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Archive for May, 2017


Be Positive for Greater Productivity

Positive managers demonstrate confidence that their employees can deliver outcomes. This type of encouragement makes it easier for staff to face and handle change, challenges, and difficulties. When people have confidence in themselves, they tend to be more creative, more productive, and have better workplace relationships.Great job

  • Notice small accomplishments that often go unrecognized to show employees that you are paying attention to them and appreciate even small successes. Allow each team member to be a star in some way.
  • Encourage employees to find their own solutions to problems with minimal intervention from you to bolster their confidence and strengthen their skills.
  • Help them reframe disappointments and mistakes into opportunities for learning and growth and motivate them to continue to deliver quality results.

By spreading positivity, recognition, and praise, your employees will be happier at work and will be more positively productive.


Avoid Productivity Pitfalls

Being successful requires you to produce the results you need, meet deadlines, juggle conflicting priorities, and lead your team. Despite your best efforts, however, sometimes you are sidetracked. Productivity pitfalls are everywhere, and you may not even know you have stepped into one until you find yourself losing productivity. Here are some common pitfalls to watch out for.

  • Not allowing enough time for a task. Most people underestimate the amount of time a task will take. Even routine matters that come up every month can take longer than expected, especially if you need to rely on others for input. A good rule is to take your initial estimate and up it by 50 percent.
  • Allowing distractions and interruptions. These are the twin demons that quickly lower your productivity without you being aware it’s happening. The key is to eliminate them before they happen. Try turning off your phone or email notification part of the day so you have uninterrupted time to focus on high priority activities. Refuse to let yourself be interrupted. Ask people to postpone routine matters and set aside time each day to deal with them.
  • Lack of focusing on priorities. Establishing priorities and knowing your most important activities allows you to be positively productive. Set aside time each week to review what needs to be done and decide which activities are most important. Use your calendar to schedule time to focus on these top priorities in 30- or 60-minute blocks of time.

Being positively productive is easier when you are on the lookout for hidden traps that drain your ability to produce results. See my blog post Your Habits Can Make or Break Productivity for more information.


Managing Conflict on Your Team

Any time people work together, conflicts are bound to arise. From simple disagreements to outright warfare, team conflict can negatively affect productivity and jeopardize deadlines. When left unaddressed, conflict can erode morale and lead to decreased motivation. Here are some tools to help you keep the lid on team conflict.shutterstock_2927347

  • Communicate clear expectations for the team. While it’s important for each employee to understand what’s expected of them, it’s equally important that they understand what’s expected of the entire team! Make sure your team knows what contribution they are expected to make and how it supports the overall mission of the organization. Help them see the larger picture, so they appreciate their role in achieving a successful result.
  • Create a culture of inclusion. Help the team accept and respect their differences. Make sure everyone feels safe asking questions, sharing opinions, and suggesting changes. Offer training programs that give employees a deeper understanding of how to leverage differences for greater creativity and collaboration. (See my workshop Bridging the Generation Gap for information.)
  • Set and adhere to behavior standards. Require employees to act with civility toward each other and take immediate action in response to violations. According to Doctor P. M. Forni, founder of the Civility Project at Johns Hopkins, civility is the foundation of effective relationships. Civility means that we treat others with respect, use restraint before speaking and acting to measure the affect we will have on others, and take responsibility for our behavior.

Build a team where conflicts are minimal, and everyone appreciates their role in making the team successful.


Give Your Brain a Workout

Just as you need to exercise your body to keep it supple and strong, you also need to exercise your brain to keep it sharp. The more active your brain, the better your ability to make decisions, process and remember information, and be creative. Here are three simple tips to keep your brain healthy.Fruit

  1. Learn something new. Take a class, paint a picture, study a language, or take up a musical instrument. Any activity that requires new, mental effort and challenges your brain to think in new ways is good for your cognitive abilities. Start small and work your way up to more complicated efforts. When you start to feel confident in your skill level, it’s time to tackle something more challenging to keep your brain active.
  2. Exercise your body. Your brain needs oxygen to function at peak performance. Exercise increases the flow of oxygen, releases beneficial chemicals, and reduces stress. Physical exercise not only keeps your body healthy, it keeps your thinking sharp.
  3. Feed your brain. You’ve heard the adage, “You are what you eat.” It’s especially true for your brain. A diet of soda, fast food, and vending machine snacks diminishes your ability to concentrate and increases your risk for impaired memory and brain function. Fruit, vegetables, healthy fats, and lean proteins ensure that your body and brain are fit.

Improving brain function is not just for older people; anyone can use these tips to keep their brains sharp and memory strong.


Beat Energy Slumps

Do you find yourself dragging after lunch, barely able to keep your eyes open? What you eat affects your energy. Foods like soda, candy, and carbohydrates lead to sugar spikes with subsequent energy crashes. If you’re tired of being tired after lunch, here are some tips to keep your energy high.shutterstock_92470498

  • Eat lighter lunches. Choose more vegetables, such as salads, and fewer carbohydrates, like pasta and rice. Eating lighter lunches can give you more time for a post-meal walk. A 10-minute stroll around the block will rev up your energy, oxygenate your brain, and help your body digest your lunch more efficiently.
  • Eat slower. Give your body time to digest your food and signal that you’ve had enough. The faster you eat, the more likely you are to over-eat, which leads to post-meal sleepiness.
  • Eat with attention. Have you ever plowed through a plate of food and realized you ate the whole thing and never tasted any of it? You were busy talking, working, reading, planning, watching television, checking email, texting, or just daydreaming while you ate. It’s easy to eat too much if you’re not focused on your meal.
  • Eat more often. Having four to five smaller meals throughout the day is better than three large meals since smaller meals provide a steady flow of nutrients that keep you alert. You can control blood glucose spikes more easily since it’s those spikes and crashes that turn your energy level into a rollercoaster ride.

Other factors also contribute to afternoon sleepiness, such as stress, poor sleeping habits, lack of exercise, and so on. See my blog posts Feeling Burnout?, Is It Stress or Eustress?, and When You’re Just Too Tired to Work for more information on how to be more positively productive.