How Time Off Makes You More Productive

hecticAre you busy? With your job, life, family – in general? Do you spend most days running from here to there and back again? Is it sometimes hard for you to plan time to see a friend? All because you are SO busy?

Everybody is busy, it seems. So busy we don’t do the things we love to do like see our friends, read a book or just lie in the grass and look up at the trees and sky.

Why? Because we are busy.

But -busy doing what?

Could it be that your time management is in need of an overhaul?

Believe it or not, falling prey to the idea that in order to be successful, you must be CRAZY BUSY at all times is not actually true at all.  In a business as exciting and innovative as Start Up and High Tech, you need to rest and rejuvenate yourself regularly.

Even in this competitive world, where people seem to work 24/7 and there are new innovations and millions of events to attend, the number one way to actually BE productive is to make sure you are not just rested but recharged. 

Shabbat really can be a way to get your attention back on your family and the rich life you lead which enables you to return to work on Sunday feeling ready to take on the world again.

Play sports, exercise, read a good book, see a movie, participate in one of the dozens of cultural events available in Israel every weekend. Taking care of YOU will make you more productive in every sense of the word.

Don’t fall for the CRAZY BUSY IS GOOD myth – it’s just not true. Slow down.

Your To Do List

לחצו פה להסבר על תרגום לעברית.

I have always been a list maker. Like you, I have a lot to do. Sometimes seemingly very disparate tasks: personal errands, family business, story editing, copy writing, essay writing, organizing a class I’m going to teach or a workshop I’m going to give, returning phone calls, getting to the post office before it closes. You know the drill.

Every time some kind of new technology seemed like a better way – any new idea, really – I tried it. Remember Palm Pilots? Tried that. It was more work to input my to-do list than to just do them. I tried using a whiteboard. A chalkboard. A fancy notebook. Various apps on my computer and iPhone.

todoNothing is or was as effective as just plain writing it down. Boring, right? But for me – effective. I use small, lined yellow tablets and importantly, I write in pencil so I can erase and rearrange my list as often as I want.

I make one list at the beginning of each week and as the list gets added onto and messier and messier, I make at least two other versions down the line.

Something that really helps me is to make sure that my list reflects my priorities for the week or for each day. There are some things, in other words, that MUST be done or else. And others that would be nice but that can be pushed back a couple or more days.

Of course, you have to watch those tasks because pretty soon they pile up too.

I make sure that the things that can be done quickly, I tick off the list right away.

It also helps to know what your personal style is, when it comes to work. I am a binge worker, meaning I might very well have a day or two in which I seem to get almost nothing done and then work for 8 hours without moving and get completely caught up. I know that about myself, so I don’t beat myself up; if something really needs to get done – I do it.

Interestingly, for me anyway, with all the apps and technology in the world, sometimes a piece of paper and pencil really is the thing.

Prioritize what you need to do daily, weekly and monthly. Use technology like alerts on your Google calendar (or the like) and mostly? Be nice to you. Your list is there to help you stay organized, not to make you feel bad. So don’t let it.

Here are more tips about how to create, maintain and vanquish your to do list!

The Two Faces of Your Facebook Feed

drunkFB

לחצו פה להסבר על תרגום לעברית.

I have written before about curating your Facebook feed, meaning designing your feed such that it has the maximum entertainment and positive influence on your personal and professional life. You can read that article here. 

Today, let’s talk about managing how you appear to others looking at your page. What kind of feed are they getting from YOU?

Avoid the Unfriend Zone!  

The fact is, that most of us are on Facebook. You might have a personal page and a business page. Or, in some cases, the two might blend, somewhat.  The kind of Facebooker I am speaking about today, is the page that is a blend. That’s what I do too.

Say you are a consultant or you work at a company that is fluid, meaning you network and keep yourself mobile and available for other opportunities within your field. You don’t need a Facebook page to push a BUSINESS per se – you ARE the business.  Here’s four tips and explanations of them:

Tips for Targeting Your Facebook Feed

  1. Create categories for “close friends” and “acquaintances”. Create categories that are as specific as you want. (go to your page, click on friends, next to each friend a category will appear. click on the category, scroll to the bottom and click on “new list”.)
  2. Every time you post, choose the category or categories that can see the post. Every. Time.
  3. NEVER post rants about sensitive, polarizing subjects.
  4. Refrain from too many “selfies”, by all means. Even if they are business related. It doesn’t reflect well unless you are a teenager. That doesn’t mean NONE, just watch the ratio there.

