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What You Can Do Every Night To Make A More Productive Tomorrow

What You Can Do Every Night To Make A More Productive Tomorrow

We’re used to living life in segments: 24 hour days, 7 day weeks, 365 day years. Work, play, sleep. Morning, afternoon, night.

The way we segment our lives determines the activities that we select to do throughout the day. To be more productive, try on this new frame of mind. Instead, imagine life as a continuous flow where each moment follows into the next in one non-stop sequence from beginning to end. If you’re wondering what you can do differently to be more productive tomorrow consider these 7 suggestions.

Be grateful

No matter where you are in time and how things are going, there is always something to be grateful for. Find it and give thanks. Write it in your journal or on the notes app of your phone. If you are hard-pressed, be grateful for your ability to read this line. Not everyone can read and not everyone can see.

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Assess progress towards your long-term goal

It’s easy to get stuck in the minutiae of execution and lose sight of whether or not what you’re accomplishing every day really matters. Think about where you want to be long-term and look at how you spent your time for the day. How much time was dedicated to activities that will help you move towards your dreams?

If you’re not satisfied with that number, do something about it. If you have no idea where you’re spending your time, consider a time-logging app.

Create a list of 3 tasks you’ll finish tomorrow

Now that you’ve thought about your long-term goals and the associated tasks, create a list of 3 tasks that you can and want to accomplish tomorrow. Be clear about when and where you’ll accomplish these 3 tasks. If you use a calendar, make sure you schedule time on your calendar to work on them. Don’t add any new tasks until you finish 2 of the 3 on your list.

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Visualize a successful tomorrow

For the most part, you can predict quite accurately what tomorrow will look like. The meetings you have scheduled, the activities you have planned and the people you will see. Take time and imagine what a perfect tomorrow will look like from the moment you wake up until you go back to bed. Watch yourself accomplishing those 3 tasks that you’ve selected for the day and include bonus highlights. Maybe you catch your train, impress your client, or enjoy a great conversation with your good friend. Pick whatever you want it to achieve and believe.

Remember that mental rehearsal is not about fantasizing. Choose what the realistic ideal will look like. You might be surprised at how close you come to what you rehearse.

Make as many decisions about tomorrow as possible

Choose what you’ll wear and eat, along with any anything else you need to decide tomorrow the night before. This will free up your brain and help preserve your willpower for the more consequential decisions tomorrow. With more brain capacity and better decision making, you’ll see your productivity and energy rise.

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Write the first two lines

As an extension to front-loading your decision-making, set yourself up for success by starting the activity you plan to do tomorrow. If you’re a writer, write the first two lines of the article you plan to finish tomorrow. If you’re a parent, put the laundry you plan to wash in the washer. If you’re a doctor, lay out the files for the first two patients you plan to see. You get the point.

The hardest part of completing an activity is the start. If you can get that out of the way, you’re likelihood to actually finish the task when you decide to tackle it is high.

Sleep 8+ hours

There is no better productivity booster than sleep. When you get enough sleep, you can better focus on your plan for the day because you’ll have more self-control. Not only will you get more of the right things done, you’ll also notice your interactions with other people to be easier going. This is hard for those of you who do a lot. My advice is to see adequate sleep as one of your most important tasks to accomplish every day. Make it a priority.

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What routines or actions do you take the night before to set yourself up for a productive tomorrow?

Featured photo credit: Bed Time by VirtualWolf via flickr.com

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Robert Chen

Executive Coach

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Do you think of yourself as a creative person? Do you play the drums or do watercolor paintings? Perhaps compose songs or direct plays? Can you even relate to any of these so called ‘creative’ experiences? Growing up, did you ever have that ‘artistic’ sibling or friend who excelled in drawing, playing instruments or literature? And you maybe wondered why you can’t even compose a birthday card greeting–or that drawing stick figures is the furthest you’ll ever get to drawing a family portrait. Many people have this common assumption that creativity is an inborn talent; only a special group of people are inherently creative, and everyone else just unfortunately does not have that special ability. You either have that creative flair or instinct, or you don’t. But, this is far from the truth! So what is creativity?

