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Clear your Mind with the Sound of Silence
Written by RWorks
Thursday, 26 May 2011 10:05

                                 

 

Sink or Swim?

One of my favourite topics to think about/ talk about/ write about is that constant battle between Productivity and Information Overload. Isn't it hard to get anything done effectively when phones are ringing, co-workers are pulling from all sides, and your email inbox and ToDo list are screaming for attention?

 

The Internal versus the External Chatter

It's a noisy world out there. But there's also often a lot of 'noise' inside your head. We often don't even realise it's happening. I first became aware of it about ten years ago, when backpacking in India. I did some volunteer healthcare work at a Buddhist centre, and while living there, I signed up for a ten day silent retreat. Yes, SILENT. Completely silent. For ten whole days. We did long sessions of sitting, cross-legged on the floor. I was amazed at my motor mind, full of internal chat, flitting from one thing to the next, non-stop, all day. The Buddhist nun who sat with us would, every so often, gently calm and reassure, with a phrase like 'If there are thoughts coming in, don't grab hold of them, don't give them any time, just let them pass through, like clouds'. Unbelievably, it started to work. More white space, less frantic thought. Then much more white space, and a lot less mental traffic. Then actually a feeling, and I really don't say this lightly, of peace ....and clarity.

I liked it so much, I followed it up with another ten days of the same. Now, that was possibly a once in a lifetime experience, who knows. Being in India, away from my 'real life' certainly helped. However, we all need a bit of 'quiet time' in the day. Some time away from Information Overload, internal and external noise. The Buddhist nun who gave the retreat I did is called Thubden Chodren. She has written several books, including the aptly titled 'Taming the Monkey Mind'.

Just a month ago, Michael Samson, Collaboration Strategist, wrote a great article entitled "3 Quiet Ways You Can Get More Done" read here , where he writes "Creating the conditions of having a quiet soul is vital to productivity". He focuses on the importance of 3 forms of quiet: quiet on the ears, the soul and the mind, and writes that with attention to these 3 areas, you will be more focused, hence more effective, hence more productive.

So maybe today, just for a little while, turn off the radio, turn off your cellphone, and take a few minutes away from the noise and the useless chatter, and see for yourself.

 

This article was written by Valerie Redmond, co-founder of RWorks, an online software system designed to manage projects in freelancers and dispersed team. For more information go to RWorks.com. Valerie can be reached by e-mailing vredmond@rworks.com, or followed on twitter @rworker

 

 

 
It's Monday:Keeping it Simple to Get Things Done
Written by RWorks
Monday, 23 May 2011 10:48

 

 In the workplace we are surrounded by distractions.

The irritating ramblings of a nearby co-worker, the temptation of the 'quick check' on  social networking sites, the many and varied other things spinning around in your head.

It's Monday morning, and we are in transition- from the slow meanderings (or heady indulgences) of the weekend, back to the deliverables of the work week.

First things first. Planning ahead is the very best way to bring your focus back to where it needs to be. Simply make a list of what needs to be done, and give them a priority. (When allocating tasks within the RWorks system we use critical, high, medium and low priority statuses). Start with the tasks that have critical priority, focus only on those tasks until they are finished, and ignore everything else.

Monday's can be tough, so let's keep it simple.

 

 

 

Other articles by the same author:

Too Much Information, Not Enough Time?

How to Maintain Productivity despite Workplace Distractions

 

 

 This article was written by Valerie Redmond, co-founder of RWorks, which is an online task and project management system.

Valerie can be followed on twitter @rworker, or emailed at vredmond@rworks.com. You can also 'like' RWorks in the 'follow us' section of rworks.com

 

 

 
Today's 'Home Office Day' in Switzerland highlights Telework Benefits
Written by RWorks
Thursday, 19 May 2011 10:12



Following on from  February's 'National Telework Week' in the US read more , today Switzerland marks it's second annual 'Home Office Day'.

