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4 Things You Must Bear in Mind to Make the Most Productive Day

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4 Things You Must Bear in Mind to Make the Most Productive Day

Are you ready to unlock your productivity potential? As we enter the final quarter of 2015, it’s time to look back on the year. Have you accomplished at least 75% of the resolutions you made at the beginning of the year? If you haven’t, don’t worry; here are some tips on how to make your day the most productive.

1.You are in control

The first thing you need to keep in mind is that you are in control of your life.

The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” – Michael Altshuler.

Mr. Altshuler was right. Time flies, and sometimes it flies so fast without you realizing it. What you need to remember is that everything in your life is dictated by the choices you make. So, begin each day by reminding yourself that you are in control and you decide what happens today.

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Only you can decide whether or not it is going to be a productive day.

2. Optimism is the key

Start your day with a positive mind. Not all tasks that you have listed are easy. This may include talking to your boss about a raise, tackling a complicated project — or even just going to the gym. You may start thinking that your boss will say ‘No’ or about all the obstacles you are going to face on the project. You might think going to the gym is too tiring and better not do it.

Abraham Lincoln said, “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.

We just have to look at things differently. Perhaps your boss will consider that you have made valuable contributions to the team and agree that your request for a raise is justified. Look at a complicated project as a challenge that will help you learn something. Think of the benefits going to gym will give you. (If nothing else, think of a special treat you can indulge in once you have done your gym session.) Learn to be optimistic and good things will follow. On the other hand, if things didn’t go as expected, then always remember: When one door closes, another will open. The lost opportunity may not be for you but you are up for something much better.

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It is all about having the proper mindset. Be positive.

3. Procrastinate no more

As human beings, we think that we have all the time in the world to do the things we want and need to do. This is the reason we love procrastinating. We are always thinking that we have tomorrow to spare and we can just push to do things to another day. But what if you don’t have tomorrow?

Remember this Bill Keane quote, masterfully used by Master Oogway (the wise tortoise in Kung Fu Panda): “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why they call it the present.”

Today is something to be thankful for, so better spend it wisely. You’ll never know what is going to happen tomorrow. Do the things that you have set today right at this moment.

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Say “No” to procrastination and always say “Yes” to today.

4. Ignore the perfectionist in you

“Prolific beats Perfect.” – Daniel Priestley

I know that we tend to be our harshest critics and often times will keep fiddling with a project even when it’s good enough. While I am not advocating pushing out halfhearted work, I believe sometimes you have to accept good enough and move on. Spending too much time obsessing over tiny details means that you are putting in an additional amount of time to tweak something only 1% of people will notice. It also means you will get bogged down in the minute details and before you know it, the day is over.

Stop obsessing and start completing. Don’t let the inner perfectionist monster get the better of you. Work that is completed and pushed out on time is better than work that is perfect, but late.

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If you bear these 4 things in mind every single day, you will find yourself able to look forward to each day with a better attitude to getting things done. This will, in turn, lead you to getting closer and closer to your goals.

Say goodbye to the slums of yesterday…and hello to the most productive days of your life.

Featured photo credit: PicJumbo Designer Wooden Workspace via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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