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Productivity tips, calendar hacks, & product updates from the Reclaim team.

Top 5 Work Habits to Boost Productivity
September 14, 2021

Everyone wants to be successful, and success is (almost always) something that requires a lot of hard work. Whether you want to get to the next level of your career, or launch an entire company off the ground, there are productive work habits you can adopt to keep yourself motivated and on the right track. And while every career and course is different, there are a few role-agnostic work habits that can benefit your productivity across basically any profession.

So, how do you build new habits? A habit is an action that is repeated so often that it becomes second nature. According to NPR, habits start with a psychological pattern called a ‘habit loop’, which is a three-part process. You have a cue (or trigger), the routine, and then the reward. For example, if you want to have more productive meetings, make a habit of setting 15 minutes aside beforehand to read up on your team members notes (outside of the agenda) to consider how you could add more value to the team projects and priorities. The trigger is wanting to have more productive meetings, 15-minute prep becomes your routine, and you are rewarded with having better meetings and becoming a more meaningful part of the work product.  

Here are the top 5 work habits you should try to boost your productivity. If you’re seeking a promotion, trying to pivot your career, or just simply looking to step your game up in the workplace, this post is for you.

1. Email

Emails can be a distraction, but it is still one of the most common ways to communicate inside and outside of your organization. While absolutely necessary to many people’s daily work, email is a non-stop channel for communication that can seriously pull from your productivity. And even though it may only take you 5 minutes to jump in and reply to an email, the real cost is context switching. Bouncing between active work tasks to check and answer completely unrelated emails prevents you from entering a state of deep work. In fact, it can take 20 minutes to get back into the flow of what you were just doing when you context switch. And at the end of the day, professionals waste up to 9.8 hours/week on unproductive work like checking email, Slack, and browsing their to-do lists.

Compartmentalizing your tasks, removing distractions, and finishing one thing before moving on to the next is a great approach to email. In fact, people who check email 3x a day feel less stressed than those who check it all the time, and actually respond to the same number of emails in 20% less time. So, by only checking your email during certain time blocks, you answer just as many emails, accomplish more tasks with less context switching, and improve your work-life balance by having less stress in your day that you carry home with you after work. 

John Zeratsky over at Make Time says that he has a purpose for each email session. As a solo entrepreneur who receives 50-80 emails a day (each of which requires action), it’s easy for email to quickly overwhelm the workday. To combat the distraction, John sets clear boundaries for scheduled email time - he handles anything time-sensitive right away, then works through clearing his inbox with the time left in that email session. Another awesome tip  for anything you’re not able to accomplish right away: block time for that task on your calendar so you can successfully follow up on it!.

Moral of the story? Set aside 1-3 time blocks on your calendar a day to give your full, undivided focus to your email inbox - morning email time, midday email time, and afternoon email time. By creating a routine for yourself where you set time aside for email, you can get a hold of that distraction and have a more productive day. It will absolutely feel weird at first, and you’ll have a strong urge to pop in quickly to check, but fight the pull so you can stay productive with this healthy work habit!


2. Morning Routine

Another great habit to make time for every day is “morning catch up”. There’s nothing worse than a meeting that starts first thing in the morning when you haven’t even had time to catch up on what’s happened since you logged off the day before. And with many teams collaborating across states, countries and continents, there’s a lot that happens outside of your working hours. Studies also show that 70% of people prefer morning meetings, so unless you defend time to catch up first thing in the morning, it's likely you can find yourself behind all day. 

Not to mention getting all those pebble-size projects off your mind so you don’t have them weighing on you during your important core work and meetings.

By batching all of your “microtasks'' together first-thing, you’re able to get ahead of a ton of distractions that will be competing for your attention as you navigate your day. This is a single-tasking method you can use to stay focused on lengthier, strategic tasks because you’ve set dedicated time aside for the small stuff. It’s also a great way to ease into the day as you’re still waking up and may not be in your most productive or energized state. This way, you’re able to save that max-energy for your important, demanding projects while still getting the sense of accomplishment for taking advantage of your low-cognitive tasks.

