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Stop Thinking And Start Doing: 10 Productivity Lessons That Will Enrich Your Life

Stop Thinking And Start Doing: 10 Productivity Lessons That Will Enrich Your Life

Life is more fun when you can rest each day knowing you have achieved or learned something new. Productivity feeds off motivation, which is spurred on by being able to put your mind to it, whatever task stands in your way. Here are 10 tips for firing up your productivity levels by taking on a different attitude and applying a more positive mindset.

1. Don’t get bogged down in the volume of tasks

Don’t overwhelm yourself by thinking about how many tasks you have ahead of you as this will only disrupt your level of concentration and pile on unnecessary pressure. Focus on one task at a time. Take a deep breath and plough through. Move on, one by one.

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2. Keep a healthy mind, healthy body

Experts agree that there is a strong correlation between a healthy lifestyle and work productivity. As with getting a good night’s sleep, keeping active and eating a balanced diet will fascinate energy uptake and fuel your brain to help you focus on priority tasks more easily.

3. Less is more

According to blogger Leo Babauta, substituting quality for quantity enables you do a better job on individual tasks. The key aspects to ‘less is more’ are: slowing down, observing what needs to be done and concentrate on individual things rather than as a whole.

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4. Adopt an organised system

Being organised is a blessing for saving time, money and stress and working towards happiness and success. It all starts with a system you can work with comfortably. Don’t put stress on yourself in figuring it out – start small, such as creating a filing system for loose documents or labelling places for storage. Other simple actions include unsubscribing from emails and recording your output each day. Before long you will have a process to help you through each day to get more done.

5. Utilise pockets of downtime

There are spare moments throughout the day that go unnoticed, mainly because we fill them with meaningless distractions like checking out social media or watching video clips. These are the times in which you can set aside to tick off smaller tasks that gradually build up and make your task-load look even more wholesome. Whether it’s five minutes spare or a lunch hour, schedule that window for an act of learning, doing or achieving.

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6. Shut yourself off from distractions

Learning how to overcome everyday distractions takes time and patience. By mentally removing yourself from an otherwise busy environment, can allow you to crack on with things that require your full attention and focus. Sometimes the only way to see off a productive day is to work alone or out of reach of people or things you know will tempt you to slow down and lose concentration. Learn to know when and where to shut off, to best suit your routine.

7. See tasks through until the very end

Don’t be ashamed of leaving gaps in-between tasks. Everybody falls victim to this character flaw, sometime or another. Whether you have unfinished business with studying for an exam, painting a bedroom wall or any other task that is begging to take its tool, remember that commitment is the answer to your prayers. Keep a firm will to finish the job to the very end and the satisfaction of accomplishment will far outweigh any negative feelings you previously had to endure.

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8. Group similar tasks together

When you’re in the groove you can move on from one similar task to the next with ease. Stopping and starting to readjust your mindset can cost valuable time when your energy levels are at their peak. In order to maximise your output for the day, group together tasks that only require you to work or think in a certain way, such as admin, outdoor chores, or email correspondence.

9. Strive for moments of calm

In a busy modern world its tough finding time to unwind from the everyday chores that absorb the physical and mental strength we need to plough through. Every minute used for recharging your batteries is time well spent. Look to build in pockets throughout each day in which you can clear your mind and come back to the tasks at hand with a fresh pair of eyes. They say that successful people know the secrets to staying clam which helps them achieve more from life.

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10. Take pleasure in your chores

Turn negatives into positives by looking for the the fun and enjoyment in every task you take on. Not every challenge you are faced with will offer a sense of fulfilment, however, if you are passionate about being productive then you will find a way to make things work out. That in itself is enough motivation to ensure you can be at your best at any given time.

I hope you find time to introduce each of these tips into your routine to enable you to become more productive on a day-to-day basis.

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Tom Willis

Web Marketing & Content Producer

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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)

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.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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