Sachin Online

www.sachinsoft.com

Sachin Online

www.sachinsoft.com

Sachin Online

www.sachinsoft.com

Sachin Online

www.sachinsoft.com

Sachin Online

www.sachinsoft.com

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Activity Logs

Find Out How You Really Spend Your Time

How long do you spend each day on unimportant things; Things that don't really contribute to your success at work? Do you KNOW how much time you've spent reading junk mail, talking to colleagues, making coffee and eating lunch? And how often have you thought, "I could achieve so much more if I just had another half hour each day."

A
nd are you aware of when in the day you check your e-mail, write important articles or do your long-term planning?

Most people find they function at different levels of effectiveness at different times of day as their energy levels fluctuate. Your effectiveness may vary depending on the amount of sugar in your blood, the length of time since you last took a break, routine distractions, stress, discomfort, or a range of other factors.

Activity logs help you to analyze how you actually spend your time. The first time you use an activity log you may be shocked to see the amount of time that you waste! Memory is a very poor guide when it comes to this, as it can be too easy to forget time spent on non-core tasks.

How to Use the Tool

Keeping an Activity Log for several days helps you to understand how you spend your time, and when you perform at your best. Without modifying your behavior any further than you have to, note down the things you do as you do them on this template. Every time you change activities, whether opening mail, working, making coffee, gossiping with colleagues or whatever, note down the time of the change.

As well as recording activities, note how you feel, whether alert, flat, tired, energetic, etc. Do this periodically throughout the day. You may decide to integrate your activity log with a stress diary.

Learning from Your Log

Once you have logged your time for a few days, analyze your daily activity log. You may be alarmed to see the amount of time you spend doing low value jobs!

You may also see that you are energetic in some parts of the day, and flat in other parts. A lot of this can depend on the rest breaks you take, the times and amounts you eat, and quality of your nutrition. The activity log gives you some basis for experimenting with these variables.

Your analysis should help you to free up extra time in your day by applying one of the following actions to most activities:

Eliminate jobs that your employer shouldn't be paying you to do. These may include tasks that someone else in the organization should be doing, possibly at a lower pay rate, or personal activities such as sending non-work e-mails.

Schedule your most challenging tasks for the times of day when your energy is highest. That way your work will be better and it should take you less time.

Try to minimize the number of times a day you switch between types of task. For example, read and reply to e-mails in blocks once in the morning and once in the afternoon only.

Reduce the amount of time spent on legitimate personal activities such as making coffee (take turns in your team to do this - it saves time and strengthens team spirit).


Key points:

Activity logs are useful tools for auditing the way that you use your time. They can also help you to track changes in your energy, alertness and effectiveness throughout the day.

By analyzing your activity log you will be able to identify and eliminate time-wasting or low-yield jobs. You will also know the times of day at which you are most effective, so that you can carry out your most important tasks during these times.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

5 Simple Ways To Keep Your Mind Sharp

The importance of keeping your mind sharp cannot be overstated. We’re all part of a fantastic intellectual and information economy, which thrives on ideas, creativity and intelligence. Keeping your mind sharp is sure to give you the edge over the competition, and more importantly lead to your own higher levels of happiness.

When your mind is in top shape, you will:

  • Have greater motivation and focus
  • Get more done
  • Come up with more creative ideas
  • Find inspiration more often
  • Remember more
  • Experience a better life

I’d like to share a few practices I’ve found are extremely beneficial in keeping my mind sharp and can help you as well:

1) Continue reading, absorbing knowledge and experiencing culture

Sorry to use a clich├ęd quote, but education is not preparation for life, education is life itself. It should be something pleasurable and done for intrinsic reasons above all else. Read blogs on subjects both within your field and in new fields you know nothing about; read books; watch lectures on fascinating new subjects; read about ancient societies; take in a new form of art you’ve never experienced; you get the idea. Challenge your mind to continually broaden your horizon and soak up new information like an infinite sponge (that’s pretty much what it is, you should use it to do just that).

2) Learn a skill or craft you’ve never tried before like playing an instrument, composing music, painting, building a model airplane, or even coding computer programs.

