“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 March 15, 2019
How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential
When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.
Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.
In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.
Table of Contents
What Makes a Leader Fail?
A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.
If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.
And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.
What Is Effective Leadership?
Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.
Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.
Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:
“… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”
How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader
To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:
The late poet Maya Angelou once said,
“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”
Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.
For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.
In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.
It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.
Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.
2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.
If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.
The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.
To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.
3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback
Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.
Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.
Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.
When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.
Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.
So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.
Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.
When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.
Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.
Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.
7. A True Understanding of Inspiration
Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.
Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.
Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.
Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.
As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:
“A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”
8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others
Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.
This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.
9. A Passion for Continual Learning
Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.
These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.
Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.
The Bottom Line
No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.
Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.
More Resources About Effective Leadership
- Leadership vs Management: Is One Better Than the Other?
- Master These 10 Management Skills to Become a Strong Leader
- 15 Inspiring Books Every Leader Should Not
- Why Leadership and Management Are Two Sides of a Coin
Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com
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