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20 Funny Things Everyone Can Do Every Day to Get Smarter

20 Funny Things Everyone Can Do Every Day to Get Smarter

What does being “smart” look like to you?

Hanging out at the library, nose buried in books? Staying up late into the night programming the next killer app? Sheldon Cooper on Big Bang Theory?

Or could it simply be organizing your routine, habits, and practices around getting a little bit smart each day?

Appearances aside, I’ll vote for the latter. Here’s 20 things you can do every day to boost your brainpower. You might look funny, but it might just be worth it…

1. Sprint into work (or school) in the morning

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    Needless to say, our brains are programmed for convenience. Everyone has that urge to park as close to the door of the building as possible. But if you want to give your brain a boost to start off the day, that might not be the best strategy.

    Research has repeatedly shown that intense cardiovascular exercise gets blood and oxygen flowing to the brain, providing enhanced cognitive performance afterwards. It also activates nervous system (and shakes off that “sleepy” feeling), and releases the “miracle-grow” of brain chemicals: brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

    So if you want to seed your dome-piece with the ingredients for building new connections and brain cells quickly, start parking further away than you usually would. On your way into the office (or school) do 1 set of 5×30-second light sprints, with 30 seconds of rest in-between. This little 5-minute routine will get your body and brain ready to tackle the day at full mental capacity.

    2. Wear these at night

    150707-RobertScoble-Bono-glasses

      (Photo: Robert Scoble)

      Little did you know, blue light is making you dumber. Blue light from computer screens, artificial lighting, phones, TV’s – you name it – impairs your body’s ability to release the appropriate amount of melatonin at night, preventing you from falling deeply asleep and damaging the quality of your rest at night.

      So what can you do? Blue light is friggin everywhere.

      Well, you can slap on a pair of these bad boys! Problem solved. Thank you Bono.

      Wearing blue-light blocking glasses simulates the sunset for your visual center, even though you’re still surrounded by artificial light. This signals your body to releases more melatonin, promoting more deep and restful sleep that will leave you mentally recharged. And all without giving up indoor lighting or nighttime Facebook.

      3. Do air squats at your desk

      150702-squat2parallelfarley-crossfit

        You’ve probably heard the news: sitting sucks for you. Not only for weight management, but also, it turns out, for mental performance.

        “With a 1-mph walk after a meal, blood sugar peaks are halved.” ~Tai Lopez

        “Indeed, the best business meeting would have everyone walking at about 1.8 miles per hour.” ~John Medina

        Not only does light exercise stabilize blood sugar levels, requiring less insulin release, and lessening the devastating impact of post-meal crashes, it also keeps a steady flow of blood and oxygen headed to your cranium.

        Now, these guys are talking about walking, but that isn’t always practical if you’re in an office or classroom. So instead, do AIR SQUATS. Work in 20 of these each hour during the day, especially after meals. Yes, you will look somewhat ridiculous, but hey – life is meant to be interesting. And while your co-workers or fellow students are fending off the drool after lunch, you’ll be powering through in peak performance mode.

        4. Carry around a stack of books

        150707-IndiSamarajiva-Books

          (Photo: Indi Samarajiva)

          Reading can make you a smartypants, and no one is a more die-hard believer than author and infamous marketer Ryan Holiday.

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          So according to the man with the famous 40k+ subscriber reading recommendation list, if you want to read more:

          “Carry a book with you at all times. Every time you get a second, crack it open. Don’t install games on your phone–that’s time you could be reading. When you’re eating, read. When you’re on the train, in the waiting room, at the office–read. It’s work, really important work. Don’t let anyone ever let you feel like it’s not.”

          Take it seriously. Go to Amazon, or your local bookstore right now and buy 5 books that interest you. Then, carry them everywhere you go for 2 weeks.

          5. Wear a blindfold and put in earplugs

          150707-KaiMultiblind-blindfolded

            (Photo: Kai Multiblind)

            In a world now, where according to Eric Schmidt of Google we generate more information in 2 days than we did for all of human history up to 2003, it can feel like we’re on maximum sensory overload.

            So it’s not a surprise that things like sensory deprivation tanks have had a major resurgence of late.

