Multitasking Mania 

It’s crazy how life takes hold of us – really, truly – it is. Today, it has become commonplace to feel the need to reach a certain level of “multitasking mania” of whatever, to be “successful” or productive. 

Let’s rephrase, we have gotten into the mentality that we have to be achieving 15 things at once for the day to be truly made worthwhile. 

Why do so many of us still insist on undertaking multiple things at once as a way of increasing our productivity? 

Technology was supposedly invented to make our lives easier, not motivate us to simultaneously communicate, engage and work across six different platforms or technologies. Yet, that’s exactly what’s happened.

There are numerous studies, which have explored the effects of how multitasking fundamentally increases the stress and anxiety within our daily lives, which then of course, negatively impacts our mood, motivation, and productivity.

To this end, it all becomes counterproductive! 

The crux: iStratus is here to help reduce your need to multitask. Prioritizing is always key to avoiding the mind boggle. In this article, we’re going to address 5 worthy reasons why you should begin switching your multitasking habits more towards “solo-tasking” instead.

  1. Multi Tasks = Multi Mistakes

Logically, when undertaking several things at once, your mind is divided between them all, so it’s a typical knock-on effect that errors will multiply. According to research in the UK, multitasking makes filtering out irrelevant information difficult. In the end, there will undoubtedly be some cross-firing and mental mix-ups between tasks.

Can we afford these mistakes? Likely not. Thus, each task should have full attention, solo.

  1. Your Brain is in Overload Mode

By juggling multiple objectives at once, your mind simply isn’t fully focused on any given task. Have you ever been introduced to someone new and then instantly forgotten what their name was? 

– Hands up folks.

This happens because our mind is distracted by something else and doesn’t retain that new piece of information provided.

This inability to concentrate can indeed impact your professional life but there are implications upon the personal aspects as well. When we’re not living in the present, we are essentially only half-available.

  1. Creativity is Stifled

You may recall, we’ve mentioned in previous iStratus articles focussing on too many tasks at once, your working memory is left conjuring up ideas and concepts. 

When that overload occurs we stop accessing other areas of our frontal lobe that are there to be used for critical thinking and creativity.

  1. Multitasking is a Waste of Time

In an attempt to complete small, seemingly insignificant tasks while trying to close out a larger one, the mind has to reset itself each time it shifts from task to task.

Therefore we are unable to maintain what’s known as our “flow states”. You have probably experienced this before. For example:

While reading an email working from home, the phone rings, kids require feeding or the dog needs a wee walk that cannot wait. 

An hour and a half an hour later, you find yourself back at your laptop having to re-read that email, surprised by how much you’ve already forgotten due to the interruption. 

Increasing that feeling of anxiety, which habitually plagues people who regularly have to divide their attention multiple ways.

Professionally, maintaining flow states undeniably increases productivity!

  1. Are You Living?

The truth is: Connecting with your immediate surroundings or interacting fully with other human beings is what gives us can that sense of deep fulfillment.

By considering the reasons listed above it’s quite easy to see why the idea of effective multitasking is a bit of a myth.

“Energy is the essence of life. Every day you decide how you’re going to use it by knowing…what it takes to reach that goal, and by maintaining focus.”
~ Oprah Winfrey

As humans, we want to accomplish things that matter. 

So, what do you do from here? iStratus recommends these methods to strengthen productivity and cut back your stress levels:

  • Keep your work routine structured as best you can throughout the day. For instance: Undertake those more creative tasks in the morning, then take a short coffee or tea break, before proceeding to address each task you need to complete. (Separately of course)!
  • Share some of your weekly goals and accomplishments with family and friends. When you publicly commit to achieving certain priorities it often motivates you to finalize things on your To-Do List. Acknowledging achievements helps too.
  • Pause checking your emails every hour or three. Avoid “running” to answer your emails immediately. Sometimes it’s necessary to “train” people (yourself included) not to expect immediate responses. You need time and space to focus on the things that require addressing in the now!

Are you still convinced multitasking is productive? We’re not so sure it is. Why not try letting iStratus become your one stop-app for avoiding “multitasking mania”?

Live life and roll well with iStratus.

