Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: productivity

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian IT Contractors relating to productivity.

It’s Alright to Quit and You Need to Know When

It’s healthy to set complex goals that are a stretch but will force you to step outside your comfort zone and work extra hard to accomplish that goal. Sometimes those goals are personal and sometimes they’re professional. Sometimes they’re attainable and sometimes… they’re never going to get completed. So, is it alright to quit? According to this video from Med School Insiders, it’s not just alright, it’s encouraged!

An important step to working on any project is knowing when to evaluate and know when you need to keep pushing through or when it’s time to quit. As the video explains, the decision is not easy and requires many considerations, but it’s an important question to ask yourself in order to maintain maximum productivity and, more importantly, your health.

As Kenny Rogers says “You gotta know when to hold’em, and know when to fold’em.”

Clean Your Office and Boost Productivity

Did you know that a typical office keyboard can carry up to 7,500 bacteria at any given time? That’s according to this infographic by Early to Rise, in addition to a few other disturbing facts. The fact is, aside from avoiding a disgusting environment, a clean office has also proven to boost productivity and lead to more success at the office. The infographic provides all of the details, plus some simple tips so you too can have a clean office!

How a Clean Office Helps Productivity

These Terrible Habits are Destroying Your Productivity

Last Monday we shared an infographic about productive meetings, touting the importance of hosting meetings that don’t waste everyone’s day. Being respectful of your colleagues’ time is certainly a positive trait in an independent contractor but maximizing your own time is an even higher priority if you want to optimize your income.

It’s easy to fall into terrible habits during your everyday work-life that eat your time and destroy your efficiency. For example, how many distractions are in your office or how frequently do you skip breakfast? There are plenty of terrible habits we pick-up that we don’t realize are costing money and this infographic from luxafor points out 10.

10 Bad Habits That Kill Your Productivity #Infographic

Yet Another Post About Productive Meetings

The ability to host and/or be a part of productive meetings is an important skill to have. In fact, we believe it’s so important that we’ve shared tips to do so at least once every year since starting this blog: How to Host Productive Meetings (2014), Tips for Running Effective Meetings (2015), How to Improve Your Meetings (2016), Believe It or Not, Meetings CAN Be Productive! (2017). And now, in 2018, we’re back with yet another post to help you get maximum productivity out of what can be long, dreadful, useless wastes of time.

It’s crucial that IT contractors know how to run productive meetings. First, you bill your clients by the hour and they want to know that they’re getting the most out of you and that you’re not wasting their employees’ time. But what about the time you’re not billing? Now you’re sitting through meetings that are costing you money! This infographic from Wrike provides ideas to host productive meetings and you could use some of the tips when you’re not even the host (for example: confirm if you really need to be there or at the end of a meeting, take the initiative to ask the leader who is assigned to action specific tasks).

9 Proven Strategies to Make Your Meetings Highly Actionable (Infographic)

A Surgeon Teaches Us How to be Super Human

One of the top reasons clients hire independent contractors is because they’re the best in the field. When an organization needs something developed in a specific way, they find an expert IT contractor with a niche skill set. That contractor will not only deliver the solution most efficiently, they will also transfer knowledge and provide more in-depth knowledge to the client’s IT department. It’s safe to say, if you want to improve at any skills, it’s best to ask an expert and those with the most experience.

With that said, we can all learn something from doctors and surgeons. Before you get concerned that this post is advocating learning about medicine and performing surgery through a video, we’re referring to another skill that all successful medical professionals have proven to be experts at: productivity.

In this video, plastic surgeon Dr. Jay of Med School Insiders provides some of his own productivity and efficiency tips that have allowed to get through med school, continue a successful career and still balance a fun life. Watch the video to learn how you can maximize your time efficiency and start getting more done today!

How to Stay Productive All Day Long

Are you a morning person or an afternoon super star? Is there any part of the day where you’re more productive or are there days when you drag your feet from start to end? Naturally, every IT contractor’s goal is to maximize productivity to get the most amount of work done in the least amount of time. This is how you get more tech gigs, serve more clients, build your IT consulting business and justify a higher rate!

There is no doubt that starting your day properly will drive your performance. In fact, a recent article from FastCompany spoke to a brain scientist who claims what you do in the morning will make or break your brain’s performance. They provide six different habits you should do every day between the minute you wake up and your lunch break:

  1. Prioritize getting 8 hours of sleep
    9 hours is too much but 7-8 hours of sleep will regulate your appetite, mood, alertness and overall resilience.
  2. Hydrate first thing, and don’t mask it with caffeine
    When you wake up tired, you’re probably dehydrated and caffeine just takes more water from your body.
  3. Stretch
    A few minutes of yoga can enhance blood flow and redistribute nutrients.
  4. Meditate for 12 minutes
    This will improve your focus and executive function, as well as decrease rumination.
  5. Eat the same breakfast at the same time
    In addition to sustained energy, regulate your circadian rhythm and digestion to get peak performance out of your brain.
  6. Start your day with the most difficult tasks
    Your brain functions best early in the day so take advantage of those crucial hours.