            “…flotation may enhance creativity and performance in a manner similar to that of sleep or meditation. Research has shown that during resting states the brain repeatedly rehearses newly learned skills and consolidates recently acquired knowledge for long-term storage. Some studies have also shown that the resting brain is particularly adept at synthesizing information from a wide range of brain areas to solve tough problems – something you may have experienced daydreaming in the shower.” ~Shelly Fan

            Although not all of us have a float tank on hand, you can achieve (to a lesser extent) some of the same cognitive benefits each day by simply wearing a blindfold and earplugs and lying down for a quick recharge.

            Taking 15 minutes after you come home in the evening to spend some time blindfolded and earplugged, not only will enhance your skill acquisition and memory capabilities, but will also give you the space to truly think that seems so hard to come by.

            6. Balance in weird positions

            150707-FrankKovalchek-balance

              (Photo: Frank Kovalchek)

              To say that body and mind interact would be an understatement to a research writer like Alex Hutchinson, who recently wrote a piece on the cognitive benefits of the development of balance and proprioception.

              “It is novelty and unpredictability, rather than repetition, that are essential to keep your brain engaged. A recent study by researchers in Denmark, Finland and Germany compared a group of 15 endurance-trained athletes, like runners and cross-country skiers, with a group of skill-trained dancers, gymnasts and figure skaters…

              Both types of athletes have highly trained calf muscles, but endurance athletes use them repetitiously, in a way that the brain consigns to autopilot. Sure enough, plasticity in the area of the brain that controls calf muscles was no different between endurance athletes and nonathletes. In contrast, the dancers, gymnasts and skaters, for whom autopilot is not an option, showed dramatically higher plasticity: Their neurons were primed to keep learning new motor tasks.”

              So not only should you be getting up from your desk regularly (a la item #3), add in some weirdo balance moves. Stand on one foot. Do some yoga poses. Do this while you’re working, standing in line, etc. and enhance the intelligence of your “body brain.”

              7. Fast like a caveman

              150702-kevinhart-fastingmeme

                We’ve all heard the term “brain food.” But what about the opposite?

                “…we have ample evidence that intermittently depriving organisms of food has been shown to engender beneficial effects on many functions… The antifragility of humans manifests itself in the response with up-regulation of some genes in response to hunger.” ~Nassim Taleb, Antifragile

                Now that mouthful from well-known investor and contrarian Mr. Taleb might not mean too much to you, but what he’s basically saying is: short periods of fasting boost neural activity and mental health.

                Plus thinking about eating is one less thing you’ll be focused on during the day, freeing up mental resources.

                A less extreme option to the full 24-hour fast is a shorter 16-hour intermittent fast each day. So see how long you can go each morning on just coffee or tea, and test how that affects your mental performance.

                8. Agree with people you hate

                Likeability is one of the biggest determinants of who you will, or won’t believe. But unfortunately for the accuracy of your beliefs, whether someone is likable or not has zero to do with how correct they are. So we tend to dismiss the thinking of people we don’t like too much, while holding on dearly to our beliefs which are confirmed by those we are more fond of.

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                Stack on top of that the fact that we have a bias towards information that confirms our beliefs anyway, and you have a recipe for some wacky, illogical thought patterns.

                On the flip side, if you can combat these things you’ll significantly improve your thinking.

                “I never allow myself to have an opinion on anything that I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do.” ~Charlie Munger

                So next time you’re listing to your favorite radio show, watching a talk on Youtube, or even listening to that co-worker everyone does their best to avoid, flip the script. Surprise the crap out of someone you usually disagree with, and agree with them for a day and see how that sharpens you’re reasoning skills.

                9. Become a notecard weirdo

                150707-wsilver-notecards

                  (Photo: wsilver)

                  How many of us read book after book, blog after blog, but can’t seem to remember or incorporate any of it into our lives?

                  Well back to Ryan Holiday again for our solution: becoming a notecard weirdo.

                  Holiday describes his notecard system (formally called a “commonplace book”), which works by forcing you to record only the most compelling information you find as you read and learn, and organize it in a way that you can easily reference later on.

                  After a month of doing this everyday, you’ll be overflowing with good ideas. So go out and buy yourself some 4×6 notecards, a box, and go to town.