Categories and Posting

Make sure you categorize your FB friends minimally into “close friends” or “acquaintances”. If you take the time – and I know it’s really a bitch after the fact – you can create even more categories so that your business peers are in a category of their own. So that, in other words, you don’t post pictures of your weekend family picnic to your business peers, and that you don’t post (necessarily) what a great business conference you went to to your close friends.

This means you need to slow down when you post and check the box for which group of people you are posting and subsequently will see what you are posting.

Be Careful What You Post

It goes without saying that posting pictures of you drunk at a bar is not a great idea, or that posting rants about politics, religious or other sensitive topics is a very good idea either. Stuff on the internet lives for a VERY long time.

Clean Up Your Facebook Categories and Think Through Your Usage and Why

If you are a business unto yourself – and more and more of us are these days – make sure your Facebook feed is one that you have curated carefully.

Personally, I have three pages – my personal page, which by default has a lot of business peers on it because I didn’t take the time, way back, to set up another page – my business page, Stories Without Borders, which is for writers, filmmakers, start up, high tech and other creative types in business and a page for the Tel Aviv Writer’s Salon, which as you can imagine is quite focused.

I am in the process of migrating business and professional contacts that are on my personal page toward my other pages. I am newly getting into the habit of not accepting every friend request on my personal page – which is how I wound up with over 2,000 FB “friends” the vast majority of which I do not know at all.

Because I was not careful to curate my pages in the past, it is taking some time to clean that up so that only select people see what I want the to see. Sure, like you, I post hilarious pictures of my cats doing stupid things.  I’m human. And I post a lot of articles from The Atlantic about social issues and politics. That interests me. But sometimes I want to post something about where I live – Israel – that will a) only interest Israelis and b) not subject me to a storm of political comments about Israel. I just want to ask a question or point something out that is specific to this place.

If you have a lot of Facebook friends, I know this can seem daunting but take an afternoon, or a couple of them, sporadically, and look at your list of friends. Unfriend those you truly never interact with. Categorize the others. Is this truly a FRIEND, or is this a nice person you met at a business Meet Up? Ask yourself, do you want this person to see the hilarious picture of your cats? Do you want the to see your selfie while you were on a roller coaster or at the beach? Maybe you do. But make that a conscious choice.

You may not want to maintain more than one page in which case you then must be extra diligent about creating and maintaining categories. And before you hit “post” make SURE you are posting to the right group. Look, if you post a picture of yourself at a family barbecue to a group of friends that are business friends, it’s not the end of the world. You ARE a human and more and more our personal and business lives do blend. But online you are curating an image and a reputation. Too many selflies, even in a business context, too many “life is great! be positive!” pictures with horses on a beach – and you will be taken far less seriously. Trust me on this. Create a category of friends who also love motivational pictures of waterfalls with nice quotes. That way you do not annoy those who are not into these things and are not written off completely.

It’s the same as anything else in life. You don’t invite a particular friend to go to the opera with you. No, that’s for your other friend, Dani. You don’t talk about UFOs with most people you work with – but you might with Shira, because you have lunch a lot and have become close. Same concept here.

 

 

Housekeeping Weekend

Many of us in Israel take Shabbat off as a day to reset and rest. But do you ever take a day to reset, rest and do some online housekeeping? house

This article from Slate about how to clean up your Facebook feed is a quick read and it’s a fantastic idea.

If you use social media for work as well as personal uses, it makes sense to have a look at your “friends” and lists and do some tidying up. Your feed will be more informational and entertaining, you can post and share more easily and in a more targeted way and you’ll feel awesome because you did something you’ve wanted to do a million times but just didn’t take the time. Sit down for an hour, maybe two, and sort out your social media. social

Making the time to keep your online life in order is a key ingredient to being more efficient and less stressed as you work. There’s nothing good or cool about being a chaotic, stressed out mess. Get your sleep. Take a walk. Keep your life organized.

You’ll thank me later 🙂