Get More Done

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Follow these easy, effective tips for getting more done in the 24 we have.

Productivity Hero—Your Action Plan

1. Get enough sleep. Whoever coined the phrase “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” didn’t have all the facts straight. Not getting enough Zzz’s could hinder productivity at work, so try to get those recommended seven to nine hours of snooze time !

2. Create routines. Make a habit of, well, sticking to habits. Schedule actions like writing emails at a certain time or hitting the gym after work, and try to do them daily. Soon that routine will happen on autopilot.

3. Wake up earlier. As long as you’re still able to squeeze in enough sleep, try extending the day by getting up an hour earlier—when it’s still quiet and there are fewer distractions.

4. Step away from the inbox. Incoming emails can be a nuisance. Make a habit to only check the inbox at certain times of the day to avoid getting sidetracked with requests and responses.

5. Make a daily to-do list. Stay away from huge to-do lists. Instead, create a daily list of realistic jobs to tackle, like folding laundry, scheduling a doctor’s appointment, or paying the cable bill. Break up big goals into micro-tasks, like going to a yoga class over getting six-pack abs, or writing a page over completing a thesis. Soon, the small things will add up to big accomplishments.

6. Take a midday workout break. Got writers’ block? Can’t fathom cleaning the bathroom? Try hitting the pavement. Working out during the day could actually boost productivity, so the time spent exercising could actually help us get more done later .

7. Don’t multitask. Our brains aren’t wired to juggle too much at once, and we can work nearly twice as fast if we do only one thing at a time . (And nope, we’re not talking LOST time-travel.) . So remember those childhood manners and finish tasks one at a time.

8. Silence the phone. When it comes to getting stuff done, sometimes silence is key. Turn off email alerts and the cell phone ringer—that’s what voicemail is for!

9. Make a to-don’t list. Bad habits are just as significant as good ones. So make a list of things not to do because they make you unproductive (we’re staring at you, Netflix), and stick to it.

10. Brainstorm. Take some time to sit and get those creative juices flowing. Without distractions, brainstorming may be the way to come up with killer ideas in record time. Bonus: Creativity can make you happier.

11. Do those MITs. Nope, this isn’t college talk. MIT stands for most important tasks, and it’s a way to highlight the items that matter most on that to-do list. At the start of each day, write down a few things that must get done. Commit to tackling those tasks, and let the rest of the chips fall where they may.

12. Hit inbox zero. Sort every email once that inbox is open. Respond, file, draft, or delete. Keeping the inbox clean is key to staying organized and on point. (Just remember not to keep the inbox open when you aren’t organizing it.).

13. Stay healthy. Just like… don’t get sick. (It may be easier said than done.) But health and productivity go hand in hand, so be sure to maintain good health habits, like eating well and washing up after hitting the gym !

14. Keep a pen and pad on hand. Make like Richard Branson and carry pen and paper (or your smartphone) to catch any useful thought that may come to mind. Up the creativity ante and make your own moleskin DIY style.

15. Shut off social media. Sayonara, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Social media can be a huge time suck. Studies have found that it can take up a significant chunk of time at the office, and may even predict lower grades in school. Make it a habit to unplug whenever you need to get something done.

16. “Eat the frogs.” We swear it’s a real term. Each day, once you’ve figured out your Most Important Tasks, do the task you’re least looking forward to first. That way, you’ll get it out of the way early and feel super productive, to boot. (No guarantees Prince Charming will emerge.)

17. Slow down. Read. This. Slowly. Getting stuff done isn’t always a matter of making it to the finish line first. Take time to reflect, brainstorm, and recharge. The added energy will make you that much more productive when you put your nose back to the grindstone.

18. Track time. Take a day to record how much time is spent writing emails, reading blogs, texting, etc. You may be surprised at how much time certain activities (ahem, browsing Pinterest) take up every day. Once you’ve figured out how your time is being used up, make it a point to prioritize what really matters to you (and cut out what doesn’t).

19. Don’t bounce around. Box off a specific amount of time for every task on your to-do list each day. Assign a chunk of the day for one project, and stay focused on that project during its designated time. Once that time is up, move on to the next mission.

20. Tune out. Those headphones will help tune out any distractions. Plus, coworkers and friends may be less likely to interrupt if they see we’re tuned in.