Time Management For Moms

What do you do when motherhood is your greatest gift, but it eats into minutes of your day so there’s no room for much else?

Time Management For Moms

As a working Mom, “life’s busy”, is an understatement. Chances are, the life you had pre-kids leaves the very definition of “busy” in its wake. Spare time is now both elusive and valuable.

As mentioned above, motherhood is one of the greatest gifts a woman will ever experience, however along with it comes the immense pressure of holding up “the fort” and everyone in it. In most cases, Moms, have their lives choreographed right down to the last minute, just to fit everything in.  But, for a minute or 10, what about upholding Mom herself?

No bones about it, it’s not selfish for Moms to consider their well-being for a moment. The truth is, even the busiest Moms can create some space for breathing room aside from even the craziest day on the planet. 

Fifteen Minutes Of Peace

Whether for work, for others or to care for themselves (the latter is best), a bunch can be achieved in those “sacred minutes.”— For working Moms, a 15-minute window can have an hour’s worth of potential to “chill”.

Our tips below, aren’t exactly anything new for “finding time”, however, we do hope working Moms find some useful ways of doing more with iStratus to take 5 precious minutes, with less time available. We honestly think – Moms Rule!

Set Boundaries with Work Hours

Life commitments and work responsibilities will fluctuate, so it’s important to verify what expectations there are. If your boss typically calls or emails after hours, you need to decide whether this is suitable and what your boundaries are. Sticking to your calendared timeslots makes your work schedule clear. It’s ok to set weekends exclusively for the family if you’re able to.

Set Realistic Daily Goals

A To-Do List is useless if it’s unattainable. Use iStratus to record achievable tasks only.

What’s the benefit of overwhelming yourself? Set daily goals that are realistic enough to finish. Don’t forget, nothing is set in concrete, you can “roll-over” tasks, and/or if you have time to, you can always address more than was planned.

Avoid Multitasking 

Focusing on the task at hand increases performance. When you’re at work, try not to worry about your son or daughter’s calculus homework, or forwarding your spouse, the weekly shopping list from iStratus for Saturday. Address that on Saturday.

Perfection Doesn’t Exist

Therefore it’s unachievable. Instead of holding on to intangible ideals (aka being the “perfect” Mom), use iStratus to establish practical goals for yourself. Schedule that yoga session you’ve been delaying today.

Be Present

Speaking of yoga: Mindfulness and practices such as meditation improve focus, which drives productivity. Block time in iStratus to relax and avoid burnout at both home and work. Embrace the method that speaks to you and zone in.

Set Time For Sleep

If nothing else, prioritize your sleep so that you can thrive, not bomb dive. Schedule sleep like you would any other activity and commit to a reasonable bedtime (for you and the kids too. It’s worth it for everyone). That way, the next day is functional. Ultimately time is wasted with sleep deprivation.

Take Hiatuses From Cyberspace

Surfing the net can be a major time killer for both parents and children. A “little” break can evolve into hours, there’s no way of getting back. We recommend, setting reminders in iStratus to establish limits on family screen time and then make it a habit to unplug once that limit is reached.

The Power of “No.”

Saying no can feel intimidating, however, it’s a skill that frees up time on your agenda you wouldn’t otherwise have. Furthermore, enforcing your limits teaches your kids the value of clear boundaries and priorities too.

Let It Go – And There’s That Word Again: “Delegate”

Relinquishing control and learning to let someone else “handle it” is tough, but it is also necessary to allow other people to pitch in and pull their weight. Delegating tasks is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it’s important to have support from your network.

“Let it go” and consent to other people in your life managing their responsibilities. This includes children, spouses, and colleagues.

“The time to relax is – when you don’t have time for it.”
~ Sidney J. Harris

With effective organizing and planning in iStratus, you can “get it done” in time as a mom — and still have those precious moments of freedom left over. Just think smart (you know how to) and implement a few rules into your daily routine. 

Once you do, you’ll discover there’s always room for something new, exciting, and compassionate towards yourself. You’ve more than earned it and you deserve it. Moms rule!

Live life and roll well with iStratus.