Can I Be Creative?

The fact is, that everyone has an innate creative ability. Despite what most people may think, creativity is a skill that everyone can learn and hone on. It’s a skill with huge leverage that allows you to generate enormous amounts of value from relatively little input. How is that so? You’ll have to start by expanding your definition of creativity. Ironically, you have to be creative and ‘think out of the box’ with the definition! Creativity at its heart, is being able to see things in a way that others cannot. It’s a skill that helps you find new perspectives to create new possibilities and solutions to different problems. So, if you encounter different challenges and problems that need solving on a regular basis, then creativity is an invaluable skill to have.Let’s say, for example, that you work in sales. Having creativity will help you to look for new ways to approach and reach out to potential customers. Or perhaps you’re a teacher. In this role you have to constantly look for new ways to deliver your message and educate your students.

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How Creativity Works

Let me break another misconception about creativity, which is that it’s only used to create completely “new” or “original” things. Again, this is far from the truth. Because nothing is ever completely new or original. Everything, including works of art, doesn’t come from nothing. Everything derives from some sort of inspiration. That means that creativity works by connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.From this perspective, you can see a lot of creativity in action. In technology, Apple combines traditional computers with design and aesthetics to create new ways to use digital products. In music, a musician may be inspired by various styles of music, instruments and rhythms to create an entirely new type of song. All of these examples are about connecting different ideas, finding common ground amongst the differences, and creating a completely new idea out of them.

What Really Is Creativity?

Creativity Needs an Intention

Another misconception about the creative process is that you can just be in a general “creative” state. Real creativity isn’t about coming up with “eureka!” moments for random ideas. Instead, to be truly creative, you need to have a direction. You have to ask yourself this question: “What problem am I trying to solve?” Only by knowing the answer to this question can you start flexing your creativity muscles. Often times, the idea of creativity is associated with the ‘Right’ brain, with intuition and imagination. Hence a lot of focus is placed on the ‘Right’ brain when it comes to creativity. But, to get the most out of creativity, you need to utilize both sides of your brain–Right and Left–which means using the analytical and logical part of your brain, too. This may sound surprising to you, but creativity has a lot to do with problem solving. And, problem solving inherently involves logic and analysis. So instead of throwing out the ‘Left’ brain, full creativity needs them to work in unison. For example, when you’re looking for new ideas, your ‘Left’ brain will guide you to a place of focus, which is based on your objective behind the ideas you’re searching for. The ‘Right’ brain then guides you to gather and explore based on your current focus. And when you decide to try out these new ideas, your ‘Right’ brain will give you novel solutions outside of the ones you already know. Your ‘Left’ brain then helps you evaluate and tune the solutions to work better in practice. So, logic and creativity actually work hand in hand, and not one at the expense of the other.

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Creativity Is a Skill

At the end of the day, creativity is a skill. It’s not some innate or natural born talent that some have over others. What this means is that creativity and innovation can be practiced and improved upon systematically.A skill can be learned and practiced by applying your strongest learning styles. Want to know what your learning style is? Try this test. A skill can be measured and improved through a Feedback Loop, and can be continuously upgraded over time by regular practice. Through regular practice, your creativity goes through different stages of proficiency. This means that you can become more and more creative! If you never thought that creativity was relevant to you, or that you don’t have a knack for being creative… think again! You can use creativity in any aspect of your life. In fact you should use it, as it will allow you to to break through your usual loop, get you out of your comfort zone, and inspire you to grow and try new things. Creativity will definitely give you an edge when you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with new solutions.

Start Connecting the Dots

Excited to start honing your creativity? Here at Lifehack, we’ve got a wealth of knowledge to help you get started. We understand that creativity is a matter of connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value. So, if you want to learn how to start connecting the dots, check out these tips:

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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