You Will Want to Learn These 6 Time Management Tips

You Will Want to Learn These 6 Time Management Tips image

Are you feeling frustrated and unproductive? Like you’re constantly busy but the things that really matter aren’t getting done?

Check out these six time management tips that will help you increase productivity, lower stress, and get you closer to your goals!

1 Unplug From Email

There was a day when I looked up and realised that I had become someone who professionally replied to email, and who wrote as a hobby. I started answering fewer emails, and was relieved to find I was writing much more. —Neil Gaiman

Are emails pulling you away from your actual work? Finding your creative flow—especially when writing—is tough enough as it is. It doesn’t help to have the constant distraction of emails dinging into your inbox.

The solution? Instead of responding to each email as it comes in, have set times of day where you’ll work through all your messages. Schedule several hours of uninterrupted work so you can focus and get in the zone, then take thirty to sixty minutes to catch up on emails.

While you’re in work-mode, be sure to close your email tab on your browser and turn off notifications to your phone, so it’s out of sight, out of mind.

And don’t worry, unless you’re corresponding with galactic invaders, waiting a few hours to respond to your emails will not cause the world to end.

2 Don’t Just List Your To-Do’s—Schedule Them

Can’t find the time to get all your to-do’s done? There are plenty of awesome apps to help you organize your to-do lists, but have you tried scheduling tasks directly on your calendar?

Using your calendar of choice, create appointments for all your big to-do’s. You’ll have a visual reminder (and notifications) of exactly what you should be working on and when.

Remember to schedule tasks at your peak performance time. When and where are you at your most creative? Do you write best sitting in bed at midnight? Or at 7 a.m. in your favorite cafe? Avoid scheduling your creative work for times when you’re going to be tired or distracted.

Be realistic and give yourself enough time for each task. This can reduce guilt if you’ve felt like you should be getting more done, but can now see there aren’t enough hours in the day. And this can also reveal a problem if you’ve been wasting a lot of time on distractions or busy work.

3 Plan Your Week in Advance

Planning your week (or month) in advance will help you save time and maximize your productivity. Know when your deadlines, important meetings, and obligations are happening and work backwards from there.

Giving a presentation on Thursday morning? Block off your Wednesday night for prep time or rest.

Want to spend less time in the morning prepping your lunch? Schedule meal prep for Sunday night so you can batch your lunches.

Feeling burnt out and need to introvert? Schedule alone time for Tuesday. Know you’ll need human contact? Plan game night for Friday.

Scheduling things like gym time and laundry will keep your life running smoothly. And remember to always allow enough time for a good night’s rest—your work will take twice as long if you’re exhausted from too little sleep or working long hours without a break.

4 Banish Your Time Wasters

Spending way too much time browsing Facebook? Watching cat videos? Keeping up-to-the-second on developing news?

If your willpower is failing, you may need to give yourself some extra help to unplug from your time-wasters.

Remove time-wasting sites from your browser’s bookmark bar so you’re less tempted to visit them. Minimize distractions by turning off your phone notifications during work hours (or if that’s too advanced, just turn your phone on silent and toss it in a drawer).

In need of desperate measures? Download an app that will block you from visiting Facebook and other sites.

Of course, it’s worth differentiating between the true time-sucks and activities that aren’t work-related but are beneficial. Grabbing lunch with a friend is a great social thing to do. Just make sure you have a set start and end time, so you don’t chat for two hours and lose half the afternoon.

5 Break Free of Perfectionism

Sure, who doesn’t want their work to be perfect? But striving for perfection is a sure way to kill your productivity and creativity.

The pressure you feel to produce perfect work can lead to procrastination, anxiety, “playing it safe,” and a lot of wasted time making marginal improvements to work.

When you reset your expectations away from perfection, you’ll find it’s easier to experiment and take risks, to get projects finished and move on to bigger and better things.

