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Holden Y.

@holyy23

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Fear of missing out (FOMO) in the workplace

People suffering from the fear of missing out have a real need to be in the know of everything. They want to see all the news and events, any office activity they want to be a part of and are always busy commenting on Facebook posts or tweeting on Twitter.

But FOMO can negatively affect productivity in the workplace.

@holyy23

How FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) Keeps Killing Productivity? - nTask

ntaskmanager.com

The following issues can affect some people and should be taken seriously.

  • The fear of not being asked to attend an important meeting.
  • The fear of not being able to participate in a meeting.
  • The fear of not being invited to a company retreat or office party.
  • The fear of not being able to take part in a lunch break group chat.

FOMO is not only decreasing productivity, but it can also cause information overload. For example, when something exciting happens early in the day, it can consume so much information that a person can reach his limit.

His productivity will decrease and affect overall workload progress. Worse is that the information was not even valuable or beneficial to perform his task at the office.

Productivity Shame

Work is never finished, and we are unable to disconnect from it, causing us to experience productivity shame, impacting our happiness and creativity.

The modern working profiles (like knowledge work and remote work) do not have strict guidelines on a day’s productivity or any clear deliverables. It relies on a constant flow of communication, collaboration and multiple switching of context.

Productivity Shame: How To Stop Feeling Like You Haven't Done 'Enough'

blog.doist.com

  • Personal productivity is not about all-round efficiency, and it is wrong to think about your input as that of a machine in a factory unit.
  • This is further complicated by our mistaken assumption that being in demand means that we are doing a splendid job.
  • We blur our all boundaries between our work and personal life and every minute of the day is to be kept busy as we rush to attend every meeting, cross out every task from the to-do list or to answer every email that we get.

Our brain starts to favour small tasks that give a false impression of productivity (woohoo! I just sent out fifty emails!) while we neglect the large, complex but meaningful tasks.

This is known as the completion bias.

We are not a factory pumping out products. Our constant switching of context, and checking our smartphone notifications/email has a huge impact on our productivity, focus and our ability to get things done. We are rarely productive in the real sense but feel productive doing pseudo-work all the time.

Productivity is not getting more stuff done every day, but getting important stuff done in a consistent manner.

If we don’t see enough progress by the end of the day, it feels (to us or our superiors) like we haven’t done enough.

Apart from the completion bias, where our brain seems hardwired to wanting to finish the given tasks, we are also having another cognitive bias called the planning fallacy, in which the brain is unable to estimate how long any task would take.

The answer is The Progress Principle, the art of reducing big, audacious goals into small chunks of doable and easily trackable tasks that provide us with a sense of accomplishment.

Our self-motivation and excitement have a relatively short life span, and while we want to be motivated before we start something, it is only possible once we have begun. This paradox is called the Motivation Trap and basically implies that action precedes motivation and not the other way round.

The trick is to to create systems and tools that get things done and sets us up for future success.

Getting Things Done is a productivity system that helps us capture our work in one place and manage where our attention is going to be. The five steps of GTD are:

  1. Capturing one’s ideas in a tool which is an app of your choice.
  2. Clarifying each task to its next most easy step that reduces any friction.
  3. Organizing each task by priority level and due date.
  4. Review and reflect on your to-do list.
  5. Engage yourself and get in action mode, implementing the list.

There are four elements that need to be done as a ritual to disconnect from work:

  1. Create a shutdown ritual each evening.
  2. Physically separate from your laptop and/or smartphone if possible.
  3. Take some time to relax and reflect on the day, just with yourself.
  4. Take up a hobby or something that interests you outside of work.

Take a good look at your life, and the goals you have set, and find out that sweet spot, the threshold of success that you think is ‘enough’ for you to feel productive and successful.

Example: At Google, projects have multiple objectives but instead of an all-or-nothing situation, they have Objective and Key Results (OKRs) which let them set a success threshold (usually 60 to 70 per cent) so that they feel challenged and motivated and at the same time do not feel like a failure.

