Productivity Tips for Every Sleep Cycle

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Are you a night owl?  A morning person?  Maybe you have felt pressure to change your sleep habits.  After all we have sayings like “the early bird gets the worm” or “don’t stop when you’re tired, stop when you’re done” that can encourage us to try and get up earlier and stay up later.

However, contrary to popular belief, you can’t simply decide to get up earlier and expect to be productive.  Research by Harvard and others seem to indicate that how and when you best sleep is a genetic trait like your eye color or whether you are right handed or left handed.

The good news is that whatever your sleep tendencies, you can make the most of it to maximize your productivity.  Here are some tips to embrace your inner sleep style and get more done than you ever thought you could at the same time.

Know Thyself

Before you can take advantage of you natural sleep cycles, you need to know what they are.  This may be hard to establish if you are chronically sleep deprived.  Take a week or two to make sure you are getting enough sleep, and then observe whether you have more trouble falling asleep or waking up in the morning.  Keeping a sleep journal may help, or even using an app to track your sleep and sleep quality.

Plan for Productivity

One of the ways that we lose productivity is when we are constantly interrupted in our tasks.  A way to avoid letting this happen is to plan work that requires focus for when we are less likely to be distracted.  For morning birds, plan this type of work for early in the morning before anyone else gets up or shows up to work.  For night owls do the opposite.  Of course, those with flexible work schedules will be able to best use this technique.  Don’t assume it is not an option for you if you have never asked.  Talk to your boss about trying an adjusted schedule to see if it makes a difference.  Be ready to report on your results too.

You can also plan for productivity by planning tasks that are more difficult or need your best problem solving skills for times when you are at your peak.

Morning Birds

If you are a morning person, you can maximize your productivity by getting to bed early.  Make sure that you plan events as early in the evening as possible, and that you have a plan to wind down at the end of the day so that you are able to hit the ground running in the morning.

You may also want to skip your morning coffee.  It is likely if you are naturally a morning person that you don’t need the coffee to help you wake up, and instead save that coffee for your early afternoon slump so that you can re-energize to finish out the day.

Night Owls

If you are a night person, you can maximize your productivity by avoiding important meetings and tasks that require full focus and attention first thing in the morning.  Instead, start your morning with a workout, or any physical task that needs to be done.  This will help your blood start flowing and help your body wake up and get into gear.

You will also want to plan your morning to eliminate as many things as possible from your morning so that you can sleep in as late as possible.  Set out your clothes the night before, program your coffee to brew automatically, and prepare your food ahead of time.  Rather than hitting the snooze button, try to shorten your prep time so that you can use that time to sleep.

What About You?

Are you a morning person?  A night person?  What is your favorite way to take advantage of your unique schedule?

Tame Your Email Inbox In 15 Minutes or Less

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Has your email gotten out of control – again?  It can seem like a never ending struggle to keep up with your email.  And what is even worse, it can cut into your productivity little bit by little bit.

Did you know that if you lose even 10 minutes a day, that is over 60 hours over the course of a year!  What could you do with an extra 60 hours?  Let’s get some time back.

Step 1: Schedule time for email

When your email is open all the time it is tempting to check it every time you see a new notification.  One of the fastest ways to get your email under control is to plan time into your day to deal with it.  If you schedule a 15 minute window a couple times a day, you will be amazed at how much faster you blaze through that inbox.  Take a couple minutes right now to look at your Google calendar and block off some time each day.  Now you won’t have email time slipping into time that should be spent on other things.

Is the time still stretching out beyond your allotted time?  Try setting a time.  Racing the clock can be a powerful incentive, and the beeping can be a good jolt back to reality that you need to move on to the next task.

Step 2: Create filters

The next step in getting your email under control is to get rid of the mess that is already there, and then make sure it doesn’t happen again.  You can filter certain types of emails to automatically go into the trash, bulk delete old emails that you know you don’t need to do anything with, and have other email conversations labeled so you can find them when you need them.

Simply go into your Gmail settings to the “Filters and Blocked Addresses” header to get started.