Improving your writing takes a lot of practice. You’re not going to write a “perfect” novel or blog post or ad campaign the first time around. Don’t let the expectation of perfection paralyze you from growing your skills!

6 Prioritize Your Personal Goals

Are you using your time to get closer to your goals, or are you putting everyone and everything else first?

Maybe you want to build your audience, write your memoir, get your MFA, or change careers. Make yourself and your future a priority by scheduling time every week, or every day, to work toward your goals.

Large projects can feel overwhelming, so break things down into manageable pieces. If you want to finish your first draft in six months, how many pages will you need to complete per week? How many hours per day will you need to write?

Life may be busy, but don’t let anything get between you and achieving your dreams!

The post You Will Want to Learn These 6 Time Management Tips appeared first on Grammarly Blog.

from Grammarly Blog https://www.grammarly.com/blog/learn-time-management-tips/

How Tina Fey Gets Things Done

How Tina Fey Gets Things Done image

https://giphy.com/embed/3oEduMs65tbZqkMkH6

via GIPHY

On the heels of our breakdown of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s writing habits, we’re serving up more writing wisdom from none other than the fabulous Tina Fey! The award-winning comedian-screenwriter-actress-producer-author has spent the past twenty years blazing trails as one of the great comic geniuses of our time.

And just in case you’ve been hiking the Amazon or watching only C-SPAN for the past twenty years, here’s a quick recap of her career . . .

In the early ’90s Fey fell in love with comedy and joined the cult of improv as a player at Chicago’s Second City Theatre. Then in 1997 she made the big leap to Saturday Night Live. Originally hired as a writer, she was promoted to head writer just two years later and went on to join the cast and skyrocket to fame as co-anchor of Weekend Update. In 2005, Fey broke out on her own to produce, write, and star in the hilarious TV comedy 30 Rock.

During the 2008 election, she split our sides (and possibly influenced history) when she returned to SNL to impersonate vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Her caustic and insightful autobiography, Bossypants, spent five weeks on the New York Times Best-Seller List. She’s the mastermind behind Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Oh, and let’s not forget, she wrote and starred in one of the greatest teen comedies of all time—Mean Girls. (So fetch, amiright?)

Read on to learn how you, too, can achieve your goals and aspire to reach the highest levels of writing like Tina Fey!

Keep Writing: Don’t Get Hung Up On Your Failures

https://giphy.com/embed/8YdVbLcE6K91K

via GIPHY

What I learned about “bombing” as an improviser at Second City was that bombing is painful, but it doesn’t kill you. No matter how badly an improv set goes, you will still be physically alive when it’s over.

What I learned about bombing as a writer at “Saturday Night” is that you can’t be too worried about your “permanent record.” Yes, you’re going to write some sketches that you love and are proud of forever—your golden nuggets.

But you’re also going to write some real [bad ones]. And unfortunately, sometimes the [bad ones] will make it onto the air. You can’t worry about it. As long as you know the difference, you can go back to panning for gold on Monday.

Exposing your writing to the public—or even just to friends or coworkers—can be a vulnerable experience.

How will your work be received? Are you on your way to skyrocketing your company’s sales, becoming a thought leader, publishing the next big YA novel? Or will your work be forgotten in obscurity, buried in the digital depths of the Internet?

In reality, this isn’t an “either/or” situation. We all want to be churning out shining gems left and right, but sometimes you’re going to write a piece that doesn’t quite land.

And that’s okay. It’s all part of the process. Maybe you haven’t reached the level you want to be at yet, but you have to start somewhere.

So keep working, keep writing, and don’t let the fear of failure hold you back from going for your dreams.

Deadlines Are Essential: Know When to Put Your Writing Out There

https://giphy.com/embed/zjIMn0PZ08BPO

via GIPHY

The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready; it goes on because it’s eleven-thirty. This is something Lorne has said often about “Saturday Night Live,” but it’s a great lesson in not being too precious about your writing. You have to try your hardest to be at the top of your game and improve every joke until the last possible second, but then you have to let it go.

