Tag Archives: productivity tools

Manage Your Workspace Manage Your Life

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Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

The Great Debate

People with tidy workspaces are more persistent than their messy peers according to a study by the Harvard Business Review. It may seem that a cluttered desk might make you appear as if you’re working harder, but you could be undermining your own ability to stick to a task. Two groups of students were placed in two different offices, one clean and orderly and the other cluttered and chaotic. The students in the clean office stuck to the directed task for on average 1.5 times longer than the other group. So perhaps your colleague with the empty desk is on to something. When you limit your distractions, you end up getting work done.

But what about the opposite? Does clutter spark creativity? As it turns out, individuals placed in a messy room generated more ideas than those in a tidy room according to a recent study by the Association for Psychological Science. The ideas generated were also deemed more interesting according to neutral judges. Scientist Kathleen Vohs also found that disorderly environments encourage freedom from tradition, which can lead to fresh insights.

Clutter Styles

So which is true? Perhaps both approaches are true simultaneously, lending credence to the concept of ‘clutter styles.’ Whatever the case may be, a tidy desk or a cluttered one, it’s important to understand in which environment you work best, and then take steps to develop a system around it. By recognizing your clutter style, you can identify what you need to do to optimize your productivity. If your piles of papers and books keep you comfortable, then make a space for them. If you need a tidy environment to keep those ideas flowing it’s best to keep those papers and books on the shelf where they belong.

Something to Agree On – Phones Away

As it turns out the presence of your smartphone may occupy some of your limited-capacity cognitive resources which leaves less room for other cognitive processing. If your phone is on the table you could be paying attention to it even when it’s not ringing, and this is preventing you from focusing on the task at hand. The research by Adrian Ward et al. transcends the tidy versus messy debate; putting your phone away is something everyone can do to better stick to the task at hand.

Whether your productivity is enhanced by a bit of chaos in your environment or you’d rather keep a neat desk to stay focused, it’s best to understand how your workspace contributes to your overall productivity. Furthermore, keeping that phone out of sight is a surefire way to gain a little more focus.   

 

One Problem Everyone Has and How to Cope

Heart-pounding, knee-knocking stress. Your palms sweat and your head gets light.

It’s the fight-or-flight response that kept our ancestors alive when they were out hunting to make sure that they weren’t the ones being eaten. Nowadays, we don’t have to worry about being chomped in two by a T-Rex, but we do have bills, family matters, or upcoming deadlines.

Job stress is the primary source of stress in adults. And it’s been increasing in recent years. It’s not that surprising considering the sheer number of projects (30-100) the average business person has at one time or the fact that you’re interrupted up to 7 times an hour on average.

If you’re one of the 40% of workers reporting that your job is very stressful, you could be experiencing:

  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Sleep trouble
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • And the list goes on and on

We’re all staring down a heaping pile of TPS reports. Everyone feels stress, but it’s what you do with it that matters. You could cope using methods that have a negative effect on your life like binge-eating fast-food or overindulging in alcohol. Or you could adopt some ways to manage that stress.

Identify what’s causing it

If you identify stressors in your life, you can better assess what is important and what needs attention, and what doesn’t. Put everything you can control into one box and everything you can’t control into another. Shawn Achor refers to this as the Island Experiment in his book The Happiness Advantage. He suggests that you take effective action on the items in the first box and throw out everything in the other. Seems liberating doesn’t it?

Get together

We all need some help sometimes. Find someone in your life to chat with about what’s stressing you. You can talk to a colleague about a problem they can help with. Or maybe you can vent to a friend about an annoying colleague. I find that the sheer act of talking about your problems helps to reframe them in a way that makes them seem more manageable.

Stay positive

Stress is influenced as much by what’s happening inside as by what’s happening outside. Reflecting on what you’re grateful for and reminding yourself of it throughout the day is one way to stay positive, even when things aren’t going so well. You can also reduce the negativity around you by keeping better company. Negative people and their negative thoughts are only going to exacerbate the stress you’re already feeling. You can put them in the ‘forget about it’ box I referred to earlier.

Everyone feels stress, but that doesn’t mean that it has to control our lives. Identifying what’s causing it, relying on your friends, and staying positive are all great ways to keep stress from taking over.

How to Avoid Productivity Pitfalls

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Photo by Fleur Treurniet on Unsplash

Buzz buzz. Buzz buzz.

You better check that that, it could be important. It’s okay; I’ll wait.

So where were we then?

I was about to say that it’s easy to lose focus on important work with the world demanding our attention. However, all is not lost! Even in a world with constant distraction, there are steps you can take to get back your focus and sharpen up your mind.

Limit distractions

Email notifications, Slack pings, and constant digital chatter is making us multi-taskers less effective according to Stanford research. If you turn off or tune out most of the distraction and focus on one task at a time, you’ll no doubt be more productive with the work at hand.  Make doing one thing at a time a habit, and let it seep into the rest of your life.

