Advertising
Advertising

The Guide to Productivity That Will Change Your Life

The Guide to Productivity That Will Change Your Life

“If only I were more productive,” “If only I studied more,” “If only I took action.” Sounds familiar?

I think I already heard these ifonlystic whinings, and quite often. And “If only” I had a penny each time I heard one of those whinings, today I would be a millionaire! You can stop this useless, disempowering and prejudicial behavior. You can take action and change everything.

The importance of wanting the change

If you want to see results, first of all you need to do is to desire the change as intensely as you need oxygen to breathe. In other words you need to dream of it! So, the first thing you need to do is to change your mindset and understand what you really want, what your goals are, why you want to be more productive and where you want to go. The second step is thinking that if we look for what triggers our emotions and makes us excited and passionate about our future, we will find the right motivation, which is everything we need in order to obtain what we want. And it makes us unstoppable.

The importance of keeping your mind clear

“If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open for everything.”
— Shunryu Suzuki

I love this quote. It’s so true and useful. It reminds us of the importance of leaving as much space as we can in our mind, in order to use our brain efficiently. The first step towards productivity is being relaxed and always having both short-term and long-term plans well-organized. But in order to be relaxed, you need an “external storage” where you will keep all the detailed information about what you are going to do. In the next paragraphs I will explain better what I mean with “external storage”.

Guide To Productivity

    Image: Brain Power

    Overloading your brain, keeping all that information in mind, will cause stress, pressure and anxiety. Not only is it inefficient, but it will also prevent you from being productive and getting things done. So never forget the importance of keeping your mind stress-free.

    The tools of highly productive people

    As promised I’m going to explain what I mean with “external storage”. The “external storage” is the combination and coordination of some efficient tools that you can use to be more productive and organized.

    Post-Its Notes

    Write your 3 most important daily tasks on 3 post-its and stick them on your computer. It’s very useful.

    Advertising

    Productivity

      Image: Post-It Notes

      The daily to-do list

      You probably already know what a to-do list is. It’s a very efficient tool to get well-organized and to motivate us to complete our daily tasks. It’s a list with all the concrete actions we need to take during the day. But, why is it so useful? Well, you have to fill your days, being as productive as you can, in order to achieve your goals, and a to-do list will help you getting things done and increasing your self-esteem as well. Plus, it’s very important that you cross all the items off your list, every day. If you can make this your daily goal, you will achieve a lot in the long run.

      Here’s an example of a to-do list:

      September 9, 2015
      – Meditation
      – Appointment with mortgage broker 30 min
      – Gym 1 h
      – German course 1.5 h
      – Completing Report at Work
      – Lunch with business partners 1.5 h
      – Writing article on personal blog

      Productivity

        Image: Keyboard Light

        The agenda

        It’s very similar to the daily to-do list, but in this case you will put all the items in a chronological order and you will put each item at its scheduled time.

        For example:

        – 1 pm – Lunch with business partners
        – 5 pm – Gym
        – 7 pm – German course

        Advertising

        The weekly to-do list

        The weekly to-do list is very similar to the daily one. There are just a few differences. You write it before the week starts, and you write on it all those tasks you intend to complete during the week, but you still don’t know when exactly. Every day you write your daily to-do list, you will refer to your weekly to do-list, in order to make sure to cross all the weekly tasks off the list. Remember to be specific on the weekly list too. For example instead of writing “Go to the gym”, write “Go to the gym for 4 days”.

        Here’s an example:

        – Gym x 4 times
        – Buy German Student Book
        – Talk to Ann about Lauren’s birthday
        – Go to the Post Office
        – Studying for Marketing Exam

        Productivity

          Image: Business Planning with Plan-Too

          The Silver Page

          Sounds interesting! But, what is that? The silver page is a good tool to get well-organized in both the short and long-term. It will greatly improve your productivity, especially if you will combine its use with the above mentioned tools (daily and weekly to-do lists).
          It is a page where you will write down all the ideas and goals that you intend to reach in the near future. Here you don’t need to be very specific, you only have to write down ideas. Remember to update the page frequently, and to refer to it every time you write down your weekly to-do list.

          Here’s an example:

          – Write a book
          – Take the GMAT exam
          – Take the French DELF Certification
          – Look for a new job
          – Buy a house
          – Learn to play tennis

          How to use the tools

          Transferring items from the Silver Page to the Weekly To-Do List

          Every time you will move an item from the silver page to the weekly to-do list you will “bring it into reality” – very exciting! – so before doing that you will have to “transform” each item in one or more actions, and write those actions next to the item. For example, the silver page item “take the GMAT exam” will be translated as “buying the GMAT book,” “starting a GMAT course,” “studying 4 hours a week.”