You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute. . . . You have to let people see what you wrote. It will never be perfect, but perfect is overrated.

Did you hear that? We all want our writing to be perfect and amazing, but at some point we’ve got to let it go!

This can be easier for those of us with deadlines at work or school, where another human is counting on us to deliver something. But letting go can can feel more difficult if you’re working on a novel or personal blog post or any project where the timing is completely up to you.

If you’re struggling to put your writing out there, consider:

  • Setting deadlines for your work (and sticking to them).
  • Having a writing accountability partner (or group) who will hold your feet to the fire and force you to meet deadlines and share your work.
  • Reminding yourself that this is a journey, and you probably won’t reach “perfection” the first or third or twentieth time, which is okay because perfection is overrated anyway!

Be Open to Where Creativity Can Lead You

https://giphy.com/embed/SnkUrS0a0kxXi

via GIPHY

The thing that always fascinated me about improv is that it’s basically a happy accident that you think you’re initiating. You enter a scene and decide that your character is in a bar, but your partner thinks you’re performing dental surgery.

The combination of those two disparate ideas melds into something that could never have been created on its own. It’s more difficult to do that as a writer, but I’ve found the general philosophy of it to be quite helpful. It reminds me that if I stumble onto something unexpected in my writing, something that I didn’t anticipate or intend, I should be willing to follow it.

The takeaway? Don’t be afraid to try new things with your writing. Keep your inner critic away from your early process.

Give your zany, inner creative writer the chance to frolic, explore, and take risks. Scribble away with abandon, then go back later wearing your editor hat and tidy things up. You can’t polish your golden nuggets if you don’t write them in the first place because you’re too afraid to branch out.

In school we’re taught to stay in line, follow the rules, and memorize the right answer. But creativity isn’t about looking for one right answer, it’s about exploring possibilities. So grab your hang glider and your crampons—you’ve got some new horizons to explore!

Choose Your Battles Wisely: Don’t Get Hung Up on the Morons

https://giphy.com/embed/vwhiB0TC0ywzm

via GIPHY

When faced with sexism or ageism or lookism or even really aggressive Buddhism, ask yourself the following question: “Is this person in between me and what I want to do?” If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. Your energy is better used doing your work and outpacing people that way. Then, when you’re in charge, don’t hire the people who were jerky to you.

Life is full of drama, y’all. There will always be haters on the sidelines telling you that you can’t do what you’re doing.

Maybe you’re like Tina, breaking into a field where you’re underrepresented. Maybe you’re trying to climb the company ladder, or establish yourself as a freelancer. Whatever your reality, remember to choose your battles wisely.

You may feel threatened or hurt by the naysayers, but Tina’s right, if that person is not a real obstacle then it’s up to you to move onwards and upwards. Focus on your goals, and work to become an agent for change. You have a message and a mission that people need to hear, so don’t let the morons and fuddy-duddies trip you up.

The post How Tina Fey Gets Things Done appeared first on Grammarly Blog.

from Grammarly Blog https://www.grammarly.com/blog/tina-fey-productivity-tips/

Quiz for Lessons 206 – 210 – Parts of the Sentence – Verbals

Instructions: Find the verbals in these sentences.
1. The rolling hills seemed to go on forever.
2. Having grown sleepy, I finally put down my book.
3. The parcel wrapped in brown paper was thought to be a bomb.
4. Hearing the screeching brakes, I rushed to the window.
5. Swimming is not my favorite sport.
6. To accept defeat well is often hard.
7. To go now would be foolish.
8. Having been invited to attend a party, I hurriedly took a shower.
9. The added figure made the price too high.
10. Is it time to leave yet?
–For answers scroll down.

