Do More: Seven Life Hacks to Improve Your Productivity

Have you ever been caught in the cycle of  “Too many  things to do and yet so little time?”

Have you ever ask yourself why do you keep on rushing your work to keep up with the deadline?

Or does it take you forever to finish your tasks?

We often wonder how other people do so much things in a day while we can’t even account where did we spent most of our time. I was like that too.

For so many years, I dreaded the word “Deadline” because that would mean working longer hours and crunching time so I would be able to finish my task on time. However, my dilemma would be there were so many things that require immediate attention (read- ASAP, Urgent, Need This Now!). So what would I do?

Luckily, I discover several ways on how to manage my time and to increase my productivity in no time. And surprisingly, these life hacks are so easy to do! Even more impressing is that these foolproof hacks are highly used and recommended by achievers and successful people too.

Do you want to know the secret of increasing your productivity and getting more things done in no time?

Let me share to you seven easy life hacks to boost your productivity. There are so many ways to do it. But you can always start with the easiest ways.

  1. Wake Up Early

The old adage “the early bird catches the early worm” is an understatement in this productivity hack. Successful people start their day early so they can do a lot of things in a day.

According to Kristina Karlsson, founder and CEO of the Swedish stationery brand Kikki K., all her big ideas were written at 3 AM. Thus,

Waking up early gives you more time to do your personal stuff or your daily rituals so you won’t start your day cramming up just to prepare yourself for the day. Yes, it includes your weekends too.

My typical work day starts at 4:30 in the morning. That accounts for my “getting ready for the day” and to give me ample time to commute going to work which by the way takes up one hour to one a half hour depending on the traffic. I do my planning and journalling  in the morning while eating my favorite breakfast and sipping coffee. Sometimes, I can leisurely read a chapter or two of my current read or wath a Tedx Talk to inspire me throughout the day.

So imagine if I wake up a little bit late? I will not have time to enjoy the little personal pleasures that I do every morning because I will be constantly hurrying up not to be late to work.

Key point: Time can be your friend or your enemy when you want to be productive.

2. Tidy Up Your Work Space

No, just because you know where to find every little knick knacks in your work space you will neglect to clean up. Study reveals that the state of your work space affects your mood and your ability to do your task. I mean, who wants to work in a cluttered work space, right?

When you spend most of your time looking for that pen that must have been buried somewhere in your table or you come in late for a very important meeting because you missed that paper somewhere in your file, you are losing valuable chances to increase your productivity and achieve bigger goals.

Save yourself from the hassle of missing out important things by decluttering your work space before you start any task you scheduled for a day. Remove unnecesarry things that may distract you from your work on your table and stow them away neatly in your drawers or cabinets.

Do note that this includes your computer’s desktop too. Organize your file in your computer and if possible leave only folders or files that you will be using to perform your tasks in your desktop for easy access.

3. Have a To- Do List

So, what now? Where do you begin? When is that important board meeting going to happen?

Most of us do not know how to start our work. We only see tons of works which are either urgent, important, or need this ASAP. Thus, it is important to make a to- do list so you will know how to progress within the day.

Start by blocking off the time of important meetings that you badly need to attend in your calendar so you will have a visibility how much time is left for you to do the different tasks within the day.

Then list down all your tasks and start categorizing them as (1) “Important & Urgent”, (2) “Important But Not Urgent”, (3) ” Urgent But Not Important” and (4) “Not Important & Not Urgent”. All tasks that fall under no. 1 should go to the top of your priority list while tasks under no. 2 can be park and scheduled for another day. Delegate to others the tasks under no. 3 and do follow up before the end of the day and refrain from doing tasks under no. 4 to avoid distraction.

Be realistic with your time. If you can only finish 1 important and urgent task in a day because it is difficult to do, so be it. Schedule the other tasks the following day.

4.Warm Up

When you exercise or you play any sports, you might be aware of the importance of warming up before starting your game. The same way, you need to do a warm up task prior to any big task to set your mood and your work rhythm.

Choose one task that you can easily finish in five minutes and complete it before you jump into your bigger task. It may be as finishing a simple school assignment or downloading references for your paper.

