Friday, January 3, 2014

Get Organized for the New Year

It's that time of year for New Year's resolutions. Is one of yours to be more organized and productive at work? Here are a few out of the box suggestions for you:

  1. Exercise: Take a short brisk walk, do some yoga stretches, do a quick workout. Exercise reduces stress, and when you're less stressed you are better able to focus and get your work done efficiently. Researchers in Sweden discovered that people who take exercise breaks are more productive even when they work fewer hours. They are also healthier (sitting for extended times is not great for your health), and this translates into reduced rates of absence due to illness.
  2. Schmooze: Turns out folks who develop friendships with work colleagues are happier, communicate better, and work harder. A study from Tel Aviv University found that people who socialize at work are not only more productive, their bodies release hormones that contribute to better health. So go ahead - chat with your co-workers, tell a joke, share a potluck lunch - it's good for you and for your nonprofit.
  3. Stand up: When you stand, whether while talking on the phone or at meetings, you get to the point faster and make decisions more efficiently. And your meetings and phone calls will be shorter. You could even try the latest fad - a standup desk.
  4. Listen to music: Believe it or not, research from the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that listening to your favorite music improves job performance - because it makes you feel happier plus drowns out external noise and commotion. Case in point: problem solving and accuracy improves when surgeons listen to their own favorite soundtracks.
  5. Break things down: Do you tend to put big difficult tasks at the bottom of your to-do list? All of us have jobs we just don't like to do, or that feel too daunting to begin. Don't put them off forever. Instead, get motivated by breaking challenging jobs into smaller, more manageable pieces. All of a sudden, that big job will begin to feel possible - and you'll get the satisfaction of crossing something off your list.
  6. Manage your emails: Are you drowning in email? Send fewer emails - and you'll get fewer in return Do you check your emails constantly throughout the day? Plan designated time slots for checking email, and resist that compelling email ding at all other times. Resolve to be specific and strategic about your email communications this year. Don't let email manage you - manage your email so you can focus on important jobs and goals to further your nonprofit mission.

Happy newly organized New Year to you all!