          So, all you have to do is to pick up one or more actions every week from the silver page and transfer them to the weekly to-do list. Here you won’t need to be specific, you will only need to copy the actions from the silver page to the weekly list. They will automatically become weekly items.

          Advertising

          Tools Productivity

            Image: Post It Notes

            Transferring items from the Weekly To-Do List to the Daily To-Do List

            You will do the same thing with the daily to-do list. But in this case you will need to be more specific. For example in a daily list, the weekly item “starting a GMAT course” will become “first GMAT lesson at X English School.”

            Transferring items from the Daily To-Do List to the Agenda

            Very simple: all you have to do is write the to-do list items on the agenda next to the respective hours, on the right daily page.

            Agenda, Productivity

              Habits For Productivity

              Set A Timer

              Setting a timer while working or studying is a good way to get things done. Maybe you already know the “Pomodoro Technique“, a time management method that breaks down work into some 25-minutes sessions and it separates them into 4-5 minutes breaks.

              If during these 25 minutes you manage to stay focused and you don’t allow anything to distract you, it is really efficient. Once you get used to it, you can switch to the “Orange Technique“, breaking down the work into several 30-minutes sessions, without changing the length of the breaks.

              Productivity Set A Timer

                Image: Stopwatch

                Wake Up Early

                If you become a morning person you will definitely improve a lot your time management. Setting your alarm earlier than usual, you will have more time in the morning for some rituals that help productivity such as drinking water with some lemon juice, having a great breakfast, working out, meditating, and you will have more energies and a stress-free mind during your day.

                Advertising

                But, don’t set your alarm too early. Instead, wake up five to ten minutes earlier every day. Let’s say for example that your purpose is getting up at 6 am. If you are used to get ap at 8 am you have to progressively get used to wake up earlier, so the first day you will set your alarm at 7:50 am, the following day at 7:40 am till the day you will finally wake up at 6 am.

                Consciously Ignore Procrastination Instinct

                “Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.”
                – Christopher Parker

                I can’t stress it enough: procrastination is the worst enemy of productivity. And it’s a disempowering mental behavior that if we want we can neutralize and avoid. Procrastination is that stupid but convincing voice in your head that gives you excuses such as: “Maybe I don’t need to do it today,” “Let’s skip class,” “I can postpone it to next week,” “In the end I don’t have enough time, so it’s better if I postpone this project.” The secret to eliminate this attitude is to recognize it and consciously ignore it. It’s not easy, but it’s something you can learn with practice.

                “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”
                – Pablo Picasso

                Learn As Much As You Can About Productivity

                Learn Productivity

                  Last but not least, a very useful habit is reading a lot about productivity. You can buy a good book, read some articles on the internet, or be inspired by some quotes. For example you can search on Google, Yahoo or Bing keywords such as “Productivity,” “Time Management,” “Quotes About Productivity,” “Quotes about Success,” “Quotes About Productivity and Tenacity” etc… This will help you feel motivated and be more efficient in the long run.

                  Image: Learn

                  Featured photo credit: Backside Of My Desk via flickr.com

                  More by this author

                  Sira Masetti

                  Productivity Blogger

                  The Real Gap Between Success and Failure Motivation Flowchart The Motivation Flowchart: The Mental Process of Successful People Tips for Productivity: Productive Panda VS Lethargic Panda How To Diaper Your Baby: Step-By-Step Instructions Giving Birth Get Well-Prepared For Giving Birth: Finding A Suitable Child Birth Class

                  Trending in Communication

                  1 How to Practice Positive Thinking And Change Your Life 2 12 Things You Should Remember When Feeling Lost in Life 3 What Makes a Good Leader? 10 Essential Leadership Qualities 4 How Not to Be Boring (And Start to Be More Interesting) 5 11 Tips for Maintaining Your Positive Attitude

                  Read Next

                  Advertising
                  Advertising
                  Advertising

                  Last Updated on September 12, 2019

                  12 Things You Should Remember When Feeling Lost in Life

                  12 Things You Should Remember When Feeling Lost in Life

                  Even the most charismatic people you know, whether in person or celebrities of some sort, experience days where they feel lost in life and isolated from everyone else.

                  While it’s good to know we aren’t alone in this feeling, the question still remains:

                  What should we do when we feel lost and lonely?

                  Here are 12 things to remember:

                  1. Recognize That It’s Okay!

                  The truth is, there are times you need to be alone. If you’ve always been accustomed to being in contact with people, this may prove difficult.

                  However, learning how to be alone and comfortable in your own skin will give you confidence and a sense of self reliance.

                  We cheat ourselves out of the opportunity to become self reliant when we look for constant companionship.