Step 3: Unsubscribe and bundle your emails

One reason that you might be consistently getting behind on email is all those mailing lists you signed up for at one point in time.  Yes, it can be enticing when to get the top 15 tips for x, y, or z, but now you have more sales letters and newsletter updates pouring in then you know what to do with.  Unroll.me is a fantastic tool for unsubscribing to all the ones that you don’t want to get at all anymore.

What about the ones you do want to still get, but don’t want to dominate your inbox?  You can also use Unroll to “roll” them up.  Meaning subscriptions all get lumped into one email a day that you can skim through, instead of pinging your inbox every hour with another new email.  And you can also focus your time and attention on the personal emails directed specifically to you that need your attention first.

Step 4: Install the Boomerang Gmail extension

Gmail has a lot of amazing extensions.  Some fun, some great productivity tools, and everything in between.  One of the most helpful for mastering your inbox is Boomerang.  It allows you to archive emails and have them brought back as unread messages at just the right time, or return emails to your inbox if you don’t get a response.  All those emails that you keep looking at every day being reminded that Susie down the hall hasn’t gotten an answer for you yet?  You know what they say, out of sight, out of mind.  Now you can spend your brain power thinking about other things and be confident you will be reminded again when you need to be.

Step 5: Think fast

We often spend more time on email than we need to, and procrastinate unnecessarily.  David Allen of Getting Things Done fame recommends that anything you can do in five minutes or less never needs to go on a to-do list.  The same goes for email.  If you look at the email 4 or 5 times and think to yourself “I can answer that later” pretty soon you have spent more than the few minutes it would have taken to respond the first time.

Practice getting into the habit of responding quickly whenever you can, and then using the tools and strategies above to get into the longer items.

Bonus tip?  Don’t use your Gmail as your to-do list either.  If it is a longer task, you can add it directly from Gmail to your Google Tasks list.

A Disclaimer

If your inbox is completely out of control (yes you, with the 6,000 emails in your inbox), it will take more than 15 minutes.  You may need to resort to an email purge and just delete all emails from more than 2 months ago to give yourself a fresh start.  Make sure to use a search to find all the emails from your boss first.

The good news is that anyone can use these tips to spend less time in their inbox and more time building relationships, getting work done, and being productive.

Want a tool to make all your Google resources work together?  Sign up to get updates about the DayWon Beta launch.

2016 Tech Trends – According to the Experts

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Over the last few years, tech has exploded in every area of life.  Things that were science fiction a couple decades ago are part of our everyday life now.  Are you wondering what the experts think are the next “big things?”  Below is a summary of the tech trends for 2016 from Forbes, Inc., Market Watch, and Entrepreneur.  Which tech trends are you most excited about?

Forbes

One of the themes of Forbes top ten tech trends was all the ways that tech is starting to integrate more deeply with the real world.  From device mesh, to ambient user experience, to autonomous objects (Google car anyone?), tech is starting to become a more connected part of our life experience all the time.

Think about how many of these things you own already.  Market penetration will only increase as these devices become more cost effective for the user and more lucrative for the developers.  Beyond what was talked about in the article itself, here are some of the ways that tech and life are intersecting:

  • Wearable technology like watches, fitness technology, healthcare technology, etc.

  • Consumer and home electronic devices

  • What is called “the Internet of Things” and refers to tech being integrated to almost everything you interact with on a daily basis.

Some of these we already use regularly, to take a look at how much this area is expanding, take a look at these 50 new wearable tech devices, with things like a wearable to improve your sleep, a GPS pet tracker, and even tech integrated with clothing.  This is an ever expanding area, as this Kickstarter campaign to help keep kids with food allergies safe with a wearable bracelet and app proves.

Other mentions in Forbes round up goes to the evolution of 3D printing technology, machine learning and AI, and adaptive security to keep us safe with all these new developments.

Inc.

Inc. also noticed the trend toward tech showing up in real things and mentioned 3D printing.

