Power.ME Blog

Productivity News and Advice

So you work hard every day, but do you work smart? Do you know if you are meeting the goals set by both you and your company? Do you know if your hard work is appreciated? It shouldn’t be hard to find out. Getting feedback on your work isn’t just for the low guy on the totem pole; everyone needs some positive and negative feedback to help them improve at what they do.

Why You Should Want It

You don’t need to be afraid of receiving feedback; it’s how you continue to develop your skill set. Asking for it shows others that you want to improve, and when you show you want to improve, others’ respect for you grows. You can benefit from both positive and negative feedback. Not only will you have the chance to make changes in your work, but you’ll be viewed as a conscientious worker, an asset to any company.

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You know those days where everything seems to be going wrong? Or those days when you can’t seem to get on top of things? Or those days when you just want a break? Those days need some kind of reboot, or a way to let go of everything else and get back to the basics: the tasks that need to get done and the things that make you happy.

I recently came across a new principle on another blog. This principle is a way to deal with your day when it has become too much, gotten off track, or lost its sense of purpose. Ellen of Handmade Recess has embraced a philosophy (learned from her friend Jessie) that says when your day gets beyond you and you feel like you’re losing your grip, start your Second Day.

Your Second Day is more than a do-over. It’s a chance to let go and reboot. You back up, do some of the tasks that you need to do to get on top of things, and then do something to make you enjoy your day again. It allows you to finish the hard day right now and start the next “day” without waiting until morning.

Step 1: Decide to Start Your Second Day

Ellen says, “At the very moment when you are just about to give out but your day calls for you to give more, make a shift. Start your Second Day.” Take a deep breath. End the hard day and start a new, fresh day.

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Some say that listening to music at work is an epidemic that is creating a more segregated, individualistic office atmosphere. However, if used properly, music can boost your productivity, ease your mind, and help you get through your day with a positive attitude. We’ve come up with six reasons to listen to music at work. Do you have any other reasons? Leave them in the comments.

1. To minimize distractions

With a set of headphones securely penetrating your ear canals, external sounds are diminished and even eliminated. This means no more gossip distracting you from your work, no more rumors about what projects are being axed, and no more slamming doors jolting you to attention. Headphones can also deter people from bothering you needlessly, meaning they will only ask you for something if they really need it. So block out all external sound and settle in to get some real work done.

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Are you the superhero your company relies on to get things done? With the release of the new Marvel comic-based Avengers blockbuster, people are enthralled with the idea of superheroes. Which Avenger do you most identified with?

The Hulk

Known for his angry disposition and brute strength, the Hulk is basically unstoppable. As Dr. Banner, he is quite intelligent, but to get things done, he takes on his other persona. If you identify with the Hulk, you like to power through any project. You don’t let anyone or anything distract you from your goal. There is no task or project you can’t tackle.

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Power.ME’s new feature makes adding tasks and files a snap. You can add tasks and files to your Power.ME account by sending an email to your own Power.ME email address, which is unique to your account. You can find this email address on the Power.ME Web App in the drop down menu under your account name.

Create a Task

To create a task from an email, draft or forward an email with no attachments. The subject line of the email will become the name of the task, and any text within the email will be added to the notes section of the task. You’ll find your new task in your Power.ME Inbox.

Add a File

To add a document or other file type, attach the file to the email. The title of the attachment will become the title of the new file in your account. Any text within the body of the email will be added to the file’s notes section in Power.ME. You’ll find the file in the No Project section in the Documents view.

Create a New Project/Drawer

To create a new project/drawer through email complete with content, attach more than one file to the email. A drawer will be added to the root level of your Power.ME account containing each of the attachments you sent. The drawer’s title will come from the subject line of your email, and any text in the body of the email will be added to the drawer’s notes section. The titles of the attachments in your email will become the titles of the files in your new project/drawer.

It may take up to two minutes for an email to be processed and added to your account depending on the size and quantity of attachments.

Do not expose your Power.ME email address to other email recipients by including them in the emails you send to your Power.ME account, or by publishing the address on the Internet.

If you feel this email address has been compromised (you’ve been getting spam in your account, for example), you can opt to generate a new one as a security measure.

This Sunday is Mother’s Day, a time to reflect on our mothers and all that they have done for us. Don’t forget to recognize your mother this weekend! I’ve compiled a list of notable lessons we’ve all learned before—likely taught to you by your mother in an effort to make you a productive member of society.

  1. Eat your veggies: Take care of your body, eat good foods, exercise, this is the only body you get!
  2. Clean up after yourself: As you get older, you can see why it’s such a good idea to keep a clean home—it helps with your mental state as well as your productivity levels.
  3. Do unto others what you would have them do unto you: Ahh, the Golden Rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
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“Slow and steady wins the race.”

I had the chance to watch a friend complete her first half marathon last weekend. While I was waiting at mile 10 to cheer her on to the finish, I couldn’t help but notice the running styles of those that went past. At the very front of the pack, there were a few sprinters—you could tell that running was their lifestyle, and they could sprint longer than I would ever hope to be able to jog. For the most part, though, the runners kept a steady pace as they passed me. They weren’t trying to get the race over with, they were trying to pace themselves to be sure their bodies could handle running for that long. After my friend went past (with a cheery “Never do this!” piece of advice), I drove to the finish line to congratulate her when she got there (sounds lazy, I know). Because I drove, though, I was able to see many of the same people cross the finish line that I had watched back at mile 10. And what do you know, they were all still maintaining their steady pace, even across the finish line.