Accepting that you can't do everything

The antidote to chronic overwhelm is accepting that you cannot do it all.

Prioritizing means embracing the limits of your time and your energy, and taking back control of your to-do list. Embrace tactical strategies to ensure your priorities rise to the top amid the busyness of life.

How to Prioritize When There's Always More To Do

blog.doist.com

There are some general areas that all of us should prioritize in order to function well and generally make life worthwhile. These areas are:

  • Health and fitness. Bad health and fitness habits add up over time and have a knock-on effect in other areas of our lives.
  • Sleep and rest. Inadequate sleep leads to unstable emotions, impaired learning, imbalanced hormones and a compromised cardiovascular system.
  • Friends, family, and relationships. It's hard to mend relationships once they've been frayed. Be proactive about being the connector and decide beforehand what you won't miss out on.
  • Productive work. Instead of working harder, we should work smarter (more strategically.)

Intentionally take your focus away from distracting areas in your life.

  • Social media and entertainment. While they can add fun to our days, it's worth reducing how much time we spend on apps.
  • Busy work. These are tasks we do regularly but that fail to move us forward. These tasks should be delegated, automated, limited, or deleted.
  • Negativity. When we focus on the negative, we are prevented from seeing reality clearly. It is then important to be aware of your inner thoughts. Maintain a running record of positive things people say about you.
  • Make a habit of gathering all your to-dos in one place - from email, personal tasks like cooking meals, to new ideas for projects. Capture your tasks in a productivity system and add a date when you need to do it.
  • Stay focused by eliminating distractions. Use an app blocker to reduce social media and entertainment when you need to get things done.
  • Don't fall for shiny object syndrome. When boredom creeps into our routine, it's easy to get distracted with something new.
Understanding importance over urgency

The Eisenhower Matrix system forces us to prioritize important tasks over urgent tasks.

Put your tasks in one of four separate categories:

  • Urgent and Important tasks/projects to be completed immediately.
  • Not Urgent & Important tasks/projects to be scheduled on your calendar.
  • Urgent & Unimportant tasks/projects to be delegated to someone else.
  • Not Urgent & Unimportant tasks/projects to be deleted.

Instead of watching the clock, energy management can be used instead of time management. Our positive mood is high in the morning, dips in the afternoon, and rises again in the evening. We can use this information to our advantage and plan for our high-priority work when our mood is high and do low-priority work during our low mood hours.

Not everyone is the same, so it's worth figuring out when you're most productive and schedule your tasks accordingly.

The Commitment Inventory productivity method makes us take stock of all our commitments and forces us to take a look at them.

  • Create an exhaustive list of everything you spend time on.
  • Consolidate into categories and assign a percentage to each.
  • Trim your list of commitments, ensuring each category has enough time to do it well.
  • Organize your to-do list around your categories.
  • Break big tasks down into checklists.
  • Work in timed "bursts" aligned with your categories.

Ensure your priorities are reflected in your categories.

  • Identify your hardest, most important task for the day.
  • Do your most important task first thing in the morning. Don't put it off for later.

This productivity system is known as Eat the Frog. Using this method will enable you to prioritize the important every day and build momentum for the hours ahead.

The Time Blocking productivity method compels you to plan your day hour by hour, and prevent multitasking by batching similar tasks together.

  • Make a to-do list for the day.
  • Categorize hour tasks together in similar blocks.
  • Estimate how long each block of tasks will take.
  • Add each block to your schedule sequentially with a time attached.
  • Complete each block of tasks from morning to evening in order.
  • Modify or postpone blocks of time when needed.

Ensure that at least one of your blocks of time is related to your most important tasks/projects.

Warren Buffett's "2 List" Strategy focuses on getting rid of the tasks holding you back from your real priorities.