Answers:
1. rolling / to go
2. having grown
3. wrapped / to be
4. hearing / screeching
5. swimming
6. to accept
7. to go
8. having been invited / to attend
9. added
10. to leave

For your convenience, all of our lessons are available on our website in our lesson archive at http://www.dailygrammar.com/archive.html. Our lessons are also available to purchase in an eBook and a Workbook format.
from Daily Grammar Lessons Blog http://dailygrammarlessons.blogspot.com/2017/06/quiz-for-lessons-206-210-parts-of.html

Lesson 210 – Parts of the Sentence – Verbals

A verbal is a verb form used as some other part of speech. There are three kinds of verbals: gerunds, participles and infinitives.
A gerund always ends in ing and is used as a noun. Example: Eatingis fun.
A participle is used as an adjective and ends various ways. A present participle always ends with ing as does the gerund, but remember that it is an adjective. A past participle ends with ed, n, or irregularly. Examples: played, broken, brought, sung, seeing, having seen, being seen, seen, having been seen.
An infinitive is to plus a verb form. It can be a noun, an adjective, or an adverb. Examples: to be, to see, to be seen, to be eaten.
Instructions: Find the verbals in the following sentences.
1. Changing his mind, Fred agreed to play the part.
2. Having been seen at lunch, the man tried to escape.
3. The team winning the final game will win the cup.
4. One way to improve is to work harder.
5. Decayed and crumbling, that old wall is dangerous.
–For answers scroll down.

Answers:
1. changing / to play
2. having been seen / to escape
3. winning
4. to improve / to work
5. decayed / crumbling

For your convenience, all of our lessons are available on our website in our lesson archive at http://www.dailygrammar.com/archive.html. Our lessons are also available to purchase in an eBook and a Workbook format.
from Daily Grammar Lessons Blog http://dailygrammarlessons.blogspot.com/2017/06/lesson-210-parts-of-sentence-verbals.html

Lesson 209 – Parts of the Sentence – Verbals

A verbal is a verb form used as some other part of speech. There are three kinds of verbals: gerunds, participles and infinitives.
A gerund always ends in ing and is used as a noun. Example: Eatingis fun.
A participle is used as an adjective and ends various ways. A present participle always ends with ing as does the gerund, but remember that it is an adjective. A past participle ends with ed, n, or irregularly. Examples: played, broken, brought, sung, seeing, having seen, being seen, seen, having been seen.
An infinitive is to plus a verb form. It can be a noun, an adjective, or an adverb. Examples: to be, to see, to be seen, to be eaten.
Instructions: Find the verbals in the following sentences.
1. Sometimes I need to work more effectively.
2. Surreptitiously slipping the answers to his friend, the boy looked innocently at the ceiling.
3. Why won’t you try to be nicer?
4. I hope we never become too old to learn.
5. Having forgotten her lines, Jena fled from the stage.
–For answers scroll down.

Answers:
1. to work
2. slipping
3. to be
4. to learn
5. having forgotten

For your convenience, all of our lessons are available on our website in our lesson archive at http://www.dailygrammar.com/archive.html. Our lessons are also available to purchase in an eBook and a Workbook format.
from Daily Grammar Lessons Blog http://dailygrammarlessons.blogspot.com/2017/06/lesson-209-parts-of-sentence-verbals.html

How to Best Prioritize Your Work Tasks

How to Best Prioritize Your Work Tasks image

When the first task lands on your desk, you think: “No problem, I can handle it.” The second and third requests cause a little self-doubt. Soon, you don’t even know how many projects you have on your to-do list.

Does this scenario sound familiar? How can you cope when the projects pile up and the time is short? Learn today how to prioritize your work assignments efficiently and keep your cool.

In a typical day, hundreds of responsibilities vie for your attention. However, not all work tasks are equally significant. You need to prioritize them, ASAP. Priorities take precedence because they are the worthiest pursuits among many competing tasks. To give priorities the special attention they deserve, you must first decide what they are. Finishing a project is a goal. Priorities are more all-encompassing than a single undertaking; they are life values that influence your actions and decisions as you strive toward them.

