Being app-crazy isn’t productive

Being app-crazy isn’t productive

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Do you download new apps weekly or even daily? Do you even know what half of those apps on your phone are? Being app-crazy isn't productive.

Whenever I hear someone say they can't find a good app, I ask how many different apps they've tried. Chances are, it's a LOT, and that's one of the problems. If you have something you like, don't get FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and download something new just because your friend thinks it's the best. If you read an article that your favorite celebrity uses Runkeeper or your super-productive mentor uses ClickUp it doesn't mean that it will make you a better runner or more organized. Apps and software are individual. What works for one person may not work for another.

The biggest problem I see? People not sticking to a new app or program long enough to decide if it really works. Stick with it for a month and see before downloading the next new thing.

Stop being App-Crazy and COMMIT.

It may seem harmless to download apps all the time, especially when they are free or $1.99. Still, the cost to you in lost productivity switching back and forth, learning new systems, and trying to remember which app you typed that list into is priceless. If there isn't a problem you're trying to solve, keep it off your phone. The simpler the better.

App Monogamy. It's safer, cheaper, and will show you long-term love.

19 Ways You Can Keep Yourself Healthy During Covid-19

19 Ways You Can Keep Yourself Healthy During Covid-19

This is a guest post by Charles of Sleep Matters.

The Covid-19 pandemic has shook the whole world and has been a massive health crisis over the past several months. It has been hard for those who have been affected, and frankly, it is still hard even though measures to secure our health status are already starting to shape up.

Thinking about the Covid-19 pandemic can increase your anxiety levels. So instead of thinking about how the pandemic has kept you stuck at home, get this opportunity to keep yourself healthy amidst this global crisis. Here are ways on how you can keep yourself in great shape during Covid-19.

1.Stay active

An active lifestyle is among the best ways to keep health at its best. If you have been going to the gym in the past, staying active is no feat. But if it has been hard for you to start an exercise routine, start small but maintain the routine for days. You can do yoga, aerobic exercises, weight and resistance training, and jump rope to stay active.

2.Get yourself hydrated

Water is an essential drink that you need to adequately maintain in this pandemic. Keeping yourself hydrated keeps your weight healthy, eases your digestion, maintains a great amount of energy level, and it keeps your skin and mind clear. The recommendation of 6 to 8 glasses of water is stressed, especially in these times. 

3.Have adequate sleep

The right quality and quantity of sleep will keep yourself healthy. It boosts your immune system and it resets your body for the day. A good sleep is also great to refresh your mind.

4.Cook for yourself

Cooking for yourself is a good way to be more mindful of the nourishment you give yourself. It sets a fresh mindset on what you eat, and it is also a good way to train your cooking skills.

5.Restart a new diet

One of the best ways to up your nutrition is through restarting your entire diet to a healthier one. Be mindful of your fat and salt intake. Weigh yourself for now and revamp your eating habits if needed. Choose the healthier options as you do the groceries, and lower down your consumption on processed food.

6.Get your day going with a good breakfast

Start your day with a complete breakfast. This may be an overlooked routine, but sipping a warm cup of coffee, having a complete morning meal, and setting your time off the regular rush can be life changing.

7.Do meditation or relaxation

Reduce the stress and anxiety that Covid-19 has brought. Take a portion of your day off with meditation. There are a lot of meditation tips and exercises designed to strengthen the mind, and this is an essential part of keeping your overall health in good shape.

8.Amp up your immune system

Don’t forget to take your vitamins to amp up your immune system. Taking your recommended vitamins will boost your body’s defense against the virus.

9.Build a hand washing routine

Hand washing is an excellent defense against the virus, and is scientifically proven to reduce its transmission rates. If you aren’t used to hand washing most of the time, now is the best time to practice a good hand washing routine with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

10.Clean up your space

Cleaning can be therapeutic. It gives you the chance to declutter your space, and a cleaner area is a refreshing way to keep yourself healthy.

11.Read a good book

Take your mind off the current Covid-19 events and get yourself immersed in a good book. Reading is a fruitful way to spend the day; and it makes your mind wander in some place completely different from the present.