21. Look back. Schedule some time toward the end of each week to reflect on what you accomplished and make any necessary schedule tweaks for the following week.22. Set triggers. Leave reminders around your workspace and home to help you remember what needs to get done. Place bills that need to be paid or books to be read out in the open, and stick post-it reminders on the fridge!

23. Eat well. What we scarf down for lunch may do more than satisfy hunger. Certain foods, like salmon, almonds, and carrots, can give us a much-needed boost of energy. So forgo the take-out and be picky at the cafeteria!

24. De-clutter. Get rid of anything that may cause distractions. Put away the dishes, fold clothes, and get rid of excess papers on the desk so you’re less likely to get sidetracked. Up the ante by implementing some Feng Shui principles in your workspace.

25. Say no. Don’t stretch yourself too thin. Learning to say no—to going out for drinks when you’re tired, to extra projects when you’re swamped—keeps us focused, prevents overwhelm, and may even ward off sickness.

26. Take a break. Carve out some quality “you” time each day to keep a balance between the busy world and your own inner life.

27. Download help. Still need to get sh!t done? Luckily there’s an app for that.

http://greatist.com/happiness/27-ways-get-more-sht-done?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_newsletter_2015-01-21_mails_daily_new_header


LINKS:

21 Online and App Resources to Help You Boost and Improve Productivity

Reasons to start strength training

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The Pick-Me-Ups — Your Action Plan

1. Rev metabolism. After a few dates with some dumbbells, both guys and gals will notice an increase in resting metabolic rate  . And with the right diet, routine lifting may even help shed a few pesky pounds more effectively than cardio alone.

2. Tone up. Whether the goal is bulking up or leaning out, there’s a lifting regimen that will deliver optimal results. Remember that muscle mass also declines as we age, and while weight training can be effective for virtually all ages, consider picking up those dumbbells in your body’s prime.

3. Bulletproof the body. Lifting weights is key to staying injury-free. A little weighted action works out the tendons and ligaments that support our muscles— making sports and other daily movin’ and groovin’ worry-free!

4. Fight the blues. Need a new happy pill? Research suggests resistance training can release happiness-helping endorphins and help keep anxiety at bay .

5. Get better in bed. An all-around stronger bod can boost the stamina needed to keep on keepin’ on. (Panting isn’t always sexy. Just sayin’.)

6. Beat out boredom. Muscles need time to recover, so switching up that strength training routine is a must. Give the legs some love on one day, and follow with upper-body action the next. Working out will never get repetitive!

7. Boost self-esteem. Exercise the ego: Lifting can help improve a person’s body image . Plus, it feels great to track progress and see gains in weight and reps.

8. Up that I.Q. Hitting the books isn’t the only way to pass that exam— strength training can also sharpen the mind (no pencil sharpener necessary).

9. Strengthen bones. Grab some weights to avoid getting stuck in a sling. Those bones will toughen up, which will lower the risk for fractures . After all, not everyone’s up for chugging three glasses of milk a day.

10. Lose the limitations. Drop down and give me 20— anywhere. Resistance training doesn’t require a gym membership, let alone a set of dumbbells or fancy machines. There are plenty of ways to strength train right at home with little to no equipment.

11. Perk up that ‘tude. Unhappy at work? Studies show lifting can have psychological benefits, including feeling more positive at the office . No need to call in “sick” ever again!

12. Increase flexibility. There are other ways to get limber besides yoga (although we do love a little downward dog). Over time, resistance training can help improve flexibility; ladies, lifting every other day for eight weeks is all it takes. .

13. Cut down cancer risk. One study found strength training three times a week for six months led to reduced oxidative stress, which can lessen our cancer risk. So get lifting and fuel up with antioxidants to double-team disease.

14. Amp up productivity. Losing focus at work? Squeezing in some desk-side reps can help make deadlines a breeze while fine-tuning those time management skills.

15. Protect the heart. A healthy diet isn’t the only path to a happy heart. Lifting also has cardiovascular powers that could help protect us from heart disease.

16. Catch those zzz’s with ease. There are many well-known remedies to help us fall asleep— like sipping herbal tea and taking a hot shower. And while exercise in general has been shown to help make snoozing a breeze, studies suggest weight lifting in particular can lead to a better night’s sleep .

