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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 22, 2019

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

We live in a world of massive distraction. No matter where you are today, there is always going to be distractions. Your colleagues talking about their latest date, notification messages popping up on your screens, and not just your mobile phone screens. And even if you try to find a quiet place, there will always be someone with a mobile device that is beeping and chirping.

With all these distractions, it is incredibly difficult to concentrate on anything for very long. Something will distract you and that means you will find it very difficult to focus on anything.

So how to focus and concentrate better? How to focus better and produce work that lifts us and takes us closer towards achieving our outcomes?

1. Get Used to Turning off Your Devices

Yes, I know this one is hard for most people. We believe our devices are so vital to our lives that the thought of turning them off makes us feel insecure. The reality is they are not so vital and the world is not going to end within the next thirty minutes.

So turn them off. Your battery will thank you for it. More importantly though is when you are free from your mobile distraction addiction, you will begin to concentrate more on what needs to get done.

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You do not need to do this for very long. You could set a thirty-minute time frame for being completely mobile free. Let’s say you have an important piece of work to complete by lunchtime today. Turn off your mobile device between 10 am and 11 am and see what happens.

If you have never done this before, you will feel very uncomfortable at first. Your brain will be fighting you. It will be telling you all sorts of horror stories such as a meteorite is about to hit earth, or your boss is very angry and is trying to contact you. None of these things is true, but your brain is going to fight you. Prepare yourself for the fight.

Over time, as you do this more frequently, you will soon begin to find your brain fights you less and less. When you do turn on your device after your period of focused work and discover that the world did not end, you have not lost an important customer and all you have are a few email newsletters, a confirmation of an online order you made earlier and a text message from your mum asking you to call about dinner this weekend, you will start to feel more comfortable turning things off.

2. Create a Playlist in Your Favourite Music Streaming App

Many of us listen to music using some form of music streaming service, and it is very easy to create our own playlists of songs. This means we can create playlists for specific purposes.

Many years ago, when I was just starting to drive, there was a trend selling driving compilation tapes and CDs. The songs on these tapes and CDs were uplifting driving music songs. Songs such as C W McCall’s Convoy theme and the Allman Brothers Band’s, Jessica. They were great songs to drive to and helped to keep us awake and focused while we were driving.

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Today, we can create playlists to help us to focus on our work. Choose non-vocal music that has a low tempo. Music from artists such as Ben Böhmer, Ilan Bluestone or Andrew Bayer has the perfect tempo.

Whenever you want to go into deep, focused work, listen to that playlist. What happens is your brain soon associates when you listen to the playlist you created with focused work and it’s time to concentrate on what it is you want to do.

3. Have a Place to Go to When You Need to Concentrate

If you eat, surf online and read at your desk, you will find your desk a very distracting place to do your work. One way to get your brain to understand it is focused work time is, to use the same place each time for just focused work.

This could be a quiet place in your office, or it could be a special coffee shop you use specifically for focused work. Again, what you are doing is associating an environment with focus.

Just as with having a playlist to listen to when you want to concentrate, having a physical place that accomplishes the same thing will also put you in the right frame of mind to be more focused.

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When you do find the right place to do your focused work, then only do focused work there. Never surf, never do any online shopping. Just do your work and then leave. You want to be training your brain to associate focused work with that environment and nothing else.

If you need to make a phone call, respond to an email or message, then go outside and do it. From now on, this place is your special working place and that is all you use it for.

Every morning, I do fifteens minutes of meditation. Each time, I sit down to do my meditation, I use the same music playlist and the same place. As soon as I put my earphones in and sit down in this place, my mind immediately knows it is meditation time and I become relaxed and focused almost immediately. I have trained my brain over a few months to associate a sound and a place with relaxed, thoughtful meditation. It works.

4. Get up and Move

We humans have a limited attention span. How long you can stay focused for depends on your own personal makeup. It can range from between twenty minutes to around two hours. With practice, you can stay focused for longer, but it takes time and it takes a lot of practice.

When you do find yourself being unable to concentrate any longer, get up from where you are and move. Go for a walk, move around and get some air. Do something completely different from what you were doing when you were concentrating.

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If you were writing a report in front of a screen, get away from your screens and look out the window and appreciate the view. Take a walk in the local park, or just walk around your office. You need to give your brain completely different stimuli.

Your brain is like a muscle. There is only so much it can do before it fatigues. If you are doing some focused work in Photoshop and then switch to surfing the internet, you are not giving your brain any rest. You are still using many of the same parts of your brain.

It’s like doing fifty pushups and then immediately trying to do bench presses. Although you are doing a different exercise, you are still exercising your chest. What you need to be doing to build up superior levels of concentrated focus is, in a sense, do fifty pushups and then a session of squats. Now you are exercising your chest and then your legs. Two completely different exercises.

Do the same with your brain. Do focused visual work and then do some form of movement with a different type of work. Focused visual work followed by a discussion with a colleague about another unrelated piece of work, for example.

The Bottom Line

It is not difficult to train your brain to become better at concentrating and focusing, but you do need to exercise deliberate practice. You need to develop the intention to focus and be very strict with yourself.

Set time aside in your calendar and make sure you tell your colleagues that you will be ‘off the grid’ for a couple of hours. With practice and a little time, you will soon find yourself being able to resist temptations and focus better.

More Resources About Boosting Focus and Productivity

Featured photo credit: Wenni Zhou via unsplash.com

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