Finishing an easy task allows your brain to transition to working mode without stressing yourself too much. It also gives you motivation to tackle your task at hand because you already accomplish something early on.

If you cannot find something to start on, you can always go back to tip number 2. 😊

5. Steer Away from Social Media

A lot of us are guilty of this. Nowadays, un-necessary mobile browsing is one of the biggest culprit why we do not finish our task on time. We know that that paper is due tomorrow but you just can’t resist the urge to peek on your FB or IG or Twitter.

If you find yoirself constantly spending your time on your mobile device than finishing your task, mute that notification button and put down your gadget face down (so you will not see the screen). If this does not work wnf you are still tempted to sneak into looking at your messages, turn off your gadgets and put it away from your reach until you finish your task so you can avoid distraction.

Just make sure that if you are turning off your gadgets especially your phones, notify your loved ones so they will have a peace of mind that you are not MIA.

6. Use Pomodoro Technique

I really sweat on this prpductivity trick. Pomodoro technique helps me survive even the toughest task that I need to finish.

Pomodoro technique helps you break your task into manageable span with just enough concentration that is bearable to you. Here’s how it works.

Set your timer to 25 minutes and do you task within that period of time. After 25 minutes, take a 5 minute break. Repeat the cycle of 25 min work- 5 min break until you finish your job. In the 4th cycle of 25: 5, take a longer 10- 15 minutes break.

It’ s easy,  isn’t it?

This leads us to our last productivity tip.

7. Take a Break

Don’ t be confused. Breaks are good for you.

Taking a break provides you the opportunity to recharge your mind and your body. If you take short breaks in between doing your tasks, you will be more likely motivated to go back and finish it. Why? Because you will be looking forward to a longer break when you are done with your job.

So take time to walk, eat or even have a power nap in between task to ensure that the flow of energy in your mind and body is continuously replenished.

If you are overwhelmed by these productivity tips, try out one to three tips first and gradually incorporate the other tricks when you already get the habit of doing them.

Stay motivated and productive everyone! 😊

 

 

 

 

 

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Happiness: It’s Not Really Complicated

Last April 14, I have attended one of the highly anticipated conference of which aims to spread happiness to the world. The Mission Happiness Conference 2018 facilitated by no otheBer than Ms. Sha Nacino is truly a fun-filled learning experience to all its particBeipants. All the teachings impart by Ms. Nacino on how to be happy is a no non-sense, straight forward approach as to uplift one’s emotional well- being and develop a holistic view in achieving a Happy, Inspired and Meaningful life.

I have yet to indulge myself into the four key learnings that I have learned during the workshop. Here are some of the key points that I have picked up on the discussion that is truly simple yet we oftentimes forget to look for in our quest of true happiness in life.

Find the things that matters to you most

There is a saying that we often neglect to see the light of the moon because we are busy chasing the stars. In our every day lives, we often have so many things that we need to do and most often than not, these things are the contributors of our stress and unhappiness. We blame our unhappiness to the stress brought about by work, our relationship with others or even the traffic that we encountered in our every day commute. But have we ever thought that it is our own choice why we need to go through all these things every day? Is the life we are living now exactly the one of our purpose and passion?

We often hear life coaches talk about passion and purpose but what they exactly mean to ordinary people and how important they are to our lives? For me these two simply mean the things that really matter to you. These are the things that you really want to do and that you do best. These are the things that make you excited to wake up every morning and not feel stressed whenever you need to tackle tasks related to them. These are the things that make you optimistic even if the odds are against you.

Finding things that really matters to you is important so you will be able to do things that you enjoy most. And if you are not yet there on your ideal place, at lwast you have the inspiration to work so you will be able to pursue what you really want in life.

Be a blessing

There is a connection between doing an act of kindness and happiness. It is said that our body and mind are hardwired to giving. The more we do good deeds to others, our cortisol level (aka stress hormone) goes down and our endorphine (aka happy hormone) increases. Thus, we become happier. There is this kind of euphoria when you are able to accomplish one goof deed or an act of kindness more than any material things in the world.