Email wrangling

Refrain from repeatedly checking your email. It can bring you out to of that creative flow (I referred to yesterday). Set a time for email checking, perhaps during a mid-morning slump or at the end of your day. You could be working intently on a project, get a notification and respond to an email, and then spend 10 minutes trying to find the place in your work and get yourself back up to speed. It’s best to choose a time to check email when you’re not already performing at your best. This leads me to my next point.

Know thyself

A little self-examination would do us all a bit of good, wouldn’t it? Go ahead and ask yourself two questions. When are you most productive? When are you most distracted? Use this information to sort out your day. If you’re most productive in the morning, then use that time to get your most pressing/important work done. Use the time when you’re most distracted, in that after lunch coma perhaps, to do mundane tasks. Combine with #2.

Journal away distraction

Blank paper, endless possibilities. Author and venture-capitalist Tim Ferriss, often discusses his habits, productivity and otherwise, on his well-regarded podcast.  He points out that the practice of journaling is also a great way to ‘cage the monkey mind’ and get those persistent nagging thoughts out of your mind and onto paper, where they’re locked down and do no more harm. It’s important to recognize that distraction also creeps up from within. Journaling is also one of the best ways to get your head together about important projects and make sure your time is used effectively.

Do yourself a favor and adopt at least one of these suggestions to help avoid those typical productivity pitfalls. You can do it right now.

Again, I’ll wait.

Don’t miss out on the UEFA EURO 2016

Our brand-new Doodle European Championship scheduler brings friends and football together! Doodle quickly creates a poll with the dates and times of your favourite team’s matches. Start now!

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All the fun and excitement without effort! May the best team win.

– Your Doodle Team

How to stick to your ‘Get Fit’ New Year resolution

After overindulging over the Christmas period and enjoying one too many mince-pies, it’s traditional to turn our attention to New Year resolutions. “Get in shape” and “do more exercise” are ubiquitous New Year’s resolutions. Making fitness resolutions is the easy bit. How do you make them stick?

One of the most common excuses for why people break their workout intentions is “didn’t have time” or “too busy to train”. Yet, everyone in the world has the same number of hours in a week – 168.

Doodle iOS App launched

Doodle iOS App launched

Time management is super important for accomplishing any goal, and fitness is no exception. The key is finding time in your existing schedule. This is something Doodle can help with. You can use the free app to book in your fitness time around your other commitments, be it a short walk around the block or a high energy exercise class.

If your struggling for motivation, why not get your friends involved and find an exercise buddy? Research shows that exercising with someone helps you stick to your goals. What’s more Doodle can help you organise your workout schedule with your mates – just simply create a poll of the dates and times you can workout, send it to your fitness buddies and let them select which classes they can do. Once everyone has participated in the poll, Doodle works out which classes work best and notifies the organiser.

That’s your fitness timetable sorted! Now you have one less excuse not to stick to those heath and fitness resolutions.  

Your Doodle Team

 

Doodle launches The Productivity Book

We’re really happy to announce the release of The Productivity Book: 30 Professionals Talk About Time Management! This 200-page eBook is authored by Doodle CEO Michael Brecht, and is filled with personal stories and helpful tips from productivity experts that will help readers to be more productive with their time.

The Productivity Book from Doodle

The Productivity Book from Doodle

30 Professionals helped us with this book and provide us with an exclusive insight into how they structure their day. “Since productivity is at the heart of Doodle, I thought it would be interesting to interview leading productivity experts to find out what their thoughts are on how people can be more productive in all aspects of their lives,” said Michael Brecht.

“The interviewees shared a lot of details about their daily habits and productivity methods, and while each of them views productivity in a unique way, readers of the eBook will definitely be able to identify some clear trends that they can apply.”

The Doodle Productivity Book is now available to download through Amazon and iBooks and selected partners in various parts of this world. Download it today and start learning from some of the smartest minds in productivity!

Happy reading!
Your Doodle Team

Doodle and Paperless Post – schedule your event and add beautiful invitations

We are very happy to announce a new partnership between Doodle and Paperless Post – the US company that proves that communication could be personal and well-designed regardless of the medium.

Paperless Post is innovating on tradition and redefining the way you connect with people. Their claim is that beautiful design meets seamless technology and this is where Doodle comes into play: Doodle as the global market leader in scheduling makes it easy to find a date for your event. Subsequently Paperless Post offers thousands of beautiful designs for sending a nice invitation once the date is set.

So what is in it for you: we see hundreds of use-cases for the scheduling of events on Doodle and once the date is set, an invitation can be added by using Paperless Post: you are planning a big party? You plan your wedding or birthday, the christening of your child, a get together with old friends from school or university, there are so many ways to use Doodle in your daily life. Find the date easily using Doodle and send a beautiful invitation with Paperless Post to the participants, too easy.

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And there is more to come: our engineers will be working hard to improve the handling of Paperless Post cards for Doodle users, allowing our users to send cards directly from the Doodle platform. This is the start of an integrated services offering for all users of Doodle and Paperless Post: enjoy the scheduling.