                  10. Study hot-dog eating contests (and other weirdness)

                  150707-dj0ser-kobayashi

                    (Photo: dj0ser)

                    Now, you may never have eaten more that 2 or 3 hot dogs in a sitting, but in 2001 Takeru Kobayashi smashed the world record of 28 in 12 minutes and ate a whopping 50!

                    As the Freakonomics guys Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner talk about in their book Think Like a Freak:

                    “What question were his competitors asking? It was essentially: How do I eat more hot dogs? Kobayashi asked a different question: How do I make hot dogs easier to eat?”

                    The takeaway here is that it’s not always coming up with the right answer that makes you smarter, but asking the right questions.

                    So try it for yourself: search youtube for weird off-the-wall contests and games that you can study. Here’s Kobayashi’s 2001 record video. You can learn a lot by watching the strategy of people like Kobayashi in hot-dog eating, and people like Arthur Chu in Jeopardy. Study how they look at the world and what questions they’re asking.

                    11. Hang out with toddlers

                    160702-toddler-meme-you-mean-to-tell-me-spoons-dont-actually-sound-like-airplanes

                      If you’ve ever spent more than 30 seconds around little kids, you quickly realize that their filter for bad ideas is permanently turned off. They haven’t yet developed that “internal regulator” that edits ideas before they fly out of your mouth, and this allows them to generate the most interesting, off-the-wall ideas you’ve ever heard.

                      This is the essence of creative intelligence, and toddlers are masters at it.

                      Now, you’ll never be able to quite reach their level of ridiculousness, but you can get close. Set aside some time (early in the morning or late at night usually work best) and turn off your filter. Write down 10 horrible, off-the-wall ideas each day. Over time, you’ll start to see weird and wacky ideas pop up that just might be brilliant.

                      12. State the obvious

                      Another one from the Freakonomics guys: “don’t be afraid of the obvious.” Usually the “next big idea” comes from studying what’s right in front of you.

                      As Paul Graham, founder of famous startup fund Y Combinator says (from his post How to Get Startup Ideas),

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                      “The way to get startup ideas is not to try to think of startup ideas. It’s to look for problems, preferably problems you have yourself.

                      The very best startup ideas tend to have three things in common: they’re something the founders themselves want, that they themselves can build, and that few others realize are worth doing. Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Google, and Facebook all began this way.

                      …Which means, strangely enough, that coming up with startup ideas is a question of seeing the obvious. That suggests how weird this process is: you’re trying to see things that are obvious, and yet that you hadn’t seen.”

                      Next time you’re thinking about <INSERT YOUR THING HERE>, ask “why” to the most obvious aspects of your experience. Why does it take so long at the post office? Why do we like watching TV? Why does food taste good? Whatever you’re trying to figure out. Really think about the question and don’t filter your answers (see #12).

                      13. Bet against yourself

                      150707-bark-betting

                        (Photo: bark)

                        As much as we like to romanticize the “aha” moment of genius, much of the learning or skill development process is just making daily progress, regardless of how you feel. The problem is, when you don’t feel like it, it’s hard to overcome low motivation and put in the work to make progress.

                        So what we can do instead, is create artificial incentives that get you VERY motivated VERY quickly. Make it so that the negative outcome of NOT doing what you know you should be doing is SO PAINFUL, that you essentially have no choice but to get to work.

                        This is what economists and psychologists call “commitment devices” – and one of them is as simple as betting against yourself.

                        Next time you REALLY want to make progress on developing a new skill or learning something new, use a site like Stikk or Beeminder to throw down $5, $10, $50, even $1,000 which will swiftly disappear from your bank account if you don’t meet your target. If that won’t get you moving I don’t know what will.

                        14. Tell wild stories

                        Joshua Foer, 2006 U.S. memory champion, and author of bestseller, Moonwalking with Einstein, developed the ability to successfully recall entire randomly shuffled decks of playing cards, from memory in minutes.

                        How did he, and other memory “athletes” accomplish these incredible mental feats? They get really good at telling memorable stories to themselves, which are connected to what they’re trying to remember.