Take Action From “High To Low”

Whether it’s brilliant ideas or the exciting possibilities that await us, most of us have many more activities noted on our “bucket lists,” than the time readily available to work on them.  In short, there’s never enough time to do everything we want to do. It’s a universal hitch.

We can easily bog ourselves down in time-depleting, low-yield tasks that prevent us from moving forward. 

In a world where alerts and notifications pop up on us for everything under the sun, it is imperative to distinguish which alerts are critical and which alerts can be addressed later. 

It really doesn’t matter which technique you use. In our App, you can blend parts of different techniques to create your own custom method that feels right, and get to work.

Read on to take action on your priorities. Check-in on that bucket list. Let iStratus, help you structure things from “high to low” to make the most of your time, and keep it flowing that way, today…

What’s The Priority?

You have 40 tasks upon your list, and before the “worst-case scenario” towards underachievement rears its ugly head, ask yourself: Which one of those things is the most important?

For iStratus, our prioritization “Flags” and “High to Low” preferences support your answer to that question, with an immediate method for quickly evaluating the necessity of each task on your list. We believe, through informed decision making, you’re more likely to: 

  • Do what is required to complete tasks.
  • Recognize what you don’t need to do, and as we like to say: “Roll Up”.
  • Work out exactly when you need to focus on certain tasks and
  • Accomplish what needs addressing next in line.

Prioritization Tackles Two Significant Matters:

Everything is Critical! If you feel like you spend your day extinguishing fires, because everything is considered to be “urgent”, at work or home – we hear you!

Use iStratus to establish a succinct prioritized list and regain control of your own time, pushing back any unreasonable last-minute expectations or requests.

Prioritized lists can be an effective armor against delays and distractions. For instance, any new, work-related ‘urgent’ demands can potentially be refuted with evidence of clear priorities, and the cuts that would be required for such accommodations. In the long run, prioritization and productivity should aim to be improved, even if, it’s in the smallest of ways. Our brains love to procrastinate and deter us from accomplishing important work.

Speaking of: Should you really answer that email? It’s not rocket science, if you constantly enable incoming emails to influence your list of priorities, you’ll find it difficult to get ahead. That’s not to say recurring important documents needing attention should be ignored. 

We simply mean, sometimes a delayed reply to an email is justified when you’re attending to what needs to be focused on first and foremost.

“Of course, our failures are a consequence of many factors, but possibly one of the most important is the fact that society operates on the theory that specialization is the key to success, not realizing that specialization precludes comprehensive thinking.”

~ R. Buckminster Fuller

Rate It, We Say.

Thinking about the ‘High to Low’ points we mentioned earlier, research suggests, the MoSCoW process (pronounced like Russia’s Capital) is a humble technique for the resourceful distribution of every task into one of four categories:

  • M – The Must Do’s (M): Are rated as such for immediate attention.
  • S – The Should Do’s (S): Are the ‘Should Do’ tasks that are important, but they’re not as critical.
  • C – The Could Do’s (C): Are the cream of the crop, kind of To-Do’s. You’d like to do them, but if you don’t, it’s unlikely to be a big deal.
  • W – The Won’t Do’s (W): Are things that really aren’t worth doing. Hello, procrastination!

Use the MoSCoW technique in Stratus, to evaluate your To-Do list. By the end, you should be able to see your tasks inflow, from top to bottom in accordance with their priority. Any W tasks should be deleted.

If you consistently address your list from the top-down, you’ll always feel a sense of focus and direction.

Hey, by the way – we recognize, some days you might feel off base, and that’s okay. Remember, there’s always more than one way of doing things. 

You might find, iStratus works better for you in 5 Simple Steps known as the “Ivy Method”:

  1. Conclude every workday identifying the six most crucial tasks remaining on your list for tomorrow.
  2. Order those in terms of priority.
  3. Set to work in the morning, focusing on task number one until it’s done.
  4. Complete tasks in sequential order.
  5. Continue until all six tasks are complete (preferably). Repeat this process daily.

Bottom line: Do what works. 

Which elements work best for you?

Live life and roll well with iStratus.

Revitalize Your Workspace with ‘Balance’

What does your day look like? Are you balancing?

