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Close Facebook & Get Back to Work: 4 Tips To Increase Productivity

Life gets busy. Really busy. For the past 3 months I have graduated from College, worked as a Marketing Intern at PepsiCo, and grown as co- founder of a social-networking startup called Hinow, with already a 1st place in a startup contest. Oh, and I got engaged (yes, she is the most beautiful woman in the world). For 3 months, I have been busy for 14 hours a day, 6 days a week. Enough of “me, myself and I” and let’s read how you can improve your productivity and conquer the world. Reading this article will not make you better. Putting it into action everyday, will.

1. Organize your calendar

It all starts with knowing where you are, scheduling your agenda and always structuring time allocation. Your personal and professional commitments, deadlines, projects, follow- ups and everything else should be well registered. Also take in consideration the tasks that arise, either small or big, and keep track of them. My main example on this subject is my father: ask him what he did in the first weekend of March 1985. He will go straight into the garage, pick up the 1985 notebook and describe what happened that day. Amazing.

– tech-savy crowd: set up a Google or iCloud calendar across your smartphone and laptop and always rely on your agenda and reminders apps
– paper-savy crowd: buy a good notebook with weekly calendar and reminder section
– update and refresh your calendar constantly so to release your mind to what matters
– do not over-organize with multiple apps or too many records to keep, as that will be counterproductive. It is the so-called false-productivity trap. Keep it simple

2. Work is work, cognac is cognac

(Portuguese expression that settles the difference between work and fun. Really good to impress white-collar circles)

Every single person has its own work flow and balance between working hours and break- taking. I have recently watched the film “The Internship” and it proved my point. Even in a workspace like Google, where free-time, having fun, creating relationships and napping are encouraged, people work really hard. Take my advice and clearly separate work from everything else. When working be working. Dedicate your whole self to it and do not let social networking, NBA free agency nor fashion blogs interrupt you. This way, you will be more productive when you are on the clock and relax more on spare times.

– focus on what you are doing
– close those non-related tabs, don’t let your mind travel – reward yourself with pleasant free time
– install Pocket and save interesting articles for later

3. Post-it it

Take good note of the I-will-not-forget-this-so-no-need-to-write-down variety. Remember that epic scene from “Bruce Almighty” where he handled worldwide prayers with post-its? Copy that. Life is made of details, small pieces of information that make a huge difference. Don’t assume you can remember everything you hear – you can’t. Small tips from your boss, tasks from colleagues, sudden thoughts and messages may be really useful, and the way you handle them will affect your productivity. Deeply.

– tech-savy crowd: Reminders App, Evernote, Wunderlist, Notability… – paper-savy friends: p-o-s-t-i-t!
– write the present to future memory
– pay attention to details

4. Do not procrastinate. Never. Ever. Ever. Ever.

Answer to emails. Handle tough clients. Right away. Don’t let problems and tasks pile up. Be ready to do things you don’t like first and then enjoy doing the ones you love. Start tasks earlier, create a habit of finishing projects sooner, invest quality time in projects, allow your full potential to be unleashed. Take advantage of working hours to be really productive. Learn to say ‘yes’ when your mind says ‘no’.

– answer to emails, do small tasks as soon as they arrive as long as they are useful or mandatory
– start from the tasks you dislike
– invest quality time in projects
– get used to finish before the deadline
– build a culture of excellence, where you expect more from you than anyone else

May you follow the small tips and the mindset-changing advices above-mentioned. Be bold, work hard, invest and dedicate time to projects and tasks that matter and are relevant. Don’t waste work time over-organizing, surfing the web nor performing useless tasks.

I’m cheering for you. If you need any further tip or best practice, do not hesitate on contacting me through twitter or comment below. Feedback on the article would be much appreciated.

Francisco Cabral is a co-founder of the Lisbon-native location-based social network startup hinow, Marketing Trainee at PepsicCo and student of Management at NOVA School of Business & Economics. You can follow him on twitter @francicocabral

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