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10 Simple Ways To Make Yourself Insanely Productive

10 Simple Ways To Make Yourself Insanely Productive
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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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Katarina Milovanovic

Creative Writer

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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