Another big trend in technology they observed is advertising and monetization within games.  As games like Minecraft become highly developed platforms with a large user base it opens up all new ways for companies to insert their advertising into the game – watch for more of this in 2016.

All the rest of the tech trends had to do with disruption of established markets in things like health insurance, college education, and online shopping.  Now that everything from Harvard courses to brooms to canned soup are available online (with reviews and consumer information alongside them), traditional businesses will have to adapt.

In addition to the points made by Inc., the big thing to watch for in the next year or two is how these areas will be further influenced by policies implemented on the government level as the United States goes into an election year.

MarketWatch

MarketWatch listed some of the same trends we have already heard about – wearables being a big one.  Their round-up did include some other areas of innovation as well.

For example – virtual and augmented reality.  While many of these technologies have yet to reach the mainstream, the tech has been quietly getting better and more accessible.  This has applications far beyond gaming for education and assistance for special needs for example.

MarketWatch also looked at another angle in the change of tech on transportation.  Not only smart cars, but also in the advent of drone technology and it entering the consumer space.  Finally, they wrapped up by looking at the advances in AI, and the seemingly mundane but important technology of self-charging phones.  No more worrying about finding a place to charge your phone so you can keep up with all your apps!

Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur also did a 2016 technology trends report.  Some common themes kept coming up as well including:

  • Wearable tech

  • Virtual reality

  • Improved AI

They talked about cell technology as well, but instead of focusing on the charging technology, Entrepreneur predicts that cell phones will continue to get faster.  This is great news for anyone that uses their phone for their day to day activities – and of course a productivity boost too!  Even saving a few minutes a day really adds up over time.

Which brings us to another tech trend – increasing integration of current tech.  Not only through the Internet of Things concept mentioned by some other predictions, but also better integration between tech.  Your TV, cell phone, computer, and tablet all talking to each other for example.

Other big trends covered by the business leader included:

  • Bitcoin – they predict this technology will become even more important

  • Cloud based gaming and the rise of professional video gamers as a significant career

  • Crowdfunding replacing more and more of traditional funding methods for new businesses

  • Increased need for more and better security to protect all this new technology (and more importantly the privacy and security of its users)

The big tech development over here at DayWon is a whole round of updates coming soon.  If you haven’t tried DayWon yet, check it out and see how it can improve your productivity daily.

5 Things to Do Right NOW to Make 2016 Your Most Productive Year Yet

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Many people let the last couple weeks slide by, with promises to start fresh in the new year.  The only problem with this approach is that leaves you feeling stressed and unproductive in the new year, scrambling to catch up and figure out what is going on, and generally with a sense of dread about ever getting it done.  And let’s be honest, you can’t really enjoy those holiday parties anyway with impending deadlines looming over your head.

This is a perfect time to take advantage of the fact that not a lot of new work is being generated, and many people may be taking time off, to get ahead of your game and ramp into making 2016 your best year yet.

Complete As Many Old Projects As Possible

Having an unmet deadline, or a big project hanging over our head is not only emotionally exhausting, it also kills our creativity.  So much so, that their is a name for it – the Zeigarnik Effect.  Basically, as long as something remains unfinished it creates stress in our brains and makes it hard to think about anything else effectively.  Have you ever felt compelled to binge watch a TV series to its conclusion?  The same mechanism is at work.

The difference is, instead of being excited about the next episode, we are stressing out and not focusing on anything else.

Instead of letting that continue to hang out there, block of time in your schedule to get it done once and for all.  You will feel a sense of accomplishment and be able to give your mental capacity a fresh start.

Be Willing to Delete Projects from the To-Do List

Now that you have determined to clear out your mental and literal inbox for good before January rings in, you are probably starting to feel overwhelmed by the number of unfinished projects out there.  The good news is, you don’t have to finish them all.

Yes, you read that right.  Take out the productivity trash and get rid of anything you can.

From Time Magazine to Inc., much has been written about the power of saying no.  Successful people as a rule are experts at it.  Likely there are things that you have on your plate of responsibilities that you should have said no to in the first place.  You can’t change the past, you can only move forward.  Take a little time to really look at your projects.  Is anything irrelevant?  Can it be passed to someone else who could do it better?  Does it really need to happen at all?  You might be surprised at the things that are not as necessary as you thought.