For example, if your priority is punctuality, you will avoid distractions and finish projects on time in pursuit of that value. Before you read on, ask yourself: “What is my true priority for my career?”

How to Decide What You Should Do First

Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles explains the principle of priority: “(A) You must know the difference between what is urgent and what is important, and (B) you must do what’s important first. Urgent tasks appear on your task list to address a pressing issue or because they require immediate attention or response. For example, imagine a group of IT technicians have a list of five tasks on their agenda for the day—install current anti-virus software on all the computers, find a funny tech meme for the lunchroom bulletin board contest, set up an account for a new employee starting today, order a replacement part for a broken computer, and stop by the office of someone who requested support. To be most efficient, they should first determine whether each item is urgent or important.

You might think that all the tasks are urgent and important.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who used the priority principle throughout his military and political career, challenged this belief, “What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.” The main difference is that important tasks support our long-term purpose, values, and objectives.

Urgent tasks are extremely time-sensitive, but they may not do anything to help us accomplish our goals. For example, the lunchroom contest poster urges the IT team to “Enter before Friday at noon!” but whether they do or not won’t affect their professional mission. They should eliminate the chore or begin it only when they have done everything else on their to-do list. What urgent tasks can you postpone or scratch off your daily schedule?

Let’s return to the IT team’s other four tasks. If their overall purpose is to keep the office network up and running, they will mark the new employee account and the support request as “important.” The affected employees won’t be able to continue their work which, in turn, could slow down the whole operation. The technicians need to order the part and update the software as soon as possible, but these assignments are of a lower priority than the new account and support request.

You might be looking at your agenda thinking, “I have too many important tasks!” In Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, you will find a matrix to help you sort your crucial duties. First, tackle tasks that are important and urgent. Next, prioritize tasks that are important, but not urgent. After you completed everything important, you can work on some of the urgent but non-essential concerns.

How to Reduce Your Volume of Tasks

Is it possible to limit the urgency of an important task? Absolutely, you can lessen the pressure of a deadline if you plan intelligently. Often, you receive notice of deadlines weeks or months in advance. Don’t wait until the last minute to start working. Chunk your task into its components and schedule them in a logical order.

Things break unexpectedly, but sometimes you can prevent important fixes from becoming urgent by scheduling regular maintenance. For instance, if our imaginary IT team performed weekly checks and educated employees about fixing minor repairs, support requests and broken computers would be less frequent. Can you arrange your schedule to accommodate planning and maintenance?

You have the potential to be extremely efficient. Reading this article proves that you have an interest. The next step is putting its advice into practice.

Decide what your priorities are, and allow them to influence how you act. Focus on important tasks, and put urgent ones in their place. Your stress will decrease in proportion to the pile of work on your desk. And who knows, you might even finish ahead of deadline!

The post How to Best Prioritize Your Work Tasks appeared first on Grammarly Blog.

from Grammarly Blog https://www.grammarly.com/blog/how-to-prioritize-work-tasks/

5 Ways to Stop Having a Bad Day

5 Ways to Stop Having a Bad Day image

Your alarm fails to go off and you wake up twenty minutes late. You take a hasty shower, and for some reason the water temperature will only fluctuate between tepid and truly frigid. Despite those setbacks, you manage to grab a cup of coffee for the ride in, which you promptly spill down the front of your shirt. Then, when you arrive at the office you learn that your partner on a critical project has called in sick. Your deadline? Today. At noon.

You’re having an epically bad day. You could choose to wallow in it and be grumpy and miserable, but you (not to mention everyone around you) will be much happier if you can find a way to snap out of it. Science has answers!

What to Do (According to Science) When You’re Having a Bad Day

1 Just breathe.

Negative emotions and stress have physical effects. Our muscles tense. Our heart rate increases. Our breathing gets heavier or too shallow. You might not even notice these stress symptoms in the moment, but if you’ve ever gone home after a difficult day feeling achy and worn out, stress is likely the culprit.

