We've always been about doing things faster, more efficiently, and getting more things done. That is why we have been providing you with time hacks week after week. But here's another dimension to productivity that Harvard's The Energy Project has uncovered: Energy.
Time is a finite resource. There is only 24 hours in a day, and putting in more hours at work doesn't necessarily mean being able to produce more. It might actually be working against your productivity and effectivity. When people work too much, they tend to sacrifice other areas of their life: eating well (or on time), exercising, spending quality moments with family and friends, etc.
Unlike time, energy can be expanded and regularly renewed through specific rituals. It's about recognizing energy-depleting behaviors - and avoiding them - and doing more recharging activities.
The things that people tend to neglect (eating well, exercising, spending quality moments with family and friends, etc.) when they put in more hours at work - are actually the same activities that are very recharging and devoting time to them ultimately redound to one's productivity at work.
This Harvard article features many more examples of how productivity has improved in actual companies who recognized the need to manage energy vs. manage time.
In the end, managing energy allowed for better quality work and relationships. And that's always the best use of your time!
The start of the new year often prompts an obligatory reflective mood - and whether self-initiated or obligated, it's still an opportunity to come up with things to accomplish for the year.
We often call them resolutions, but the problem with New Year's resolutions is that they get forgotten as early as February.
The main reason they probably get forgotten is that these resolutions start feeling like a chore, like an imposition.
The best way to avoid getting these resolutions forgotten, is to consider them as Lifestyle Changes instead. When you make them a lifestyle change, they become your life to live, not just some tasks to add on to your life. They are woven into your life, and become a very essential part of it.
What lifestyle changes are you willing to make this year?
Share them with us here and get a chance to win a year's supply of Bizzy Coffee!
1. Take a Photo of Your Fridge
No time to make a list of what you need to buy from the grocery? Just take a photo of your fridge - doors open wide - and it becomes a handy reference on what needs to be bought. You can also take a photo of your kitchen shelves to know what other items have to be replenished.
2. No roasting rack? Make one out of tin foil!
The aluminum foil is your friend. If you forgot to get a roasting rack (or probably misplaced the last one!), you can do a MacGyver and make a roll of those tin foil, thick enough so that when roasting, your meat doesn't touch the pan.
3. The Crock-pot is Your Friend
We hope you find these tips useful!
We get it - you're busy AND you haven't done much of your Christmas shopping yet. What to do, what to do? Here's 3 simple tips that can get a big chunk of your holiday shopping chores done in no time.
1. Get Your Gifts Delivered
There are gift sites for men, women, and children - and you can order them online and have it delivered straight to your lucky recipients. Note: Most sites require orders made by this week to make sure your gifts arrive by Christmas time! Just like us at Bizzy!
2. Run to the Pharmacy
Most pharmacies have tiny useful, essential and novelty items that make for a thoughtful gift. They're ideal stocking stuffers too! Assemble a bunch of these items into a gift bag and you've got a curated gift ready for a happy new owner.
3. Make it a Group Date
No time to make individual gifts? How about making a reservation for a fancy dinner, spa treatment, an afternoon of go-karting or a visit to the local music festival? Make it a group date, and it's on you. It's an experience gift - no gift wraps required and, even better, you accomplish making your friends and loved ones happy in one afternoon or evening.
We can do this! Happy Holidays!
Getting ready for work in the morning isn't the most fun activity. Most people would put off getting up because it just takes too much effort to get ready.
But if you happen to be a music lover (or actually, even if you're not), you can put this passion to good use. You can use music to make your mornings more bearable.
Instead of a Clock, Use Music to Time Your Activities While Getting Ready:
1. Pick 4 of your favorites songs or dance tunes. Make a playlist of it on your music player or iPod. Make sure it can play loud enough so that you can hear the music through all the next activities.
2. Assuming every song lasts approximately 5 minutes, the 4 songs become your 20-minute cue to get yourself ready for work.
Here's a Example:
Song 1: Brush your teeth and floss. Tap your feet to the beat while you're at it!
Song 2: With your hot water ready, take a shower. By all means, sing along to your heart's content!
Song 3: Get dressed and dance around while you're at it. (When no one's looking, it's ok to twerk!)
Song 4: Accessorize, put some cologne, pack your bag, turn off the music - and moonwalk your way out.
Wasn't that fun? Now you can look forward to this mornings that always start you off on the right note!
What if your friends and family are already on their way in a few hours for your annual Thanksgiving gathering, but you've been so busy that your turkey is still frozen in your fridge and nowhere near ready to be served to your guests?
What do you do?
How to Speed-Thaw Your Turkey:
1. Heat oven to its highest setting, then blast the frozen turkey for 10 to 15 minutes in the oven to jumpstart the thawing process.
2. Submerge the turkey in a large container filled with cool (40 degree) water, changing the water every 30 minutes or continuously running a slow stream of water from the tap. It will take 20-30 minutes per pound for the turkey to defrost this way.
