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10 Simple Productivity Tips To Organize Your Work Life

10 Simple Productivity Tips To Organize Your Work Life

Have you ever come home late, exhausted and tired after spending your whole day at work, but when you asked yourself what was the result of your day, you didn’t have an answer? You just feel like your productivity was around zero.

If so, ask yourself this: Was that day all about checking your emails, answering the phone, and spending time in marathon meetings? Such situations can happen often in this fast-paced world. It is so full of different distractions. This is why we must take care of our productivity.

Productivity is not about working more. It is just the opposite: working less, in less time, with more effect.

Time

Organizing your time is the first crucial step to take in order to boost your productivity. Using your time wisely means that you have time for work, leisure, along with also having time for your family and friends.

At the end of the day, we all have 24 hours in each day. It is up to you how you are going to use them.

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1. “Eat that frog”

“Eat that frog!” simply means you do your most important task first. After completing your most important task, you will fill fulfilled and satisfied for the rest of the day.

By practicing this habit, you will also avoid one of the biggest enemies of productivity — procrastination.

2. Put time limits on your work

No matter what I do, whether writing an article, shooting a video, or working on a marketing campaign, I always put a time limit on my work. That means that I decide in advance how much time I am going spend writing an article: I set it to a certain number of hours and not a minute more.

If you want to increase your productivity before you start writing a letter to your customer or learning online skills or any new task you start, put a time limit on your work. You will see how effective you will become after setting a specific amount of time to do the job.

3. Break your work down into sessions

Your brain and your body are impressive machines — but don’t overuse them. Studies show that your brain’s effectiveness significantly decreases after 45 minutes. Make a habit of having five- or ten-minute breaks every 45 minutes. Stretch your body and allow your brain to regenerate. Doing so will help you to start each hour fresh and increase your productivity.

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Space

There are many studies that show how the right lighting, the right temperature, and a clean workplace affect your productivity. But don’t limit your thinking just to your physical space. Think of space as your entire working environment, including your virtual space.

4. Don’t be addicted to your mailbox

Checking your mailbox every 30 minutes or setting an automated email checker makes you completely reactive — as opposed to being proactive — and thus significantly decreases your productivity.

Tomorrow, when you go to work, resist checking your email as the first thing you do in the morning. Instead, work on your most important task first. After that, you have plenty of time to do all the little things.

5. Write it down

What I learned from reading the biography of Sir Richard Branson years ago is that he always carries an old-fashioned paper notebook with him. Why is this habit so beneficial and why it can greatly affect your productivity? When a new idea pops into your mind, you can quickly write it down in your notebook.

So, write those ideas down in your paper notebook. That means all of your ideas — otherwise you will just forget them (yes, your smartphone will also get the job done). These little ideas can make a big difference in your work.

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6. Choose five priorities each day (and no more)

Multitasking is another thing which can greatly decrease your productivity. The best way to avoid it is to choose only five priorities each day and stick to them strictly. This will make you a proactive person — you won’t be distracted by 100 other “urgent” things.

Mindset

Your mindset can do wonders for your productivity. With the right mindset, you just know what’s the right thing to do and what has the best effect on your life. Mindset can have the biggest impact on your productivity, so it is well worth working on.

7. Use affirmations

Actually, we all use affirmations all the time. Different thoughts are crossing our minds constantly. The question is: are you using positive ones?

Start telling yourself things like: “I am successful,” or  “I attract ______________ (insert whatever it is that you are dreaming of).” Use these affirmations first thing when you wake up and repeat them throughout the day. They will affect your confidence — the more confident you are, the more effective you are.

8. Imagine your end result

Before you start your workday, don’t just rush into your work. First, imagine the end result you wish to have. By doing this, you will tap into your subconscious strength and empower your productivity.

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9. Read inspirational books

Inspiration is food for your mind. Just as you shower every day to cleanse your body, you should shower your soul with inspiration every day. Read inspirational books, watch inspirational videos, and listen to inspirational audio. When you are inspired, you work with an ease and your productivity will rise substantially.

10. Think good thoughts before you go to sleep

I am sure you have already experienced having bad dreams after watching a horror movie before you went to sleep. Why? Because your subconscious mind is very receptive to your thoughts in the last 45 minutes before you go to sleep.

So, before you go to sleep, think of your next day’s goals, your life dreams, or read a good motivational book. In that way, you will fill your subconsciousness with positive thoughts. Your subconscious will reciprocate by helping you to have increased productivity.

Featured photo credit: Steve wilson via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

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More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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