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How To Improve 24 Hours A Day

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How To Improve 24 Hours A Day

We all get 24 hours each day, the question is, how much of it are we using to advance our lives forward? Are you spending half of your time watching TV? Are you wasting hours each day on your phone? Or are you the type of person who’s doing something productive 24 hours of the day every day?

When I say 24 hours, I actually mean 24 hours. Let me explain.

Below I’ve categorized a whole range of daily scenarios. Each of the categories below are experienced by most people on a daily basis.

Parts Of Your Day

  • Free Hours
  • Gaps In Schedule
  • 5-15 minute breaks
  • Travelling
  • Conversations
  • Relaxation
  • Sleep

The interesting thing is, it’s not just in your free time or schedule gaps where you can work on yourself. Self-improvement really can be carried out 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and it doesn’t have to be a chore either. Let’s see how…

Free Hours

This is where you can do anything you wish, you have time on your side and nothing else to do. Most people get around 4-6 free hours a day, it just feels like less because they sit in front of the TV and let time get away from them.

During these hours you can go to the gym, play sport, work on a business, date and so on, the possibilities are endless.

Gaps In Schedule

These are those golden hours that spring up out of nowhere. You may finish work early, get lucky with traffic or even have a meeting cancelled.

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During these stages of your day, you should have pre-planned activities. Know what can be done beforehand so that when these moments do crop up, you’re not sat around watching the clock. I have a very busy schedule, as soon as I get a free hour I know it’s workout time just in case I don’t get another chance all day.

5-15 minute breaks

These moments come along often, most people will simply sit somewhere and watch the world go by, but this adds up to a lot of lost time. I personally like to use these moments for research. Any topic that has interested me or an issue I have, I search. Eventually, after going back to this topic, perhaps over the period of a few days, you build up a vast knowledge base.

Travelling

Whether by bus, plane, car, bike or foot, travelling is a perfect excuse for audio. Put your headphones in and learn about something new. I’ve probably listened to thousands of hours of audio whilst driving in my life, it’s such an effective tool. Imagine you have a 1-hour commute to work and 1 hour again on the way back. That’s two whole hours of knowledge, research or even lessons every day that can be added.

Conversations

A conversation is an opportunity, an opportunity to test out your body language, human interactions, confidence with women, confidence around other men, manners, elocution and so on. I use to practice my eye contact on everyone I met when I first began learning body language, it kept things interesting and made me better.

Relaxation

You need some time to yourself, but that doesn’t mean things have to stop. You can watch TV and still self-improve. Your bank account may not move much, but your looks could improve greatly. Chew gum and strengthen your jaw, practice mouth posture and drive your maxilla upwards and forwards to make yourself better looking. Practice deep breathing and relaxation techniques. The possibilities are endless. Self-improvement doesn’t always mean gym, money and women. Self-improvement could be something as simple as resting your tongue on the roof of your mouth. In this situation, you’re improving your looks. You see, not a second of the day is wasted.

Sleep

How can you improve in your sleep? Well firstly don’t sleep on your back, it encourages your tongue to fall to the back of your mouth and plays havoc with your jaw growth. Secondly, get an early night, put the technology away, don’t eat sugar before bed. Improving in your sleep happens before you sleep. The preparation is what we’re referring to here. Going to bed at 2am and waking up at 6am is not improving. Going to bed at 10pm and waking up at 6am fully refreshed, looking better and thinking clearly is improvement.

A True Self Improvement Expert

So what does this teach us? That self-improvement really is continuous, and can be done 24 hours a day. You don’t have to be focusing on money all day, or your body and diet all day. Sometimes improvement can be the pronunciation of certain words, mastering deep breathing to lower stress, or even researching the latest trends/products ready to capitalize on an opportunity. Improvement should be summed up as anything that drives you forwards or prepares you to make a major change in the future.

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However, this is only half the battle. A true self-improvement expert doesn’t stop with filling their 24 hours each day, they combine multiple things together at once.

As I’m writing this article I’m improving multiple aspects of my life. I’m improving MSi College (a business I own), I’m improving my writing skills, my intellect has to be getting sharper, I’m breathing deeply, drinking a cup of powerful herbs, listening to a documentary about fashion/business giant Tom Ford and I’m chewing very tough gum. Not to mention that I’m continuously practicing sperm retention, automated money is making it’s way into my bank account and my last meal was a testosterone boosting/healthy eggs and chicken which is probably benefiting my health and appearance as I write this.