  • Write down 25 things you want to accomplish.
  • Select your top 5 priorities from this list.
  • Cross out the remaining 20 items and actively avoid thinking about them.
  • Focus only on your top 5 priorities.
The Ivy Lee method for peak productivity
  1. At the end of the day, write the 6 most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. 
  2. Prioritize those 6 items in order of their true importance.
  3. The next day, concentrate and finish only one task at a time.
  4. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.
  5. Repeat this process every working day.

The Ivy Lee Method: The Daily Routine Experts Recommend for Peak Productivity

medium.com

It is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don't do something about it.

It is also the one task that can have the greatest positive impact on your life and results at the moment.

Procrastination Sucks - So Here's The "Eat That Frog" Way to Powerful Productivity

medium.freecodecamp.org

Brian Tracy
"One of the very worst uses of time is to do something very well that need not be done at all".
  • A items : Things you must do, which will have a serious positive or negative consequence.
  • B items : Things you should do, that have minor consequences.
  • C items : Things that are nice to do but don’t have any real consequences when they’re done.
  • D items : Things to delegate so you can free up more time to do A tasks.
  • E items : Things to eliminate. Generally stuff you do out of habit.
Winning The Day

Instead of starting the day with a list of tasks to get done, start it by identifying 1-3 things that would make this day an absolute victory if you were to do them.

If you can get those done, it will be a big victory for your goals. And then look back on it at the end of the day and celebrate what you can.

Three Practices to Celebrate Your Day - zen habits

zenhabits.net

  • At the end of each day, take a brief pause and review how the day went.
  • Celebrate any progress at all.
  • Take a few more minutes to set your intentions/Win the Day items for the next day.

We don’t have to wait for the end of the day to celebrate. We can do it after anything we do. 

The practice is a simple ritual: pause when you’re done with something, before you move on to the next thing. Reflect. And celebrate.

A process of performing “professional activities…in a state of distraction-free concentration that pushes your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.” - Cal Newport

Historically, psychologists used to refer to deep work as “being in the flow."

How to Use Deep Work to Ignite Your Productivity and Get More Done in Less Time

foundr.com

Shallow work

The non-cognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted, tend not to create much new value in the world and are easy to replicate.

...is the first element of deep work.

That means you won’t have the mental discipline to stay concentrated on a single task unless you prepare your mind and environment to it.

Cal Newport
"The key to developing a deep work habit is to move beyond good intentions and add routines and rituals to your working life designed to minimize the amount of your limited willpower necessary to transition into and maintain a state of unbroken concentration."
  1. Develop a deep work schedule and routine: A systematic way of getting in that deep work mindset is to develop a routine in which you always perform the task in the same place and time, for a given time frame.
  2. Work on what matters: At the end of the day, you should be acting like an executive, working towards your goals in a professional, consistent manner.
  3. Accept laziness: While the results should lead to higher productivity levels, your ultimate goal is to have more time for yourself. Enjoy your “lazy” time".
  1. Identify a small number of ambitious outcomes to pursue with your deep work hours
  2. Find your lag (the goal you’re trying to achieve) and lead metrics (the behaviors you’ll do to reach the goal)
  3. Develop a scoreboard where you track your time spend in a state of deep work
  4. Analyze the results and be accountable for the results, always working to hit the metrics you had previously identified
Deep Work

 ... is all about taking your existing time spent working and concentrating it to make the most out of it. 

But it’s not that you have to do more things in less time. Instead, it’s about getting more out of the tasks you normally do by reducing distractions. Deep Work is about working smarter, not harder.

  1. Take breaks: instead of trying to get rid of distractions, you should concentrate the energy you put into them during set breaks.
  2. Schedule tight deadlines: pick your most important tasks, the ones that require deep work, and then you schedule them in a shorter time span than you normally would.
  3. Meditate: set a scheduled break which you dedicate to physical activity, like walking or driving, focusing your attention on a specific problem as you carry out the former.

