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Unproductive? Stressed out? This might help...

How can you be more productive at home and at work, while ridding yourself of unnecessary stress? These are a few tips I have found along the way:

Pending matters (personal or work) tend to stick to your brain through the day, even though you are not focusing on them. They are like a cancer that cuts off productivity, just like a person who is going through divorce or difficult times will have trouble coping with work and friends, this holds with any kind of personal activities that have been left pending.

  • If you take email seriously, divide it into “personal” and “work” folders. Attend to personal mail before leaving to work each morning, or at night before going to bed.
  • Write down task lists (Use Google Calendar, Outlook, Google Tasks or even pen and paper) and divide them into days. You can’t do everything in a day, so be realistic. Try to do everything that is personal at home, and everything that is work related at the office.
  • When you don’t accomplish a pending task, don’t leave it “hanging”. Set it for a later time (after work maybe?) and remove it from the “overdue” list. If it was something urgent you couldn’t accomplish and it involves someone else, let that person know (email? phone?) immediately that it will take you another day to finish it.
  • While at work, be sure to have your pending activities listed appropiately and go through them in order, remember you can’t do everything at once and it will only stress you out thinking about how much you have to do, specially when you have a deadline.
  • If you read personal email at work, try to archive (or store) personal emails that arrive, and mark in your calendar that you must attend to those emails when you get home. If it is something urgent, reply at once that you will attend to the issue at a later time.

By following these steps, hopefully you will be able to clear your mind at work and start to focus on what you have to do, not what you had to do and didn’t do, nor what you have pending and might have to do later. Everything at its time.

Now get to work!