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8 Ways Productive People Win the Battle of Busyness

8 Ways Productive People Win the Battle of Busyness

Busyness-addicted people often confuse being busy with being productive. This is because of a cognitive connection in our brain; in some cases, busyness can give us a fake perception of productivity. However, being productive requires a completely different set of skills than simply staying busy.

A very easy way to illustrate this idea is when we are facing a problem. Unproductive people prefer to do something quickly instead of doing nothing, even if doing nothing is the right solution. It requires more effort to analyse the situation and decide not to do anything than to instinctively start doing something. However, inactivity can be seen by other as a lack of effort or intention.

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Check out these ways productive people win against the battle of busyness so you can too become more productive.

1. They spend time thinking before acting

Planning is sometimes perceived as a waste of time. But having the right plan in place is extremely important as it will help you execute the task in a more organised way and you will obtain better results. As Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

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2. They don’t keep saying how busy they are

Busyness-addicted people love to tell others how busy they are because it helps them deal with their own stress. By doing so, they are passing on some pressure to others who, in their opinion, should also be very busy. Productive people instead focus on their tasks when they are working on them and not during the rest of the time. They don’t need other people to reassure their busyness levels.

3. They prioritise to spend their time wisely

To be productive it is necessary to prioritise and decide what can you commit to. Then, say no to the rest. This helps productive people to manage their own energy and not to waste their vitality on those things that are not worth it.

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4. They do less things better

Trying to cover too many things normally results in disaster. Instead, productive people focus on less things, doing some of them exceptionally and the rest adequately. As it is impossible to do everything well, productive people know what their strengths are and they concentrate on them.

5. They use the right tools to free up their time

Technology used in the right way helps us to become more productive. Using the right apps and tools help productive people to increase their productivity in the workplace. To accomplish everyday tasks they also use the apps and gadgets that best help them with their personal productivity.

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6. They finish work on time

Following schedules and finishing work on time is key. Setting up time frames to finish tasks helps productive people to avoid procrastination and makes them much more likely to finish their tasks on time. Busyness-addicted people tend to continue working at the end of the day which means they never disconnect, making them less productive during working hours.

7. They know how to spend their free time

Productive people appreciate having free time. They generally have hobbies and look forward to plans with their friends and family during the weekend or on holiday. Busyness-addicted people find it difficult to occupy their mind with things other than work.

8. They do not talk about work in their spare time

As a sign to disconnect from work, it is difficult to hear productive people talking about work during their spare time. Overall, they focus on their tasks when working on them and know how to keep them out of their minds the rest of the time.

Featured photo credit: Clark Kent/Nana B Agyei via flickr.com

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Maria Onzain

Content Marketing Freelancer

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Last Updated on September 24, 2020

17 Ways Learn New Skills Faster and Enjoy the Process

17 Ways Learn New Skills Faster and Enjoy the Process

In the movie The Matrix, everyone was intrigued with the ability that Neo and his friends possessed to learn new skills in a matter of seconds. With the incredible rise in technology today, the rapid learning in the movie is becoming much more of a reality than you realize.

The current generation has access to more knowledge and information than any before it. Through the internet, we are able to access all sorts of knowledge to answer almost every conceivable question. To become smarter, it’s more about the ability to learn faster, rather than being a natural born genius.

Here are 17 ways to kickstart your Matrix-style learning experience in a short amount of time.

1. Deconstruct and Reverse Engineer

Break down the skill that you want to learn into little pieces and learn techniques to master an isolated portion. The small pieces will come together to make up the whole skill.

For example, when you’re learning to play the guitar, learn how to press down a chord pattern with your fingers first without even trying to strum the chord. Once you are able to change between a couple of chord patterns, then add the strumming.

2. Use the Pareto Principle

Use the Pareto Principle, which is also known as the 80 20 rule. Identify the 20% of the work that will give you 80% of the results. Find out more about the 80 20 rule here: What Is the 80 20 Rule (And How to Use It to Boost Productivity)

Take learning a new language for example. It does not take long to realize that some words pop up over and over again as you’re learning. You can do a quick search for “most commonly used French words,” for example, and begin to learn them first before adding on the rest.

3. Make Stakes

Establish some sort of punishment for not learning the skill that you are seeking. There are sites available that allow you to make a donation toward a charity you absolutely hate if you do not meet your goals. Or you can place a bet with a friend to light that fire under you.

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However, keep in mind that several studies have shown that rewards tend to be more motivating than punishment[1].