But instead of denying their use completely, use the  “Craftsman Approach to Tool Selection.” This means that you copy the way craftsman pick tools: they use the ones with positive impacts that outweigh the negative impacts if you are a Facebook Ads marketer,  use Facebook. If you have found the use of LinkedIn helps you attract traffic and leads to your site, the same idea applies.

But if you can’t find a positive outcome from the use of a social media channel, quit it.

  1. Schedule all your activities: schedule your day before you start it and organize your work — both deep and shallow.
  2. Finish your workday early: cutting off your working time early will put your mind in “scarcity mode,” pushing you to finish it in less time than usual.
If you want to find time for your deep work, close all your distractions—email, Slack, phone, internet connection—and work until you’re done. Then reconnect to the world.

The strategy is effective for the simple reason that you’re forcing yourself to do your work — you give yourself no choice but to work.

The best predictor of getting things done

The secret to great productivity is simply to do what you enjoy.

Copying other successful people will not guarantee you success: Just because Elon Musk works 120 hours a week does not mean that you'll have the same success if you work for 120 hours a week. Musk likes to work those hours. If you tried to follow that schedule, you'd have to make yourself do it. The same goes to advice like "write every day." It won't work unless you want to write.

Is the secret of productivity really just doing what you enjoy? | Oliver Burkeman

theguardian.com

One big fear we have is that when we let ourselves do what we enjoy, we'd waste even more hours each day on social media, instead of doing important things.

But we know that when we start a session of challenging work, we often need to give ourselves a push. After that, it's the enjoyment that'll sustain our motivation, not productivity hacks.

What we can control

It's easy to feel helpless when things are outside of our control.

This begs the question of what we do have the ability to control and change. Changing a few small things can together have a positive impact on our productivity and general well-being.

Control what you can to avoid feeling overwhelmed

zapier.com

Instead of filling your schedule with work, then allowing yourself to have fun with what is left, reverse it. Flip your relation to work by scheduling play first. Maximize that time with 30-minutes of deep-focused, distraction-free work.

Scheduling breaks first helps you to notice that there are only so many hours in the workday. You will focus more and get more done, knowing that you'll soon reach a scheduled break to recharge.

Remote workers should try to walk around the block before starting work. It is an effective way to transition from home mode to work mode.

Other ways to set up boundaries between work and life is not to take your work into the bedroom, buying a personal PC for personal errands/work, and by creating hard stops at a specific time every day.

Mindfulness is the capacity to be aware of what is going on.

When you are doing tasks, try to pay attention to the task. For example, while doing dishes or laundry, ditch the headphones and instead observe things like the temperature of the water, or the smell of the soap. Even just a few seconds of mindfulness can help you feel relaxed.

Become more organized

In order to be successful and reach your goals, you need to be organized.

One first step in this direction refers to starting your day planning: choosing the agenda that works best for your can be a game changer.

A Productivity Expert's Tips For How to Properly Plan Out Your Week

domino.com

Acquiring organizational skills, as in getting better at planning, can take a while. While finding the appropriate agenda is essential, making a habit out of using it is just as important.

When preparing your schedule on a monthly basis, make sure to add not only the daily tasks and objectives, but also the big moments.

For instance, integrating your friends' birthdays can prove both useful and time saving for the future.

Establishing a certain day, when you can sit and plan your next week can prove extremely useful.

For instance, choosing Friday to be that day, seems pretty clever, as this day marks both the end of a working week and, why not, the beginning of another one.

In order to have successful days at work and not only, make sure you keep track of your tasks. Furthermore, taking care first of the priorities should be on everybody's calendar.

Whenever you plan your schedule, write down whatever you need to do, but not everything you need to do.

There are tasks that do not required being noted down, as they have become part of a daily ritual and can not be forgotten.

You choose how you want your planning to look like, therefore avoid trusting too much others' opinions, but rather choose to prioritize your own.

For instance, using color appeals to many individuals, but not to everybody. Just choose your own style and get started.

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