So if you are stressed or overwhelmed, do one random act of kindness and find the good vibes slowly slip into to your being.

Develop an attitude for gratitude

How often do you say thank you? And what are the things that you are grateful for? Do you know that gratitude is a secret to a happy life?

Being thankful even for the smallest and simplest things that come your way such as waking up in the morning and living another day, or having a hearty breakfast is the best way to find contentment and happiness. To borrow a lyrics from a Jose Mari Chan song, “when you are weary…count your blessing instead of sheep.” When we concentrate on the good things in life instead of those things that make us anxious and unhappy, we can derive a sense of calm that although we face so many challenges in life, there are still beautiful things that happen to us that we can be grateful for. In gratefulness we find our strength to face every day with hopes in our hearts that all will end well.

Strive to grow as a person

Remember the excitement you get when you achieved a milestone when you are young? Even as simple as learning to write our names make us excited and happy, right?

Most of the people who already stepped out of school and started working, rarely have the time to celebrate or find time to seek new milestones for themselves. It seems that they stop to grow anymore. That is why they see each day as just another busy, hectic day to live. As one author puts it “we work hard to earn a living but we stop to live a life.”

Why don’t we seek those little milestones again in our lives and celebrate little victories in achieving them? Instead of just putting up with mundane, every day routine, we find time to seek growth for ourselves. Even as simple as learning soft skills like managing your temper, or curbing your vices, or striving to have a healthy relationship with your family are considered life’s milestone and contribute to your growth. Self- improvement will bring back the joy to your life and it also changes your perspective of who you are to the world. It teaches you self-appreciation and the more you recognize your feat, no matter how small it is bring you contentment and happiness.

I learned so many things in the span of four hours and I left the venue a changed person. Now I am looking forward to share what I captured during the workshop to spread the message that happiness is not that complicated to find at all. 😊

Dream. Do. Enjoy. Share – An Inspiring Event for Goal Setters and Dreamers

I recently attended a National Bookstore event which I stumbled upon by accident while strolling aimlessly at SM Aura Premier last March 24. It was a Kikki K event dubbed as ” Dream.Do. Enjoy. Share. An Afternoon with Kristina Karlsson.” and I was so delighted to know that it would be graced by no less than its founder Kristina Karlsson!

The event also featured workshops conducted by the best resource persons in the Philippine planner community- Liona Jeane Guzman (@lionachinky) who taught about Planner Set- Ups and Vision Boards and TC Morados (@inksandcoffee) who demonstrated Journaling to Jumpstart Your Creativity. But of course the highlight of the afternoon is when Kristina herself took the stage and talk about her journey in establishing her brand.

Planner set up by @lionachinky

What I really loved about her discussion is when she shared her 12 Life Rules. This is where I could identify the most especially when she talked about dreaming big which is my theme for this year. I got very excited so I want to share also these life rules to all goal setters and dreamchasers out there.

12 Life Rules of Kikki K.

Kikki K’s 12 Life Rules inked in my bullet journal

1. Love what you do.

2. Set goals.

3. Don’t take/say no for an answer.

4. Never stop learning.

5. Work hard but work smart.

6. Get up early.

7. Surround yourself with great people.

8. Be grateful.

9. Be healthy.

10. Take notes.

11. Have fun.

12. Dream BIG!

I got the chance to have a small chit-chat with Kristina when I had the post-it that I won in the event’s game signed for an autograph. She asked me if I have big dreams and I said yes! And it is now a work in progress. I briefly shared to her about how I started giving motivational talks to students and encourage them to set goals and strive to achieve it. I also told her about my dream to publish my own book. And she was excited to hear it.

Fangirling

I left the event even more inspired. Hearing encouraging words from someone you look up to is really a big motivation for me to pursue my passion in life.

TRAVELBOOK.PH LAUNCHES FIRST TRAVEL FAIR ENTITLED DESTINATION: PH

PRESS RELEASE

By Hyacinth Uri

Your best trip ever starts with TravelBook.ph’s Destination: PH!