So how do you reclaim some morning time to catch up ahead of your day? This is an easy habit to start and keep up with! Simply block 15, 30, 45 minutes, whatever it is you need, on your calendar every morning so your team knows you’re unavailable. By time blocking the early minutes of your working hours, you can use this time to check your messages, respond to project and task notes, get updated on any company announcements, and plan out your work items for the day. This will bring a new level of structure and direction to your workweek. 

3. Weekly Status Reports

Another recurring routine you’ll want to make time for on your calendar is weekly status reports. Writing up the summary of your week, sharing progress and problems, and what you plan to prioritize next week is a valuable habit that can help you make real progress toward your individual and team goals. 

As anyone with a weekly status deadline knows, this is an easy habit to avoid until the last minute, so to do it well, you’ve got to make time for it! Imagine this: it’s Friday afternoon and you’re about to start your weekly status report when you get an email update on a new feature in development that needs your feedback. You of course take the time to respond, but that unfortunately eats up the rest of your day and you never get through your weekly report. Come Monday in your weekly one-on-one with your manager, you remember that you didn’t take the time to reflect, reprioritize, and think deeply about the problems you’re working on. 

While you need to make time for scattered tasks and random updates, it’s critical that you don’t let these overrun your workweek as they can easily make you lose sight of your real priorities. Setting aside time for your weekly report will keep you prepared and confident that you’re focused on the right things. And though these may feel like an obligation you have to do for your manager, it’s really quite the opposite. Weekly status reports are 25% for managers, and 75% for the direct report. Your manager does want to know what's up and where you need help, but ultimately they want you to have the time to reflect and focus.

And it’s not just communication, it’s communicating the right things around your priorities that will make all the difference in the progress you make toward your goals. 75% of employees feel they can easily approach their manager to ask for help, but with close to 46% of team leaders saying that hitting project deadlines is their biggest problem, there’s a clear disconnect between communication and priority planning. 

So, in order to avoid situations like these, it becomes a matter of simply getting into the habit of building out your weekly status reports ahead of time so you’re no longer scrambling five minutes before the deadline. Setting aside dedicated time to tackle this habit a day or two before it’s due will always end up being more rewarding and sustainable than planning last-minute. If you make time to get the bulk of it in order the day before, your recent hours should be easy to update before you send it off.

4. Reading

Reading doesn’t guarantee you’ll be successful, but it’s widely known that successful people read. And while over 1/3rd of Americans want to make more time for reading, it’s all too easy to keep saying you’ll start tomorrow. But each day you delay is a disservice to yourself! Reading is incredibly good for your brain - it can help you experience more sensations, increase your empathy, and provide much appreciated mental stimulation for your brain which can slow down progressive brain diseases like Alzheimers and Dementia.

Exercising your memory with reading can also help you remember dates, names, and key events which make you an even more productive employee as you’re less likely to drop the ball on a project or opportunity. In fact, reading has many advantages that can help you become more successful across the board, like increasing your verbal intelligence, reducing stress, and even making you a better leader. 

And, not all work habits need to be in service of your workplace specifically - you can read anything, even if it's not a "professional" piece of writing. But if it's a topic that's surrounding your work, it will only make you a more formidable force at your workplace. So pick your topic! What do you want to learn, where do you want to grow? Whether it’s learning a new language, developing a new skill, or reading up on an adjacent job role to increase your understanding of how you can better collaborate and support your team, reading will help make a difference in your career. 

Establishing reading as a habit is simple, you just have to make time for it. You can start by setting a daily (or weekly) reading goal for yourself. Once you have your number, set aside the time on your calendar! Life is busy, and something as simple as reading is an awesome addition to your calendar if you want to seriously commit. If setting aside time by yourself isn’t enough, try joining a book club. This will help you hold yourself accountable and make this habit more than just a personal task  - it also turns into a social habit. 

5. Networking

Networking: the dreaded activity basically every introvert secretly fears. But good news -- networking no longer has to be shuffling around an awkward social function forcing conversation! You can network from basically anywhere, and find people with shared interests easier than ever before. 

First, why should you make networking a habit? It’s a great way to make connections, even new friends, and scale or pivot your career. Networkings isn’t just for sales or marketing folks, it can help anyone seeking to expand their professional network.

