We all want to be standouts at work from the moment we reach our desks until we shut the lights for the evening. Part of being a stellar employee is being as productive as possible. But with the wide array of distractions, disturbances, and unforeseen dilemmas that weasel their way into the everyday, productivity can unfortunately dwindle.

Don't let non-important nuisances and idiotic interruptions meddle with your mind. You can be in charge of your work day and make productivity the primary priority. When you weed out the nonsense and time-wasting capacity-crushers, your productiveness will soar and the lost opportunities will be found once again.

These 4 things that are causing you to be less productive at work must be wrangled in and repurposed in order for you to make the most of your work day. Follow these tips to achieve better concentration and control. Productivity = power!

Email Eagerness

While not many of us hear that exciting notification, "You've Got Mail!" anymore, the moment a new email arrives in the inbox is a real thrill for many. Do you check your inbox countless times throughout the day, perhaps every time a new item comes in? Not only is this slightly obsessive, it's severely sucking the time out of what's sure to be an already busy day.

As per Hubspot, "Constantly switching tasks between work and email can really hurt your productivity. To help you focus in chunks of time, turn off those pesky email alerts and limit checking your email to specified breaks."

Consider 3 checks per day – first thing in the morning, before lunch, and an hour before you plan to leave in order to give you enough time to respond to anything pressing. Believe it or not, no one is expecting you to reply to their email immediately (unless they fall into the unproductive category). If something is extremely urgent, you'll receive a phone call… remember those?

Additionally, you can set your email to automatically send certain items into pre-set folders for your perusing preferences. Check the high priority folders a bit more frequently, if necessary, when something is of top concern or you're on a tight deadline.

It may take time and a little uneasiness to make this email checking change, but over time, the increase in your productivity will become evident. Don't be held captive by your inbox! You're in charge of what gets opened and when.

Social Media Sink Hole

One of the biggest disruptions of the modern age is social media. Feeds, pages, profiles, and pics are draining the life out of a full day of work. Your Twitter page is likely opened in a tab on your computer right now. Unless you actually work for Twitter or are a social media manager or have a similar job, there's no reason that any social media site should be part of your work day. And you're only fooling yourself if you constantly check Facebook on your smart phone on the down low.

Is it really that important to "like" Betty's status update when you should be finishing that report due at 3pm? Sure, it's cool that she's having fun on her honeymoon in Barbados, but that won't impress your boss when he reads your less-than-complete review of the company's Q3 earnings.

Train yourself to only check social media during your lunch break. Or, gasp, wait until you get home. You'll be surprised how free you will start to feel. And don't forget to change your settings on your phone so you aren't interrupted by notifications and messages from your more easily-distracted (and still underproductive) friends. The posts and photos won't disappear if you didn't see them the instant they were put live. What may disappear is your focus if you choose to give in to the urge to waste time and scroll through silly pet pictures and political memes all day.

Meetings Mania

Do you find yourself responding "Yes" to every single meeting request you receive? Sure, no one wants to miss out on a good gathering, but before agreeing to attend, take a moment to assess whether or not you'll benefit from participating.

Many meeting invites are sent as a courtesy rather than a real need. Plus, any decent invitation will come with a brief synopsis of the planned agenda and what the intended goal is. Will you gain anything from spending up to an hour sitting in this meeting or is your input vital to its success? If the answer is no, then that should be your R.S.V.P. as well. You can always get a summary of the meeting after the fact or send someone else from your department who'd be a better fit for the meeting's intentions.

And don't worry about offending anyone or feeling left out. Saying yes to everything doesn't make you a better worker, it only makes you a people-pleaser. According to Under 30 CEO, "Any time you say 'yes' to something, it means less time and energy you can give to something else. Ask yourself where this fits into the importance/urgency grid." If it falls on the low end, it only makes sense to focus on the work that will move the needle.

As per Hubspot, "The average person wastes 31 hours in meetings per month." Not to mention the time it takes to get back to what you were working on before the meeting began. Hubspot notes that is takes about 25 minutes to refocus after switching tasks. And if there's more than one meeting per day, your productivity will pitfall pitifully.

Multitasking Mayhem

We've all got a lot on our plate, but trying to do everything at once is a productivity nightmare. It's difficult to get deep into the nitty gritty of any one particular task when your mind is scattered on everything you need to work on simultaneously.