TravelBook.ph, one of the country’s leading online travel agencies, will be having its first travel fair entitled “Destination: PH” from March 16 to 18, 2018, at the 4th Floor, Activity Center, Century City Mall in Makati. As part of TravelBook.ph’s objective to promote the country’s most beautiful destinations, this event will be an avenue for customers to get amazing and exciting offers from its hotel and tour partners as well as flight loyalty program partners. Lots of prizes and freebies will also be given away.

Each event attendee will receive one (1) FREE admission ticket with numerous stubs that will entitle them to discounts on the following hotels when they book through TravelBook.ph: 40% off in Circle Inn Iloilo, Circle Inn Bacolod, Azalea Resorts and Residences Baguio, and Azalea Resorts and Residences Boracay; 30% off in The District Boracay; and PHP 1,000.00 off in all hotel partners for a minimum booking amount of PHP 4,000. In addition to these fabulous discounts at the event, over 100 hotels and tour activities from TravelBook.ph will also be on sale!

Tourism industry professionals will also be gracing and conducting talks at the three-day event. Among these are Senior Tourism Operations Officer Ms. Azucena Pallugna from the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) Office of the Undersecretary for Tourism Development; travel blogger Mr. Arjay Abellara of RJ D Explorer blog; illustrator, designer, travel blogger, and contributing writer for ABS-CBN and Travel Now magazine Ms. Sheena Gonzales; lifestyle and travel blogger Ms. Arnie Villanueva of ArnieVillanueva blog; and travel blogger Mr. Rogelio Gabiano, Jr. of the Pinoy Travel Freak blog.

Actor and model Daniel Matsunaga will also be present in the event to share stories of his travel experiences and to participate in a meet-and-greet. Plus, Japanese comedy trio HPN3 from It’s Showtime’s The Funny One will entertain the attendees with their hilarious skits.

TravelBook.ph made it even more exciting as attendees will get a chance to win prizes from the following sponsors: Azalea Hotels and Residences Boracay, Midori Hotel and Casino, Subic Bay Yacht Club, Siglo Suites by Century Properties, The Dessert Museum, Enchanted Kingdom, Zoomanity Group, Inflatable Island, World Traveller Bags and Luggage, AirAsia BIG, GetGo, and Mabuhay Miles. Everyone will also be bringing home some cool freebies!

Interested attendees can pre-register for the event by visiting TravelBook.ph’s event page for Destination: PH on Facebook and clicking the pre-registration link under the details section. Each visitor who pre-registers through this link automatically earns a raffle entry for a chance to win an overnight accommodation at Midori Clark Hotel and Casino in Pampanga or Subic Bay Yacht Club with breakfast for two!

Start your summer adventure with TravelBook.ph and have the best travel experience ever! See you there!

Learning to Say “NO”

Photo: pixabay.com

I have a colleague at work who we dubbed as “Mr. No”. Why? He would practically say “no” to all the incredulous demands even from our bosses. Knowing our company mantra of “making things possible”, saying “no” to our bosses really needs a lot of guts to do.

Declining a request however, does not necessarily mean a bad thing. Albeit, denying someone’s request or demand especially those in the upper level of the heirarchy in your organization or even your clients is very hard to do. In fact, it is an innate human nature to please and not create conflict or confrontation with others.

But learning to say “no” is one way of boosting your productivity. How? It allows you to screen out unnecessary things that may take you out of your focus from the important things that can add value to you and to your work. This is specifically handy when you feel that you are already loaded with work which in turn affects your performance and productivity.

But how do we say “no” without having the guilt feeling that you might have offended the other party? Here are three points that you might want to consider.

1. Have a solid reason of saying “no”. This is very important since you may need to do some explaining when you decline someone of their request or demand. Tell the other party why you honestly cannot accept the request or demand. This will help others understand why it is not possible for you to take on a certain task.

2. Propose a compromise. If the other party still negotiates with you to do the job even after you explain why you cannot do an extra load, suggest ways on how can he be able to pull through the task without compromising your own schedule. Either you help him find someone who can help him with his request or negotiate with him for you to do the task after you finish your priorities. If you choose the latter, be transparent on when can you actually accommodate him so he can weigh his options. In this way, it would lessen the hard feelings of being declined because (1) you are saying “no” while trying to be helpful and (2) the other party may come to his own realization (hopefully), that you really cannot do his request and may choose to find somebody else to do it.