The future of work has built a pretty incredible virtual or remote future for networking too. Whether you’re working remotely, or just prefer to connect online, there are endless networking opportunities available. Virtual networking allows you to find people from anywhere around the world with shared interests. Here are the most popular virtual networking channels to explore:

Because you're no longer limited to your location, networking has really become a global opportunity to find like minded people who are passionate about the same topics and interests as you. For example, you can connect with an open source developer from the other side of the world who's working on a cool plugin, and simply send them a note to learn more about their work and opportunities to collaborate. Or, join a webinar across the country on a new topic you want to try out at your company. Networking is also now asynchronous: you don't have to have a live conversation, you can engage someone in a comment, through a message, email, tweet, (really anything!) and build relationships on a convenient schedule.

This isn’t to say that in-person isn’t a great way to network - things are definitely kicking back into gear across trade shows, conferences, local meetups, career fairs, and company-sponsored events, presenting new opportunities for face-to-face networking once again. Connecting in person gives you the chance to stand out, build a strong personal connection, and really make a great lasting impression. Even with 83% of employees working remotely, 85% of positions are still filled through networking, 49% of people prefer in-person communications, and 78% feel in-person communications allow for better discussions. And even if you’re networking in person, you’re going to want to follow up through some form of online communication. Make sure to grab a business card from them, or at least their name and company, so you can find them on LinkedIn, Twitter, or wherever your network connects! 

So set a goal for yourself - spend 30 minutes networking twice a week online and see what interesting connections you can find! And if you’re comfortable, try to set a goal for an in-person networking event once a quarter to put yourself out there and meet new people in your area.


Forming habits are hard, but if you choose to make time for them, these goals can become your regular routine in no time. If you’re wondering where and how to get started, check out Habits by Reclaim.ai. Just tell Reclaim what habit you want to make time for, how often and for how long, and automatically find the best time blocks for that routine on your calendar. Let’s see how you can advance your professional career by developing some awesome work habits.

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Weekly Status Reports: 3 Steps to Reduce Meetings & Boost Productivity
August 31, 2021

Weekly Status Reports: 3 Steps to Reduce Meetings & Boost Productivity

"This meeting could’ve been an email.” We're all thinking it. Even 71% of senior managers feel their meetings are unproductive. Reduce meetings and boost productivity with weekly status reports.
The Best Time to Meditate? Prioritize Self-Care
August 26, 2021

The Best Time to Meditate? Prioritize Self-Care

The best time to meditate depends on your intention and your schedule. But no matter when you meditate, you can reap the benefits. The important thing is that you make time for this healthy habit.
Top 6 ADHD Organization Tools
August 24, 2021

Top 6 ADHD Organization Tools

Staying organized can feel like a constant battle for people with ADHD before you find your ideal rhythm and workflow. Here are the top ADHD organization tools to help you become more productive.
No-Meeting Days: Top 4 Advantages & How to Start at Your Company
August 19, 2021

No-Meeting Days: Top 4 Advantages & How to Start at Your Company

Are meetings consuming your workweek? 78% of people feel their meeting schedule is out of control - see how one no-meeting day a week can improve your productivity, team morale and prevent burnout.
Calendar Heroes: Ben Hutton, JSON Schema Specification Lead at Postman
August 17, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Ben Hutton, JSON Schema Specification Lead at Postman

Working as JSON Schema Specification Lead at Postman, Ben shares how he balances priorities while developing the JSON Schema strategy and it's tooling, and supports the open-source community.
Calendar Heroes: Shay Kingsbury, Program Manager | Go To Market at Hootsuite
August 11, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Shay Kingsbury, Program Manager | Go To Market at Hootsuite

Shay Kingsbury at Hootsuite shares how she balances priorities while leading merger and acquisition integration and Go To Market for Sparkcentral at the social media marketing and management platform.
Using Slack ‘Scheduled Send’ + Reclaim.ai to Schedule Messages
August 10, 2021

