The 3Ms To Increase Your Productivity At Work

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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? :D

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:

Messy Table

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.

The Simple Guide To A Minimalist Life

Today, my desk looks like this:

Neat Table

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:

An obstacle is often a stepping stone

Forgive Everyone Everything

And since Chinese New Year is just around the corner:

Want to eat bak kwa

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! :D

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:

tasks

Then I arrange them according to the sequence in which they should be done – with the highest priority tasks at the top:

ranked

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!*

flags

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.

On my netbook

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! :P 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):

Blogging at home

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.

Meet The Entrepreneurs Charity Concert 2012 and visit to Dignity Kitchen

(Photo Credit: MTE on Facebook)

This week is proving to be a soul-stirring one. What with the Meet The Entrepreneurs (MTE) Charity Concert on Monday and my visit today to Dignity Kitchen.

What an interesting coincidence too that while reading Robin Sharma’s book ‘The Secret Letters Of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’ this morning, I chanced upon this passage:

“With every person we engage, in everything we do, we must be kinder than expected, more generous than anticipated, more positive than we thought possible. Every moment in front of another human being is an opportunity to express our highest values and to influence someone with our humanity. We can make the world better, one person at a time.”

The passage encapsulates neatly the message that both the charity concert and my visit to Dignity Kitchen gave me.

Thanks to Andrew Chow from Ideamart, I got my first media invite to a charity concert. :)

The charity concert was organised by local entrepreneurs and spearheaded by Roger Koh, CEO of Chen Fu Ji International F&B Group. It warmed my heart as it showed me that there are many entrepreneurs who (in Roger’s words) care about “love, giving and sharing”.  Funds were raised for Club Rainbow which helps children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses and their families, and Dignity Kitchen, a hawker training school for the disabled and the disadvantaged.

One of the highlights for the evening was definitely Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s performance.

I particularly liked too, the Talkshow by Patrick Liew (CEO of HSR). While the Talkshow was hilarious and most enjoyable, the inspiring message that Patrick left us with was “If you have to talk, speak words of life. Inspire, motivate people and make them greater than before they met you”.

Upon the invitation of another of the MTE committee members, Ashley Ella Choo from One HR Concierge, I visited Dignity Kitchen today.

The 14,000sft foodcourt had stalls mainly manned by students of Dignity Kitchen and can be recognised by the logo:

I also got to meet Alson, who works at the noodle stall. He suffers from cerebral palsy and has difficulty cooking the noodles. Can you guess how Dignity Kitchen assists him?

 Second from left: Alson

They put together a special noodle machine with pre-set timers and which will lift the cooked noodles up automatically:

I think it’s an amazing invention! The bonus is that there’s quality control and the noodles always taste good! :)

Other innovations include the talking calculator and the cash registers affixed with Braille stickers to aid the visually impaired. I applaud all at Dignity Kitchen for going all out to assist the disadvantaged and helping them live fulfilling lives with dignity.

For one, Dignity Kitchen provides its students with $30 training allowance for each day of the 6-8 weeks training course that they attend. They do this to help solve the financial woes of the students first. Also, classes are conducted between 10am and 4pm so students can avoid the peak hours when taking public transport!

Their hard work has clearly paid off with the 100% passing rate for the NEA’s Food Hygiene Basic Test!

Here’s what our President, Dr Tony Tan, had to say about Dignity Kitchen:

Instead of donations, Dignity Kitchen prefers sponsorships for the elderly from old folks’ homes to lunch at Dignity Kitchen. I think that’s really awesome as every dollar goes toward meals for the elderly and also rewards the disabled and disadvantaged for their hard work in preparing and serving the food!

Dear friends, come on down to Dignity Kitchen at 1 Kaki Bukit View, #01-01 Techview Building (opposite Bedok North Secondary School). I loved the experience – the food not only filled my belly, the students’ warmth and friendliness (and innocence too!) lifted my spirits! :)

You and I can make a difference in the life of at least one person this year and we can “make the world better, one person at a time”.