4. Record Yourself

Seeing yourself on video is a great way to learn from your mistakes and identify areas that you need to improve. This is very effective for any musicians, actors, speakers, performers, and dancers.

5. Join a Group

There are huge benefits to learning in a group. Not only are you able to learn from others but you’ll be encouraged to make progress together. Whether it’s a chess club, a mastermind group, or an online meet-up group, get connected with other like-minded individuals.

6. Time Travel

Visit the library. Although everything is moving more and more online, there are still such things called libraries.

Whether it’s a municipal library or your university library, you will be amazed at some of the books available there that are not accessible online. Specifically, look for the hidden treasures and wisdom contained in the really old books.

7. Be a Chameleon

When you want to learn new skills, imitate your biggest idol. Watch a video and learn from seeing someone else do it. Participate in mimicry and copy what you see.

Studies have shown that, apart from learning,[2]

“Mimicry is an effective tool not only to create ties and social relationships, but also for maintaining them.”

Visual learning is a great way to speed up the learning process. YouTube has thousands of videos on almost every topic available.

8. Focus

Follow one course until success! It’s easy to get distracted, to throw in the towel, or to become interested in the next great thing and ditch what you initially set out to do.

Ditch the whole idea of multitasking, as it has been shown to be detrimental and unproductive Simply focus on the one new skill at hand until you get it done.

9. Visualize

The mind has great difficulty distinguishing between what is real and what is imagined. That is why athletes practice mentally seeing their success before attempting the real thing[3].

Visualize yourself achieving your new skill and each step that you need to make to see results. This is an important skill to help when you’re learning the basics or breaking a bad habit.

Take a look at this article to learn how to do so: How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results

10. Find a Mentor

Success leaves clues. The best short cut to become an expert is to find an expert and not have to make the mistakes that they have made.

Finding out what NOT to do from the expert will fast-track your learning when you want to learn new skills. It is a huge win to have them personally walk you through what needs to be done. Reach out and send an email to them.

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If you need help learning how to find a mentor, check out this article.

11. Sleep on It

Practice your new skill within four hours of going to sleep.

Josh Kaufman, author of The Personal MBA, is a noted rapid learning expert. He says that any practice done within this time frame causes your brain to embed the learning more rapidly into its neural pathways. Your memory and motor-mechanics are ingrained at a quicker level.

12. Use the 20-Hour Rule

Along with that tip, Kaufman also suggests 20 as the magic number of hours to dedicate to learning the new skill.

His reasoning is that everyone will hit a wall early on in the rapid learning stage and that “pre-committing” to 20 hours is a sure-fire way to push through that wall and acquire your new skill.[4]

Check out his video to find out more:

13. Learn by Doing

It’s easy to get caught up in reading and gathering information on how to learn new skills and never actually get around to doing those skills. The best way to learn is to do.

Regardless of how unprepared you feel, make sure you are physically engaged continuously. Keep alternating between research and practice.

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14. Complete Short Sprints

Rather than to force yourself into enduring hours upon hours of dedication, work in short sprints of about 20-30 minutes, then get up and stretch or take a short walk. Your brain’s attention span works best with short breaks, so be sure to give it the little rest it needs.

One study found that, between two groups of students, the students who took two short breaks when studying actually performed better than those who didn’t take breaks[5].

15. Ditch the Distractions

Make sure the environment you are in is perfect for your rapid-learning progress. That means ditching any social media, and the temptation to check any email. As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.”

Before you sit down to learn new skills, make sure that potential distractions are far from sight.

16. Use Nootropics

Otherwise known as brain enhancers, these cognitive boosters are available in natural herbal forms and in supplements.

Many students will swear by the increased focus that nootropics will provide[6], particularly as they get set for some serious cramming. Natural herbal nootropics have been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic traditions to improve the mind and learning.

Find out more about brain supplements in this article.

17. Celebrate

For every single small win that you experience during the learning process, be sure to celebrate. Your brain will release endorphins and serotonin as you raise your hands in victory and pump your fits. Have a piece of chocolate and give yourself a pat on the back. This positive reinforcement will help you keep pushing forward as you learn new skills.

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The Bottom Line

Learning a new skill should be exciting and fun. Whether you use online courses, real world experience, YouTube videos, or free online resources, take time to learn in the long term. Keep picturing the joy of reaching the end goal and being a better version of yourself as continual motivation.

More Tips on How to Learn New Skills

Featured photo credit: Elijah M. Henderson via unsplash.com

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