Does the mountain of paperwork on your desk make you feel overwhelmed?
Do you sometimes feel stressed/upset/tired for no particular reason at all?
Do you wish you can get your work done faster so you have more time for your family, your hobbies, or simply, for surfing Facebook?
Then you need the 3Ms.
What are they? They are Mood, Motivation and Method.
Why am I “qualified” to share with you about the 3Ms? Here’s why:
Just a week ago, my workdesk (I’m a full-time blogger so my room’s my office) looked like that – a complete, utter mess! Totally unbelievable! Fellow bloggers will be able to understand – you get press kits, notes and all sorts of junk piling up in no time if you don’t systematically bin them.
Then I read a book at the library and it changed my life. Seriously. You can purchase the book HERE.
Today, my desk looks like this:
It is still not as minimalist as the author, Leo Babauta, would like. But I think it is already a HUGE improvement from the junkyard it was previously.
So the first M to increase your productivity at work is to do whatever it takes to put yourself in a good MOOD!
You can start by clearing the clutter (dump the old bills, newspaper cuttings, expired coupons, etc), giving away what you no longer use (such as my hole puncher, as I don’t do any more filing), and ensuring that sitting at your desk puts you in a happy mood.
Remember: your external environment reflects your internal environment – messy outside, messy inside.
You can also establish a ritual to get you into the mood for working. When I worked in an office previously, my morning ritual would be to visit the washroom first, then brew a cup of tea when I am back at my desk, and finally get my laptop out of my bag and get started with tackling the emails. Hence, a daily ritual helps you get into the mood of being ready for work.
The second M you’d want to note is Motivation. All of us need motivation. And I believe all of us have post-it pads on our desks. So write down some motivational quotes to inspire you and stick them where you’ll see them. Here are some of mine:
And since Chinese New Year is just around the corner:
You can stick them one on top of the other and peel off the top one every day and stick it at the back. They are reusable!
Finally, the last M you need to know is Method. There are efficient ways of getting things done, and there are inefficient ways of getting things done. So find the right method.
For instance, everyone knows we should prioritize the tasks for the day. But not everyone does it. We usually just do first what seems simpler, more fun or because the boss says so.
I write down the tasks that need to be done today on post-its:
Then I arrange them according to the sequence in which they should be done – with the highest priority tasks at the top:
Then after I complete each task, I remove that post-it. It gives me a sense of achievement, akin to striking off an item on your to-do list.
And when it comes to reading material, bookmarks often fall out, we forget which was the last paragraph we read, and we waste time trying to locate it. I use post-it flags to clearly point me to the last word I set my eyes upon, and I carry on reading from there, with no time wasted at all:
*Psst… They don’t fall out!*
I use the larger post-its to remind me of things I need to do after switching off the computer – I write them down on the post-it and it’s the first thing I see after the computer’s shut down.
This way, when I am working, I have peace of mind. I don’t have to worry about that errand I need to do later as it’s all written down and I know I’ll see the note when the computer’s shut down.
When I worked in an office previously, I used to leave things (e.g. cream puffs) in the pantry fridge and forget to take them home when I leave the office. And most of the items would be left to rot in the fridge or miraculously disappear by the next day! Then I thought of this brilliant idea of writing notes like “Bring cream puffs home” and sticking them onto my laptop, so that I’ll definitely see them when it’s time to pack up and go home. Genius, isn’t it?
So there you have it – the 3Ms (Mood, Motivation, Method) that will help you be more productive at work and allow you to have more time for a lot of those things that matter MORE.
And this is what I look like when I’m working at home (makeup-less, don’t judge):
And finally, a super cool video about what some (crazy) people have been doing with post-its. Do not try this in the office, well, unless you work for 3M. Hur hur:
p/s: Do you have a tip for working smarter and staying happier at work? Share your tips via this Facebook contest and stand to win S$1000 worth of travel vouchers. Share them HERE.