                        Because the human brain is built for storytelling, the more things you can link together into a narrative, the more readily you’ll be able to recall them later on.

                        So next time you want to remember something, tell a friend about it, but create a wild and wacky story to go along with it. Learn about the origins of the idea and tell it in the most colorful way possible.

                        15. Write off-handed

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                          Da Vinci was famous for his obsession with ambidexterity, and even wrote in his notebooks from right to left and backwards. But was he just an obsessive freak, or is there really a method to his madness?

                          It turns out that by writing with your off-hand, you can activating the opposing hemisphere of your brain that doesn’t usually get as much “attention.” There’s also some evidence that this improves the connection between your analytical “left-brain” skills and your more creative “right-brain” skills.

                          Regardless, what we definitely know is that by changing things up (and forcing yourself to concentrate on writing with the opposing hand), can get you out of a mental “rut” and force you to make new connections.

                          So try this: spend 15 minutes each day writing some percentage of your notes off-handed. Or try using the mouse, brushing your teeth, throwing around a football with your off-hand as well. Anything to activate that new motor pattern that doesn’t feel “comfortable.”

                          16. Roll around on balls

                          150707-upsidedownshpere-laxballs

                            (Photo: upsidedownsphere)

                            Jill Miller, yoga and fitness pioneer, is an advocate of what you might call an “unconventional practice” – i.e. rolling around on balls.

                            Miller call this “body mapping” – developing proprioceptive sense of the different parts of your anatomy, which improves your kinesthetic awareness.

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                            As she says in a recent interview:

                            “It can enhance the mobility of your soft tissues and awaken your proprioceptive sense (body sense)…

                            …They help you map your own anatomy and befriend it. Mapping yourself is empowering, it helps you to distinguish and differentiate your different parts so that they cooperate better as a whole. Each body part and YOU become more intelligent…”

                            So if you want to improve your “body intelligence,” incorporate this into your routine: roll around on a lacrosse ball or tennis ball for 10 minutes each night before bed. Focus on the “sticky” spots where you experience pain or discomfort and spend more time working the soft tissues in those areas.

                            17. Go to bed when your grandparents do…

                            …but still get up when your friends do.

                            150702-weknowmemes-grandparents-on-thanksgiving-meme

                              Getting a ton of sleep (7-9 hours) is largely underrated, but is essential for effectively consolidating new memories and forging newly developed neural pathways from whatever you learned that day.

                              “A full night’s sleep includes a large dose of several distinct brain states, including REM sleep – when the brain flares with activity and dreams – and the netherworld of deep sleep, when it whispers to itself in a language that is barely audible. Each of these states developed to handle one kind of job, so getting sleep isn’t just something you “should do” or need. It’s far more: It’s your best friend when you want to get really good at something you’ve been working on.” ~ Benedict Carey, New York Times reporter and author of How We Learn

                              So take a play out of your grandparent’s book and hit the sack earlier than what’s considered “socially acceptable.” Instead of setting a morning alarm, work backwards 9 hours and set a “bedtime alarm.” Your new and improved brain will thank you.

                              18. Eat the same meal every day

                              You know that feeling when you come back home from a long day at the office or in the classroom? You feel so drained you can’t even figure out what to eat for dinner. This is the feeling that comes from complete and utter willpower depletion: you’ve used so much mental energy during the day making decisions, thinking, and solving problems, that your gas tank is now empty and you’ve become the equivalent of a “lump on a log.”

                              On the flip side, preserving willpower throughout the day can be a huge cognitive advantage. And one way to do that is to not make tiny decisions throughout the day about trivial things.

                              “According to Professor Baumeister, one simple way to preserve your banks of mental energy is by not wasting it agonising over needless decisions. He cites the case of president Obama, who generally only wears blue or grey suits so that deciding what to wear is one decision he doesn’t have to make.” ~Josh Naish, DailyMail

                              In the same way as the president approaches his wardrobe strategy, one thing YOU don’t want to waste that valuable executive power on is decisions about meals.

                              So instead of leaving it up until just before you eat to decide, pick a meal that you could see yourself eating every day for lunch. Plan out a week’s worth and make it in batches each Sunday. In this case, boring is good, because it means you’re not using valuable brain power making your meals “interesting” and you can spend that power on the more important stuff.