Review Your Successes

Good work!  You kicked some things off the list for good, and finished the rest.  Now before you dive into a fresh set of work, make sure you celebrate!  Not just stop working, but really take some time to review all the things you accomplished over the year.  Your big wins and your small ones.

Giving yourself that much needed praise will give you the energy and excitement to go on to the next thing.

Plan Your 2016 Goals

Now that you have wrapped up 2015, and celebrated your wins, you can start thinking about 2016.  Plan your big picture goals – what 1 to 3 things do you want to make happen in the new year?

Next take a look at your first quarter.  What needs to happen in those first couple months to make the whole year a success?  Finally write a list of the most important thing to start on when you come back from your day or days off.  Get it on the calendar, email anyone that you need information from before getting started, or do any preliminary steps so that you can get a strong start.

Take a Break

Last, but certainly not least, take a break.  You have worked hard.  You will be better able to approach whatever it is that 2016 has to bring if you are well rested, have a chance to connect to the people who matter most, and get the fresh perspective of some down time.

Have a wonderful New Year and see you in 2016!

2015 Edition Ultimate Guide to the New Google+

For months, and in some cases years, people have been saying that Google+ is dead.  When Google decided to disconnect Google Photos and Hangouts from Google+, even more speculated that was Google’s sign that they were slowly phasing out the social media network.  But instead, Google has now announced a complete redesign of Google+.  If you are ready to see the new layout, and some key new features, then read on.

What’s New

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The biggest change in the new Google+ is the addition of collections.  These are somewhat similar to Pinterest boards, except with more text rich posts, and better integration with video.  The stream still looks like Google+, but the way that the information is organized is radically different.

Beyond this Google has included new sharing features, new ways to organize your home feed, and changes to how you can share content within Google+ itself.  Overall, the shift is toward more conversation, and more connecting people around similar interests, rather than directly trying to compete with a Facebook style of social media.

Home

At first glance, the home feed looks pretty similar.  The main thing that sticks out is the revised sidebar, with collections being a prominent feature.

But dig a little deeper, and there are definitely changes – primarily to how content is shared and spread on the new Google+.

While on most social media networks, the presumption is that you want to share as much as possible as widely as possible, this is not always the case.  Taking a page from the YouTube comments book, you can actually disable both shares and comments on any individual post that you wish

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Another difference is that you can only share to one group at a time.  Where in the old Google+ you could select public visibility, along with sharing it to individual circles and extended circles, now you can only share the same piece of content to one group at a time.  It seems Google+ is trying to reinforce one of the key features of Google+, circles.  By doing so, hopefully the content shared with each circle is more relevant and less general.

Another major change that affects sharing both for standard posts to your home feed, as well as content posted to your collections is that you can share content not only within Google+, but also to Facebook and Twitter.

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Collections

Collections in Google+ are the biggest new addition to the updated platform.  This will be the determining factor that determines whether Google+ can begin to capture new market share and retain users.

The potential for Google+ collections is to do for everything else on the web what Pinterest has done for images – a way to save, share, and categorize information.

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When you open the Collections section what is immediately highlighted is suggested collections that Google thinks you may be interested in following.  You can also view the collections you are already following, as well as your own collections.

To start a collection, choose a name for the collection, privacy settings for who you want to be able to see the collection, and a tagline of up to 80 characters.  It is worth noting that once you set the privacy settings these cannot be changed.

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Once you have created the collection, you can edit the image visible for the collection, as well as the name of the collection and the tagline.  Whatever group you share the collection with in your privacy settings are automatically followers of the collection until the opt out.

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Showing off the benefits of the Google integration, when you select a photo for your collection you can select from one of the available photos, or choose “Pick Your Photo.”  This opens up your entire Google Photos collection (including any automatically added from your Android phone) along with the capability to upload a new image.

