This Week in Productivity – Jan 1, 2016

Welcome to This Week in Productivity, our weekly round-up where we share the best productivity insights from around the web. This week, we’ve discovered the importance of under-scheduling, techniques to improve your focus, tips for managing millennials, how to transform with technology, and a conflict response strategy.

Commit to Under-Scheduling in 2016
by Elizabeth Grace Saunders (@RealLifeE) 

Key Takeaway: Learn to ‘push back’ so you can reserve your time for truly important tasks, including recharging and refocusing.

Tips and Tricks:

  1. Define what success means for you.
  2. Differentiate “must do” activities from “would like to do” activities.
  3. Have four hours or less of meetings a day, or schedule, or group your meetings together on certain days so that you have one or more meeting-free days .
  4. Decline activities that aren’t aligned with your goals.
  5. Give yourself permission to prioritize your desired experience of your time, not just your priority items.

How To Focus: 5 Research-Backed Secrets To Concentration
by Eric Barker (@bakadesuyo)

Key Takeaway: Concentration is like exercise for your brain. To improve your ability to focus, you need to spend more time concentrating each day.

Tips and Tricks:

  1. Clear your head by writing things down, including a plan to tackle your tasks.
  2. Choose the right location to concentrate. Have a spot where you’re usually productive? Go there.
  3. Stop being reactive. Be unreachable during times when you need to concentrate by switching off your phone and email notifications.
  4. Get enough sleep.
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How to Raise Millennials in the Workplace
by Susan Cramm (@scramm)

Key Takeaway: Understanding the generational background of your millennial employees helps you lead more effectively, tapping into their strengths and improving their weaknesses. “Because I said so” doesn’t fly any more successfully in the 21st century workplace than it does in the 21st century home. And leaders are finding that investing in a new style of leadership can pay dividends.

Tips and Tricks:

  1. Connect their work to a higher purpose, such as a positive social or environmental impact.
  2. Provide well-defined steps objectives to guide their work objectives.
  3. Give them trial-and-error opportunities to develop their confidence and ability.
  4. Allocate “tech-free” times and locations to foster their face-to-face communication skills.
  5. Allow other people in your team to coach and mentor them as well.

Responding to the New “Productivity Paradox”
by Eric Labaye

Key Takeaway: Technology is transforming the way we work, but its not a silver bullet for productivity. To make the best use of digital technologies, you need management that embraces them, business processes that can benefit from them, and skilled people who know how to use them.

Calming Your Brain During Conflict
by Diane Musho Hamilton (@Diane_Hamilton)

Key Takeaway: “Fight or flight” is the typical human response to conflict. Being mindful of your body can be a more effective technique to use when conflict arises, so you don’t respond rashly to situations.

Tips and Tricks:

  1. Recognize your body’s conflict signals.
  2. Let go of negative thoughts to reduce your stress hormones.
  3. Focus on your body’s reactions with an open mind.
  4. Restore your ability to think, listen and relate by breathing smoothly and rhythmically.