                              19. Sell your TV and delete your Netflix account

                              150702-weknowmemes-good-guy-netflix-meme-2

                                It’s almost become a counter-cultural movement in itself. “We don’t even OWN a TV,” has become a status statement – an attempt to display sophistication and intellectualism. But despite the cliche, think about it.

                                TV rarely provides the entertainment we think it will, but at the same time it doesn’t really allow us to shut off and allow the sympathetic nervous system to take over, which is essential to re-booting your brain after a long day of use.

                                So try it. Sell your TV or unplug it. And delete your Netflix account so that you’re not as tempted to watch shows or movies on your computer. Just don’t go around telling everybody about it…

                                20. Stare at the wall

                                150707-MikeTidd-TM

                                  (Photo: Mike Tidd)

                                  Here’s something true for most of us that we don’t usually stop to think about: often can’t stand to be with ourselves.

                                  Our own thoughts tend to drive us crazy, so instead of sitting there and listening to the anxious chatter that’s going on between our ears, we fill every minute with content and distraction. TV, music, podcasts, books…

                                  That’s all well and good, except that part of coming up with ideas and developing an intuitive intelligence is being aware of our own thoughts and paying attention to them.

                                  So instead of immediately jumping on email or checking Facebook in the morning, spend 15 minutes, before your day has been corrupted by interruptions and other inputs, sitting quietly and observing your thoughts. You might be surprised by what great ideas bubble up.

                                  Featured photo credit: JD Hancock via flickr.com

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                                  Last Updated on February 17, 2021

                                  50 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time

                                  50 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time

                                  If you feel like you don’t have enough time to do everything you want to do, maybe it’s time to check-in with your time management skills.

                                  No one is born to be very good at time management, so that’s okay if you think you’re bad in it. But everyone can learn to boost their productivity and achieve more!

                                  Here are 50 ways to increase productivity and add hours to your day.

                                  1. Set a Timer

                                  Estimate the time you need to tackle different tasks and set a timer for each of your tasks. How you go about this is up to you as there are many different ways. There is the Pomodoro technique where you focus on a task for 25 minutes followed by a five minute break afterwards.

                                  In the event that you have a task that will take much longer than that, you can consider one of the many timer-based apps. One that comes to mind is Clockify. It’s used for freelancers and entrepreneurs alike, however it’s a good way to be setting yourself a timer. It provides reports and you can serve as a project manager of sorts too. Best of all, it’s free.

                                  2. Eliminate All Distractions

                                  Distractions include the phone, email notifications and having multiple web browsers open on the desktop. Just as it’s important to be organized offline, it’s key to have things organized online as well. This free guide End Distractions And Find Your Focus is a good tool to help you. With this guide, you’ll learn how to get rid of distractions and boost productivity. Grab your free guide here.

                                  You can also learn more on how to get rid of all distractions in this guide: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

                                  3. Listen to Music That Boosts Productivity

                                  Distractions should be avoided, but sometimes a bit of music in the background can help you focus.

                                  Of course, it doesn’t need to be heavy rock music, but a bit of Beethoven may do you some good.

                                  Here’s a complete guide to help you pick the right music for better productivity: How To Maximize Your Productivity With Music: A Complete Guide

                                  4. Find Meaning in What You Do (And Love What You Do)

                                  Enjoying what you do is the ultimate way to increase your productivity.

                                  If you aren’t sure what you love doing yet, don’t worry. Leo Babauta has some unique ways to help you: How to Find Your Passion

                                  5. Prioritize your tasks ahead of time.

                                  By listing your tasks in order of importance, you can make sure that you finish all of your most important tasks during the day.

                                  Learn a unique technique to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster.

                                  6. Batch Similar Tasks into a Single Batch.

                                  Tasks like blog writing, phone calls, email and errands can be grouped into a single batch. You will save time by completing similar tasks in one session. One way to help you with organizing all of those things is through the app Todoist. It’s an easy and simple way for you to plan out your day, set reminders, and group all of your most important tasks in a convenient spot.

                                  7. Complete Your Most Dreaded Tasks First Thing in the Morning.

                                  Whichever activity you are dreading the most is probably the one you need to complete first thing in the morning.

