“Productivity is being able to do things that you weren’t able to do before.” – Franz Kafka
Without productivity, you can’t accomplish anything. Or your results will be very lower than your true potential.
Productivity is the quality of creating something. Productivity is measured by the positive outcome of the energy you devote in a project.
The higher it is the more you can achieve. When your productivity is sky-high you can distribute your work and finish it in the best way possible, thereby achieving more goals and getting bigger rewards for your work.
Unfortunately, your productivity is highly threatened by many enemies.
These enemies can be very destructive and if you let them affect your productivity you jeopardize your success. You risk of not getting your work done, losing deadlines or even worse surrendering without even trying.
We all have the same 24 hours every day. The way we use these 24 hours is up to every one of us.
If you find the right methods, the right productivity lifehacks, you can take advantage of these 24 hours to the utmost.
The scope of this article is to give you 9 really powerful productivity lifehacks that will help you become a repetitive winner.
You probably won’t be able to implement every technique because it depends on your every day schedule. I hope that you will find some tips among the list that suit your lifestyle. The more of these tips you follow, the better for your productivity.
1. Enter the 2 Hour Hermit Mode
What is the 2 hour hermit mode? Will you need to live alone in a remote cabin? Of course not, unless you would enjoy that experience.
What you have to do is simpler than that.
For 2 hours every day, focus on your work and try to do what you have to do completely undisturbed. Lock yourself in your room, in the bathroom or even in the garage. Stay somewhere where you can find COMPLETE quiet for 2 hours.
It doesn’t matter if your mom is calling you endlessly, if your girlfriend wants to meet you or if your house is on fire. You have to be completely alone and focused on your craft.
Find a place where no one will disturb you. Absolutely nobody. Even if the God wants to talk to you, he will have to wait until the 2 hours are over.
That’s how important it is to be completely undisturbed. If you are working on something important and then you answer a phone call you are done. Adios productivity.
You lose all your momentum. Your brain takes a big break and gives a signal to your body that you should rest more.Advertising
How to enter the hermit mode:
1. Simply close your phone or put it in airplane mode. Answer any calls or messages after the 2 hours.
2. Logout from all social media.
3. If you live with your parents or roommate tell them to be quiet for these 2 hours and lock yourself in your room.
4. If you can’t find a quiet place, consider going to your local library.
5. Have some water or snack next to you for when you are thirsty or hungry. Going to the bathroom is acceptable; you don’t want to smell like urine…or something worst than urine.
If your schedule is too demanding, it doesn’t necessarily need to be 2 hours. You can spend 60 minutes or even 30 minutes. If what you want to do is important, you will find some time.
Otherwise, it wasn’t so important. On the other side, if your schedule is too loose, you could definitely enter the hermit mode for more than 2 hours.
2. Close Your Phone until as Late as Possible
When you are working on something, whether this is just your homework or an important business plan, hearing your phone ringing can really destroy your concentration. By putting your phone in silence mode or even better closing it you have the oportunity to work uninterrupted.
Just like with the hermit mode, you reduce interruptions and you can be more focused on your craft.
3. Focus on One Task at a Time
Multi-tasking can reduce your productivity up to 40%, according to behavioral psychologist Susan Weinschenk.
According to Susan, people can’t do more than one task at a time. Actually, multi-tasking is just switching between different tasks.
It’s impossible to do them all together so your brain focuses to one of them and quickly changes that focus to another task.
If you think that this helps in getting more things done, you should know that it actually takes MORE time than if you did each task separately.
Your brain can focus on only one cognitive (mental) task. You can only be reading or you can only be watching the news, but you aren’t able to do both together.
What actually happens when you are trying to watch the news and read simultaneously is that your brain switches from the one task to the other. So you are not multitasking at all. You are just switching tasks and produce LESS.
If you want to keep your productivity levels high stop switching between tasks. Do one thing at a time and prioritize your work. Then do the most important tasks first.Advertising
4. Start Your Day Doing What You Hate
Okay, this doesn’t sound really great, I know. Just let me explain.
When we have to do something boring or an unpleasant task, we tend to procrastinate. As a result, we push that task later in the day and in the end we don’t do it at all.
We continue saying “I will do that later” or “I will finish tomorrow” and this later/tomorrow never really comes.
Just do it right after you wake up or within 1-2 hours after waking up. That way you are sure that you won’t procrastinate during the day. It also helps in increasing your self-confidence.
When you say that “I will do this,” and you really do it, you send a subconscious signal to your mind that you are a person who keeps their promises. Someone who is reliable. This results in feeling more confident with yourself.
5. Split your work with the 25-5 method.
This method can be a part of the Hermit Mode and boost your concentration to the maximum.
The idea is that you split your work into two parts. The first part is 25 minutes of uninterrupted work. The second part is a 5-7 minute break for water, snack or just for flexing your muscles and walking around.
Use a timer with an alarm clock that reminds you when your 25 minute work period or your 5 minute break is over.
This is very effective if you plan on entering the hermit mode for very long periods, like 4+ hours. Even for 2 hours it can be very effective, because your brain will get tired after a while.
On the one hand, knowing that you have to be fully concentrated until your alarm rings makes you become ultra-productive and you get more work done. On the other hand, you have 5 minutes to give your brain enough time to relax but without relaxing too much.
Don’t make the mistake of logging into social media or answering your phone during your breaks because it can turn your 5 minute break into a 50 minute one.
6. Listen to Audio books or Podcasts While You Are Eating.
Your meals are a perfect chance to supply your body with essential nutrients and become a little smarter simultaneously.
