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5 Ways To Increase Your Productivity

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5 Ways To Increase Your Productivity

There are several ways in which to improve your day-to-day productivity and ensure that you’re gaining the most from your day’s work. Here are my top 5 ways to increase your productivity.

1. Plan your day

In my mind, it’s absolutely vital to plan your day above anything else. My first task of the morning, after my morning workout, is to plan my schedule for the day ahead. This can be in hourly increments, or just a general list of tasks to achieve — you just need something to keep you on track and moving towards your ultimate goals.

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As you begin to see the benefits of planning, you may find you can plan your entire week on a Monday morning. This will really help you to increase your productivity and get the results you truly desire. Always remember to build in contingencies though. Day-to-day life has its own ways of creeping into your schedule.

2. Establish a routine

Having a routine is vital for anyone wanting to get the most from their day, and so should it be for you. From setting a time to get up in the morning to what time you should take lunch, having a routine will truly help you to control your day and how you spend it.

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I for one wake up every day at 5:00 am, rain or shine, and I ensure I’m always in bed by 10:00 pm at the latest. I know I require 6-7 good hours of quality sleep to ensure I’m fresh the next day. It doesn’t take long for your body to adjust to a new routine, and the more you repeat the cycle, the easier it becomes.

3. Prioritize

Knowing which tasks require completing first really helps to get your day off to a good start. I always believe in swallowing the frog first. For those of you wondering what I mean by this, don’t be alarmed! I don’t actually eat a frog — what this means is to take the hardest, biggest, most difficult task and do it first. Once this task is out of the way, all the others will feel like a breeze. You may not have difficult tasks, but you will definitely have some tasks that are more important than others, and it’s key to tackle these first to remain productive.

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4. Take breaks

Believe it or not, taking breaks when required will actually boost your productivity. We’ve all been there, staring at the screen trying to think. I often find 5 minutes away from the computer helps me to gain clarity and focus better when I return. This could be taking a break to grab a cup of tea or coffee, or having a 5-minute walk around the office. Anything that takes your mind away from the confusion just long enough to help you see what you’re missing.

5. Ensure a healthy mind and body

For some this is an obvious point, but for others it’s not so. It’s absolutely vital to ensure that you keep a healthy mind and body. This is obtained by eating a balanced diet, exercising 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes each time, and staying hydrated throughout the day. It’s also vital to ensure you get good quality sleep at night and wake up rested the following day. This ties in with point number 2 — keeping fit and healthy will help you to remain focused and energized throughout your entire day.

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If you agree or disagree, or just feel like maybe I’ve missed something in this list, please comment below and let me know your top 5 ways in which you stay productive.

For more posts like this, visit www.williamstokes.co.uk.

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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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Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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