3. Once thawed, proceed with cooking the bird immediately - or hold it in the refrigerator until ready to use.
How to Turbo-Cook Your Turkey
1. Spatchcock it: This involves cutting out the turkey's backbone then pushing the bird flat. Dry it off and liberally salt and pepper the whole thing, then rub softened butter and chopped herbs under the skin of the breasts. Place the sheet of meat breast-side-down in a roasting pan or large sheet pan. Cover the pan with aluminum foil to retain moisture.
2. Place the turkey in a 400 degree oven, basting it every 15 minutes with a mixture of butter and stock to prevent it from drying out.
3. When the breast meat reaches 165 degrees — this should only take an hour for a 14 to 16-lb bird — take the turkey out of the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes.
4. Carve the turkey according to this diagram.
Thanksgiving near-fiasco averted!
Has it ever occurred to you that only 20% of what you do is probably producing 80% of the results you want to achieve?
This is what the Pareto Principle is all about. It is a concept originated by Italian Economist Vilfredo Pareto in the 1900s when he discovered that 80% of the wealth in Italy was found in only 20% of the people. Pareto tested the concept in other areas of life and realized that the principle applied to all other areas of business or activity.
Here's the hack:
Understanding the essence of the principle is the main key thing, and then applying that in every area of your life.
If you are in business, you will realize for example that 20% of your clients are providing your company 80% of your revenues. Or that 20% of your sales staff is contributing 80% to your sales. Also, that 20% of your products is the source of 80% of your revenue. Knowing the 20% in any aspect of your life or business or activity is your guide in determining which areas to focus on or where to invest your efforts.
If you then wanted to increase sales, perhaps you should incentivize that 20% of your clients that are contributing the most to your revenues, as these might result to even more revenues from them.
Knowing who among your sales staff is contributing 80% of your sales will help you decide which ones to reward, to keep, or to promote.
If your business was strapped for cash and needed to make wise investments on products you can keep selling, then the 80/20 rule easily helps you make the decision on which products must be kept.
Apply the 80/20 rule in your life today and see what new things you might discover.
There are workaholics, AND there are smart workers.
You see, working longer hours doesn't necessarily mean greater productivity. It's really about working smarter.
Here's the hack:
In a study done at the Florida State University, elite performers like athletes, musicians, actors, and chess players were tested for productivity. It found that the best performers "typically practice in uninterrupted sessions that last no more than 90 minutes." In fact, they "rarely work for more than four and a half hours in any given day."
Okay, not everyone has the luxury to work just 4.5 hours a day, but there is still something to be learned here.
The core of this hack is the principle of renewal and recovery. The performers did not have to work or practice too long - they must stop up to a certain point to ensure that they avoid exhaustion; they must exert effort only to a degree that they can ensure that can recover on a daily or weekly basis, depending on what the activity requires.
Employing this principle makes them perform better overall.
When faced with a task, how do you know if it's something you should do right away or perhaps something you can put off until later? Some tasks are quite obvious as to the kind, amount or urgency of attention that it needs. Emergency situations or critical tasks are readily apparent that they should be dealt with as soon as possible.
But what of other tasks whose urgency are less obvious?
Here's the hack: Follow the 'two minute rule'. That's right. Is the task something that you can do now for only two minutes (or less)? If so, do it now and get it over with. Putting if off for later actually will tend to lengthen the time it will take that job to get done. For example, a task that would have only taken 2 minutes if you handled it now, will actually likely become a 5 minute task if you decide to do it some other time in the future.
How does a task turn from a 2-minute task to a 5-minute task? Perhaps it's the mental adjustments that have to occur when switching from thinking about doing a task now, deciding to just do it later, doing something else in the meantime, then remembering to go back to that something you put off for later, then actually doing the task.
Doing it now actually saves you time.
Contrary to what we'd like to believe, multi-tasking is actually a time-waster. At work, if you spent half the day multi-tasking among 2-3 different tasks, 45% of the time actually goes to waste. The mental adjustments - like re-orientation or re-familiarization - that has to happen every time you switch from one task to the other actually reduces your over-all productivity. Imagine, if you did that all day on your 8-hour work day, that's 3.6 hours wasted productivity. If you're a business owner with a workforce of multi-taskers, it's a nightmare to realize that you are getting 45% less productive work out of your people, and that's a terrible waste of money.
Here's the hack: Resist the urge to multi-task! The temptation in multi-tasking lies in the fact that by doing different tasks simultaneously you feel you are accomplishing more (quantity), when in fact, this compromises your real productivity by not only wasting time but also diminishing the quality of your work.
Try finishing one task first, take a quick break, then move on to the next task. Doing this not only allows you to accomplish more, it also ensures you do a much better work.
Admittedly though, sometimes the multi-tasking happens because the distraction of other tasks crop up without your control - like an email that sends a ding and gets your attention, or a text message or phone call that demands to be answered, or a co-worker that passes by for a chit-chat. Avoid these distractions or anything that steals your attention - put your phones on silent mode, or put up a Do Not Disturb sign on your desk, or work in an area where you cannot easily be distracted, or always wear your headphones (it dissuades people from disturbing you because it makes you look occupied).