While most people spend their meals watching TV or just staring at their kitchen wall, you can differentiate yourself from the thought-castrated masses and use that time to educate yourself.
Of course, if you choose a book/podcast that you don’t like just because I told you to do so, it won’t work. Find something that you love to learn.
You have countless topics that you could choose from like:
- How to improve your self-confidence.
- How to lose fat effectively.
- How to meet beautiful women.
- How to build muscle.
- How to improve your memory.
- How to make money.
and much more.
You don’t have to start listening to audio books of Nietzsche or Freud from the beginning. Find something that you want to learn, something that would be enjoyable and could improve your life.Advertising
But you may be wondering: is listening to audio books going to make me smarter? Does it have the same effect like reading a real book? It seems that it depends on the subject of the book but generally it has the same effect. A study on college students in 1997 found that those who listened to a short story could write a summary as well as those who read it.
7. Use Dead Time to Read or Learn Something New
When it comes to productivity and accomplishing your goals you must learn new things constantly.
It’s impossible to achieve a goal if you are not improving yourself. If you are not taking a step closer to that goal every single day then it won’t work.
You might say that you don’t have enough time. But the fact is that many of us have a lot of time that is wasted.
What did you do the last time you took the bus?
What did you do when you were waiting for a visit to your doctor while you were sitting on his comfortable couch?
What did you do when you took your car and went to work?
Most likely, you were just waiting the time to pass, you were scrolling your Facebook timeline, constantly checking your e-mail, listened to music or just staring out of the window.
But you were wasting time that you could use to learn something. Start reading e-books on your phone or listen to an audiobook/podcast during such “dead time.”
If you are on the bus and you have 30 minutes ahead of you, don’t let them pass away. Read a book and become a little smarter. If you are driving, then listen to an audio.
You can’t imagine the difference in your mindset after a year if you started to listen to audiobooks every day for 30 minutes while you are driving to your work.
Start now, you can find audiobooks or e-books for dirt cheap online. And you can listen to podcasts that are completely free.
8. Use the 3 Color Layer Checklist Method
That’s something I recommend in my e-book Beat Procrastination in 10 Minutes.
Traditional checklists are boring. However, the 3-color layer checklist is more unique. It’s a great way to be more productive and get important tasks done all the time.
Why? Because you prioritize your tasks based on importance. All you need is a piece of paper and 3 colored pens. I prefer using red-black-blue.
Then you split your work:
Level 1-Red: Top priority-Emergency work that must be done today.Advertising
Level 2-Black: Medium priority
Level 3-Blue: Low Priority
When the day is over you must have done all tasks in the first 2 levels. But there is a rule: For every task on level-3 you must have two tasks on levels 1 & 2.
This ensures that you don’t put all the work in the low priority layer to avoid it.
For example, if you have two tasks on the blue layer, you must have two on black and two on red or 3 on red and 1 black. The ratio should be 2:1, Red & Black to Blue.
This system will allow you to become more focused by learning to identify and finish the important tasks first. You will always have the important work done and if you have time you can finish the low priority tasks as well.
9. Start Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting will allow you to burn more fat while eating less and saving time. Actually you won’t eat less food but you will eat fewer meals.
That’s because you will skip your breakfast. While common wisdom says that you should eat a large bowl of cereal to “activate your metabolism” this doesn’t provide any benefits. Eating makes your body spend energy to digest the food.This is known as the Thermic Effect. However, increased meal frequency doesn’t add any benefit as the thermic effect in 24 hours remains the same if you eat the same amount of calories, no matter if you consume these calories in 3 or in 6 meals.
The food industry has invested millions of dollars to convince us that breakfast is essential. Eat pancakes, muffins, milk, cake and cereals because your body will enter in starvation mode if you don’t. That’s what they told us and we believed it.
In fact, skipping breakfast not only helps you to burn more fat but it has other benefits like increased growth hormone and boosted mental alertness.
But what has this to do with productivity?
When you skip breakfast you eat only 2-3 meals per day. Lunch and dinner are fine, but you can have an extra smaller meal in between.
This saves you a lot of time from breakfast preparation and gives you the ability to enjoy huge meals without getting fat. Or eating a dessert (wink).
In reality, you take the breakfast calories and put them in your dinner or lunch.
Generally speaking, you shouldn’t only skip breakfast but you should also cut your meals quantity. There is no need in having 5-6 small meals per day “because this activates your metabolism.”
Whether your goal is building muscle, losing fat or maintaining your weight, it’s all a matter of how much calories you eat and if you get the right quantity of nutrients. You can achieve that only with 2-3 meals per day.
It will save you a ton of time from cooking, eating and even spending energy to digest the food.
What are your best methods to improve your productivity? I would love to hear to your ideas.
Last Updated on September 20, 2018
8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More
You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.
Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.
When you train your brain, you will:
- Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
- Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
- Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.
So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?
1. Work your memory
Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:
When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.
If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.
The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.
Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.
Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.
What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.
For example, say you just met someone new:
“Hi, my name is George”
Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”
Got it? Good.
2. Do something different repeatedly
By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.
Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.
It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.
And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!
But how does this apply to your life right now?
Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.
Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”
Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.
So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?
You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.
That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.
3. Learn something new
It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.
For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).
Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.
You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?
4. Follow a brain training program
The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.
5. Work your body
You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.
Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.
Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.
Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.
6. Spend time with your loved ones
If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life. Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.
If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.
I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.
7. Avoid crossword puzzles
Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.
Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.
Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity
8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included
Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.
When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.
So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!
The bottom line
Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.
Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!
Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com