Using Slack ‘Scheduled Send’ + Reclaim.ai to Schedule Messages

Slack released a much-anticipated feature in June of 2021: scheduled sends for Slack messages. This, paired with some awesome Status syncing capabilities from Reclaim, can help you become a rockstar Slack communicator and role model for your team.
Calendar Heroes: Michele Wiedemer, Manager of Customer Education at Snyk
August 9, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Michele Wiedemer, Manager of Customer Education at Snyk

Michele Wiedemer at Synk shares how she balances priorities while developing the education training program for security champions and developers at the open source security platform.
Best Time to Exercise? Morning, Afternoon or Whenever
August 4, 2021

Best Time to Exercise? Morning, Afternoon or Whenever

Exercising for as little as 15 minutes a day can increase your lifespan by as much as 3 years, and you’ll sleep better and feel less stressed too. Here's how to optimize your workouts for the best time of day.
Make Time to Read: 5 Practical Tips for Busy People
July 28, 2021

Make Time to Read: 5 Practical Tips for Busy People

Reading has amazing benefits, and 35% of people want to do it more. It increases verbal intelligence, makes you a better leader, reduces stress, and fends off Alzheimer’s. Here are 5 tips to try out.
Calendar Heroes: Rohini Pandhi, Product @ Square
July 26, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Rohini Pandhi, Product @ Square

Rohini Pandhi, a Product Lead at Square, shares her style, tools and methodologies for balancing priorities while leading the product efforts for one of the top digital payment companies in the world.
15 Best Slack Apps for the Future of Work
July 22, 2021

15 Best Slack Apps for the Future of Work

Check out the top 15 Slack apps productive teams are using today to build and support the future of work at their organization across calendar management, project management, status updates, HR and team building.
Calendar Heroes: Q&A with Connor MacDonald, CMO at The Ridge
July 19, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Q&A with Connor MacDonald, CMO at The Ridge

Connor MacDonald at The Ridge shares his style, tools and methodologies for balancing priorities while leading the marketing vision for the brand that brought the world the first RFID-blocking wallet.
Clockwise vs. Reclaim.ai: 8 Key Differences in these Smart Calendar Tools
July 7, 2021

Clockwise vs. Reclaim.ai: 8 Key Differences in these Smart Calendar Tools

We get asked almost every day: what's the difference between Reclaim.ai and Clockwise? While we're both in the smart calendar space, there are some key differences to consider.
Naming Calendar Events: 5 Calendar Etiquette Tips
July 2, 2021

Naming Calendar Events: 5 Calendar Etiquette Tips

Need to create better calendar event titles to communicate context to your invitees, colleagues and incoming schedulers? Calendar communication starts with the first thing people see: the event title.
Lunch Breaks: 5 Ways to Improve Your Productivity
June 22, 2021

Lunch Breaks: 5 Ways to Improve Your Productivity

Want to improve your quality of work, energy level, and creativity? In this article, learn 5 ways in which taking a lunch will actually boost your productivity.
Effective Meetings vs. Pointless Meetings: How to Tell the Difference & Prioritize Your Own Time
June 17, 2021

Effective Meetings vs. Pointless Meetings: How to Tell the Difference & Prioritize Your Own Time

Learn the 5 key differences between effective vs. pointless meetings, and 3 tips to avoid unnecessary meetings getting booked on your calendar.
3 Ways to Find Work-Life Balance in the New Normal
June 10, 2021

3 Ways to Find Work-Life Balance in the New Normal

You want work-life balance, but work and life can't separate into equal halves. Forget balance, here are three ways to make work-life harmony a reality.
Reclaim just raised $4.8M in seed funding! 🎉
May 26, 2021

Reclaim just raised $4.8M in seed funding! 🎉

We're excited to announce that Reclaim has raised $4.8M in seed funding led by Index Ventures. Here's what comes next.
Pareto Principle: Using the 80/20 Rule for Priority Management
May 25, 2021

Pareto Principle: Using the 80/20 Rule for Priority Management

How to use the Pareto Principle 80/20 rule to block time for your priorities.
3 Single-Tasking Tips to Improve Your Focus
April 28, 2021