Engage your mind in learning a new skill. You’re never too old to do this, but this is definitely something you should start as young as you can. I started composing my own music at around 17, and in retrospect I wish I had started even younger. You’d be surprised how much learning a new skill will open up many new paths in your mind and help you become even better at whatever you are already an expert at. You’ll also open yourself up to tons of new connections and intellectual social circles by engaging yourself in a new hobby, form of art, or trade.

3) To improve memory don’t write everything down

If you can, try this for a week: write down everything you need to do at the beginning of the week, as you normally would, but take your list and put it out of sight. Instead of keeping that list visible at your desk, internalize your projects and simply remember and know what needs to be done, prioritize it in your mind, and do it. Your brain is extremely powerful and you’ll find that, in time, you may not have to write anything down to remember everything (you can still keep a list for reference, but it’s great not to need it).

4) Give your mind time to assimilate knowledge

We live in a culture where we are constantly experiencing and learning new things and taking in new information. This is a great thing, I’m not going to go into the information overload spiel, I don’t really believe in that anyway (you are in total control over how much information you take in at once). But in your process of absorbing new skills, knowledge and life experiences; internal analysis of yourself, what you have learned and where you are going is vital to put everything in proper perspective. Some people do it well during running, others through listening to music, and some people through making art. Find your own place that allows you to assimilate all you have learned and frequent it often.

5) Eat well, sleep well and exercise often

Giving your mind the proper rest and energy is essential to getting the best performance out of it. This one is pretty self explanatory, but people often forget that you need proper fuel and proper rest to function optimally. Also, putting your physical body through the paces is a surefire way to rejuvenate yourself mentally. If you’re ever feeling stressed, out of inspiration, or depressed, a few days of nutritious food, good sleep and vigorous exercise will put you back to your full self soon enough.

What can I do, as just one individual, to help curb global warming?

Most of our own direct contributions to global warming pertain to the modes of travel we choose. For starters, air travel burns more fossil fuels per person than any other form of transport. So if you can opt for other forms of long-distance travel, you can reduce your contribution of greenhouse gases significantly--provided, of course, that at least a planeload of others are doing the same.

The other main offender in the transportation arena is the private automobile. Driving less frequently, carpooling, and using public transport such as buses and rail can take a big bite out of the greenhouse gases and pollution you are personally responsible for. Also, think about all those short car trips you take where a brisk walk or bicycle ride might do the trick and provide some needed exercise in the process.

When driving is a necessity, though, always make sure your vehicle is properly tuned and that the tires are properly inflated, so as to conserve fuel. If you are contemplating the purchase of a new car, consider one of the many offerings of gas-sipping hybrids, which often come with tax incentives, now on the market.

At home, you can fight global warming by buying energy-efficient appliances and keeping older ones serviced, as inefficiencies translate into energy waste. And simply minimizing heating and cooling in the home can reduce your individual contribution to climate change while also lowering monthly bills. In cold weather, dress warmly and sleep with warm blankets; in warm weather, dress lightly and open the windows to create drafts; when you go out, turn heat and air conditioning down or off.

Insulating and weather-stripping your house is another great way to reduce energy use. And if your utility offers check-off options for renewable power sources like wind or solar, opt for them, even if it costs a buck or two--a small price to pay for a healthy planet. And plant a few trees in the backyard. Over their lifetimes they’ll remove tons of carbon dioxide that would otherwise contribute to global warming.

Cutting back or eliminating meat and dairy from one’s diet is another great way to fight climate change, while also keeping healthy. Cows used for meat and milk are continuously fed in order to maximize their productivity, and as a result they continually emit methane as they digest. According to Noam Mohr of the non-profit EarthSave, methane gas is 21 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than the carbon dioxide coming out of our tailpipes. Given the massive proliferation of livestock around the globe, these industries are major contributors to global warming. Also, switching from supermarket-based, energy-intensive processed foods that must be shipped long distances to food grown locally can reduce one’s greenhouse gas contribution even more than by switching from a gas-powered mid-size car to a hybrid.

Various climate-related websites, including CarbonFootprint.com and TerraPass.com, offer free online "carbon footprint calculators" so individuals can see and even calculate how their actions contribute to global warming. SafeClimate.net helps businesses of all sizes take action on climate change.


By Buzzle Staff and Agencies
Published: 11/20/2006