Best of Nate’s Productivity Tips

January 5, 2008

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Happy New Year! As we launch into 2009, I think a recap of the best articles here at Nate’s Productivity Tips is in order. Here you go!: Read more

5 Reasons You Procrastinate and How to Overcome Them

December 10, 2007

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I recently wrote this article about overcoming procrastination for a great site called Pick The Brain.

One of the major challenges with overcoming procrastination is that there’s no single cause, and therefore no single solution. The key to moving beyond procrastination is learning how to clearly identify what particular type of procrastination is plaguing you. That way you can focus on the appropriate remedy.

5 common reasons people procrastinate:

  1. Repulsive Tasks
  2. Mental Mountains
  3. Emotional Avoidance
  4. Lack of Energy
  5. Help is Needed

Emotional Avoidance is particularly tricky. Whether it’s fear, anger, frustration, or sadness like in my example, procrastination due to emotional avoidance will always hold you back until you acknowledge it, and decide to move past it.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“Emotional Avoidance: Unfortunately, my oldest brother Todd was killed in an automobile accident when he was just a teenager. That first Christmas after his accident was a rough one for my whole family. We had always maintained a tradition of decorating for the holidays the first weekend after Thanksgiving. But that weekend had come and gone, and none of us was in a particularly festive mood. We all knew the hardest part was going to be unpacking boxes that contained decorations my brother had made throughout the years, some dating back to kindergarten.

That said, the idea of no Christmas was just appalling to my nine year old sensibility. So I did what any resourceful kid would do – I headed to the garage and brought in box after box of decorations, until I filled our entire living room. I then grabbed a few catalogs and ordered Christmas gifts for the whole family using my parent’s credit card.

To this day I’m still not sure why they accepted credit card payment from a nine year old over the phone, but thank God they did!

Gaining traction on emotionally charged tasks is particularly difficult. Whether its fear, grief, resentment, or whatever, emotional obstacles are barriers that will always hold you back, until you decided to cross them.”

About the author: Nate Just is a corporate trainer, productivity coach, speaker, and founder of Competitive Edge LLC. 


Please Rate This Tip! 12/10/07
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Been Meaning to Catch Up on Reading? Here’s How:

December 9, 2007

 
icon for podpress  Meaning to Catch Up on Reading? [3:37m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

kid-reading2.jpgThis article is about how to turn “down time” into “catch up” time by always having something to read - ALWAYS!

Last week while waiting to be seen by my doctor, I had the unfortunate pleasure of witnessing a true A-hole in action. Anybody who’s ever been to a doctor’s office more than once knows the routine. Upon arriving you first check in with the receptionist. Then you fill out a million forms. Finally, you take a seat and wait for the nurse to call your name. Oh, and more often than not, the doctor will be running late.

Well, all this just proved too much for Mr. A-hole. First he let out a very loud sigh that was immediately followed by an even lauder, “THIS IS RIDICULOUS!” Obviously, he was on a hunt for fellow mutineers to help him take over the lobby, and demand to be seen immediately. Thankfully, everyone chose to ignore him. Of course that only proved to aggravate him even further. He continued, “WHY DID I EVEN BOTHER MAKING AN APPOINTMENT!” Again, we all just ignored him.

Just as he began his third tirade, the receptionist finally shut him up by explaining the doctor was running late, and assured him that this was not an elaborate conspiracy specifically designed to waste his time.

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I really don’t understand people like Mr. A-hole. Hey, I hate waiting just as much as anybody, but if the doctor’s running late, the doctor’s running late. You can chose to get upset about it, or you can plan ahead by brining something to read. As busy as I am, I actually enjoy having a few extra minutes for catch up reading.

Whether a book, magazine, or your new cell phone instructions – It’s a good idea to ALWAYS HAVE SOMETHING TO READ. Keep it in your car, purse, briefcase, backpack, or someplace else accessible. That way you’re always prepared to productively fill that otherwise wasted downtime.

