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7 Strange BUT Super Easy Ways to Boost Productivity

7 Strange BUT Super Easy Ways to Boost Productivity

It seems kind of obvious that to increase productivity, you want to get more done in less time so you search for the most logical and easy to adopt solutions, the reality is that these don’t always bring about the results you desire. And let’s be honest, some of the advice is just damn boring and completely unmotivating. Understandable why there are thousands of people stuck between ‘wanting to be productive’ and actually ‘being productive’, they just haven’t found something that resonates with them.

You can be more productive in growing your career prospects, starting a business or creating a new routine, in anything you want, but the underlying principles remain the same – achieving more in months than you would normally in years. If you haven’t found any tips and techniques that resonate with you, don’t give up on being more productive just yet. Here are 7 strange but proven and powerful ways to boost your productivity and get more done now.

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Give up motivation

Zen Buddhism influenced Shoma Morita; a famous Japanese psychiatrist suggests you give up on the idea of feeling productive or getting motivated before doing great work. He charges you to do what needs to be done and stop looking for some external forces to accomplish your task. Forget the idea of motivation, the right time and so on and just start doing what you have to do. If you can challenge yourself to get things done, regardless of your motivation, you will double your output.

Find the right music

One thing that’s always worked well, is listening to music, and this is backed by a study from Dr. Teresa Lesiuk. It found that when professionals listen to music, they can increase productivity. Do you know why that is? Playing your favorite music increases your vibration and creates the energy to do more. There’s also my favorite website – focus@will which puts you into the right frequency to stay focused. Music doesn’t need to be distracting, if you find the right type.

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Turn up the heat

Research says a drop in body temperature creates a drop in productivity? Yes, that is it! Studies confirmed that when body temperature drops, the body directs more energy to keep itself warm. With more energy expended in keeping warm, there is less for work. If your office is too cold, it’s time to turn on the heater and increase office temperature to get more work done. However, when you wake up in the morning, have a colder shower, if the shower is too warm, it makes you feel lazy and want to climb straight back into bed – be careful!

Schedule according to energy – not importance

This is not to say that you mustn’t prioritize what is important, but when you are scheduling your agenda, don’t schedule based purely on importance, also factor in your energy levels. How energetic are you in the morning? At mid-day and in the afternoon? Look at the task at hand and ask yourself what energy do you need to have to perform this task as productively as possible and then schedule according to that. What you don’t want to do is set all your hard tasks for the morning if you know you don’t have the energy you need to tackle them first then, because you will most likely end up procrastinating or taking too long.

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Don’t be too serious!

Nobody feels like being productive if they are in a bad mood! In an atmosphere of laughter, humor and playfulness, your energy increases and you get more accomplished! What is your environment like? Even though work is professional, it doesn’t mean it can’t be fun! In fact, it should be. If you have fun and enjoy what you are doing, you will be far more productive. Look at ways to make your job more fun, what can you change about your environment or yourself?

Fire your memory

Trusting your memory may affect your productivity. It affects your ability to manage your time because your memory does fail to remember everything. That is the idea here. Get your phone; let it do the remembering for you, it won’t forget! The less ‘things’ you have going on in your mind, the more energy and space you free up to focus on more important things. Get a system of tools which allow you to easily set and be reminded too effortlessly.

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Work where you want

Productivity starts with you being in the driver’s seat of your life – at every moment. This means that you open up so many more choices of what is possible, and the first one is: work where you want to. When you are at gym – you could listen to a podcast that helps you grow in your business for example or while commuting.

Use your smartphone for what it is for; make sure you have all the apps you need; get a program that allows you to access your files on your computer from anywhere. If you look at any free time as an opportunity to get more done and set up systems so it’s easy – you move away from the black and white thinking of Monday to Friday working hours and you will quickly experience the benefits.

You don’t need to wake up super early, be glued to your desk for hours and kiss your social life goodbye to achieve more. The secret to being more productive is all about doing things smarter, not harder. How you manage your time determines what you will and will not achieve in a day.  Life is meant to be fun, in every area – so have fun increasing your productivity too – it’s not a one-size fits all approach!

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Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

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Last Updated on October 17, 2018

7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

How is your memory? Is your cognitive function as strong as you’d like it to be?

If not, then you’re definitely going to be interested in the memory improvement tips I’ll be sharing with you in this article.

Despite what you might think – or have been told – improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it. (Don’t worry, as you won’t need to make any significant lifestyle changes.)

So how to improve memory? Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve your memory significantly.

1. Meditate

We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts and figures into our conscious minds.

Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. And research suggests that the more information and distractions, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory.[1]

Fortunately, meditation can help you out.

Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

If you need help in shifting into a meditative state, I recommend trying an app like Headspace – which can assist you to achieve this in a convenient and structured way.

And don’t forget, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

2. Get plenty of sleep

If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then I’m guessing you’re not remembering well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities – including your memory.

How much sleep should you be getting?

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Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things.

Now, I’ll be honest with you, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!). But if you care about improving your short-term and long-term ability to remember things, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

Are there ways to hack the sleep cycle?

Yes, there are.

Try these three things:

  • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
  • Don’t eat too late
  • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory…

3. Challenge your brain

When was the last time you challenged your brain?

I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or undersleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and memory games.

To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself, has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-thinking ability and memory.

There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

  • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live – while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it, try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

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4. Take more breaks

When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctively remember working all the hours under the sun – and many under the moon too!

At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat and tears.

However, I was wrong.

Taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

Let me explain.

Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it – in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

Namely, extended study sessions are rarely a good thing, as your ability to retain information naturally declines after a certain period of time.

It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

It’s the same with your brain. If you overload it with information, you’ll suffer from mental fatigue.

What’s the answer?

Make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

If you don’t want to be as regimented as that, then take breaks as soon as you find yourself losing the ability to focus on the new material. Your brain will thank you – and your learning aptitude will move up a level.

5. Learn a new skill

I love this quote, as it’s 100% true – but frequently overlooked:

“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

Let me give you an example of this:

Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day – many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you – rather than letting you work in your own way.

Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like, and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction in to learning a new skill (computer coding). It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career – and the ongoing learning made the call centre job much more bearable.

Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking our new information. And when learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly, becomes a habit too.

6. Start working out

If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory.

Regular exercise increases blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. And a well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

“But I just don’t have the time?,” I hear you say.

Not a problem.

A research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise, offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines.[2] So, if you’re short on time – now you know what to do.

Interested in getting started?

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Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

  • Join a gym
  • Join a sports team
  • Buy a bike
  • Take up hiking
  • Dance to your favorite music

7. Eat healthier foods

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

This applies to your brain too.

The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health too.

Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery and dark chocolate. But anything high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory.

Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain – leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

Want to be mentally healthy? Then eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

  • Turmeric – helps new brain cells grown
  • Broccoli – protects the brain against damage
  • Nuts – improves memory
  • Green tea – enhances brain performance, memory and focus[3]
  • Fish oilfish oil supplements can increase your brain power

Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

Final thoughts

I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be of help to you.

You don’t need to implement them all. I suggest just trying the ones that appeal to you.

But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested. I’m confident you won’t regret it.

Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

Reference

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