Don’t Feel Like Doing Anything? Try This!

Getting up in the morning and working on your own (as a freelancer or an online business owner) can be tough.

And trust me, I know. There were times when I couldn’t get started no matter what. There was just so much resistance that I couldn’t fight it.

This isn’t necessarily about laziness. The problem is that if you’re working for yourself then there are so many different things you can do that you simply don’t know where to start. Everything’s too damn confusing.

Thankfully, I found a way of handling those bad days and getting quite a lot of stuff done anyway. It’s nothing fancy, just a couple of simple activities that get me going.

Feel free to check out my guest post at pickthebrain.com to learn what the trick is:

What to Do When You Don’t Feel Like Doing Anything

What’s your approach when a bad day hits you with no warning?

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Don’t Feel Like Doing Anything? Try This! | newInternetOrder.com

What Being Drunk and Productivity Have in Common

Being drunk and being productive is not exactly the most fortunate pair, is it? But quite surprisingly the two have a lot in common.

For instance, when you’re drunk, you usually feel like the king of the world. You can do anything, achieve every goal, and so on … at least in your mind. The truth, of course, is exactly the opposite.

And that’s quite similar to what happens when you’re working and feeling really efficient. Efficiency is the holy grail of most employees, entrepreneurs, other business people, and essentially everyone who’s not unemployed. So what’s the problem with efficiency? Well, just like being drunk, it’s an illusion.

To find out what I’m on about, check out my guest post at The Productivity Pro Blog:

Being Drunk vs. Productivity

What’s your take on the concept of efficiency? Does my approach make any sense to you? Finally, do you think that being falsely efficient can kill your productivity?

 

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What Being Drunk and Productivity Have in Common | newInternetOrder.com

Not Feeling Productive Today? Try This Simple Approach

boredNot every day is mighty productive … I’m sure you can relate to this. Sometimes you just don’t feel like doing anything valuable even though you know you should.

Being able to come to work with the same amount of productivity in you every day is next to impossible. And by coming to work I also mean working for yourself from your home office.

Thankfully, there are some things we can do to help us remain productive. Actually, there’s a massive amount of those things, which I’m sure you know if you’ve been on the internet for any amount of time. But today I just want to show one simple approach – the one I’m using for over two years now.

First of all, I don’t trust myself. I don’t believe that “me” is the best possible person to entrust my productivity to. That’s why I’m using a system – something that can’t possibly fail because there’s no human factor, just rules and guidelines.

So here’s what I do.

1. Warm up

The first thing I do in the morning (at least the first thing related to work) is warming up a little. I’ve been talking about warming up for quite a while now in a number of guest posts and also a couple of times on this blog, so let me just briefly sum up the whole thing.

A warm up is something that helps you to get going. Just like with physical exercise. You can’t go to the gym and start with heavy weights right from the get-go if you want to get out of the gym alive.

Here it’s not a matter of life and death, but not warming up can still cause some problems later on during your day.

A perfect warm up task is something you can do without any effort. Something that’s easy, can be done fast, and does not require any preparation, yet it is still related to what you’ll be doing throughout your workday.

For instance, something that works very good for me is writing an online journal. Each day I start my work by writing a 200-500 word entry about WHATEVER.

This sets my mind up in a certain direction and lets me switch to my main tasks more smoothly.

Of course, you can start with something else. As an online business owner you can probably do things such as: blog commenting, forum posting, checking your stats, and so on.

However, don’t start with email. Email is tricky and it can trap you in the inbox for long hours.

2. Review and plan

This is a good point to review what you did yesterday and plan your work for today.

Please, don’t make your to-do list too packed with tasks. There’s no point it completing half of your planned tasks, and then feeling bad that you didn’t handle the rest. There’s a simple solution to this – don’t plan to do too much stuff!

If you’ve been doing what you’re doing for more than two months then I’m sure you can estimate how much stuff you can handle in a day pretty accurately, so just stick to this.

Now, each day should have one (only one) critical task. A critical task is something that has to be done in a given day, or the day has to be considered a wasted one.

In plain English, this is a task you absolutely have to do.

3. Start with simple tasks

Your critical task is most likely something that requires a fair amount of work and might not be that easy. Therefore, it’s not the best thing to start your day with. Going with something simple is a lot better idea.

Go through your to-do list and find one or two tasks that won’t be that hard to handle and you’ll probably be done with them in half an hour.

This is just another form of warming up, but this time you’re doing a specific thing, not your general warm up task.

The point here is to get you going at full velocity. Remember, getting started is always the most difficult part. Once you get to your top speed of working, maintaining it is a lot easier.

4. Handling the critical task

Now is time to get your critical task done.

… Not much I can say about it, really. You’re the one doing the work, so you probably know best what you need in order to complete your critical task.

The only general advice I have for you here is to set your resources in place before you start working on your critical task. That way you won’t have to interrupt your work to find a given piece of information.

And let me say this again, having more than one critical task set for a day is too many. If at this point you still feel that you have at least 4-5 critical things to do in your every workday then they probably are not that critical after all… You should probably reevaluate what you’re doing.

5. Complete the rest of your tasks

Since you’re done with your critical task, now you can handle the rest of the items on your to-do list.

The advice I have here is not to overwork and spend the whole night up doing stuff just because it’s on your to-do list.