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Communities

Like the collections, communities now have a different layout that allows you to view communities by recommended, ones that you are a member of, or the communities that you administer.

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Profile

While Google+ has always given more options in what you keep public and private, that is even more true in the new Google+.  You can choose for every community and collection that you are following whether you want those to show up on the public version of your profile.

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You can also update your bio with up to 140 characters, as well as your cover photo.

People

The People section of the new Google+ layout is a much cleaner interface with a much simpler option to simply “follow” suggested people.

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But don’t worry!  If you have spent a lot of time creating your circles, they are still there.  If you look at the “following” section you will see a list of all your circles.  You can also assign new connections to circles by going to their profile.

Is It Worth It?

Like every social media platform, most people will be wondering whether it is worth the time to invest in building your platform.  While it will take time to see how much adoption of the social and following functions happens, it is definitely a unique space to keep track of all the many links, websites, and information that you come across every day on the web.

5 Ways Google Has Changed Productivity Forever

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It is amazing to think that not that long ago we didn’t Google things, store things in the cloud, or share our calendars.  Google has had a profound impact on how business is done, and the ways in which we can increase our productivity at work.  Here are five things that will never be the same thanks to Google.

Collaboration

Remember when you had to download a copy of the document, send it in an email, wait for them to change it and send it back, and then have at least 20 different copies of the same document that you had to figure out which one was the most up to date?  Or late nights in a conference room coordinating your presentation slides together?  Sounds like a scary dream now right? (And if you are still doing this, stop it!)

What started out as Google Documents, and has turned into Google Drive, changed all this forever.  Now you can all work on a document, spreadsheet, or presentation simultaneously in real time.  No more excuses.  It is hard to even measure the amount of time this saves every day.

File Storage

While we are on the subject of all those emails running back and forth, let’s not forget another huge advantage of Google Drive – file storage!  Now it is possible to keep all your photos in Google Photo, your documents and presentations in Drive, and save your emails (neatly labeled of course) in Gmail virtually forever.  And even though 15G of space seemed like an infinity when it launched, now if you need more space you can purchase it cheaply as well.  Or use the Dropbox integration to pull files directly back and forth from Dropbox to Gmail or vice-versa.  Are you old enough to remember the days of 1.44 MB floppy disks?  Fun fact, it would take 10,665 floppy disks to hold the 15G of data space you get for free from Google.  Now that is life changing.

Scheduling

Franklin Planner – does that take you back?  While some people still prefer paper, or have a backup paper calendar, there is no denying that Google Calendar has changed the way we approach managing the time in our daily life.

Google Calendar allows us to have our calendar directly on our Smart Phone (which if we have the address listed in the “where” section, we can with one click pull up GPS directions in Google Maps), schedule appointments through Gmail, view one another’s calendars (no more infinitely back and forth about open time slots), and just for fun view calendars for holidays, sports, and even the phases of the moon without having to look it up.  Useful for knowing when to expect full moon fun.

To-Do Lists

Google Tasks is so much more than your standard to-do list.  You can create subcategories, add things to your list directly from the Gmail, and view archives of all your past completed tasks.  Can you imagine trying to keep around every to-do list you ever made on paper.  If you actually do have that you may want to consider the use of paper.

Overall, I think trees are thanking Google for existing if nothing else.

Communication

All of Google’s tools, from search to Gmail, to presentations, have fundamentally changed the way we communicate.  They have opened doors of possibility and imagination.  Google has made work possible across all geographic boundaries, and even taken down some of the limitations of time.  We have more time to be more productive (or play Angry Birds and Words with Friends, either way).

Bonus tip – if you really want to connect the productivity power of Google to your daily life, try out the DayWon app and get all these tools to talk to each other.  Manage the power of Google from a single dashboard and see what new leaps forward you can make in your own personal productivity.

Please sign up for our invite list to receive email updates too!

7 Ninja Gmail Tricks to Help You Rock Your Work Day

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Are you stuck in your productivity?  It is easy to think that we have to make some giant change in order to get more done, but in reality a few simple fixes can make all the difference.  If you are spending more time than you want on your email everyday (really, who isn’t?), here is a good place to start.  Best part?  Every one of these 7 tricks can be activated in five minutes or less.  Sounds like it is time to get going!