What did I learn from this experience?

Find a pace that works for you

There is a difference between training for a marathon and training for a 100-yard dash. If you are running a 100-yard dash, you’re planning to give your all for a short period of time. A marathon requires more planning, more discipline to train your muscles to handle a long, strenuous effort. Let’s be honest—life is more like a marathon. You never really reach the finish line, because there is always more to do beyond one completed goal. This is why you need to pace yourself. If you try to sprint through life, even through projects, you’ll run out of energy and get burnt out. You need to find a pace that works for you. Sometimes this means starting slow and building up to a faster pace, and sometimes you’re already at a fast pace, and you just need to keep it steady.

Steady rhythm yields higher productivity

Maintaining a life-rhythm over an extended period of time increases your productivity levels. We’ve discussed several methods for burst-based productivity on this blog, and setting a steady life-rhythm should not discount those tried-and-true methods. What I mean is that keeping a steady, productive rhythm in your life will help you reach your goals while minimizing stress levels and avoiding that all-too-feared burnout. If you think “I’ll just work 60 hours this week to get ahead,” it’s likely you’ll either continue working too much or you’ll end up not working much the next week. If you maintain a regular schedule and system for completing tasks and projects, you’ll be able to maintain healthy lifestyle and relationships outside of the office.

Maintaining a healthy pace keeps it fun

If you’re allowing your life to gain momentum and move faster and faster, you may lose sight of why you’re doing what you do, and you’ll likely start focusing on the pain and frustration of moving faster than you have strength or ability. When you stop listening to what your body and mind needs, you won’t have fun. And if you don’t have fun, you won’t want to continue doing what you do. Marathon runners don’t sprint for a mile and walk for three, they maintain a steady pace for the whole 26.2 miles. And because they don’t push themselves beyond their capacity at any point along the trail, they know they can finish the race, and they have fun doing it.

Image by digitalart via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“I’m just not a creative person” is a claim that plagues offices around the country. Are you someone who doesn’t feel creative? The truth is, creativity is a skill you can learn. Phil McKinney, former CTO of HP’s PC division and current innovation consultant, wrote a book on how to become an innovative person. He says, “People seem to think that innovation is a special gift. That someone’s got, they are born with it. That’s bogus. Innovation is a skill that you can learn, practice and become skilled at.”

His book, Beyond the Obvious, gives important strategies for tapping into your creative abilities. Business Insider gives a great synopsis of his strategies, as well.


To figure out how to access your creativity, brainstorm daily about anything. What you brainstorm doesn’t have to be work related, life related, or even earth-shattering—just think of a question you can find solutions for. Keep thinking until you reach 50 ideas, and don’t discount “lame” ideas. McKinney explains, “The first third of your ideas will be obvious, the second third will be challenging. The final third are really hard and where the diamonds are.”

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Is it better to do something once, be recognized once, and be remembered for that one thing? Or is it better to make consistent efforts at gaining attention and reaching your audience? Seth Godin discussed this issue on his blog. He says, “Consistently showing up on the radar of the right audience is more highly prized than reaching the masses, once then done.” Instead of striving for a one-time success—your “15-minutes of fame,” as they say—work to be a consistent and strong presence. Maintaining a strong presence in your industry, no matter what your industry may be, will open up doors for you.

Apply this principle to all areas of your life. Consistency in your quality of work will make you a more effective worker. You will reap benefits from your hard work now, but more importantly, you’ll be continuously reaping long-term benefits as you continually focus your efforts on your target audience.

Depending on your line of work, your target audience may be your coworkers and boss. It could also be the audience affected by or directly interested in the work your produce, as is the case with a writer or blogger. If you’re in marketing or manufacturing, the target audience is the people who want/need/buy your product.

Consistency in Daily Work

Your daily work is on a personal level—you need to find a way to be consistent and ever-present in your immediate workspace. If you work for yourself, pace yourself and make sure you have enough tasks in the pipeline. Strive for continual success throughout your day; keeping your tasks focused and attainable will increase your productivity.

Consistency in Project-based Work

A time-consuming, energy-zapping project may be a necessity in your industry, but smaller, more focused projects will ensure you stay on the radar of your target audience. When you map out your projects, plan for the weeks following a big release, publication, or announcement. What can you do to maintain your presence in the media, among your company, or with clients so that they are impressed with what you produced and still continually reminded of your worth?

Consistency in Networking

A skill applicable in almost every field, networking makes a difference in increasing awareness of your skill set, your product, your promotion, etc. Taking Seth Godin’s advice, it is worth more to maintain networked associations regularly versus “once and done.” Not only will you be better recognized if you make realistic and lasting network contacts, but in the future, you’ll be able to rely on these contacts to get your message heard. Consistent relationships will benefit your business, profitability, and even productivity.

Image by sheelamohan via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A Power.ME Professional Android update is available from Google Play. Go download it today to get the latest version of your favorite productivity app.

The update includes a bug fix for a syncing problem in the previous version, as well as a widget. With the widget, you can easily add tasks, notes, and projects. You can also add content via voice command or jump straight into certain views within the app, e.g. task lists, project lists, etc.