 No, not checks. Yourself. Whether we’re one month down or six months into the year, it’s always a good time to revisit personal values. If you have found yourself feeling overwhelmed or dissatisfied this past year, (it’s normal, whatever that is? However, let’s not digress).

Simply put, aside from external circumstances, often doubt arises from not upholding the personal values and goals you set for yourself during day-to-day life.

Before time slips away, it’s worth taking a few minutes within your day to reflect on what your personal values and goals are to revitalize your daily routine.

As cliché as it may seem, there’s no escaping the fact, feeling accomplished is a value in life, which increases happiness.

Here are five tips on how creating a functional workspace with iStratus, can honor your values:

Accountability

Being aware of your values in decision-making also holds you accountable for choices.

The iStratus ‘Daily Drop Box’ helps set things out. So next time a new project lands on your desk, use iStratus to establish a ‘sketch’ of your values before saying, “Yes” or “No”.

Following through with a clear direction could lead to an unexpected outcome where you aren’t compromising what is truly important to you.

Prioritization

Ah yes, an iStratus favorite: Prioritization. Organize your workspace planning by re-arranging “To-Do’s” that honor your values first.

Endless “To-Do’s” often make it more difficult to accomplish tasks. Thus, instead of bringing order to the chaos of life, it can actually lead to feeling the opposite, like you’re not accomplishing anything.

iStratus Recommends: 

  • Prioritizing your “To-Do’s”, with your top two or three values. These could be anything. For example, improved fitness, creativity, or family time. Think about what matters to you most.

  • Tasks responding to unimportant items in your inbox should be completed following time spent tackling projects that are hanging over your head. 

Balance

Honestly, ‘work-life balance’ feels like a myth. As stifling as mapping out your values might seem, it will bring a bit of balance to your life, no matter how hectic or crazy it becomes.

The iStratus Workspace aims to support the process of applying your values within your schedule. When your week is filled with multiple activities, we feel storing important items with reminders on your phone can help re-create a balanced to-do list that honors values, on all levels.

Authenticity

It’s easy to get bogged down, especially when it feels like others are succeeding, where you’re struggling.

In time, we must take action for completion. Even mundane tasks can be done with heart, when we commit to what we do.

In iStratus, simplicity is the only shortcut. You still need to stick with your goals and values in order to see what is working and what isn’t. We feel this is a good thing! When you practice looking at your own values for achieving your goals, you’ll be living with sincerity.

Happiness

Happiness comes back to making time for positive planning, prioritizing and holding yourself accountable. The ability to find balance and live authentically, all leads to a happier you.

Find the right fit. Spend some time using iStratus to kick-start your value-based goal setting today.

Like everything in life, there are two sides to the coin or plan. Pro’s and Con’s are key to revitalizing your workspace with iStratus:

Position The Positive

  • Planning is a Guide for Action: Coordinated and focused actions work because they apply specific outcomes.

  • Plans Facilitate Commitment: Planning reduces uncertainty. Clear expectations become a win for commitment, working towards goals and subsequent rewards.

  • Plans Establish Performance Standards: Planning outlines desired outcomes as well as mileposts to define progress. Growth is always fundamental.

A Few Drawbacks – 

To planning that iStratus aims to reduce:

  • Planning Prevents Action: “Death (figuratively) by planning” exists. Planning does little good if it doesn’t lead to functionality.

  • Planning Leads to Complacency: Solid plans can lead to believing the ‘where to’ and ‘how to’ is concrete, causing lapses in progress. Remember, planning is not a one-time process. Continual implementation and modification arei critical.

  • Plans Inhibit Creativity/Flexibility: If something isn’t working, scrap it from the folder. Success comes from innovation and organization, however, it shouldn’t inhibit you from applying creativity or intuitiveness.

Progress is rarely made through random activity. Plans are not objectives, but a means to an objective. The iStratus App is designed to help you make headway.

When you revitalize your workspace ‘balance’ with a whole new modality for the future, it’s got to be a good thing.

“AN IDEA ISN’T WORTH THAT MUCH. IT’S THE EXECUTION OF THE IDEA THAT HAS VALUE. IF YOU CAN’T CONVINCE ONE OTHER PERSON THAT THIS IS SOMETHING TO DEVOTE YOUR LIFE TO, THEN IT’S NOT WORTH IT.”