Already a morning person and practicing these routines? That’s great! But how’s your performance after lunch? The afternoon slump is common and Inc. has some solutions to help you get past it:

  1. Get a 20 minute walk in
    Get your blood flowing and your brain working to create positive emotions and solve problems with more creativity.
  2. Review your mission and objectives before starting back working
    Regain the motivation you had before lunch by reviewing your objectives and creating some urgency.
  3. Ruthlessly guard your environment
    Create the right energy with a clean and organized desk, including items that calm and motivate you (ex. Family pictures).

Are you slow to start in the morning or do you tend to drop-off in the afternoons? If so, which one of these tips do you plan to implement today? If you’re already super productive, what tips can you add?

These Morning Routines Are Destroying Your Day

We’ve all heard the great pieces of advice that talk about the magical morning rituals we should do to have a more productive morning — exercise, eat a healthy breakfast, take a cold shower. These routines may seem easy (or ridiculous), but even with the best intentions, adding something new to an already hectic morning is no easy feat. So instead, why not eliminate a few bad habits?

We’re all guilty of at least one of the 8 items Thomas Frank lists in this video. For example, if you regularly hit the snooze button, check your smart phone immediately when you wake up, or eat an unhealthy breakfast, Frank claims you’re destroying your day before it even starts. Interestingly, he also believes that planning your day is a bad idea. Take a look and see what you can do (or not do) to have a better morning.

Strategies to Start Having More Productive Meetings Today

It’s time to take unproductive meetings where your team is constantly wishing for it to end and leave them in the dust! As a leader, ensuring meetings end with specific action items will keep your team members productive and create collaborations that result in beneficial new ideas.

And while you may be thinking that it is easier said than done, Wrike has it all laid out for you with 9 proven strategies to make your meetings highly actionable.

9 Proven Strategies to Make Your Meetings Highly Actionable (Infographic)

Get into the “Zone”

Picture this: You’re at work and all of a sudden a wave of motivation hits you and it feels like within the span of a couple of hours, you’ve completed a number of tasks off your to-do list. This is what it means to “get in the zone.”

Getting in the zone can be challenging. But according to NetCredit, with the right environment and attitude you can begin to maximize your productivity on a regular basis and complete what before seemed like an impossible task!

How IT Contractors Can Take Better Breaks

All IT contractors can relate to how easy it is to get caught up in a project and let time fly by. You pour back coffee and energy drinks to keep moving towards your end goal and eventually hours have flown by and you haven’t left your computer. You may end those days thinking you maximized your productivity, but did you really? Even if you did, was it enough to justify the negative consequences of skipping a break? According to a ton of recent research, you’re not doing yourself any favours.

Taking a Break is a Good Thing

Study after study has proven that taking a break throughout your day is indeed a good thing. On top of simply being refreshed physically, when you step away from a task that requires a lot of thinking power, it gives your analytical processing skills a break. When you return, your renewed energy — both mentally and physically — allows you to solve problems faster, which in return, boosts your productivity.

But delivering a better solution to your client shouldn’t be your only motivation to take a break. A pause from work is important to your own well being. Accepting that you should have time away from your desk means you’ll open up more time to exercise and eat properly through your day. You can also run some personal errands and tasks, which will free up your evening, ease a stressed out mind, and maximize work-life balance.

How to Take the Best Breaks

We understand. Taking a break is much easier said than done, especially in the IT industry when you have to deal with emergencies, outages and tight deadlines. IT contractors can’t just get up from your desk and leave… or can you? Keep in mind that you are a contractor, and not an employee — you are entitled to work any hours you please as long as you continue to honour the agreement between you and your client. Here are a few tips to take the most effective breaks:

  • Fully detach. When you take a break, turn your mind off completely from the task-at-hand and change your train-of-thought.
  • Move around. This will help with the previous point. Get away from your desk, go outside, and get some exercise.
  • Be social. Breaks are better with others and the social aspect will help you recharge. Just be careful not to distract your client’s employees.
  • Avoid all screens. When you go outside to recharge your batteries and get your mind off things, your phone is going to be a hinderance. If you must bring it with you, put it on silence and turn off email alerts.
  • Take a nap. Research has proven that a quick 20-30 minute nap can have significant health benefits for some people. Meditation is also an option that will clear your mind.
  • Do something else. Perhaps you don’t want to take a full break. Completing entirely separate, irrelevant tasks will let you stay productive AND temporarily break from your current project.
  • Take Microbreaks. Often when we think of a break it’s the traditional 1-hour lunch break, but productivity experts also encourage microbreaks throughout the day. For example, 90 minutes on/20 minutes off or 25 minutes on/5 minutes off.
  • Try any one of these 51 ideas to do when you need a break from The Muse.

Taking breaks isn’t just important at work but everywhere in life. Home DIY projects get done with more care when there are breaks, gamers see more success when they let their mind rest for a few minutes, and resumes are written much more clearly when you review them with a fresh set of eyes. How often do you take a break?