  1. Show fewer messages at a time

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How much time do you spend staring at all the email in your inbox trying to decide which one to handle first?  Probably more time than you would like to admit.  There is an easy solution to that – look at less of them at once.

In your Gmail settings, you can change the number of conversations that show up to be as few as 10 at a time.  If you are using 100 on a page now, you might want to gradually work down as your inbox gets smaller and smaller.  Notice the next time you are in that screen staring gaze, and see if this helps you make a decision faster and move on to the next task at hand.

  1. Enable undo send

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The amount of damage control when you send the wrong thing to the wrong person, or see a typo the instant it goes out to cyberspace is hard to measure.  It is safe to assume that we have all had at least one head banging moment.  Now you have to take the time to email a correction, possibly deal with office drama, or even lose an important contact or opportunity all together.

There is no 100% fix for all our mistakes, but turning on the undo-send feature is like having a time machine that lets you go back 30 seconds.  Make sure this is on, and that you turn the total seconds up to the full allowed 30 (less time is also available).  You will thank me later.

  1. Use stars to prioritize

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While you are turning on “undo send,” look directly below it in Gmail’s settings for stars.  You can admit it, you have secretly liked bright colorful stars since kindergarten right?  Either way they can be a useful tool for getting organized.  Think of what makes the most sense for you.  Maybe you can assign a color to each major project or client you have so that you can glance at your inbox and see what is from whom.  Maybe you can use the stars as indicators of priority so you know exactly what needs to be done first.  Either way it is a couple clicks to give you visual clues about how to best structure your time and keep you in the zone of productivity.

  1. Turn on Priority Inbox

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If you are already using the official Gmail Inbox, you can ignore this one.  But if you are hesitant to make the full switch away from classic Gmail, but still want a little more sorting, priority inbox is a great option.  It is under the “Inbox” tab of the Gmail settings and gives you a variety of options for ordering what you see first when you log in.  You can look at unread first, what you have marked as important, things that are starred, or whatever is a good fit for you and your workflow.

  1. Create canned responses

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If you find yourself sending the same “Sounds good” or “Please forward this to these people” on a regular basis, you can save your fingers some work by turning on canned responses.  Create responses that go out automatically with filters, or that you can manually select when you are responding to an email.

  1. Install Gmail offline

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Another reason that we can get stuck in our email is that it is connected to the Internet.  Although in this case it is actually the Internet that is the problem.  It can be easier to click through to Facebook or check the latest sports stats than slog through that long response.

Don’t worry, Gmail has a solution for that too – Gmail Offline.  You do have to install this one, but it will be worth it when you can get work done faster, and even work on emails while in a plane, or elsewhere that you might not have Internet access.  Simply click on the “Offline” tab in the Gmail settings and follow the instructions from there.

  1. Use DayWon

Okay, to be fair this isn’t a tool in Gmail itself, but that is why we made it in the first place.  It is an easy way to connect what is going on in your Gmail inbox with your tasks, calendar, and contacts.  Give it a try and we would love to hear what you think!

Falling Behind? 5 Small Changes that Make a Big Difference

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Are your frustrated by a lack of productivity?  No matter how hard you try, do you feel like you keep slipping farther behind?  Many people are in the same boat.  We work harder without seeing the results that we want.  The good news is that researchers are always looking for answers to problems just like this, and there is something you can do about it.  Or rather, there are several small changes that you can make that add up to a big difference in how well you perform at work or in your business on a daily basis.

Actually Take that Break

It seems counterintuitive, but study after study points back to the importance of taking breaks to our productivity.  Whether that is a short nap during the day, or scheduling a vacation, research is clear that we more than make up the time in our increased ability to think, remember, and problem solve.

If this still seems out of reach, don’t be afraid to start small.  A group of Australian researchers discovered that breaks to get up and move for as little as one minute long were effective in improving overall health and wellbeing.

