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7 Things Successful People Do Every Day to Stay Productive

7 Things Successful People Do Every Day to Stay Productive

Do you have a productivity problem?

You know; you procrastinate, you’re unfocused, and you quit on your goals.

At the same time, to become successful, you need to figure out how to become productive.

Fortunately, others are leading the way. Successful people like entrepreneurs, top politicians, and other thought leaders have figured out how they should manage their time to achieve what they set out to do.

So how do you move forward on your goals? Read on to learn what successful people do every day to stay productive.

1. They love what they do

Do you think people like Mark Zuckerberg, Hillary Clinton or Elon Musk would be where they are today if they didn’t truly enjoy what they do?

Probably not.

It’s incredibly hard to push through if all you can think about is how boring or meaningless a task is.

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In fact, research shows that employees are 12% more productive if they’re happy. This goes to show that work satisfaction does have a huge effect on how productive you are.

2. They wake up early

People who’re productive tend to get up early in the morning. Take Benjamin Franklin, Richard Branson, or Barack Obama. They all had or have a habit of rising early.

It’s evident that getting up in the wee hours is good for your productivity. The reason is simple: you usually have more energy and self-control right after you wake up.

But how do you ensure a productive morning?

Easy, develop a morning routine.

This could be a quick 15-minute exercise session. Or it could simply be a shower, stretching or a cup of coffee.

3. They work less, not more

In this day and age, business is a badge of honor. The busier you are, the better.

While it might intuitively feel like you get more done if you work more, the reverse is true. You get more done by working less.

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According to a famous study by K. A. Erickson, elite performers rarely work for more than 4.5 hours a day.

They batch their tasks into 90-minute sessions. Between these sessions, they have 20-30-minute pauses. This way, they can focus solely on the task at hand, instead of becoming tired and unfocused.

So start tracking the amount of time you spend on your tasks. Start with your most important work in the morning, work in sessions and leave all tasks that don’t require much willpower or focus to the afternoon.

4. They take care of themselves

In the same sense that we glorify business, we tend to assume that successful people don’t take care of themselves.

But the opposite is true!

One of the main reasons successful people are so productive is that they take care of themselves. They know that the key to productivity and success is to keep everything from your health to your finances in check.

For example, exercise has a massive impact on your productivity and financial stress makes it almost impossible to function in a productive way.

So make sure to first take care of yourself and only then focus on being productive and successful.

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5. They keep track of their goals

Successful people don’t work aimlessly on a project. Instead, they set goals and work systematically to achieve them.

Instead of having vague goals that they might achieve in the future, they sit down and plan goals for the day, week, month, year and beyond. Once they have their goals figured out, they come back to their goals on a regular basis.

You should do the same. Start today by listing goals you want to achieve tomorrow, next week, next month, in a year and in 5 years. Then keep track of them as you move forward.

6. They don’t multitask

Successful people master the art of focus. One way of doing that is to never multitask.

Studies show that your brain gets overwhelmed when you’re working on multiple tasks at the same time. Instead of focusing on one task, it divides its attention between all the tasks.

This is a major problem in our digital age.

In fact, a study by the University of London shows that your IQ suffers more if you multitask than if you smoke marijuana.

Want to be productive? Focus only on the task at hand.

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7. They see the big picture

It’s easy to get stuck on details. But too much focus on the details means that you lose sight of the big picture.

Successful people know this to be true. Take Jason Fried. He admits that details are important, but getting stuck means that you lose momentum. You become de-motivated and you quit.

Instead, you need to ship early. Focus first on the big picture and only later on the details.

Over to You!

We’ve looked at 7 things successful people do every way to stay productive.

Now there’s just one more thing to do:

Apply what you’ve learned!

Take a few minutes to brainstorm how you can become more productive with these tips.

Successful people use them every day. If you want to achieve your goals, you should too!

Featured photo credit: Dan Cooper via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

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Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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