12.Watch a feel-good movie

One way to keep your mental status afloat is through watching something that will make you feel good. Movies like sitcoms or rom coms are light, and they distract you from the current situation. Watch a few of these films in your favorite streaming providers.

13.Start a new hobby

If you are bored with your current daily chores, try a new hobby. Painting, reading, calligraphy and solving puzzles are among the hobbies you can try while stuck under the pandemic.

14.Establish a skin care routine

Part of self-care is skin care. Everyone has skin and it is best to establish your skin care routine when you have an ample amount of time. 

15.Stay connected with your loved ones

A way to keep a healthy mind is by knowing that your loved ones are safe. Stay connected with your closest friends and family members.

16.Wear a face mask

Wearing a face mask has been proven to reduce the transmission of viral agents when going outside your home and when having to deal with other people. It prevents you from getting the virus and it also protects the people around you.  

17.Let go of social media that isn’t good for your mental health

It is often better to let go of what stresses you out. If the local news or some social media posts have been disappointing, and if it adds more stress than valuable information, cut some time down. You can also do a social media detox to focus more on yourself than what the world is up to.

18.Manage your health care visits

Many countries have imposed lockdowns and have made people stay indoors. If you have a scheduled trip to the doctor, plan ahead on when it should be rescheduled in accordance with the rules of your locality. You may also do teleconsultations to avoid going out, but still get the right medical advice in time.

19.Don’t neglect your current health status

There are some pre-existing health conditions that may predispose you to getting the coronavirus. Continue taking your maintenance medications. Those who are immunocompromised should take more precautions and should be vigilant in keeping themselves away from sickly people.

Keeping yourself healthy can be a challenge. And being able to do so a privilege, especially during the time of Covid-19. If you are fortunate enough to have options on keeping yourself in good shape, take this opportunity to be more mindful of what you eat, what you do, and be consistent about the things that make you feel good inside and out.


References

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html
  2. https://health.mil/News/Articles/2020/05/22/COVID-19-lifestyle-tips-to-stay-healthy-during-the-pandemic
  3. https://www.beaumont.org/health-wellness/blogs/tips-to-boost-your-immune-system-during-the-covid-19-pandemic
  4. https://swhr.org/tips-for-staying-healthy-during-a-pandemic/
  5. https://www.circlehealth.co.uk/news/maintaining-a-healthy-lifestyle-during-covid-19

Charles Vallena Headshot

About the Author

Charles is the editor-in-chief at Sleep Matters. He manages a team of sleep experts who provide researched insights, guides, and reviews on the best mattresses online. Follow SleepMatters on Facebook here.

Overcoming Team Burnout

Overcoming Team Burnout

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Is your team sending emails late at night? Are they skipping their vacations because they feel guilty about taking one or don't know what to do during the pandemic? Or worse, they don't want the workload when they come back? Overcoming team burnout needs to be a top 2021 priority for all companies.

According to the Asana Anatomy About Work Index, 70% of workers experienced burnout in 2020. It was easy to do with a full year of the pandemic, newly appointed homeschool teachers (aka – parents), adjusting to working from home, the much-needed social justice movement, the election season, and day-to-day life. Last year was a doozy, and it affected everyone differently. Heck, even I felt a little burned out by the end of the year due to strong company growth, and I teach this stuff!

In 2019, WHO classified burnout as an occupational phenomenon in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). It's not a medical condition, but it's definitely serious, costing our health and productivity. Seven out of ten people reported burnout in the last year.

According to the World Health Organization, burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions:

  1. feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
  2. increased mental distance from one's job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and
  3. reduced professional efficacy.

Last year, the people ranking their mental health as poor or very poor rose from 7 to 27%. Forty-two percent of people rated their stress as high or very high. 