You could say that during the time I write this article, I’m actually improving 10 or more areas of my life without really thinking about any except the words on this page. I’m not saying this to brag, it’s just a very easy example to use because it’s real and you guys can easily relate/see it unfold.

Let’s take you through a 24 hour day just to showcase what can be achieved.

Daily Example

Wake-up: No alarm clock, natural light and a glass of water bedside ready to consume. This benefits health and energy.

Morning: Go for a run only 20 minutes or so, whilst listening to a podcast from a successful individual. Get back home and you eat a healthy breakfast combined with an herbal tea. The entire time you’re making sure that your tongue is on the roof of your mouth and you’re breathing deeply.

You get in the shower which has a water filter to prevent chemicals. The water is cold because you’ve read about the benefits of cold showers. You opt for your natural soap because you wish to keep your testosterone levels high.

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Getting out of the shower you dry yourself off, but let your hair air dry in the inversion position. This benefits hair loss, hair strength, blood circulation, mental clarity and removes waste from your body. While upside down you have the speaker connected to YouTube and you’re listening to a top ten fitness tips video from a fitness model.

Morning Part 2: On your drive to work you put your headphones in once again and practice another language. The one hour commute each morning is really beginning to help you learn quickly.

At work you’re forced to get on with your day, but this is fine because it’s increasing your wealth, bringing you closer to major assets and perhaps taking you closer to a promotion. This is all career and financial based. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t chew that gum or get that tongue on the roof of your mouth again. And don’t forget to breathe deeply. You may have your own stuff from home at work, such as your own natural herbs. Mix them up and have a drink, avoid the coffee, this will benefit your health furthermore.

At lunch everyone is going to the burger van around the corner, but you opt for a healthy option and go for a 15-minute walk instead. You’re improving your health once again. You get back to the office and feel a little stressed, if you’re lucky you have your own space and can sit back listening to a guided meditation. This cancels out the stress, makes you perform better and reduces the risk of health concerns.

Afternoon: You continue to breathe deeply, chew gum and place your tongue on the roof of your mouth, you’re even practicing the correct swallow technique because you want those male model hollow cheeks by next year. Each phone call that day has you practicing your pronunciation. You’re really focusing on elocution because you’re not a fan of your accent.

During your final break of the day, you sit down with your phone and research all sorts of self-help topics, you may even end up on a website just like this one.

The drive home for most people is stressful, all they want to do is get home. But they’re not you. You don’t mind sitting for that extra 5 minutes because you still have a couple more chapters of that audiobook you’ve been listening to, to get through. This leaves you less stressed and more educated when everyone else is just more stressed.

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You get home, prepare a healthy meal and head off to the gym. At the gym you’re listening to more self-improvement material, perhaps something in the realms of Tony Robbins or TedX this time. After your 1 hour session and a cold shower at the gym, you get back and have that healthy meal ready to eat rather than falling for the cravings trap.

After a long hard day all you want to do is relax. Sitting down with a book is a good idea here, perhaps 30 minutes of extra knowledge gathering is still in the tank.

By this point you’re probably sick and tired of self-improvement, this is where 1 hour of TV, 1 hour of gaming or a date with the girlfriend is perfect. Something that you can enjoy which is relaxing. However, you can still improve. Whilst gaming you can chew gum, posture correctly, breath deeply, swallow correctly and so on. When out with your girlfriend you can select the right healthy meals, improve your relationship and even practice good eye contact with her.

Night: As we discussed the preparation for sleep is the most important part. Start winding down, don’t stay up too late, don’t eat sugary snacks and don’t try and start a new task. Get some good rest and be ready for the next day of improvement. Top tip: Never go to bed on the same day you wake up on. In other words, get to bed before 12.

Conclusion

Now, of course, you don’t have to live like this, this is simply an example of what’s possible. You could fit less into your day, more into your day, or you could copy this exact day. The amount isn’t important because we’re all different, the important part is that you’re using your time wisely. I personally feel lost if at least one aspect of my life isn’t moving forward at all times. Some people are fine with half a day of being motivated and half of the day being more relaxed.

The balance is up to you, just don’t complain in 10-20 years if things didn’t go as planned, it was within your control!

Featured photo credit: http://www.forbes.com/forbes/welcome/?toURL=http://www.forbes.com/sites/williamarruda/2014/11/03/the-5-worst-google-gaffes-every-job-hunter-must-avoid/&refURL=https://www.google.co.uk/&referrer=https://www.google.co.uk/ via forbes.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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