17. Build trust. We often need spotters, especially at the bench press (a bar to the face or neck is never good). Naturally, relying on others for our own safety in the gym can instill trust in a kick-butt kind of way.

18. Jump-start power. Eager to improve performance in the gym and on the track? An extra dose of dumbbells can really work fast-twitch muscles, the speedy muscle fibers responsible for generating power.

19. Sneak in some cardio. Hate the dreadmill? A fast-paced resistance workout can keep the heart rate up and can even count as cardio (provided those sets move along at a quick enough clip).

20. See results… fast. Need one final incentive to hit the weights? Strength training can offer speedy results. It takes two to three weekly sessions (for less than a month!) to see muscles shape up. Can’t bench press 200 lbs? Not to worry: Lifting lighter weights can also be effective at building muscle, as long as those lifts are tough enough to cause muscle fatigue.

http://greatist.com/fitness/20-reasons-start-strength-training

Make a Strength Training Plan

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Pump Some Iron—Getting Started

Starting a strength training program is a little more complicated than just grabbing some dumbbells and your favorite gym tee and hoisting away—it requires a set program. Before hitting the weights, check out these tips to get started on the right foot:

  • Set goals! Goals should be the driving force of any strength training program. Follow the SMART acronym (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time bound) and make sure to set both short and long-term targets.
  • Start small. Three days a week (on non-consecutive days) for 45-minute sessions should be enough for most individuals to see big gains starting out, says Trink. Any longer and the chance of injury skyrockets.
  • Focus on compound lifts. Gary advocates multi-joint exercises (think squats and deadlifts) as the backbone of any strength training program. By using big moves, lifters can get more done in less time. Plus, it always pays to focus on (and master!) the basics before moving on.
  • Prioritize Lifts. Put the most important exercises first. That way, fatigue won’t compromise form on the biggest lifts . In general, compound lifts should go first with more isolated exercises (finally, a spot for curls) towards the end of the workout.
  • Watch the clock. Limit rest periods between sets to maximize efficiency in the gym. Trink uses the following guidelines:
    • 6 reps or less = rest 2-3 minutes
    • Above 6 reps = rest 75 seconds or less
  • Combine cardio and strength. Gary recommends performing exercises back-to-back (referred to as supersets in the fitness realm) to get the benefits of strength and cardio. By supersetting compound lifts, you’ll get your heart rate up and get a great cardio workout on the weight room floor.
  • Log all workouts. Keeping track of sets, reps, and exercises is crucial for noting progress and identifying when it’s time to up the intensity. Write down sets, reps, and weights used for all workouts. Keeping a log also acts as a motivator!
  • Vary the program. Avoid sticking to the same routine for more than six weeks, Trink advises. Lifters should switch up their program to avoid getting bored and plateauing (going a few weeks without seeing any results).
  • Don’t skip the extras. Make time for foam rolling and stretching to help prevent muscles from tightening up and to stay injury-free!

3, 2, 1… Lift Off!—Your Action Plan

Ready to get started? Whether you’ve got three, four, or five days to devote to training, these programs will help you make the most out of hitting the gym.

I Have… 3 Days a Week

Your plan: Total Body Routine

Why it works: This program hits all major muscle groups during each workout, yielding maximum gains in minimum time.

What to do: Complete 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps of the following exercises. Note: Perform A and B exercises back-to-back as supersets. Rest 60 seconds between each exercise.

Monday (Day One)

1A) Barbell Deadlift
1B) Dumbbell Bench Press

2A) Lunge (bodyweight or using dumbbells)
2B) Single-Arm Dumbbell Shoulder Press

3A) Leg Press
3B) Plank (Hold for 30-45 seconds)

Wednesday (Day Two)

1A) Barbell Back Squat
1B) Chin-up (bodyweight or assisted)

2A) Single-Arm Dumbbell Row
2B) Singe-Leg Stability Ball Hamstring Curl

3A) Side Lunges (bodyweight or using dumbbells)
3B) Reverse Crunch

Friday (Day Three)

1A) Barbell Front Squat
1B) Inverted Row

2A) Single-Leg Dumbbell Deadlift
2B) Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

3A) Reverse Lunge (bodyweight or using dumbbells)
3B) Side Plank (Hold for 30-45 seconds)

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