3. Be wary of your tone. This is one of the keys to successfully turn down someone without sounding offensive. Oftentimes, even with our good reason and intention, people misunderstood our context just because of the way we deliver our message. If you sound to be argumentative or irritated to other party, he will dismiss your explanation as just just mere alibi to escape from the task even if you are telling the truth. On the other hand, people tend to accept your reason if you say it in a calm or even a little apologetic voice. Just don’t be too overly apologetic else they might see you as a scheming person.

If all else fail, you can always find someone to back you up to convince the other person to just let it go. 😊

Dr. Paolo Bellosillo on Heartbreaks And Finding True Love

Sometimes, you will meet someone and it works. Sometimes, you will meet someone and it will feel like God intervened and made you meet. Most of the time though, you meet someone and they break your heart into a million pieces and you start to wonder, “why me?”

With hugot still being one of the trending topics of all time, we decided to ask Dr. Paolo Bellosillo who is known for advocating living a quality life to share his thoughts on how you can protect your heart from the greatest stressor in life, a heartbreak.

What are the qualities that a woman should look for in a guy?

A woman needs to look for someone who is God fearing because if a man fears God, he will be loyal, faithful, committed, responsible, and honest. These are traits that any woman should want for in a man. A man like this will never make you worry or fear that he will go astray.

What are the qualities that a man should look for in their future partners?

A man needs to look for a woman who is capable of being their partner in life, not just in the bedroom. They need to find someone with a humble heart and someone who prioritizes their relationship over their pride.

How can you have a relationship that is good for both parties?

A relationship that preserves the dignity of the other person is always a good indication. When there is mutual trust and mutual respect, when a relationship is rooted in prayer and kindness then reinforced by communication, you know that it is beneficial to both parties.

What are your 5 tips for a healthy, smooth sailing relationship?

1. Pray together. When God is at the center of everything, everything will fall into place.
2. Communicate. As they said, almost everything can be sorted through an open and honest communication.
3. Be kind. If you can’t be anything, if there is no more love, then at least be kind.
4. Be open. The two of you are not the same person which means that you will not have the same beliefs, the same principles, and the same ideologies. In fact, chances are big that you will have different ones so be open to understanding how the other person works.
5. Let go of fear. Most of the time, we react negatively because of fear.

Any tips to our readers so that they too can have a lasting relationship?
Being in love is primarily focused on the heart, on love but everyday should always take that into account as love is a journey and a decision which both souls builds on. While the whole world celebrates it, do so in a manner where it focuses not on consumerism or material things because they fade.

Be original: play a song, sing a song, cook with love for your shared favorite dish, go to the first place where it all began with your special someone, or go to church and why delay it, say I DO, tie the knot. Just make sure the other is ready and fits in the qualities and attributes of those listed above After All when you Look Through The Eyes Of Love You Should Be Bringing Out The Best Of Me/You, Here There and Everywhere.

How I Manage My Time and Maximize Productivity

If you believe in all the movies and novels that glamorize the corporate world as a place where you look chic every day and you get a hefty pay for working in an airconditioned office, a lot of insiders would tell you that corporate setup is a jungle. Corporate world is very fast-paced and will take a lot of your precious time. In fact, it is not for everybody. I particularly work in a very demanding industry with a very high customer expectation. As my colleagues would jokingly tell me, my day would not be complete if I did not eat stress for breakfast (and dinner too!).

Working corporate for ten years I would say that your the major enemy is TIME. Thus, you must learn to do time management so you can increase your productivity. And mind you, being busy is different from being productive. Rendering overtime almost every day doesn’t mean that your efficient. In fact it can be viewed otherwise.

Learning time management is a major feat. There are a lot of time management and productivity tools out there and you just have to choose what works for you best. Let me share to you the productivity tools that I am currently using.