Hubspot asserts that, "Research shows (multitasking) can make us less effective, increase mistakes and stress, and costs the global economy an estimated $450 billion every year. Only 2% of the population is capable of effectively multitasking. For the other 98%, all it does is cause us to be 40% less productive and make 50% more mistakes than non-multitaskers."

You must keep your focus on one item at a time. Finish the job and move on. You'll feel satisfied that a task is completed from start to end and you can move on to the next task with a fresh mindset. At first you may have trouble getting the other agenda items out of your head, but you'll need to have a clear head in order to get the best result for each project.

Under 30 CEO suggests making a "To Do" list to keep your thoughts in check. Itemize what's on your schedule and prioritize them, getting to the most urgent matters first. It's a shame to leave your office with a bunch of tasks only partially completed. It can lead to stress, frustration, and a manager that's not sufficiently satisfied with your achievements. Finishing a task is rewarding and productive and will give you the energy and drive to get to the next thing on your list.

Are you ready to be more productive tomorrow? You can drown out the noise and get to what's important. Start by asking your cousin to stop posting those irresistible photos of her new puppy on Instagram!

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What do you do when financial hardship hits and you can't make your monthly mortgage payments? This is a question on many homeowner's minds as nearly 17.8 million Americans are reportedly unemployed during the coronavirus pandemic.

When homeowners face financial hardship, such as the loss of a job, they often look to obtain a forbearance agreement from their lender. A forbearance happens when your lender grants you a temporary pause or reduction in monthly payments on your mortgage. Forbearance is not the same as payment forgiveness, in that you still have to pay the entire amount back by an agreed-upon time.

Mortgage lending institutions differ on their mortgage relief policies and qualifications; however, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act were signed into law in late March of this year to protect government-backed mortgages.

Federally backed mortgages include:

  • Fannie Mae
  • Freddie Mac
  • The Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
  • The US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA)
  • The US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Under the CARES Act, homeowners with a federally backed loan who either directly or indirectly suffer financial hardship due to coronavirus automatically qualify for mortgage forbearance.

Even if your mortgage is not secured by one of these agencies, you still can call and see if you qualify, as many lenders will still offer the option in order to avoid foreclosures.

Under the CARES act, homeowners can claim mortgage forbearance due to financial hardship from COVID-19 for up to 12 months without requiring any documentation or verification. During the forbearance period, mortgage lenders cannot charge late fees or penalties.

Additionally, as long as your mortgage is current at the time you claim forbearance, the lender is required to keep reporting your mortgage as paid current throughout the entire period.

At the end of the forbearance, the CARES act protects consumers from having to make a lump sum payment. Instead, you will be given a repayment plan from your provider. Since repayment options vary, it's important you ask your provider about all of your repayment options.

Possible Repayment Options:

You may be eligible for a loan modification at the end of your forbearance. With modification, the mortgage terms are changed in order to add payments that were missed during the forbearance onto the end of the loan, extending the term.

Another option that may work for some is a reduced payment option. This allows you to keep paying monthly payments at a reduced amount. The amount missed is usually added back into the monthly payments at the end of the forbearance.

For example:

Regular payment: $1000 per month

Reduced payment: $500 per month

Payment after forbearance period: $1500 (until caught up)

Balloon payments, or lump sum payments at the end of the forbearance, are prohibited under the CARES Act. However, mortgage lenders may require homeowners who are not protected under the CARES Act to make a balloon payment at the end, so again it is best to check first with your provider.

Mortgage forbearance should only be considered in true financial hardship. In other words, just because of the pandemic, you should not take a forbearance on your mortgage if you can still afford your payments. Likewise, if you are able to start making payments before the forbearance period is up, it's best to do so as soon as possible.

The Next Steps:

Before you get in touch with your mortgage servicer, save time by gathering as much documentation about the mortgage as you can. Also, be ready to list your income and monthly expenses. Due to an influx in calls, financial institutions are experiencing extremely long wait times right now, and having your information at the ready will help.

Have questions ready to ask. Here are some questions you should be asking:

  • What fees are associated with the forbearance?
  • What are all the repayment options available to you at the end of the forbearance?
  • Will you be charged interest during the forbearance period?

If your forbearance is approved, make sure to keep all documentation pertaining to it. Make sure to cancel any automatic payments to the mortgage during the forbearance period, and keep tabs on your credit report to make sure your lender doesn't report the loan as unpaid.


For more information on forbearance, contact your lender and discuss your options. If you need more assistance with understanding your options, you can contact a local agent for the housing counseling agency, or call their hotline at 1-800-569-4287.