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Make 2018 Your Most Productive Year Yet, For Real!

Sima Kumar Productivity, Work Hacks...

Make 2018 Your Most Productive Year Yet, For Real!

Image Credit: Duy Dao courtesy of Behance
Now that we’ve survived the Valentine’s Day campaigns that sucker punched us in the face before we had a moment to recover from the credit card bills and holiday hangovers from Christmas holidays, the end of February is when a lot of people take stock and start noticing if they are slaying or slacking off on their new years resolutions. As studies prove resolutions have a greater chance of failure and we try and rebrand it as “goals” or “intentions” … it really doesn’t matter what we call it. What we really need are tips on productivity. The how to our lofty list of what’s.
Here are eight tried and true hacks to help you transition from zero to hero status and create more structure for a successful life without becoming a boring stiff.
Image Credit: Kim Pine via Unsplash
  1. Breakfast: Start your day off by fuelling your brain and your body. Choose ingredients that are fuel as well as food. Making healthy choices in the morning means you’re mindful and thinking long haul. Green juices, smoothies and healthy bowls are easier than ever to make. Just check out Instagram - there is no shortage of healthy overachievers getting that #FridayFeeling seven days a week.
  2. Make Your Bed: An instant membership into adulting. When was the last time you made your bed? Create a routine to make your bed before you leave the house in the morning. This one healthy habit will see you increase your self-esteem, decrease your “I have nothing to wear” mantra, allow you to leave the house feeling a sense of accomplishment and you haven’t even gotten to work yet. 
  3. Calendar > List: Unless you’re a seasoned list maker and have the discipline of follow-through - increasingly people are finding lists simply don’t work. Start using your calendar. Calendar in travel time, lunch time, email time, task time. When an alarm goes off and visually disrupts what you’re working on you gain more insight into your time management skills. Quite often individuals underestimate the time to do a single task to a high standard which leads to too many items on the to-do list. The end result, very little gets done and your list is lost in the shuffle.
  4. Make More Phone Calls: We live in a culture obsessed with emails and more businesses, even those in customer service roles such as retail sales, rely on texting via WeChat or Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger to reach clients at the touch points where they spend their time. Whereas technology is great for connecting with your customer, when it comes to connecting with a client or colleague - go old school and pick up the phone. A lot can be established in a 5 min. phone call over an email thread that can reach into the double-digits. Remember - email isn’t a conversation it is best used to communicate entire thoughts and processes and messages. 
Image credit: FOREAL® Studio via Behance
  1. The 5-Minute Rule:  Almost all successful leaders use this rule. The general idea is if it takes less than 5 minutes, do it now. This one simple hack will eliminate procrastination and put a serious dent into your to-do list. (Yes, the one you’re going to swap out for your calendar!) If sending a clienteling email, returning a customer call, running something up to the alterations department will take you less than 5 minutes - do it. For those in retail sales, this creates healthy habits which lead to promotions. All because you’re streamlining productivity and increasing effectiveness.
  2. Stay Hydrated: This does not mean backstage at the fashion shows hydrated with an 11am glass of bubbly. Get in the habit of sipping on a warm water throughout the day. Now we all know London isn’t making any top ten lists for best water quality, but that doesn’t mean you can’t boil some water, put it in a flask and keep it at your desk or easily accessible in a back room off the shop floor. Add a healthy fruit or root, like cucumber, lemon or ginger to amplify the hydration with detoxing and immune-boosting elements. For retail staff, standing for 8-10 hours a day can lead to aching and swelling joints. Staying well hydrated will keep you flexible and focused on making the sale.

7. Take A Time-Out: Retail environments can become stifling. The recycled air, custom lighting, spotlights, constant music playing. Luxury boutiques often have a healthy dose of perfume floating through the air. Both belonging to the brand and the customers who shop there. It can become sensory overload. A good use of a 15-minute break is to take 5 minutes to either find a quiet space or get some fresh air. Preferably both. While giving yourself a time out, take deep long inhalation breaths and intentional exhalation breaths. This method of breathing feeds oxygen to your organs while detoxing the body of carbon dioxide. A gas that can be toxic. The result will be you’ll return to work feeling more clear and energised. 

8. Ask For Help and/or Delegate: Depending on your role within a team or organisation, asking for help or delegating tasks is going to be your greatest ally. Often times two factors prevent people from embracing this. Image and control. Neither is based in reality and both add stress. Learning to enrol assistance in areas of struggle and delegate tasks that a junior or new recruit would happily take on have twofold results. That of teaching and learning!