                                  Many people tend to check emails in the morning because after checking a list of emails, they feel fulfilled. But that’s just an illusion of having achieved more.

                                  Doing simple tasks like checking emails first in the morning is bad for you. Instead, do the difficult tasks because you have more energy in the morning to tackle them!

                                  8. Reward Yourself for Finishing a Big Task

                                  To stay motivated for whatever you do, reward yourself every now and then.

                                  Keep track of your small wins and milestones and celebrate them. So whenever you struggle about your progress, you see how far you’ve come!

                                  Find out more about this 2-Step Approach to Self-Motivation: Track Small Wins and Reward Yourself.

                                  9. Don’t Multitask

                                  Research has shown that multitasking is not productive. If you think you can multitask, think again.

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                                  For optimum productivity, focus on one thing at a time.

                                  10. Step Away from the Computer

                                  The Internet has become one of the number one distraction. To increase your productivity, try to do as much of your work offline as possible.

                                  I do this a lot when I try to brainstom new ideas and have found it to be very beneficial to simply unplug.

                                  11. Use Focus Tools

                                  Make good use of apps and technology to help you remove distractions.

                                  Here’re 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools to help you stay focused. This way, you’re not distracted by the web, e-mail, or IM.

                                  Also, join the free Fast-Track Class – Overcoming Distraction, and you’ll learn the one simple method to work even when you’re surrounded by distractions. Join the free session now!

                                  12. Just Start

                                  Often times, starting is the hardest part. People tend to wait for the perfect time with perfect condition to start. But there’s no perfect condition.

                                  Once you get going, you will quickly get into a rhythm that could last for hours.

                                  13. Find out Your Productive Hours

                                  Everyone has a certain time of the day in which they are more productive than others. For me, it’s the morning.

                                  Find out when your prime time is for productivity and optimize your work schedule accordingly.

                                  14. Keep a Notebook and Pen on Hand at All Times

                                  This way, you can write down your thoughts, to-dos and ideas at any time. The key is to get everything out of your head and onto paper. Your subconscious mind won’t be reminding you about it every other second. Another consideration is getting the app Evernote. Not only does this save you on ink and paper, Evernote is a convenient place for you to jot down notes and thoughts and then share them with the team. In certain circumstances, this can prove useful if you’re the type of person that has a lot of ideas that you want to share.

                                  15. Write a Blog to Chronicle Your Own Personal Development and Achievements

                                  The blog keeps you accountable and always working towards self improvement and personal growth.

                                  When you write down all the small achievements you’ve been having, you’re also more motivated to move forward.

                                  And you know what, this is how I started Lifehack too! What also helped me in starting Lifehack is WordPress, which allows people to set up a website for free. WordPress has simplified a lot of the process of building a site to the point that virtually anyone can build a website now.

                                  16. Write out a To-Do-List Each Day

                                  I like to plan my day the night before. This way, I can get started on my most important tasks as soon as I wake up. The Full Life Planner is a nice tool to help you organize your days and get things that matter done. Check out the planner here and start to plan your day ahead easily!

                                  Make sure you don’t make any of these common to-do-list mistakes!

                                  17. Write Your Most Important Tasks and To-Dos on a Calendar.

                                  The key to good time management is knowing where to be and what to be doing there at any given time. Effective calendar management goes hand in hand with good task list management.

                                  Learn here How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space.

                                  18. Reflect on Your Productivity Constantly

                                  As you go throughout your day, repeatedly ask yourself:

                                  “Am I currently making the best possible use of my time?”

                                  This one simple question can be an excellent boost to your productivity.

                                  19. Get up Early Before Anyone Else

                                  I know it could be difficult for some to wake up early in the morning but nothing beats a quiet house!

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                                  Here’s How to Start Your Day at 5:00 AM and some Simple Things Early Risers Do to make waking up early easier.

                                  20. Get Plenty of Sleep

                                  When you work online, sleep can become a long lost memory. However, it’s important to get plenty of sleep so that your working hours can be as productive as possible.

                                  Try out this night routine which I highly recommend for productivity: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide: Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

                                  21. Exercise

                                  Research has shown that midday exercise boosts productivity and morale in the workplace.