                  Learn how to embrace your me time: What Your Fear of Being Alone Is Really About and How to Get over It

                  Advertising

                  2. Use Your Lost and Loneliness as a Self-Directing Guide

                  You’ve most likely heard the expression: “You have to know where you’ve been to know where you’re going.”

                  Loneliness also serves as a life signal to indicate you’re in search of something. It’s when we’re in the midst of solitude that answers come from true soul searching.

                  Remember, there is more to life than what you’re feeling.

                  3. Realize Loneliness Helps You Face the Truth

                  Being in the constant company of others, although comforting sometimes, can often serve as a distraction when we need to face the reality of a situation.

                  Solitude cuts straight to the chase and forces you to deal with the problem at hand. See it as a blessing that can serve as a catalyst to set things right!

                  4. Be Aware That You Have More Control Than You Think

                  Typically, when we see ourselves as being lost or lonely, it gives us an excuse to view everything we come in contact with in a negative light. It lends itself to putting ourselves in the victim mode, when the truth of the matter is that you choose your attitude in every situation.

                  No one can force a feeling upon you! It is YOU who has the ultimate say as to how you choose to react.

                  5. Embrace the Freedom That the Feeling of Being Alone Can Offer

                  Instead of wallowing in self pity, which many are prone to do because of loneliness, try looking at your circumstance as a new-found freedom.

                  Advertising

                  Most people are in constant need of approval of their viewpoints. Try enjoying the fact that  you don’t need everyone you care about to support your decisions.

                  6. Acknowledge the Person You Are Now

                  Perhaps you feel a sense of loneliness and confusion because your life circumstances have taken you away from the persona that others know to be you.

                  Perhaps the new you differs radically from the old. Realize that life is about change and how we react to that change. It’s okay that you’re not who you used to be.

                  Take a look at this article and learn to accept your imperfect self: Accept Yourself (Flaws and All): 7 Benefits of Being Vulnerable

                  7. Keep Striving to Do Your Best

                  Often those who are feeling isolated and unto themselves will develop a defeatist attitude. They’ll do substandard work because their self esteem is low and they don’t care.

                  Never let this feeling take away your sense of worth! Do your best always and when you come through this dark time, others will admire how you stayed determined in spite of the obstacles you had to overcome.

                  And to live your best life, you must do this ONE thing: step out of your comfort zone.

                  8. Don’t Forget That Time Is Precious

                  When we’re lost in a sea of loneliness and depression, it’s all too easy to reflect on regrets of past life events. This does nothing but feed negativity and perpetuate the situation.

                  Advertising

                  Instead of falling prey to this common pitfall, put one foot in front of the other and acknowledge every positive step you take. By doing this, you can celebrate the struggles you overcome at the end of the day.

                  9. Remember, Things Happen for a Reason

                  Every circumstance we encounter in our life is designed to teach us and that lesson is in turn passed on to others.

                  Sometimes we’re fortunate enough to figure out the lesson to be learned, while other times, we simply need to have faith that if the lesson wasn’t meant directly for us to learn from, how we handled it was observed by someone who needed to learn.

                  Your solitude and feeling of lost, in this instance, although painful possibly, may be teaching someone else.

                  10. Journal During This Time

                  Record your thoughts when you’re at the height of loneliness and feeling lost. You’ll be amazed when you reflect back at how you viewed things at the time and how far you’ve come later.

                  This time (if recorded) can give you a keen insight into who you are and what makes you feel the way you feel.

                  11. Remember You Aren’t the First to Feel This Way

                  It’s quite common to feel as if we’re alone and no one else has ever felt this way before. We think this because at the time of our distress, we’re silently observing others around us who are seemingly fine in every way.

                  The truth is, we can’t possibly know the struggles of those around us unless they elect to share them. We ALL have known this pain!

                  Advertising

                  Try confiding in someone you trust and ask them how they deal with these feelings when they experienced it. You may be surprised at what you learn.

                  12. Ask for Help If the Problem Persists

                  The feeling of being lost and lonely is common to everyone, but typically it will last for a relatively short period of time.

                  Most people will confess to, at one time or another, being in a “funk.” But if the problem persists longer than you feel it should, don’t ignore it.

                  When your ability to reason and consider things rationally becomes impaired, do not poo poo the problem away and think it isn’t worthy of attention. Seek medical help.

                  Afraid to ask for help? Here’s how to change your outlook to aim high!

                  Final Thoughts

                  Loneliness and a sense of feeling lost can in many ways be extremely painful and difficult to deal with at best. However, these feelings can also serve as a catalyst for change in our lives if we acknowledge them and act.

                  Above anything, cherish your mental well being and don’t underestimate its worth. Seek professional guidance if you’re unable to distinguish between a sense of freedom for yourself and a sense of despair.

                  More About Finding Yourself

                  Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

                  Read Next