If you can’t finish your whole to-do list in 6-8 hours then you’re working too much. And I really mean it … 6-8 hours is enough. The point is not to work much, it is to work effectively.

The lesson here: Plan less stuff in the future.

Having frequent breaks

The final advice in this guide is about having frequent breaks, something I haven’t mentioned yet.

My perfect approach for working is to follow such a schedule (and again, this isn’t the first time I’m talking about it):

  • work for 50 minutes,
  • have a 10 minute break,
  • work for another 50 minutes,
  • have a 30 minute break,
  • repeat.

So there you go … my system of remaining productive for long periods of time. Even when I’m not feeling productive on certain days, I can usually get going anyway by following this system.

I hope this approach will turn out to be effective for you too. In the meantime, feel free to shoot me a comment and let me know what you think about this whole thing.

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Not Feeling Productive Today? Try This Simple Approach | newInternetOrder.com

How to Set Up a Standing Desk (and Why)

Today’s post is a little different. I’m switching from the online world for a minute to show you how, and why, you should set up a standing desk.

A what?! – Says you.

Well, the idea of a standing desk is quite simple – it’s just a desk that you’re standing by, instead of sitting at.

At first, this doesn’t sound right at all, so let me address some of the FAQs right away:

Is a standing desk suitable for long-hour work?

No.

But before you dismiss the whole idea, think whether it’s really a flaw… Chances are that if you need a working environment where you can spend long hours, you need to find a different job.

Working long hours was never healthy. Nor profitable. Nor productive.

The truth is that you gain maximum productivity when you work in short spans of time, divided by frequent breaks. Not when you sit 12h+ in front of a computer and pretend to work.

Is it possible to sit down if you feel like it?

Yes.

You just need to use a different kind of chair. One that’s taller than a standard office chair. (More on that later.)

If you’re doing something more passive in nature, like reading an article or checking your website’s stats, you can sit down for a while. But when it comes to standard active work I advise you to create a new habit of standing. So treat your chair as an addition to the whole setup, not as an integral part of it.

Is it more expensive than a normal desk?

No.

Actually, it’s cheaper, and I’m going to show you why in a minute.

Is it difficult to get it and set it up?

One word: IKEA.

Why having a standing desk improves your productivity

The reason is very simple. When you’re standing you tend to get your work done faster. You don’t want to be standing 3 hours by your desk like an idiot procrastinating on stuff, right?

There’s no time to go on Facebook or watch a quick YouTube video when you’re standing. All common distractions like this simply cease to exist, they no longer make sense.

Now the big issue. If you’ve been working 8 or even 10+ hours until now, you may think that you simply won’t be able to get the same amount of work done in less time.

I can’t promise what the outcome will be in your case, but for me, switching to a standing desk enabled me to get my work done much faster and also have more free time.

How to organize your time

The method I use focuses on having short periods of intense work, divided by a number of breaks.

Here’s what I do:

  • Work for 50 minutes.
  • Have a 10 minute break.
  • Work for 50 minutes.
  • Have a 30 minute break.
  • Repeat the process.

I use a stopwatch to make sure that I follow the above guidelines exactly. For me, it works more than great.

I hope that by now you’re at least interested in the whole idea, so let’s get down to business and teach you how to build a standing desk.

How to build a standing desk

I wouldn’t advise you to buy a standing desk just like that. It will be ultra expensive for no apparent reason. Building one yourself is a lot better solution.

Here’s my current desk, made from stuff found at Ikea:

IMG_4386

and the top part:

IMG_4387

Final cost … around $110 (your mileage may vary depending on your location; I do my shopping in Poland).

What I did there is an “Ikea hack,” so to speak. I simply bought some standard elements and combined them into a standing desk.

Here’s an exact step-by-step guide:

1. Get two EXPEDIT Shelving units

Link ($39.99 x2): http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80135298/#/20135300

There are different colors available, so you’re sure to find something that fits your home office.

IMG_4389

2. Get one VIKA AMON Table top

The exact table top you should get depends on how big you want to make your workspace.

Here are some possibilities:

3. Get one LACK Wall shelf

This is where you put your screens ($14.99): http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10159099/

4. Get one set of CAPITA Legs

This is what you use to mount the table top on the EXPEDIT Shelving units. Get the tallest legs possible – 8 ” ($14): http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20049538/

Here’s my setup:

IMG_4392

IMG_4393

5. Put it all together

This is the fun part. Start by constructing the shelving units normally, according to the instructions.

Then take the table top and screw the four CAPITA legs to the bottom of it (like you see on the picture above). You’ll end up with an ultra-low table.

Now just place this table on top of the shelving units.

Next you take the LACK Wall shelf and place it on the table top. For getting the perfect height I advise you to use some books you no longer read, like I did:

IMG_4395

That’s it, your standing desk is ready.

What about the chair?

Ah, right. You can get one, why not.

Traditional bar stools work great for standing desks, or any other type of tall chairs (you can get one at Ikea as well).

Here are mine:

IMG_4399

This one’s from Ikea:

IMG_4401

There you have it – getting a standing desk in one trip to Ikea.

What’s your take on this? Do you think that the whole idea of standing when working can be good for you?

Also, you can visit my gallery at Flickr to get high quality versions of the above photos. They are all Creative Commons, so you can use them anywhere you want (with attribution).

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How to Set Up a Standing Desk (and Why) | newInternetOrder.com