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10 Simple Ways To Make Yourself Insanely Productive

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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Katarina Milovanovic

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

7 Techniques to Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions

7 Techniques to Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions

The world has become a very distracting place, you don’t need me to tell you that. Where once we could walk out of our house or office and disappear into our own world with our own thoughts, we are now connected 24 hours a day to a network that’s sole purpose is to make us available to anyone and everyone at any time they choose to disturb us.

Of course, it is very easy to sit here and say all you have to do is turn off your electronic devices and just allow yourself several hours of quiet solitude; but the reality is far harder than that. There is an expectation that we are available for anyone whenever they want us.

However, if you do want to elevate yourself and perform at your best every day, to produce work of a higher quality than anyone expects and to regain control over what you do and when you will need to regain some control over your time, so you can focus on producing work that matters to you…

The good news: You do not have to become a recluse. All you need are a few simple strategies that will allow you enough flexibility in your day to stay focused to do the work that matters and still allow you to deal with other people’s crises and dramas.

Here are 7 ways you can stay focused and be less distracted.

1. Find out When You Are at Your Most Focused

According to research, brilliantly documented by Daniel Pink in his latest book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, our brains have a limited capacity to stay focused each day.[1]

From the moment we wake up to the time we turn in for the day, we are using up our brain’s limited energy resources and, depending on the time of day, we will be moving between strong concentration and low concentration.

This means that for most people, their optimum time for sustained concentration and focus will be soon after they wake up. For others, it could be later in the evening—a kind of second wind—but that is rare.

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Once you understand this, you can take time to learn when you are at your best and to protect that time on your calendar as much as possible. If you can, block it off and use that time for the work you need to do that requires the most concentration each day.

2. Get Comfortable Using ‘Do Not Disturb’ Mode

We have the ability to switch our electronic devices to do not disturb mode. Where all notifications are off and your phone or computer will not alert you to a new email or message.

Now after testing this function for a number of years, I can happily report that it does work.

When I sat down to write this article, I put all my electronic devices to do not disturb, closed down my email and began writing. I am safe in the knowledge that until this article is written, and I turn do not disturb off, there will be no interruptions or distractions.

Of course, it is not really about whether do not disturb works or not, it is whether you are willing to turn it on or not.

Most people believe they have to be constantly available for their boss or customers. This is not true at all. What has happened is because of your always available status, you have conditioned these people to turn to you first whenever they have a problem.

You are not actually helping them at all. You are preventing them from having to think for themselves and develop the skill of problem-solving. By not being so readily available, you help them a lot more.

What it comes down to is your boss and customers are going to be far more positive with you, if you deliver your work to the highest quality and on time than you being available 24/7. Trust me on that. I also tested that one.

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3. Schedule Focus Time Every Day

This technique is a lot easier than you may think.

First, you figure out when you are least likely to be disturbed. For me, that is between 6 and 9 am. for a lot of my clients, they find the first 90 minutes in the morning at their workplace is when they are not likely to be disturbed. This is important because you want to be building consistency.

Most people start their day by checking their email and other messages. While they are doing that, they are not going to be bothering you. Now there is no rule about when you should be checking your email. The chances are email is not going to be where you want to spend your most focused time, so you can decide to check your email at say 10:30 am.

Dedicate 30 minutes from 10:30 am to 11:00 am for email processing and use the first 90 minutes of your day for doing your most important work. You will surprise yourself by how much work you get done in that ninety minutes.

4. Plan Your Day the Night Before

One of the inevitabilities of life is there is always a plan for the day. The choice is whether the plan you have is a plan of your own making or not. If you don’t have a plan, then the day will take control of you. Other people’s priorities, urgencies and dramas will fill your day. As the late Jim Rohn said:

“Either you run the day or the day runs you.”

If you take control and make it a habit to plan out what you want to accomplish the next day before you go to bed, you will find yourself staying more focused on your work and be less likely disturbed.

Now when I say plan your day the night before, I do not mean you need to spend an hour or so planning and mapping out every minute of the day. Planning your day should only take you around 10 to 15 minutes and you only need to decide what 10 things you want to complete — 2 “must do” objective tasks and 8 “would like to do” tasks. What I call the 2+8 Prioritisation Technique:

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Do not be tempted to go beyond 10 tasks for the day. When you do that, you do not have enough flexibility in your day to handle crises and other unknown issues that will pop up throughout the day.

When you do not build in flexibility, you will soon stop planning your day. Only plan tasks that will have the biggest positive impact on your work and projects.

5. Learn to Say “No”

I am sure you’ve been told this before. We are wired to please and this results in us wanting to say yes to every opportunity that comes our way. The problem is we cannot do everything and every time you say “yes” to one opportunity, you are saying “no” to another opportunity. You cannot be in two places at the same time.

Jay Shetty shared an inspiring video on JOMO “Joy Of Missing Out”. Here’s the video:

Rather than allowing ourselves to be succumbed by FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out), we should replace that ‘fear’ with the “joy” of missing out. Because of our need to please, we say yes to things we really don’t want to do; yet when we do that, we miss out on doing things that bring us joy—creating something special, spending time educating ourselves and just having some quiet alone time with ourselves.

Learn to say “no” every time you get a notification to your phone. Ignore it. Learn to say “no” to your colleagues when they want to gossip. Learn to say “no” to volunteering when the thing you are being asked to volunteer for does not excite you. Just learn to say “no”.

By saying “no” to opportunities, distractions and interruptions, you are saying yes to better and more meaningful things. Things you do want to focus your attention on.

6. Create a Distraction-Free Environment for Your Focused Time

This has been possibly the most powerful tip I learned when it comes to focusing on what is important. Have a place where you do only focused, high-concentration work.

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Now this place needs to be clean and only have the tools you need to do your work. If it is writing a report or preparing a presentation, then it needs a table and a computer, nothing more. Files, paper and other detritus that accumulates on and around people’s desks need to go. A clean, cool and well-lit environment is going to do a lot more for your focus and concentration than anything else.

The dining table in our home is where I go for undisturbed, focussed work. I take my laptop or iPad, and only have my writing app open. Everything is closed down and the computer is in “do not disturb” mode. There is nothing else on the dining table just my computer and my water tumbler.

Because that is my designated focus area, I only go there to work when I have something that needs total focus and concentration. I am there right now!

7. Be Intentional

The reality is, if you absolutely need to get something done then you need to be intentional. You have to have the intention of sitting down, focusing and doing the work.

There’s no magic tricks or apps that will miraculously do all your work for you. You need to intentionally set aside time for undisturbed focus work and do it. Without that intention, you can read as many of these articles as you like and you still will not get the work done.

It is only when you intentionally set yourself up to do the work, turn off all notifications and do whatever it takes to avoid distractions will the work get done.

The Bottom Line

The strategies and tips I shared in this post will go a long way to helping you become better at focusing on the important things in your life. No matter what they are, you are in control of your time and what you do with it and where you spend it, never give that control away to anyone else.

Protect it and it will be your servant. Give that control away and it will become your master and that is not a good place to be.

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Featured photo credit: Manny Pantoja via unsplash.com

Reference

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