Sponsored by industry giants such as Microsoft, Swisscom and SBB, last year the event prompted thousands of people to work from home and enjoy the many benefits of teleworking. Organizers of the event say that one Home Office Day provides a reduction of 1,240 tonnes of CO2 per year.

"This is reason enough to revive the Home Office Day in 2011- as a stimulus to encourage a break with conventional wisdom and prove that quality of life, productivity and climate protection are not antgonistic terms" say the organizers.

The official website www.homeofficeday.ch offers tips on how to make a success of the teleworking day, such as conducting virtual meetings, taking a lunch break, and dressing appropriately for teleworking...in other words, not to work in your PJ's!!





 
Time Management, the Pomodoro Way
Written by RWorks
Thursday, 21 April 2011 10:07

Not the obvious thing to take to the office with you, is it?

 

 It is just not possible to have a discussion around time management techniques, without mentioning the Pomodoro Technique, which was created by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980's. At that time, Cirillo was a university student in Rome, and he was searching for a way to improve his own study habits. The Pomodoro Technique is named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that was first used by Cirillo when he was developing his technique (Pomodoro is Italian for tomato).

By the 1990's, the Pomodoro Technique was being used by professional teams, and today Cirillo is an innovator in process-improvement techniques, a team mentor, public speaker and author. The method is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility. It offers to 'Eliminate the Anxiety of Time', and 'Enhance Focus and Concentration'. What is a little bit different about this technique as a way of being more productive, is that it recognises the importance of solid blocks of time working on a task, interspersed with regular breaks. I really love that. So, here it is, the Cirillo way.

 

 

 What you Need:

  • A timer, eg. a Pomodoro timer.
  • A sheet of paper, preferably lined.
  • A pencil and eraser.

 

What you Do:

  • Choose a task to be accomplished
  • Set the timer to 25 minutes (this length of time is known as 'one Pomodoro')
  • Work on the task until the timer rings
  • Put a check on your sheet of paper
  • Take a short break (about 5 minutes)
  • Every 4 Pomodoros, take a longer break (about 15-20 minutes)

Successful use of the Pomodoro Technique is not, however, just a matter of waiting for the timer to ring. It is based on the achievement of incremental objectives, one at a time.

There are various Pomodoro Technique resources available on Francesco Cirillo's official website, www.pomodorotechnique.com, including official lined pages, and the official Pomodoro Technique book, both of which can be downloaded for free. You can also purchase your own tomato-shaped timer to help you along.

I, for one, have downloaded the book and am planning to read it, and I will blog about the method in greater detail - how about you?

 

This article was written by Valerie Redmond, co-founder of RWorks.com. I can be followed on twitter @rworker, or to get my blogs just go to the RWorks.com  'follow' page and 'like' RWorks on Facebook

 

 

 

 

 
Come Back Paper-All is Forgiven!
Written by RWorks
Monday, 11 April 2011 12:47

 

 

In this electronic age, where everything is supposed to go onto our cellphone calenders, or our online diaries, is it very very uncool of me to admit that I love paper?

 

I love jotting things down- I love index cards, hardback notebooks and random white A4 pages, scattered over my desk, and in my car. Oh, and not to forget sticky notes. I love sticky notes. On my computer screen, and on the dashboard of my car. Yes, I love jotting things down. I doodle, I scribble, and I draw mind-maps. I was drawing mind-maps before I even know what a mind-map was.

I then love to cross things off my list- it gives me immense pleasure in a way that deleting something off my cellphone never will.

I cross things off individually, and then when I have finished all the items on that page, I draw a great big line from the top right corner of the page to the bottom left corner of the page, to indicate that everything on that page is well and truly finished.

Ok, so you could never manage a whole team or a project like this, but for personal productivity, and the 'getting done' of things, I Love Paper.

 

There now, I said it.

 

This article was written by Valerie Redmond, RWorks co-founder. She can be contacted directly by e-mailing vredmond@rworks.com

 

 

 
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