Bullet Journal

Planning your task is one essential way to improve your productivity. Thus, a good planning system is a must. While I use digital calendar in my phone and my laptop to keep track of my appointments and tasks, I keep a planner handy in my bag or in the office. However, I prefer to use a bullet journal instead of a pre-made planner because of its flexibility. Since a bullet journal is basically a blank notebook, I can customize it according to my productivity needs. I am not limited to the layout of pages that most of the planners in the market has to offer. My bullet journal contains my calendars, to-do list, trackers, notes, brain dump for ideas, journal, etc. It is my one-stop shop planning system and this is the only planner that I really maintained.

Eisenhower Matrix

Have you ever experienced being drowned on your to-do list with no clue as to where to start? It always end to not doing anything at all right? One strategy I discover in tackling my enormous to do list is to use the Eisenhower Matrix or Eisenhower Box. It is basically a box divided into four quadrant which is then further classified by the Urgency and Importance. Take a look at the box below.

Photo from contactzilla.com

The quadrants on the left hand-side represents the things that are Urgent while the right hand side quadrants are for the Not Urgent tasks. In terms of importance, the upper half of the box is for the Important tasks while the bottom ones are for those Not Important.

To use the box for decision making label the Quadrants as follows: Q1 (Urgent & Important)- DO; Q2 (Not Urgent But Important) – DECIDE/ PLAN; Q3 (Urgent But Not Important) – DELEGATE; Q4 (Not Important & Not Urgent) – DELETE / DON’T DO.

Every morning I write down all my things to do in a piece of paper and then put each task in the quadrants base on the task’s urgency and importance. I make sure that I do the things under Q1 in the morning and do the tasks under Q2 afterwards or in the following day. I find persons who can help me out on the tasks under Q3 so it can also be done within the day. For things that will fall under Q4, they are immediately scratch off from the to-do list altogether. In that way, I can focus my day accomplishing tasks that has higher impact to my day and yield higher productivity.

Pomodoro Method

Photo from UKCAT Blog

Working on your daily tasks, however you divide them by priorities is exasperating especially if you are working on big requirements such as project presentations, project analysis and project updates that take a big chunk of your time and suck the energy out of you. It is important for me to have a balance between my work and some rest so even if I tackle a big task I don’t feel like losing too much energy in the work. So I use the Pomodoro method in my advantage.

How does it work? Before I start any task, I set my timer to 25 minutes. I do my work for the full 25 minutes without distraction- no checking of emails, sms messages and social media. After the full 25 minutes is over, I take 5 minutes break. On the fourth cycle of 25 minutes, I take a 10 minutes break. I find out that I am more productive in finishing my task using this method rather than beating myself into finishing the task straight without any small breaks.

Mindmap

Photo from advisortweets.com

I am a visual person. In order for me to retain details in my memory or to make a good analysis of data, I like to arrange the information in a way that I can easily see the cause and effect. Thus, in doing crucial reports, I make a mindmap of the subject in question. Mindmapping is simply breaking down the subject matter into smaller, important information and arranging them in such a way that it can easily be understood. I use tree diagrams to create my mindmaps or a fishbone one if I need to do critical analysis.

Cornell Method

My usual work week is incomplete without any meetings. In fact, I have two scheduled recurrent meetings every week. So it is important for me to have a clear, concise notes of the minutes to reference decision points and important instructions for the project. For my note- taking, I still use the same method that works for me back in my university days- the Cornell Method. It is a simple yet very efficient way of note taking method to extract important information during meetings.

The method divides your notes into 3 parts: (1) Cue column in the left hand side of your paper where you put keywords, or questions, or reference names; (2) the main note taking area is the right hand side of your paper where you take down details; and (3) your bottom 3rd is your Summary area wherein you can summarize your minutes afterwards.

The reason why I like this method is that it enables me to write my MOM in telegraphic form then afterwards, I can review and summarize the details in full sentences. If there is any clarification on the data I have noted while I am writing down my summary, I can easily go to cue column and note my clarification question so I would remember them. In this way, I will remember to ask the question via email or on the next meeting.

So there you have it. I hope that these simple techniques that I have shared can help you boost your productivity and time management 😊.