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Op/Ed

Tips for post-work productivity when all you want to do is chillax

(EDITORIAL) It is hard to get home from work after a long day and want to do more work. Here are a few tips to make working after work less painful.

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couch productivity tips

The couch sirens calling your name

We’ve all been there. You get home from a long day of work and the only thing you want to do is rip off your bra (ladies say what!), put on your pj’s and veg the eff out. Those days when making a frozen dinner seems too tedious, but delivery will take too long, so you grab cereal instead (probably sans milk). And then there are the really bad days when you just face plant on your bed and maybe never move until the next morning. Ok, maybe this is just my life but still, I feel like some of you can relate.

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But despite all this you know you have other shit you need to get done.

chores for days

Water plants, feed your animal, take care of kids, the list goes on and on. Instead of giving you highly generic ideas and trivial backup as to why you should use them to get things done after a long day at work, I’m going to give you my real life tips.

  1. If you really have stuff to do after work, i.e. errands, make a list. You don’t have to do all of it but do the most important things. One of my favorite life hacks/pro tips was do the errands that are on the way home. That way, even if you only get a few things done, you’ve still been productive. Congratulations.
  2. If you have stuff like laundry or dishes that need to be done, load those appliances up right before bed. I hated running the dishwasher while I slept because it was loud as hell. So I loaded it up at night and threw in the detergent in the AM, wham bam, thank you, mam. Clean dishes when I came home. Same with Laundry. I’d throw the load in at night, soap in the AM and then all I had to do was shove it in the dryer when I got home.
  3. If you aren’t going to fix yourself dinner and you want to eat something good or healthy, plan ahead. Place your to go order before leaving the office. Pick it up on the way home. Donzo.
  4. If you have a pet, once their done eating the time before (for example, my dog eats in the morning and at night), put their next serving in the bowl. My dog practically inhales her food so it’s usually all been eaten by the time I turn around, so I refill it and put it on the counter.
  5. Another pet tip (specifically if you are single), walk them as soon as you get home and right before you go to bed.

The only advice I can give parents/couples is tag team. There are two of you. Break up what can be broken up and give each other the time and space to do what the other needs.

Working after work, yikes

Ok now for the “work” productivity after work issue… (that just sounds wrong). For many of us, our job is 24/7/365, whether we like it or not. At my old job, I would come home after working 6am to 3pm, sleep for a few hours, wake up at 8pm to deal with countries in different time zones and then go back to sleep around midnight, rinse and repeat (I don’t suggest this for anyone, it was living hell). So when I came home I followed the rules above and then threw in these few gems before I hit my first sleep (4pm).

  1. Respond only to the emails that were urgent. They literally had to say urgent or have an urgent flag to get a response.
  2. Grab the mail on the way into the house (if it’s there), if not, it can wait till tomorrow (or until you walk your hypothetical dog or until your S.O. comes home and gets it). Once gotten, cursory glances, organize the important stuff to be dealt with on the weekend and deal with the crap stuff later (or simply throw in the trash). It’s snail mail, come on guys. It can wait.
  3. Check your calendars. We all live and die by them these days. Might as well make sure you know what is going on tomorrow and set reminders if need be.

And that’s it!

the nature of the beast

Remember, productivity, though many people want it to be objective, is entirely subjective. Small changes, concrete ones that is, are the key to productivity.

What’s that old saying, “Don’t put off until tomorrow, what you could do today?” Great quote but in this day and age, I would amend that to say “Put off until tomorrow what isn’t absolutely necessary” and don’t forget to treat yo self, even if that just means take out or a nap.

#productivity

Pam Garner is a Staff Writer for The Real Daily with a bachelor's degree from the University of Texas, currently pursuing her master's degree in graphic and web design. Pam is a multi-disciplined creative who hopes to one day actually finish her book on all of her crazy adventures.

Op/Ed

A hugely dangerous challenge of the Internet of Things

(EDITORIAL) The Internet of Things is here, with all manner of soft AI voices and shiny Bluetooth bits. But how long can we count on it staying?

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LG Alexa internet of things

So, robot apocalypse. The Internet of Things machines have their cold metal fingers all up in our data, our houses, our sand dunes and/or porn.

And for what? What do they offer in exchange for this unprecedented invasion of our day to day lives?

Seamless, user-friendly automation to help with a thousand daily tasks, demonstrably improving our quality of life.

That’s… that’s actually a pretty good offer! Nice work, robots.

It comes with catches, and we’ve covered those, but Day One bumps and blunders are part of owning tech. They generally get engineered out.

What I want to talk about is Day 100, or 1000. Because the important word in “Internet of Things” isn’t “Internet.” We have the Internet. We can confidently expect the Internet to continue being a big deal.

But “things” is an important word. Things are distinct from tech. With tech, buying the thing and futzing with the thing are part of the fun, especially for practicing nerds like your narrator. Tech is new, and the excitement of a new game or a new phone can take the edge off, say, a server crash or a quick trip to tech support and back.

What about things? No early adopter aura in history will get a customer to ignore a fridge full of rotten food. Fridges need to work, period. So does your thermostat and your car. All those things are charter candidates for the full IoT overhaul, and they’re all capital T Things, not tech. They aren’t shiny toys people can live without for a week or four. They’re expected parts of daily life, things that need to work on Day 1, 100, and 1000.