Impacts of team burnout:

  1. low morale
  2. more mistakes
  3. lack of engagement
  4. absenteeism and/or presenteeism
  5. miscommunication
  6. more time required to get it done

In the last two years of my corporate job, I suffered work burnout so badly, I know I could have gotten a mental health leave from a doctor. I consider it one of the critical factors contributing to my being diagnosed with three autoimmune diseases at 39. Chronic stress accelerated the process. As a high-achiever, I didn't feel like I could use sadness, lack of sleep, constant crying, and wanting to give up as an excuse from time off work. That was about ten years ago, and thankfully things have changed.

Key factors contributing to team burnout (Anatomy About Work):

  1. overwork
  2. not being able to switch off or disconnect
  3. lack of clarity on tasks and roles

The number of employees working late in 2020 rose to 87%.

The employers who thought that people who worked from home were goofing off are now working from home and realize that's not the case. Often, people work longer hours and take fewer breaks. We aren't stopping at the coffee machine to talk to someone for five minutes. We aren't going out for lunch because of the pandemic. Some of us are navigating other people working from home and distracting us. Or we are parents working with our kids in virtual school (or worse, kids too young for school, and daycare isn't reliable). This means that we might have to leave our work during the day and come back to it at night when we're often tired and need to relax. 

Many people were thrown into working remotely without consideration of how that would look for them. They started behaviors of checking email in bed, eating lunch in front of a screen, and working late at night. The work was always there, and with a pandemic, why not keep working? Now, we can't shut it off or break our bad habits.

Marie's Laptop
Marie's Noel's office is packed for the evening.

One of my favorite examples of someone who shuts it off at the end of the workday is Marie Noel, Director of Total Rewards at Blueprint Medicines. She packs her laptop and peripherals in a bag every night and puts them in the closet.

Currently, Rader Co. is working with two teams with high rates of burnout. We're focusing on implementing guardrails to protect others and themselves. Why others? According to Rader Co. Team Specialist Christina Rowe, it's sometimes easier to think about how we can edit our own behavior to help other people rather than ourselves. The benefit is two-fold, but it doesn't feel as self-serving.

Work in 2020 was like

What kind of guardrails helps others to decrease burnout?

  1. Working offline or scheduling emails to send during working hours.
  2. Encouraging or requiring time off. Real time off of work and respecting it. 
  3. Having meeting free days or times and holding them sacred.
Team Burnout

What companies can do to help overcome team burnout:

Consider the Demand-Control-Support model (R. Karasek)

  1. Reduce demand
  2. Increase control 
  3. Increase support

This can be done with:

  1. Flexible work hours, especially for those that have kids in virtual school.
  2. Encourage or require taking time off for at least 3-4 days. A day or two is not enough to shake it off. 
  3. Clarity on priorities so that efforts aren't duplicated. Have a virtual whiteboard for the team where everyone lists their Quarterly, Monthly, and Weekly Top Three (only three!) priorities. Even if others don't read them, it requires thoughtful planning and allows the person to hone in on what's essential when it feels like everything is.
  4. Reduce meetings and video calls. For the love of fresh air and less screen-time, reduce meeting duration and the number of people in them!
  5. Daily uninterrupted focus time by working offline, scheduling focus blocks, or having no meetings for a two-hour block during the day.
  6. Implement accountability or commitment partners to ensure that people take care of themselves—reward team members who are putting up guardrails that increase productivity, health, and happiness.

At Rader Co., we help teams extinguish their email, conquer the calendar, master tasks, and escalate their energy. Don't lose good people due to work burnout and overwhelm.

Check out our case studies for more info.

Focus Offline

Focus Offline

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Are you a leader that expects your team to respond to you immediately?

Do you model constant texting, emailing, and calling while expecting it to be reacted to pronto?

Let them focus!

Context or task switching leads to decision fatigue, cognitive overload, and a decrease in productivity up to 43%! (Source: Asana Anatomy of Work Index). It depletes concentration and reduces our ability to prioritize.

What's task switching? Going back and forth between multiple programs or systems with different outcomes of thought.

Example: I'm creating a presentation for TEVET.

I have my presentation open, their scorecard summary, and an email from the COO on their challenges. This is okay because all I'm thinking about is TEVET.