Oh, and I hope this goes without saying that reading while in a waiting room is always better than obnoxiously chatting on your mobile phone. That’s what Ms. A-hole, the girl sitting next to me on the other side, was doing (No it wasn’t Paris Hilton). But I’ll save that for another article.

Bellow I’ve listed 3 golden opportunities for catching up on reading. As obvious as they might seem, there missed opportunities for a lot of people because they failed to plan ahead. So the next time you find yourself in one of these 3 situations make sure you have something to read:

* Anytime you’re in a line: Grocery store, deli, bank, DMV, etc.

* Anytime you’re in a waiting area: Restaurant, automobile service, jury duty, Doctor/Dental appointment, etc.

*Anytime you’re going for a ride: Subway, cab, carpool, airplane, train, etc.

What have I left out? Please share your favorite place for “catch up” reading in the comment section below. Thanks!


Please Rate This Tip! 12/9/07
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New Time Zone Map!

November 30, 2007

Have you ever wondered, or do you sometimes need to know what time it is in other parts of the country or world? Well, N8tip is here to help!

Keeping track of time zones can be quite a challenge these days, especially since different countries (not to mention a few states … yes I’m talking about you Hawaii and Arizona) have different policies regarding Daylight Savings Time.

Check out the new search enabled N8tip Time Zone Map here. Or follow these easy instructions for looking up various time zones.
1) Select “Time Zone Map” from the menu.

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2) Type the country or city name in the search box (example: India)

3) The result is linked to Wikipedia so you can get more info on the place you searched. Do I rock or what? :)

Go ahead, link to it - you know you want to!
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3 Ways to Waste Time on Your Computer

November 8, 2007

 

Unless you’re hyper-aware of what’s occupying your attention, it’s easy to get distracted. That’s especially true while working on your computer. Here are three ways to waste time on your computer:

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1) Constantly “Check” email.

Constantly checking email is like constantly picking up your telephone to see if anybody is there … a little nutty! Frequently “checking” email is a huge waste of time for two reasons:

First, what is usually meant by “checking” is quickly scanning messages looking for one to respond to. Here’s the problem with that, all the other messages that were scanned but skipped will inevitably need to be rescanned at least one more time (usually many more times). Rereading messages in the inbox costs valuable time, and is unnecessary.

Second, every minute spent “checking” is one less minute spent “producing.” Pay attention to how much work is actually accomplished through email … sure there’s always lot’s of new and urgent messages to occupy your time. But what do your responses actually produce?

2) Don’t use a Desktop Search tool.

For some reason, a lot of people are unaware of how many hours they could be saving by simply adding a desktop search tool, like Google Desktop Search, to their computer. That’s probably because most people think that searches are just for lost items. Nothing could be further from the truth! When you use a browser to search the web, is it because you’re looking for a misplaced website? – not usually. It’s because you’ve become quite proficient at being able to quickly retrieve information from the web through the use of a search engine. A DTS is basically a browser for the information stored locally on your computer.

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If you’re not using a high speed search tool, you’re losing hours of your life! That may seem like hyperbole, but it’s not.

Because it’s part of my job, I’ve helped about 650 of my clients install and use a Desktop Search Tool, and almost none of them had any idea how much they were missing by not using a DTS tool on their computer. Check out this article to learn how to take advantage of DTS tools.

3) Maintain overly detailed file structures.

It’s human nature to try categorizing information. But If your file directory is overly detailed, you’re probably wasting a lot of time trying to figure out where to file stuff. If it takes you more than three mouse clicks to put anything away- you’re drilling down too far! It’s best to have the fewest number of folders possible. When it comes to file structures, the K.I.S.S. strategy is best: Keep It Simple Silly.

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Try sorting your files into these three main section. By naming them with a number first, you can put them in the exact order you’d like them to appear in your file directory:

A) Active – for current customers, projects etc.

B) Reference – broad support information that you may want to access in the future

C) Archive – old stuff that you’re not comfortable deleting, but you want to remove from your “Active” and “Reference” folders to de-clutter them.

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