                                  Take a short walk at lunch or do some simple stretches during your break to maximize your productivity.

                                  Here I have some exercises recommendations for you:

                                  22. Outsource as Much as Possible

                                  If you want to achieve more in less time, learn to delegate or outsource work. Here are just a few of the companies that will help you outsource your everyday tasks:

                                  Also, read this guide to learn how to delegate effectively: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

                                  23. Set Some Exciting Goals

                                  Without worthy goals, you will never be motivated to get things done.

                                  Set goals that are challenging and achievable. The best goal setting framework is a SMART goal. That said, there are other tools that can help you out as well. For example, The Dreamers’ Guide To Reaching Your Goal is a great guide to help you set and reach goals effectively. Grab your free guide and learn how to make your goals happen this year!

                                  24. Tell Other People About Your Goals

                                  When you tell others about your goals, you will instantly be held accountable.

                                  25. Listen to Podcasts

                                  Listen to educational podcasts or audio books while you’re driving to work, cleaning the house, exercising, or cooking dinner.

                                  Audio learning has the power to add hours to your day. Not to mention, your cranium is sure to thank you for it.

                                  Some recommendations for you: 11 Podcasts To Inspire Yourself

                                  26. Read David Allen’s best-selling book Getting Things Done

                                  This is one of the most important productivity books you will ever read. Read it, apply the tips in your daily lives and get more things done.

                                  Here’re more great books about productivity too: 35 Books on Productivity and Organizational Skills for an Effective Life

                                  27. Learn to Speed Read

                                  When you can read faster, you will read and learn more! Check out these 10 Ways to Increase Your Reading Speed.

                                  You can also make use of the app OutRead to help speed up your reading speed!

                                  28. Learn to Skip When You Read

                                  When you’re reading a book, just read the parts that you need and skip the rest. But you have to read with a purpose.

                                  Learn how to make it work here: How to Read 10X Faster and Retain More

                                  29. Focus on Result-Oriented Activities

                                  Pareto’s law (also known as the 80 20 rule) states that 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs. This means that 20% of our actions result in 80% of the results.

                                  We must find the 20% that is creating the 80% of our desired outcomes and focus solely on those activities.

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                                  30. Take a Break

                                  You can’t always be working at optimum productivity. Instead, you should shoot for working in short bursts at your most productive times.

                                  31. Start a Polyphasic Sleep Schedule

                                  What is polyphasic sleep?

                                  Polyphasic sleep is a sleep pattern specification intended to compress sleep time to 2-5 hours daily.[1] This is achieved by spreading out sleep into short (around 20-45 minute) naps throughout the day. This allows for more waking hours with relatively high alertness.

                                  While you can learn more about it here, you’re recommended to take some naps during the day to recharge your energy too.

                                  32. Learn to Say “No”.

                                  We can’t do everything and therefore we must learn when to say no in order to save our sanity.

                                  Learn the Gentle Art of Saying No from Leo Babauta.

                                  33. Go on an Information Diet

                                  Most of the world lives on information overload. We must eliminate mindless Internet surfing.

                                  Stop reading three different newspapers a day and checking your RSS feeds multiple times a day. Otherwise, you’ll never get anything done.

                                  The key is to limit yourself only to information that you can immediately take action on. Here’re some simple tips you can try: 10 Simple Productivity Tricks To Manage Overloaded Information

                                  34. Organize Your Office

                                  The piles of paper around your desk can be a huge barrier on your productivity. Optimize your time by organizing your office, setting up a system and dumping the junk.

                                  Check out these 21 Tips to Organize Your Office and Get More Done and 20 Easy Home Office Organization Ideas to Boost Your Productivity.

                                  35. Find a Mentor

                                  By modeling after those who have already achieved success, you will save yourself a lot of time and energy.

                                  A good mentor is hard to find, so here’s a guide to help you: What to Look for in a Mentor

                                  36. Learn Keyboard Shortcuts

                                  With technology’s help, you can double your work efficiency. Even better, you learn all the shortcuts when using technology, for example keyboard shortcuts.

                                  When you use keyboard shortcut, you gain 64 hours every year!

