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Intelligent Ways To Increase Productivity

Intelligent Ways To Increase Productivity

As an entrepreneur, I’ve definitely had my ups and downs. I’ve struggled with motivation, procrastination, and especially with being productive. Through my work, I’ve found there’s more to being productive than downloading timers, apps, or blocking social media sites. Being productive is actually a very personal and in-depth process that will vary for every person reading this.

This article could be ten pages long, but I’ve decided to focus on the three most critical factors when it comes to productivity. The aim of these factors is to show you productivity is both conscious and unconscious. Through taking actions on things that have an indirect effect on your business and life, you’ll find you’re able to be more efficient. We’ll take a look at how you eat, why you should plan, and your habits when you get stuck.

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    Fuel your body properly.

    How can you expect yourself to operate at your best if you don’t feed yourself the best? The foods and drinks we consume have substantial effects on our mood, ability to focus, and how much energy we have. You can’t grab an egg McMuffin every day and expect to feel good. You need to eat foods that have the necessary nutrients for your body to operate at its peak performance.

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    Coffee is a big myth that needs to be addressed when it comes to fueling your body. Entrepreneurs have a special relationship with coffee, often drinking it before putting anything else in their body. Ideally, you should only have coffee after you eat a solid breakfast and get moving a bit. When I tried this, I found the energizing effects of the coffee to be more effective. Because I’m full, my stomach doesn’t feel queasy from the coffee, and because I get moving, my heart and blood are better able to pump the caffeine through my body. This is much better way to use coffee compared to downing it on an empty stomach when you first wake up.

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      Another important part of fueling your part is variety. Eating healthy is important, but it’s easy to get tired of smoothies or toast every morning. Switch it up! Don’t be afraid to have lunch or dinner items for your breakfast. It may seem inconsequential, but our breakfast sets the tone for the day. I know I feel pretty terrible and unmotivated when I eat eggs and toast for the third or fourth day in a row. Entrepreneurs are busy, and it’s important to eat healthy foods, but it’s also important to enjoy what we’re eating.

      Another thing you should consider is including supplements in your diet. Simple supplements such as Vitamin C, D, B12, or iron and zinc (only if recommended by your doctor) can help your body better absorb nutrients and prompt you to have more energy. Discuss with your doctor which supplements you can add to your diet!

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        Avoid reacting – start planning.

        Planning helps you in so many different ways. Instead of reacting to situations, you’ll find yourself responding, and there’s huge difference. Reacting causes stress. A decision based on a reaction is based on impulsive reasons or doing whatever it takes to control an emergency situation.

        Responding means your answer is based on your plan, if it helps to advance you, and if it fits within the stage of your plan that you’re in right now. By responding to situations, you’ll make better decisions for your business and avoid wasting time on things that have nothing to do with your plan.

        Planning will also make you more efficient because it will help you focus on your strengths. Making long- and short-term plans will make it evident where you are capable and where you need help. This is perfect for finding potential areas of your business that need to be outsourced. This type of planning will improve your productivity by focusing on your strengths and enabling you to find people whose strengths can fill gaps in your business.

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          If you notice you procrastinate on certain tasks because you dread doing them, this can be a sign of a lack of planning. All top business people are results oriented, which is a quality that comes from years of developing planning skills. You’ll find it infinitely easier to tackle a task you hate if you truly understand why you need to do it and where it fits into your plan. You won’t get where you want to go without some hard, gritty work along the way. A solid plan makes it easy to work at a steady place while producing productive results.

          Don’t freak out when you get stuck — it happens.

          Feeling useless is a bad feeling for anyone, but it’s particularly disheartening for entrepreneurs. Getting stuck can cause us to doubt our abilities and ourselves, and leave us grasping at straws for a solution. The most important thing I’ve observed about getting stuck is that it all depends on how you handle it. The more you stress yourself with negative thoughts and depressing dialogue, the harder you’ll find it to break out of a crisis.

          The next time you get stuck, take a step back and re-frame the situation in your mind. Realize that you’re not stuck, but you’re now faced with a task that will benefit your business and increase your skills when you accomplish it. Find a way to put a positive spin on the situation that has you feeling stuck. This is a good time to think about your long-term goals and what you hope to accomplish through your business. Surely the task that has you stuck will take you one step closer to achieving one of your goals once you complete it. If not, maybe you’re working on the wrong things.

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            Taking breaks is an excellent way to get out of being stuck and avoid being stuck in the first place. I noticed that once I committed to taking breaks in between tasks, I felt more relaxed and better able to handle my work. This ties in with the last point of reacting versus responding. When I take a break, I’m able to relax and change my perspective and approach to my work. Watch how much better you feel taking breaks in between tasks instead of plowing away for hours at a time. Exercising and mediation are my two favorite activities to do in my short breaks in-between tasks. Breaking up your work into chunks will help you avoid getting stuck in the first place.

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              All in all, it’s not deleting your social media accounts or waking up at 4 AM that makes you become productive. The good and bad news is that your own productivity is entirely up to you. You can choose to be productive by changing the way you approach things. It won’t be easy, but it is effective. If you’re feeling unproductive, the first step is to stop and reevaluate. Look at what you’re doing and search for areas to improve. Make sure your lifestyle (eating properly, exercising, sleeping) supports you getting all your work done. Make a plan that you can follow that can be your guiding light for your daily tasks. Finally, remember not to freak out about getting stuck. Simply take a step back and reevaluate.

              Your approach to productivity has to be 100% personal, especially as an entrepreneur. You need to decide that you will be productive and commit to finding techniques that work for you. I hope you can use this article as a reference point to help you understand how to intelligently increase your productivity, not through gimmicks, but through effort and a refreshed perspective.

              Featured photo credit: business by Pakhnyushchyy via 0.s3.envato.com

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              How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

              How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

              Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

              Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

              I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

              You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

              Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

              When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

              I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

              Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

              Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

              Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

              1. The Inner Critic

              This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

              • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
              • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
              • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
              • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

              He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

              Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

              2. The Worrier

              This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

              He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

              Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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              3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

              He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

              He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

              He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

              4. The Sleep Depriver

              This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

              His motivation can be:

              • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
              • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
              • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
              • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

              How can you control these squatters?

              How to Master Your Mind

              You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

              Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

              There are two ways to control your thoughts:

              • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
              • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

              This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

              The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

              Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

              For the Inner Critic

              When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

              You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

              For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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              You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

              “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

              If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

              • He riles up the Worrier.
              • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
              • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
              • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
              • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

              Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

              Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

              For the Worrier

              Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

              Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

              You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

              • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
              • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
              • Muscles tense

              Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

              If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

              Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

              “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

              Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

              If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

              Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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              Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

              For example:

              If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

              “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

              Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

              “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

              Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

              For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

              Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

              The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

              • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
              • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
              • Muscles tension

              I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

              Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

              Breathe in through your nose:

              • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
              • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
              • Focus on your belly rising.

              Breathe out through your nose:

              • Feel your lungs emptying.
              • Focus on your belly falling.
              • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

              Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

              Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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              One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

              Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

              For the Sleep Depriver

              (He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

              I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

              Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

              1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
              2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

              When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

              From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

              For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

              If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

              You can also use this technique any time you want to:

              • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
              • Shut down your thinking.
              • Calm your feelings.
              • Simply focus on the present moment. 

              Becoming the Master of Your Mind

              Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

              You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

              Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

              Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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