Stop. Take a breath. In fact, take some measured breaths using the 4-7-8 technique, a practice often used in yoga and meditation. (The 4-7-8 technique is essentially a rebranding of pranayamic breathing.)

Find a quiet, comfortable place where you can be alone for a few minutes. Pay attention to your natural breathing for a while and allow yourself to get quiet. Let any distractions in your surroundings fall away. Then, breathe in for a steady count of four, hold the breath for a count of seven, and exhale slowly to a count of eight. Repeat this several times until you’re feeling relaxed.

2 Acknowledge the bad day, and then have a laugh.

When reality doesn’t match our expectations, we pour a lot of our energy into worrying that things should be different. But think about it—have you ever changed an outcome by simply wishing things were better?

https://giphy.com/embed/v3n0Fhip9qt3O

via GIPHY

Acceptance is the key to happiness. When things go wrong, instead of resisting them, lean into them. Grab lunch with a colleague or friend and regale them with your tale of woe, all while having a good laugh at yourself. When you accept that annoying things happen to everyone, you can shrug them off and move on.

3 Talk yourself out of it.

Do you mentally kick yourself when you’re having a bad day? Many of us do, and it can sound like this:

Ugh! I’m such an idiot.

This stuff always happens to me! What did I do to deserve this?

Why am I so lazy?

You wouldn’t call a friend who was having a rough day a lazy idiot, so why do it to yourself? Instead, practice positive self-talk. When you’re being overly self-critical, stop and reframe things. Be kind! You might refute the negative track playing in your head with positive statements like this:

I’m facing some challenges today, but I’m smart and resilient.

Bad days happen to everyone. I’ll bounce back.

I’m not feeling very motivated lately. I’ll brainstorm some ideas to get myself on track.

4 Write away the stress.

Keeping a journal is a fantastic way to destress. When things go wrong, we tend to ruminate on them. Mulling over unpleasant events can become a destructive cycle that’s hard to break. Our minds run a sort of instant replay on an endless loop without coming to any sort of resolution.

Journaling can help break the cycle of rumination, particularly if you focus on addressing topics that are causing you distress. Instead of hunting for a solution, ask yourself some questions designed to help you understand the issue. If there is a solution, the writing process may help you uncover it. If there isn’t, let journaling guide you toward acceptance.

5 Use your words. Literally.

Your emotional response to bad situations, like running late and spilling your coffee, triggers a reaction in the fight-or-flight part of your brain that causes stress. According to a UCLA study, putting a label on those emotions shifts your thought processing away from the amygdala to the area right behind your forehead and eyes (the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, if you want to get technical). This area of the brain is associated with putting emotional experiences into words.

When you put feelings into words, you’re activating this prefrontal region and seeing a reduced response in the amygdala. In the same way you hit the brake when you’re driving when you see a yellow light, when you put feelings into words, you seem to be hitting the brakes on your emotional responses.

—Matthew D. Lieberman, UCLA associate professor of psychology

So, the next time you spill your coffee down the front of your favorite shirt, just put a label on what you’re feeling.

Wow, I’m really angry about this. I’m ashamed to have people see me at work in a stained shirt.

Remember to use labels that represent real emotions. Words like “stressed” label an emotional response, not the emotion itself. Get to the root of the emotion causing the stress.

There’s no such thing as a bad day

What is a day? It’s a twenty-four-hour cycle of daylight and darkness created by the earth turning on its axis. In reality, the only way to have a bad day would be if, say, the earth stopped spinning. That would be a cataclysmically bad day.

But the earth is still rotating, amigos! So, that bad day you’re having? It doesn’t exist in reality, only in your interpretation of it. And you can shape your own reality, so when you think about it, you have phenomenal cosmic power.

https://tenor.com/embed.js

See? You’re pretty much crushing it. Now, go get ‘em!

The post 5 Ways to Stop Having a Bad Day appeared first on Grammarly Blog.

from Grammarly Blog https://www.grammarly.com/blog/having-a-bad-day/