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10 Simple Ways To Make Yourself Insanely Productive

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10 Simple Ways To Make Yourself Insanely Productive

We cannot be productive all the time, and it’s completely normal to experience a lack of focus during some periods of the day or week. However, if this happens all the time, and you need to be at your most productive at a given time – e.g. during work hours – there are certainly steps you can take to improve your ability to concentrate. If you often find yourself sitting in your office and gazing off into the distance, you need to go through these 10 points and work on boosting your focus.

1. Get your endorphins pumping

If you’re unsatisfied and in a generally bad mood, you are far more likely to stress out over the little things. Facing the challenges at work and the constant stress we experience can be best handled if your mind and body are in a good shape. The key to doing this is by simply giving your body a nice challenging workout. So, before you go to work do some quick body-weight exercises, go jogging or even ride a bike around your neighborhood in order to get those endorphins pumping. Exercising will keep you healthy, and you won’t suffer from headaches and backaches anymore, which will make you virtually stress resistant.

2. Dress more comfortably

The temperature in the office is a sore spot for many, particularly during winter months where you throw on several layers to keep yourself warm and end up sweating and fidgeting uncomfortably in an overheated office. You might also find yourself in an icy cold office wearing nothing but a light shirt.

The office temperature usually depends on that one person who complains the most, and the rest freeze or sweat uncontrollably. You might think those temperature changes don’t affect your productivity that much, but such constant annoyances really kill your concentration.

There is only one solution that we were all taught since we were children, but somehow neglected it. Being rebellious obviously doesn’t always pay off, so just wear layered clothes and you’ll be able to adapt to any situation. You can certainly look fabulous and chic by layering different clothes. There are tons of great fashion tricks for putting together a lovely layered outfit for the colder months, so you don’t have worry too much about it.

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Dress for success by layering your clothes, and you won’t sweat or freeze in your office ever again, which will certainly make you more productive.

3. Just stand up and walk around

We tend to just sit all day at the office, staring at a screen. Many people don’t even stand up till 5 pm. You might think they’re more productive, as you don’t hear them at all and they look really busy, but if you are one of these people, you know that this assumption is completely wrong. You simply cannot maintain a high level of productivity for long hours with no breaks, and people like programmers know what it feels like to drop into that zombie-like state, where you’re not completely focused, but can keep on doing simple repetitive tasks at a certain pace.

If you feel that your focus is not so sharp, and your breaks are usually winding up on Facebook or YouTube, know that this is not really a winning strategy.

After one or two hours of working, stand up to make some coffee, talk to your coworkers and just walk around the office. This will allow you to regain your focus and boost your productivity. When you start talking about irrelevant topics and you stretch your legs, you will get back to your desk insanely focused and ready to finish your tasks.

4. Shush your inner voice

Working on any demanding project is stressful, as you can begin to doubt your ability to meet deadlines or meet all the demands. However, being in constant fear and stressing about it will only make you extremely unproductive. We all have that inner critical voice that tells us we will fail and that our strategies are ridiculous. If you can learn to silence that negative side of yours, and think positively or realistically for a change, you’ll perform the task more easily and with supreme confidence. Being productive is not only about turning off your notifications or eating healthier, but also about clearing your head and knowing your goals.

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If your thoughts are negative and chaotic, you cannot expect to be productive and capable of doing anything effective.

5. Set a timer

Whenever you want to take a break, or even log in to your social networks, you need to always set a timer, and limit your time. When scrolling your News Feed, or taking a break, we can accidently waste too much time on trivial things. It is good for our productivity levels to take a break and do something fun, but if you spend too much on social networks or listening to your favorite music, you can get tired and lose your focus.

Set a timer, and take 10 minutes to do something fun, and then get back to work. You will definitely become hyper-focused, as you will be happy and eager to work again.

6. Have a cup of green tea

Stopping everything you do to take a 2 minute break and drink a cup of green tea might sound a bit counterproductive at first, but those two minutes will help you get back on track and boost your productivity by clearing your mind for a moment. In fact, you might want to stop drinking coffee and replace it with tea. If you don’t believe that drinking coffee will change something, then try it for a month and see how you feel.

Green tea contains theanine, which helps you sharpen your focus and boost concentration. Theanine, which as an amino acid promotes relaxation, but combined with caffeine, it makes you more productive.

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7. Don’t multitask

Nowadays, multitasking is a special skill that makes you seem like a successful and hardworking employee. But, is it really so? If you are doing many things at once, there is a huge possibility that something will be neglected. Also, can you put enough effort into every task you are doing simultaneously? Of course not. It is much better to focus on one thing, and then the other.

However, in order to be able to finish everything on time without multitasking, you need to know which task requires more effort and more of your time, so you can prioritize correctly.

8. Don’t make every task your priority

Every project and task you are doing is important, but there are certainly smaller and not so important tasks that don’t require too much time and effort, but you still end up spending too much time on them. You need to know your priorities if you want to finish your job on time and stay productive throughout the day.

Organize your tasks in a manner that won’t exhaust you and make unproductive. Put the smaller tasks in between, and don’t waste too much time on them. When you sort out the tasks according to their importance, priority and difficulty, you will be then capable of accomplishing everything, while staying productive.

9. Ask for help

If you are at work, and you simply cannot concentrate or you just find some task too difficult, ask for help. If you waste your time on trying to solve a problem, you get tired and you won’t be able to do anything else later. Therefore, ask for help, and get it done faster.

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Don’t think that asking for help will make you less of an expert, but on the contrary, it will make you a professional, who knows that asking for help and coming up with solution together is much better than being stuck on one problem for quite a while.

10. Get to work earlier

If you come to work a little bit earlier, you’ll have plenty of time to get settled, shake off the morning drowsiness and start working with a fresh mind. Have a cup of coffee, rest from your ride to work and prepare yourself for the upcoming challenges. If you immediately sit and start working, you won’t be all that productive because you won’t have any time to prepare your mind.

These are the ten most important ways of becoming insanely productive, and most importantly, they are very simple and quick solutions. Try it out, and see if they work for you.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on October 7, 2021

Are You Addicted to Productivity?

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Are You Addicted to Productivity?

“It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,[1]

“Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

“The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post.[2] “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

This is my mantra:

I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

Addiction to Productivity is Real

Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

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“A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC.[3] “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

“It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

“A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

“There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today.[4] “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

“For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”

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Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”

Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

  • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
  • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
  • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
  • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
  • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
  • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
  • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

1. Set Limits

Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

2. Create a Not-to-Do List

Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

3. Be Vulnerable

By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

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4. Understand Why You Procrastinate

Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.[5]

There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

5. Don’t Be a Copycat

Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

6. Say Yes to Less

Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next

“In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .

“That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

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  • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
  • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
  • Establish realistic goals.
  • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
  • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
  • Hold yourself accountable.
  • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
  • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

8. Simplify

Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

9. Learn How to Relax

“Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

“But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

“And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

  • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
  • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
  • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
  • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
  • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
  • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
  • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
  • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
  • Visit a massage therapist.
  • Just breathe.

“Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.

Are You Addicted to Productivity? was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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