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7 Things The Most Productive People See Differently

7 Things The Most Productive People See Differently

We all get 24 hours in a day. Yet some people seem to accomplish so much more. Its because they know how to optimize their day for better performance. There are seven things the most productive people see differently.

1. They see the long term effect of every little thing they do through the day.

Daily routines and habits are important. It’s been proven that we have more willpower in the morning or as soon as we wake up. Every little decision you make from the time you wake up to when you go to bed will deplete the amount of willpower you have. Productive people have an investor’s mindset with almost every action they take.

Just take a look at how Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg almost wear the same shirts everyday. They know better than to waste their willpower and time on deciding what clothing to wear. They know it won’t matter in the long term.

President Obama said “You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”

Focus on the things that will actually help you in the long term as soon as possible. Which brings us to our next point.

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2. They see the hardest tasks as top priority.

They know their willpower is at it’s highest as soon as they wake up and they use that to their advantage by tackling the toughest tasks first. Productive people also know that putting off the hardest things for last will become a habit and carry over to other areas of their life.

As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe puts it “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least”.

Don’t do the easy things first. Save the easy tasks for last when your willpower has gone down and you are tired.

3. They see learning how to learn as an important skill to master.

The most productive people know that continual learning is important for their own personal success.

Benjamin Franklin said “If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest”.

Highly productive people take learning a step further and implement memorization techniques to help them retain more information, speed read, and they use the Pareto 80/20 principle to their advantage. For example when reading a book, read the table of contents, the back cover of the book, the beginning, the end, and whatever parts in between that sound interesting. It’s been said that one should never read a book from cover to cover unless they enjoy it.

The 80/20 principle can be applied to your schedule and your income as well. Use this to your advantage and put more focus on the 20% of things that generate 80% of the results. Also, read books about how to learn faster and apply what you learn.

4. They see technology as a tool.

Tim Ferriss wrote “Get on a strict low-information diet and focus on output instead of input; your wallet and weekends will thank you for it”.

Many of us today simply let technology distract and control us. We let the funny viral videos on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram suck away massive amounts of our time. We let our phones constantly steal away our attention with emails and text messages. They are all time drainers. Stop checking your news feeds. Turn off the television. Set up an email auto-responder. Choose specific times to check email and other messages so they won’t steal your focus away at random times of the day.

5. They see even the worst days as days to make the right choices.

In his book, On Writing, Stephen King said “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work”.

Productive people find ways to get their work done regardless of whether they feel like doing it or their circumstances. The process of getting where you want to be or finishing work will not always be smooth sailing. Highly productive people stay focused on the long term result and not on short term relief.

They know that everything we do either brings us closer to our goals or farther away from them.By law if you are not moving in one direction you must be moving in another. Work to acquire the self-discipline to persevere and stay focused even in the worst of times.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson put it “Do the thing and you will have the power”.

Consistent good habits are one of the most important things that separate productive people from procrastinators. Produce good results, not excuses.

6. They see the value in getting help from other people.

Highly productive people don’t waste time doing things they could get someone else to do. Bill Gates said he never did anything alone.

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Neil deGrasse Tyson said “I have a personal philosophy in life: If somebody else can do something that I’m doing, they should do it. And what I want to do is find things that would represent a unique contribution to the world – the contribution that only I, and my portfolio of talents, can make happen. Those are my priorities in life.”

This one definitely applies to entrepreneurs and business owners. You can’t do everything yourself. Put as much focus as you can on the high priority tasks that generate the most results.

7. They see the benefits of daily meditation and routine breaks.

Jon Kabat-Zinn said “Most people don’t realize that the mind constantly chatters. And yet, that chatter winds up being the force that drives us much of the day in terms of what we do, what we react to, and how we feel”.

When we practice meditation and mindfulness, we are actually becoming aware of this chatter and stilling our minds.

Lao Tzu said “If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place”.

Even though mindfulness originated in Buddhism, it has little or nothing to do with religion. The benefits of mindfulness and meditation are grounded in science. Daily meditation practice can help us stay focused longer and therefore allow us to get more done. Being a workaholic and trying to plow through work with no breaks actually makes you less productive and is bad for your health in a multitude of ways.

You may think you are too busy to meditate, but that is all the more reason to start doing it. Sit down somewhere comfortable, close your eyes, get into a rhythm of breathing, and focus on the feeling of the air entering and leaving your body for about 10 to 20 minutes. This will relax you, reduce stress, quiet your mind, and will eventually make you an overall more productive person. Practice meditation everyday.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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