want to use apps, a simple notebook would work — and many incredibly productive people swear by their notebooks. That’s the beauty of creating your own system, you get to choose what to use.

Once you have a ‘system’ in place using your system consistently becomes the next step. And part of using your system is processing all your collected items into their rightful place and making the right decisions about what something you collected means to you and what you need to do next with it.

And that is where I see quite a lot of people having difficulties.

Process don’t do

To me, processing what I collected is very different from doing the work. Let us imagine it is 9:30 am on a Thursday morning and you work for an international trading company. When you open your email you discover you have 120 new emails in your inbox. Now for most people, those 120 emails represent hours of work. Yet it should not. Those 120 emails just need processing and processing that number of emails should only take fifteen to twenty minutes.

Processing is about making a decision about what something means to you, whether you want to, or need to, do something with it and if you do need to do something with it, what do you need to do and when? Processing is not about doing. It is when you start replying to those emails while you are processing when things take much much longer.

Let’s be honest here. Most of those emails in your inbox will not need an immediate reply. Even in the most urgent of cases, a reply could wait for an hour or two. The problem with ‘doing’ while you are processing is all that doing is putting a drag on your processing. It means that rather than taking fifteen to twenty minutes to clear an inbox of 120 emails, you are going to take at least an hour, and most likely have to stop processing before you finish to attend a Thursday morning meeting. Now you have eighty unprocessed emails plus all the new emails on top. So, you cleared forty emails, went to a meeting, came back and you now have over a hundred emails again in your inbox.

No wonder people feel overwhelmed!

Ah! But what about the two-minute rule?

Good question. The problem here is if you apply the two-minute rule to twenty of those 120 emails, that’s going to take up forty minutes and still leave you with one hundred unprocessed emails. Those unprocessed emails are going to be playing on your mind until you do something about them.

It is far better to go through the 120 emails first. Deciding what they are, deleting, delegating and moving to their rightful place and then if you have time, start going through your actionable emails applying the two-minute rule if necessary then.

This workflow trick also works with your other inboxes. I often see people with fifty to seventy items in their to-do list manager’s inbox. When items build-up to this number it is very easy to ignore the problem and stop adding things in there because of the overwhelm that list creates. Instead, decide to give yourself twenty minutes to clear the inbox and only process, not do. You will not only clear your inbox, but you will also clear your mind. Now you have made decisions about what an item means to you, deleted what you no longer want, organised tasks you need to take action on and delegated anything that could be delegated.

Now you have a clear mind and a clear inbox and you can start doing the work you identified needs your attention today.

“If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” Albert Einstein

This method of processing first and then doing is akin to what Albert Einstein meant when he said he would spend most of his time thinking about a problem before solving it. When we mix up processing and doing, things get messy. Your processing will not be complete and in the end, you will still be back where you were when you started — a lot of unprocessed items and an overwhelming feeling that you have far too much to do.

So, today, try processing first and then doing. Do not mix these two processes. You will find you gain a lot more control over your work and your time and feel a lot less stressed and overwhelmed about unidentified work sitting in your inboxes demanding you look at them.

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit that like button below 👍 It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.