~ JOEL SPOLSKY

Live life and roll well with iStratus.

Keeping Calm Throughout The Crazy

What is your favorite ritual?

We all have a way of finding peace in our lives. Now, that’s not about connecting to one’s secret inner hippy, with all that light and love stuff.

Simply put, the busier, the crazier the world becomes around us, the more grounded we need to feel. Finding that sense of calm throughout the crazy, makes all the difference.

Who knows how life is going to turn out? Being organized is one approach that provides us with a sense of stability in this uncertain world. With iStratus we have the ability to be prepared and stay that way.

So… How Can We Keep Calm Throughout The Crazy?

WOULD YOU DARE TO APPLY THAT FAVORITE RITUAL, TO YOUR AGENDA?

The iStratus Organizer is here to help. Designed to keep you on track, with the multitude of tasks we’re expected to juggle –To Keep Calm Throughout the Crazy, finding that balance in your life.

With its multifaceted interface, you can easily and efficiently use the iStratus Organizer to:

  • Notate a clear “To Do” List, in order of priority, with a click of a button.

  • Generate reminders to send follow-up emails.

  • Effortlessly set multiple alarms to navigate schedules that always have you on the go. Whether it’s supporting your kids with multiple activities, or staying atop that crazy college schedule, iStratus has you covered.

  • Create seamless shopping lists for the household meal plan, which does not have to be complicated. Keeping it light, and easy.

  • Quickly coordinate appointments you need to attend for yourself. The process is as simple as you can get.

Leaving a little time for that favorite ritual. Yes, you should!

5 Benefits of Being Organized:

Remember, balance is always key. Thus, there are simultaneously 5 beneficial elements of being organized with iStratus for creating calm:

STRESS RELIEF

Experts suggest an endless list of “things to do” constantly invading your headspace is a major source of stress on the tipping scale of life. It may seem obvious (but not necessarily easy) that becoming organized lessens that pesky weight upon our shoulders.

Bustle.com says, one of the most productive things that can be done is simply tracking your day.

Anyone can take three hours to complete a task, largely because of the task itself or because of the interruptions allowed.

SIMPLE ADJUSTMENTS TO YOUR LIFESTYLE AND TIMING USING ISTRATUS CAN HELP REDUCE THE “STRESSORS” IN YOUR LIFE.

DE-CLUTTER, SLEEP BETTER

Clutter creates chaos. Even if you don’t realize it, clutter in your bedroom can result in the loss of Zzzzzzzz’s. Furthermore, if you are disorganized you may unintentionally become a night owl, staying awake later to do something last minute, or worrying about everything that needs to be addressed.

Use iStratus to de-clutter, schedule that time, and stick to it. Organize the clutter in your life to lessen that endless ‘chaotic craziness’ invading your precious dreams to sleep longer and deeper at night.

A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE

When you’ve planned out your meals, you’re less likely to forget to eat,  avoiding hunger pangs, which flows through to impulsive consumption. You’re also more inclined to find motivation for physical fitness if you plan time on the schedule for it. Increase those necessary endorphins for better health. Who’s up for a triathlon?

ESSENTIAL ‘ME TIME’

We’ve finally arrived at that favorite ritual, we’ve mentioned! Perhaps it’s PB on toast or a warm cup of Tea? (Sometimes, the simplest things mean the most). We frequently leave ourselves until last! You can put yourself on your own agenda when you actually make time for it!

It’s difficult to be at your best for anyone else – family, friends, colleagues – if you’re running on fumes. Bustle.com advises, it doesn’t matter what you do – it matters that you do it.

Try the iStratus App for prioritizing time to do something you enjoy. Coffee anyone?

“Create the kind of climate in your organization [processes] where personal growth is expected, recognized and rewarded.”
 ~ Author Unknown
 

BE MORE PRODUCTIVE PROFESSIONALLY

Let’s be honest, disorganization is un-motivating. Along with clearing out the clutter in your home life, it also gives you the energy to focus on what’s required during office hours. If you’re feeling tired by four walls, try taking a few minutes to organize your iCalendar or filing your emails.