But…if I'm creating that presentation and then get buzzed with a text, go back to the presentation, get an email ping from my boss, go back to the presentation, attend a meeting and then go back yet again….that's wasted time and lost productivity.

FOcus

Great leaders allow for focused work time where staff can work offline or with their email shut down. 

Did you hire your staff for their reactive email-checking abilities? Or was it because they were strategic thinkers, exceptional writers, creative marketers, or game-changing coders?

Let them focus! 

Encourage them to schedule time solo, have organized team or company offline time, or participate in our Focus90 membership for 90-minute virtual working sessions with community accountability and support.

Don't let task-switching cost you money, lead to burnout, and create longer work hours.

Duplicated Efforts are Costing You Money

Duplicated Efforts are Costing You Money

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Are you guilty of duplicated efforts?

Go America! The US leads the way in duplication of work with over 6 hours a week of duplicated efforts. (Source: Asana Anatomy of Work).

Why? Not enough clarity on who owns what and a lack of clear deadlines. Another pitfall? Too many people in your meetings.

The first place to start to look at redundancies is your meetings. Do you have more than one team member represented at cross-functional meetings? This often happens with start-ups or rapidly growing companies. What used to just have one layer now has three. It made sense for Sharon to be at the Tuesday meeting before, but now she has Craig working for her, and he could attend in her place.

Duplicated Effort

Give them their time back or give up the FOMO and remove yourself. 

Do you have too many cooks in the kitchen? Do you find it hard to come to conclusions? The Rule of 7 states that for every person over seven in a meeting, decision-making decreases by 10%.

If you aren't using a project management system where people can edit documents live and see what's being done, you may have duplicated efforts. Getting away from the inbox as an assignment and task tool will allow you to see what's going on in real-time. Using a program like Asana or ClickUp, I can see all of our projects' status and assigned tasks. I can add others as collaborators or followers, so it's clear who needs to be doing and who is deciding or approving.

Duplicated efforts are costing companies money and leading to employee frustration. Challenge yourself for one week to find redundancy in a meeting. One person who can be let go that is more of a nice-to-have. Spend 30 minutes researching your project management system and start using it, rather than managing over email. There will be a learning curve, but it sometimes takes time to save yourself more time later, and the results will be worth it in the end. Save money, save time, and increase work satisfaction.

Parkinson’s Law

Parkinson’s Law

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According to the Anatomy of Work Index, 87% of people work two hours more every day. Parkinson's Law is killing our productivity.

What's Parkinson's Law?

Cyril Northcote Parkinson wrote an essay for the Economist in 1955 that stated that work expands to fill the time allotted. Basically, whatever time we give ourselves, we will take that time to complete it.

Ever notice how you can Get Shit Done like a boss the day before you go on vacation? You only have one day before you shut it all down and leave it behind. You aren't going to mess around, procrastinate, or do piddly stuff. You prioritize and get done what needs to be accomplished in one day.

Parkinson's Law 3

How is Parkinson's Law making our days longer?

One reason is that our 2-3 minute conversation or office drive-by has been replaced with a 30-minute Zoom call. People hardly pick up the phone anymore, so we resort to video meetings. We're not going to schedule a 5-minute Zoom meeting, and as Parkinson's Law states, whatever time we allot, we will fill it.

It drives me crazy that everyone schedules meetings for one hour. Why? Because that's the default in Microsoft Outlook! Change your default in your settings to 45 or 50-minutes. Heck, have your IT do it for the whole company! Turn that 30-minute meeting to 15, or better yet, don't schedule an appointment. If it's only a 2-3 minute conversation, pick up the phone or create a Loom video.

One reason our Focus90 program works is that we only have 80-minutes in that focused work sprint. Members can tell you that in the last 5-10 minutes, we feel like we are sprinting to get finished. That little clock ticking makes us want to be able to say we completed the task.

Challenge: Find one thing you are doing this week that, because of Parkinson's Law, you took the whole amount of time to do it. Find a one-hour meeting and take 5, 10, or 15 minutes off and then go and take a biology break!

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Struggling with how to eat healthy on the road?

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