Are companies preparing for that? Are the startups rising out of the blue-light-white-plastic Stuff Renaissance prepared to rebrand as global service providers, doing the hard, unglamorous, absolutely necessary work of digital maintenance?

Bigger question: are they prepared to guarantee security while they do so? Because anything with digitized bits needs patches and updates to function, and if it can download patches and updates, it can download things that are not patches and updates. No one wants to chase a botnet out of their microwave. Are the companies invested in always-on Things standing up and saying they’ll take responsibility for indefinitely securing and maintaining the infrastructure they intend to profit from?

Short answer, no. They’re not. Operations departments tend to be vanishingly small, painfully understaffed, spectacularly underpaid. Let’s be real,: we don’t prioritize stuff like that. We’re talking the digital equivalent of the guy who chases the raccoons out of your HVAC, and that sounds entirely too much like work.

Maintenance is not sexy.

But it’s absolutely necessary. It’s generally just the beginning of a thing. It gets the wheel rolling, and that’s not to be undersold.

But the IoT wheel is most definitely rolling. The issue is keeping it in motion, making it a wifi-level universal usage standard, not a 3DTV fad.

That won’t get done in a meeting. That gets done through long term adoption, and long term adoption will be about attracting, training, and retaining people willing to do the hard work of maintenance and customer support.

The Internet of Things wants to be a major step forward in the infrastructure of daily life. I am incredibly in favor of that. But daily life works because it’s the full time job of a whole lot of people to make sure it does so. So to Internet of Things companies, I say – pay them, treat them well, make your organization the best place in the industry for them, or be left behind by the people who do.

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Op/Ed

Incorporating less stress into your work day

(WORKPLACE) Telling someone to chill when stressed at work is useless advice, so let’s discuss meaningful, tangible ways anyone can stress less at work.

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stress mental health

You can’t avoid all the stress of a job, whether you own your own business or work for someone. It’s important to deal with chronic stress. Long-term, stress will affect your immune system, causing you to get sick more often. It’s linked to heart disease, heart attacks, low fertility and many other health problems. It can make asthma and acid reflux much worse. You have to manage your stress.

How can you incorporate less stress into your work? I have dealt with anxiety all my life. Here are a few of my most effective solutions:

1. Set boundaries

No is a complete sentence. I know my priorities and have to make myself say no to even simple requests. I’ve learned that the less I explain, the more likely I’m going to stick to those boundaries. I can’t stop people from asking me to do something, but I can make sure that I’m getting my work in on time.

2. Don’t wait until the last minute

I’m a horrible example to follow, because I can procrastinate with the best of them. But I’ve found that when I work ahead of deadlines, I am far less stressed. I set imaginary deadlines for myself. If I miss it, I still have time to work. If I don’t, I sleep better because the project is done.

3. Get up away from your desk at least every 60 minutes

Just getting a fresh cup of coffee reminds me to stretch and move. Five minutes away from my screen can help me stay focused on the next project I need to finish. I also try to look away from the computer screen every 10/15 minutes. This reduces eye strain.

4. Leave your work on your desk

Okay, I’ll admit I read emails after hours, but very seldom do I act on them. I’m finding that I need to shut down at 5 or 6 in the afternoon and forget about work. We’re so connected these days that it can be difficult to separate. But you have to. Your family will thank you. Your sanity will thank you.

I’m sure there are more things you can do to relieve your stress. Get a massage. Exercise. Eat healthy. All those things your doctor tells you to do. But before you can practice self-care, you have to prioritize your time and deal with work stress.

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Op/Ed

4 questions to ask yourself every day to change your life

(EDITORIAL) Ask these four questions of yourself daily to improve your personal and business life in a meaningful way.

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introspection ask yourself

My therapist says that people who can be introspective usually get farther in life because of their adaptability. Merriam-Webster defines introspection as “an examination of one’s own thoughts and feelings.”

It’s not easy to look deep into yourself, but it offers many benefits. Through introspection, you can see negative patterns in your life before they get out of control. You can define your own life on your own terms. And you can stop worrying about things you can’t control.

If you need help focusing your introspection, here are some of the questions to ask yourself to make sure you’re on the right track: 


What good shall I do this day? 


Ben Franklin asked himself this question every day as part of his daily routine. I think it’s a great way to remember that your life is about more than your responsibilities and duties. The good you do doesn’t have to be show-stopping. Sometimes, just buying someone a cup of coffee or remembering to stop and smile can make the day special for you and the other person.

Why am I feeling….?

When I get angry or resentful, I know that something is out line. Usually, it’s not because I’m really mad at the other person, I’m upset because I feel as if my boundaries are being infringed upon. Instead of destroying a relationship, I sort out my feelings and try to resolve the problem in peace.

Why am I choosing to do…?

In my family, we used to have a system where we’d give events a score on how much we wanted to do it. This was really helpful when everyone seemed to apprehensive. If we couldn’t get 10 points between all 4 of us, we probably shouldn’t go. (This only works with optional events.) It’s good to ask yourself why to remember you have options.

Who am I spending my time with?

If your friends and family aren’t validating, inspiring and helping you to do better, why are they in your life? It’s hard to breakup, but when people aren’t uplifting, consider minimizing your time with them. Don’t put up with people who drag you down.

Asking these four questions of yourself every day leads to a more introspective life which can improve not only your personal life, but your business life.

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