Avoid the Planning Fallacy

One reason that we get overwhelmed is because we take on too much.  Why do we keep doing that to ourselves over and over?  No, it is not because you are simply bad at it, you are seeing a well known psychological effect called the planning fallacy at work.  First called this by researchers Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky in 1979, this phenomenon points to the fact that we all tend to underestimate how long things will take us to complete.  When we think we can “squeeze it in somewhere,” we end up with too much to do, which creates a cascade of lost productivity as we struggle to keep up.  And of course, all of this makes us less likely to take a break too.

So, if everyone does it, what is the solution?  One way to get around it is to get an outside opinion on how long something will take you to accomplish, since we tend to overestimate how long something will take someone else.  Another mental trick is to break things down into steps so that it is easier to see what is involved in the new task that we are committing to.  (Hint: Google Tasks is great for this as you can list all the subtasks for a project in a single list.)

Turn Off Your Phone

We all know we need to do this.  But it is harder said than done.  If you have an important deadline, or project that needs your full attention, turn that phone off.  It is just not worth the distraction.  Need more motivation?  A study by the University of California Irvine showed that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back into the flow when distracted.  Only a couple game notifications from your latest game of Words with Friends can throw a wrench in your whole day’s productivity.  Not worth it.

Don’t worry, you can check your phone during that break we mentioned earlier.

Hit the Gym

When we feel like we don’t have enough time one of the first things to go is our exercise routine.  That is one of the worst things you can do for your long term productivity.  As Robert Pozen says “Mitochondria produce the chemical that your body uses as energy, known as ATP.  Physical exercise stimulates the development of new mitochondria within your cells, meaning that your body will be able to produce more ATP over time.”

In other words, it not only makes you physically stronger, feel better, and look better, but also increases your brain power.  This becomes more important over time and is one of the best ways to stay young.  Talk about getting more time!

Eat Blueberries

Instead of grabbing a sugary drink or snack, how about a handful of fresh delicious blueberries?  A study at Tufts University shows promising results for the super food in helping improve your short term memory.

Practically speaking?  That means no more walking into a room and forgetting what you were there for.  How fantastic would that be?

Conclusion

What is the bottom line?

First of all, reaching your maximum productivity is a whole person effort.  You have to think about not only what you are working on, but fine tuning the mind and body machine that is allowing you to work on anything at all.

Secondly, little changes integrated into your everyday make a big difference.  You don’t have to start something completely revolutionary – be consistent in new habits and routines that make everything a little easier.

Looking for a tech solution that you can work into your day?  Check out DayWon and see how this tool can help all your Gmail programs (Contacts, Calendar & Tasks) integrate seamlessly.

Why Small Businesses Need Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

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Often the idea of customer relationship management (CRM) software is associated with large corporations and top-heavy management.  While CRM is definitely useful for these types of businesses, it is equally important – perhaps even more important – for small businesses, solopreneurs, and entrepreneurs.

Time

Big businesses may be able to waste a few hours (or a few dozen) looking for lost information, or remembering who needs to be contacted.  When you are dealing with hundreds of total man hours throughout the organization, what’s the big deal right?

Small businesses and entrepreneurs do not have this luxury.  Every hour, no – every minute, counts.  You don’t have time to be hunting around for a phone number or trying to match your to-do list with your calendar.  It needs to be done for you instantly in a systematic and intuitive way.

This problem is the exact one that customer relationship management is designed to solve.  Keeping all the information about a particular contact in one place, and then giving you an organized way to follow up.

Money

What we just covered about time – make that times two for money.

But I know what you are thinking – don’t most CRM systems cost money?  Yes, but the return on investment is significant.  (Not to mention, tools like DayWon allow you to start using them for free.)

It takes a much smaller investment of resources to close business on a past client, or nurture the relationship of an existing contact than to go out and find new people to build relationships with all the time.  An effective CRM empowers this process quickly and easily.  Now even when your business contact gives you a no, later, or maybe, you can keep track of that response and follow up again at the appropriate time.

