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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 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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