3 Single-Tasking Tips to Improve Your Focus

While you may think multitasking is a skill you can master, only 2.5% of people can do it effectively. Your brain performs best when “single-tasking”, focusing on only one thing at a time.
How to Create a Smart Calendar
April 22, 2021

How to Create a Smart Calendar

A smart calendar can help you simplify calendar management and boost productivity. Here's how to create a smart calendar so you can take control of your busy schedule.
Time Management Advice - Top 3 Problems & How to Solve Them
April 9, 2021

Time Management Advice - Top 3 Problems & How to Solve Them

Most time management advice is out of touch with reality. Here are the top 3 problems with it and how to solve them.
Announcing the Planner Beta: a New Way to Manage Your Workweek
April 5, 2021

Announcing the Planner Beta: a New Way to Manage Your Workweek

We're excited to announce that Planner is now available in public beta for all Reclaim users. Planner lets you prioritize and schedule all your Tasks and Habits exactly the way you want, every week.
4 Time Blocking Planner Approaches to Squeeze More From Busy Schedules
March 25, 2021

4 Time Blocking Planner Approaches to Squeeze More From Busy Schedules

Time blocking is the habit of mindfully scheduling daily and weekly tasks to get everything done as efficiently as possible. A time blocking planner is used to organize your new, efficient schedule.
Context Switching Is Destroying Your Workday: Here's How to Fix It
March 16, 2021

Context Switching Is Destroying Your Workday: Here's How to Fix It

How do you stop context switching from eating into your productive time? We look at tactics to help you reduce task switching and improve your concentration at work.
Why You Can’t Focus at Work, and How to Get Back on Track
March 8, 2021

Why You Can’t Focus at Work, and How to Get Back on Track

It's not always easy to achieve deep focus in the modern workplace. Here are evidence-based strategies you can use to improve your focus during the workday.
Time Management for Managers: How to Tame Your Busy Calendar
March 1, 2021

Time Management for Managers: How to Tame Your Busy Calendar

Most managers calendars are dominated by needless meetings and tasks that should be delegated. 50% of the week is gone and you feel like you’ve accomplished nothing. Time to prioritize your calendar.
Introducing Tasks: your to-do list finally meets your calendar
September 1, 2020

Introducing Tasks: your to-do list finally meets your calendar

We just launched Tasks. It's like your backlog and your calendar decided to make it official and get hitched.
Introducing Habits: smart, automatic time blocking for your routines
June 26, 2020

Introducing Habits: smart, automatic time blocking for your routines

Struggling to make time for the things that matter in these crazy times? Never fear, Habits are here.
Calendar Heroes: a Q&A with Zachary Smith, Managing Director at Equinix
May 27, 2020

Calendar Heroes: a Q&A with Zachary Smith, Managing Director at Equinix

We had a chance to sit down virtually with Zachary Smith, who founded Packet before it was acquired by Equinix, where he now serves as Managing Director for their bare metal and edge computing business.
Introducing Reclaim Assistant: more flexibility, more smarts
May 11, 2020

Introducing Reclaim Assistant: more flexibility, more smarts

We just launched Reclaim Assistant, a smarter way to get your calendar under control.
The only Google Calendar hacks you'll ever need
April 23, 2020

The only Google Calendar hacks you'll ever need

Tired of reading posts about Google Calendar hacks and tips that just aren't useful? This is the one for you.
4 new features from Reclaim to help you work from home
April 16, 2020

4 new features from Reclaim to help you work from home

If you're new to working from home or working remotely, these new features from Reclaim will help you to keep your sanity intact.
5 ways to help your remote teams
March 31, 2020

5 ways to help your remote teams

Now that your teams are remote, how do you make sure they don't burn out? Here are 5 ways to help your remote teams keep things balanced.
How good is your work-life balance?
February 7, 2020

How good is your work-life balance?

How defended is your work calendar? Here are some numbers that might make you wonder.
Announcing Reclaim LifeWork: sync all the calendars!
January 24, 2020

Announcing Reclaim LifeWork: sync all the calendars!

We're excited to announce the launch of Reclaim LifeWork. Automatically block time on your work calendar for personal events, and never miss out on life again.
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