It has become a bit of a running joke around our department, that there's now a "national holiday" dedicated to almost anything you could think of. Who knew that "Ugly Truck Day" was actually a thing, or that February is "Great American Pie Month." One of these newly minted "national holidays" we can get on board with is anti-boredom month for the entirety of July. Unfortunately, many people complain about being bored at work, but if you're bored there's likely a deeper issue going on around disengagement. Throughout the month we have been using #30DaysofProductivity on our social media platforms to share helpful articles and tips to keep you working at peak performance. To help you feel increasingly more engaged and less bored, we've put together a list of ways to ensure the dog days of summer don't get you down. Without further ado, here are 14 ways to be more productive this month: Have stand-up meetings We all know the feeling, you get into work energized and ready to start the tasks at hand when you look at your calendar only to realize you have back to back meetings and no time to get any of that work done. An easy solution is to shorten your meetings, and you can easily do this by having stand up rather than sit down meetings. Start with the worst first I know you have one--that dreaded task you've continuously put off all week only to be forced to begrudgingly work on it Friday afternoon. Instead, try something new and do the worst first. Whatever item on your to-do list is giving you heart palpitations, just get it done. That way it's off your mind and you're free to focus on what's inspiring to you. Come to work a half hour earlier than you usually do I don't like getting up early any more than the next person, but showing up to work just a little bit earlier can boost your productivity for the rest of the day. Coming in before some of your co-workers arrive and staying heads down can ensure your day gets off to a good start. Ensure you have the right apps and software for the job you do For example, as a Content Marketing Manager, I need Simply Measured and Buffer to help me share my content with the right audiences at the correct time, and analyze those results. A compensation administrator or CFO needs access to an automated sales performance management solutionautomated sales performance management solution so they are able to avoid human errors and the complications that come with doing complex calculations manually. Leave your cellphone in your briefcase for the first half of the day Those of you with families might not have the luxury of being able to disconnect for a few hours. But if you are able to, leaving your distracting cellphone out of reach even for one hour can work wonders on your ability to be productive throughout the day. Listen to the right music The "right" music won't be the same for everyone. When I'm writing, I prefer something without lyrics, while a co-worker who's working mainly in Excel prefers the sounds of today's hot country. Putting in your headphones allows you to tune out what's going on around you so you can focus on the tasks ahead of you. Write down your goals I don't know about you, but sometimes just the act of writing down what I have to do makes me less stressed out. Trust me when I say that post-its and notebooks are your friends when it comes to daily and weekly tasks and goals. When it comes to larger, longer term goals a software solution like Xactly Objectives can help you stay on track. Figure out your tasks for the following day In a similar vein as the prior tip, it can be extremely helpful to think about the following day's tasks. I find it very useful on Fridays, because I can come back to the office on Monday and see my to-do list. This makes it much easier to hit the ground running at the start of a new week instead of sifting through emails and documents to figure out the day's agenda. Add an incentive Incentives are incredibly powerful, and if they can be used to bring clean water to a billion people, they can also be used to motivate your team and help you reach your own goals at work. Is there a PowerPoint presentation you've been putting off? Promise yourself a meaningful incentive like a tasty lunch at your favorite restaurant that you love in spite of its high prices. Treat yo' self, you deserve it for finishing that presentation! Take a hike... Or a walk if time and weather permit. Sometimes I'll make an afternoon run to Starbucks, and by the time I've walked there I barely feel the need for the coffee anymore. Prolonged sitting can zap energy and productivity, so taking a quick walk can revitalize you and get your thoughts flowing again (and an icy cold brew never hurt either). Have fun with your department It could seem counter-intuitive to think that taking a break from work will make you more productive, but group bonding can greatly increase your output. Taking a half hour to chat with colleagues and do a fun activity can make you more productive the rest of the day. In Marketing we've had potlucks and candy swaps that allow us to bond, have fun, and de-stress, which makes us more productive when we do get back to work. Do some reading It might come as a shock to you, but I'm not the first person to write about productivity, in fact there are many experts in the field that have studied and written about the subject for years. If you have a spare fifteen minutes you can check out a Ted Talk on Productivity or peruse the hashtag #productivityhacks to see the ingenious ideas the Twitter community as to offer. Add "no" to your vocabulary This tip comes courtesy of a recent INC. article, and it's incredibly helpful to remember. According to Larry Kim, "when you're too eager to please, you often end up getting in over your head. Remember, it's not simply a matter of being agreeable--when you take on too much, all your work suffers." Saying no might feel like you're not being a team player, but saying yes when you don't have the bandwidth will do more damage in the long run. Have lunch with someone outside of your department How will this make me more productive, you ask? It's common to get tunnel vision and focus only on what's going on in front you within your own department. When you have a chance to sit with someone that is part of a completely different function of the business, it gives you an opportunity to brainstorm new ideas and see things from a different perspective. This new lens you've gained in which to look at the company can inspire you to start new projects and bring together different teams.
What are your favorite productivity hacks? Tweet @Xactly and fill us in!
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