                                  Not sure what shortcuts to lear? Check out these 22 Tricks That Can Make Anyone A Keyboard Ninja.

                                  Besides learning the shortcuts, you can also create keyboard shortcuts with AutoHotKey.

                                  37. Improve Your Typing Speed to Save Time

                                  Do you know you can save 21 days per year just by typing fast?

                                  You don’t really need to take some serious courses to type faster, try these typing games online:

                                  38. Work from Home and Avoid the Daily Commute

                                  If your job is a flexible one, consider working from home. This saves you the commute time and you’ll find yourself more energetic throughout the day as you have saved the long ride.

                                  Take a look at these tips to help you stay productive while working from home:

                                  How to Work from Home and Stay Ultra-Productive

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                                  39. Get Rid of Time Wasters

                                  Common time wasters include Instant Messenger, video games, Flickr, checking your stats 10 times a day, television and extraneous Internet surfing.

                                  Don’t rely on your willpower, make use of some of these useful tools to help you stay focus: 10 Online Apps for Better Focus

                                  40. Plan Your Meals in Advance

                                  Plan out all of your meals a week ahead and make your grocery list accordingly. This allows you to focus on the necessary – saving you time and money. You can also save yourself even more time through a wide variety of apps. One app that I find helpful is Mealime. It’s an app that provides you with a wide selection of recipes and also a convenient spot for your grocery list as well.

                                  Considering the fact that over 4 million users have this app, it goes to show that there is a good selection of meal plans that you can follow and that the app is friendly to use.

                                  41. Cook Your Meals in Bulk

                                  When you cook your meals in bulk, you will have plenty of leftovers. This can avoid having to cook everyday.

                                  Find out more about how to make cooking in bulk works: Once a Month Cooking: Productivity Hack or Overrated Time Suck?

                                  42. Protect Yourself from Unnecessary Phone Time with Caller ID

                                  The minutes you spend on picking up unnecessary phone calls are time wasted. You can prevent that from happening.

                                  Check out this detailed guide how you can deal with those unnecessary phone calls: How To Lose the Useless Items that Weigh Down Your Day – Cellphone Calls

                                  43. Take Shorter Showers

                                  This one may sound silly but it’s actually something I struggle with. I spend up to 30 minutes in the shower. Think of the time I could save simply by speeding up a bit.

                                  44. Save the Trips to Bank by Taking Direct Deposit

                                  Many employers now offer direct deposit. If yours does, then be sure and take advantage of it and save yourself from a number of trips to the bank.

                                  45. Auto Pay Your Bills

                                  How many times have you been worried about whether you missed the bills deadline?

                                  Auto paying your bills will save you time and eliminate late fees and increased interest rates.

                                  46. Shop Online

                                  Whenever possible, avoid going to the store. When you shop online, you can be more focus about what you’re getting.

                                  47. Speed up your Internet With a Broadband Connection

                                  Many people are aware of the slow speed of internet but aren’t doing anything about it. In fact, this is the number one Internet time-saver!

                                  If you must use dial-up, then you can use accelerators like Propel and SlipStream to double or even triple your speed.

                                  48. Keep up the Speed of Your Computer

                                  If you’re a Windows user, use Windows hibernation feature to avoid the slowdown of exiting and restarting Windows.

                                  Or maybe, consider switching to Mac as there’re plenty of Advantages You Probably Don’t Know About Switching To Mac From PC.

                                  49. Turn off the TV

                                  The average American watches more than 4 hours of television every day. Over a 65-year life, that’s 9 years glued to the tube.

                                  For better health and productivity, turn off the TV. Here’re 11 more reasons to tell you to stop watching TV so often.

                                  Turn off the TV and you are sure to get more out of life.

                                  50. Use a Tivo or DVR

                                  This can help you cut an hour-long television show down to just 40 minutes. You can save time while not missing the fun.

                                  So, here’s the ultimate list of techniques you should learn to boost productivity. Pick the techniques that work for you and make them your daily habits. As time goes, you’ll find yourself being a lot more productive.

                                  More Time Management Tips

                                  Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                                  Reference

                                  [1] Medical News Today: What is biphasic and polyphasic sleep?

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