Did you know that iStratus easily allows you to file photographic evidence with paperwork for an appointment or task? Once it’s where it belongs, you won’t be yelling at your phone, whilst searching inboxes for the information you require at the Doctor’s Office.

A little effort goes a long way. Spending a few minutes each day getting organized makes a difference towards being healthier, happier, and calmer throughout the crazy!

Live life and roll well with iStratus.

iStratus DayPlanner – Organizing your life…with a twist

With the sheer demand on our time and volume of activities, tasks, meetings, appointments, schedules, contacts, and more, it’s easy to miss something. This seems like something technology should be able to solve but my iPhone has multiple apps designed to manage a portion of my life.  I want something to manage more than just one small piece.  I need my world to be interconnected and organized where my calendar, appointments, events and access to my documents and pictures all work together to enhance my life.   So this got me thinking, what features would a great organization app need to help me better manage my life?

What makes a great calendar and organizing app? 

  • Features that maximize my time like repeatable event management.
  • Access to quickly create and customize my calendar events.
  • A way to preview upcoming days, weeks, and months.
  • The ability to share calendars with my family and co-workers.
  • Personalization to easily customize my calendar using icons, colors, text and fonts.
  • The ability to sync across iOS devices and other services (Google, iCloud, Exchange).
  • Confidence to know all my calendar appointments and events are automatically added across all my Apple iOS devices including iPad, iPhone and iPod.
  • Voice recognition for easy updates on the go.
  • Security – after all, this is my personal information and I need to know it’s safe.
  • Simple and intuitive interface for easy use.

Time and Organization matters.

Time has become elusive for us all. With so many distractions—especially thanks to new mobile expectations—it’s easy to be overwhelmed. Organize your life and work to your habits, and you’ll find everything operates smoother. It’s just more productive…and less frustrating!

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Manage your life using iStratus DayPlanner…the all-in-one solution to organize your busy life across your mobile iOS devices.

Learn how at www.iStratus.com.

Stressed out with too much on your plate and not enough time? Try These 3 Steps.

Today you’re expected to do many things on-the-go using mobile devices with no real down time.  The expectations are for you to have instant access to your information. And the demands are increasing to be more effective in managing and planning your priories.  Your time is more precious than ever.

 

How are you going to keep up with this pace?

Take these three steps right now to accomplish more than seems possible:

1.) Take action.

Make a task list.

And, start with the goal in mind.

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen Covey implores you to begin with the end in mind. While Covey was looking at the bigger picture, there is utility in this wisdom.

Create a to-do list, but flip it. Start from the final goal of your plans. Work backwards and map out the needs and actions to get from the end to the beginning. Do this, and you’ll have a task list that achieves your plans.

What’s more? This exercise makes even the most audacious plan much more attainable.

2.) Commit.

Schedule your tasks on your calendar.

And, be able to move them—automatically—just in case.

You know that saying? “What gets measured gets done.” It’s only partially right.

What gets put on your calendar…and stays on your calendar…even if timing needs to change? THAT gets done. These days, if it’s not on the calendar, it too easily gets lost in the shuffle of what’s most important.

Make the commitment, and put it first. Make sure it’s top-of-mind by getting it on the calendar. If you must move it? Make it automatic. Don’t delete it. Move it to the next day, and then don’t move it again if at all possible.

Put the time on your calendar, and you make the time yours.

3.) Plan ahead.

Gather everything you need for each step.

And, know where it is all the time.

Sometimes, you can simply take action: Just do it, and you’re done.

Most of the time? You need something. In those cases, information…or at least access to it…holds the key.

Today, most of your information is online. What happens when you can access it when needed instantly? You get more done, faster.

  • Plan ahead.
  • Have everything you need.
  • Keep it organized all in one place.

Do these things and you stop searching. When it’s most needed, you want to know exactly where it is.

If this this advice seems simple…well….that’s the point.

Time has become elusive for us all. With so many distractions—especially thanks to new mobile expectations—it’s easy to be overwhelmed.

Take these steps to add structure and organization, and you can get more accomplished and take control of your busy schedule.

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Create more time with iStratus DayPlanner…the all-in-one solution to organize your busy life across your mobile iOS devices.

Learn how at www.iStratus.com.