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5 Hobbies Which Can Surprisingly Boost Your Productivity

5 Hobbies Which Can Surprisingly Boost Your Productivity

Some view hobbies as a distraction. They see it as something which (although it’s improving their taste in life) gulps time and sometimes a lot of money. But instead of taking it as a double-edged sword, why don’t you focus on how productive your hobbies could make you? At the end of the day who wouldn’t want to improve a skill and become more efficient at the same time. Here are some hobbies that can boost your productivity.

1. Hiking

Although many may look down at this type of hobby because of the intense physical activity involved, it is noted that hiking could improve your mood and make you more positive. Hiking has a way of reducing your stress and anxiety and channeling your energy into more focus. With hiking you are able to clear yourself from distractions and take full advantage of what nature has to offer you. According to another study, hikers scored 50% higher during a creativity test after they had spent four days outdoor. This study attests to the productivity you can attain by staying closer to nature where you can not only relax your mind but have enough time and space to reflect.

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2. List-making

Many may not consider this a hobby. But it is! Possibly that is why it could fit into the subject title. List-making is organizing everything into lists. With list-making you can get out all of your thoughts in order which will prepare you for things when you want to get them done. How beneficial and how productive can list-making be? Perhaps you need to consider that many celebrities like Richard Branson , Heidi Klum and Sandra Bullock have reached their level of success by making lists.

3. Playing Video games

Many see playing video games in the negative light. They consider how it can consume your time and make you an addict. However, according to scientists from Queen Mary University of London and University College London (UCL) playing certain types of video games can help to train the brain to improve strategic thinking.

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“Previous research has demonstrated that action video games, such as Halo, can speed up decision making but the current work finds that real-time strategy games can promote our ability to think on the fly and learn from past mistakes,” said Dr. Brian Glass from Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences,

4. Listening to music

Music is regarded as a triumph of human creativity. It becomes important to discover if music can boost one’s creativity and productivity.

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According to researchers however, “a series of experiments has investigated the relationship between the playing of background music during the performance of repetitive work and efficiency in performing such a task. The results give strong support to the contention that economic benefits can accure from the use of music in industry.”

This study has shown that music can be effective in raising efficiency and productivity. So whether you play a musical instrument or put on a CD, playing certain songs can have a calming effect on any environment.

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5. Playing Golf

One of the benefits golf as a sport has over other sports is the leisurely pace at which the game goes. Playing 18 holes could take up to five hours. During these five hours playing this game with other people could offer bonding and relaxation. You also have to concentrate on getting the best shot and trying to beat them. Exercise such as this makes you a better team member and hinders you from feeling anxious. According to a 2013 study by Princeton University researchers, participating in such sport prevents brain cells that cause anxiety from firing. Playing golf improves your focus, calmness and performance.

Featured photo credit: http://www.pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on September 17, 2018

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

How bad really is multitasking?

It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

So what to do about it?

Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

Now, forget about how to multitask!

Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

1. Get enough rest

When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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2. Plan your day

When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

4. When at your desk, do work

We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

5. Learn to say no

Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

6. Turn off notifications on your computer

For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

The bottom line

Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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