And no, this does not seem creepy.  It gives the impression that you are thoughtful and conscientious.  Your client knows that you will take care of them because you are bothered to remember the little details.

Stress

A good guess is that a small business owner or entrepreneur you already wear a lot of hats.  This can be stressful on the best day.  But when you forget an important meeting, or neglect to follow up on a hot lead, that stress turns into out and out anxiety.

When you are stressed trying to keep everything in your head it will show in your productivity, attitude, and problem solving skills.  Having a CRM in place means you have one less thing to worry about.  Maybe several less things.  And when you are less stressed you give a better experience to your clients.

Are You Looking for a CRM?

Are you looking for a customer relationship management tool built for small businesses just like yours?  And would you like a solution that works with the systems you are already using – Google & Gmail – and won’t break the bank?  Sign up for DayWon today.

7 Things You You Didn’t Know You Can Do With Google

Google has a wide variety of tools that can do lots of things.  You can schedule appointments in Google Calendar, manage your email with Gmail, and put your to-do list in Google Tasks.  No surprises there.  But here are seven things that you might not know that you can do with Google.

  1. Create a Group Calendar

Whether you want to coordinate family holidays, share your schedule with your partner, or plan meetings with your team, a group Google calendar can save you untold time and headaches.  Create a new calendar, and then share it.  The key is to make sure that each person has the ability to add and make changes so that you can all collaborate.

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  1. Receive Free Voicemails

One Google feature that a lot of people still don’t know exists is Google.com/Voice.  You can set up a unique phone number that either rings to any of your current phones, or goes directly to voicemail.  It can also send you an email transcript, or you can listen to the voicemail in your Gmail account as well. I t can be a great way to give yourself a level of privacy and accessibility at the same time.  If you want to customize it even more you can decide which callers ring where, and whether or not to have the calls to straight to voicemail.

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  1. Find Content to Share About Your Niche

One of the biggest productivity challenges of the modern age is finding time for content creation.  It is valuable to share relevant information with your audience, but can take a lot of time to find it.  Google has a tool to make it a little easier. V isit Google.com/Alerts to get started.  Simply choose your keywords, and then set an alert so that you get a new email with related content.  You can choose to get the updates as they happen, once a day, or once a week.

For example, for DayWon we want to share all the latest about Google, Gmail, and productivity, so those are some of the alerts that we have set up.

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  1. Invite Your Team to Use Google Analytics

Google Analytics can be a powerful tool for your whole team, not just your web person.  It can help track social media conversions, highlight what is working with marketing campaigns, and show whether or not anyone is reading your blog.  It can even help you figure out which products and services are most interesting to your target market.

But to get the most out of Google Analytics you need each of these people to be able to have access to the same account.  You can do this easily by adding each person as a user.  You can even control what they can see and what changes they can make in the account.  Go to the Admin tab on your Google Analytics account to get started.

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  1. Create Flowcharts

Google is full of secrets, and one of these is Add-Ons.  There are many powerful tools here, but one fun one is called Gliffy diagrams, and it allows you to build full flow charts directly in your Google Docs document.  When you are in Google Docs, click on the “Add-ons” option and search for it to install.

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  1. Improve Your Writing with ProWritingAid

Another Google Add-on is ProWritingAid.  This one gives you all kinds of ways to edit your written Google documents including checking for consistency throughout the document.  It does have some premium features as well, but even just the free version is sure to save you time and make your writing time more productive.

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  1. Write Music

In case you haven’t gotten the message yet, you really need to check out Google Add-ons.  There are new ones being added all the time.  This last one probably won’t be used by as many people, but was just too fun not to include.  Vex Tab Music Notation allows you to write actual sheet music in Google documents.

If nothing else, this one should underscore (pun intended) the fact that almost nothing is impossible in Google, so explore and have fun seeing what new tricks you can find!

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Which ones were a new discovery for you?  What other hidden secrets does Google hold?  Share in the comments below!  And of course, make sure you sign up for the DayWon Beta to get even more out of your Google experience.