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7 Unique Ways to Be More Productive in 2017

7 Unique Ways to Be More Productive in 2017

There is nothing better than feeling a sense of fulfillment—may it be in your business, career, school, or everyday life. Achievement truly boosts our confidence, and motivates us to continue doing what we do. It encourages us to work harder because we see that our hard work has paid off. In most cases, we experience a sense of fulfillment when we deem ourselves as productive.

A common misconception of the word “productive” is that it means doing more work in less time. However, it actually means achieving a significant result; not just in quantity, but also in quality.

For instance, if you were a shoemaker and you were given an order to make 10 pairs of shoes, and you were able to create all of these pairs in a short amount of time, but with very poor quality, it would not be considered productive since your customers would most likely ask you to redo most of the work, which of course would take more time. Or worse, your efforts might not even bring any additional sales to your business at all.

Real productivity is when you create something of high quality in the least amount of time possible.

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Now, you may be wondering how to achieve productivity in general. Sure, there are hundreds of ways to be more productive, but let us take a look at the most unique and effective steps.

1. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is a person’s ability to be fully present and to live in the moment. While it is true that each one of us has this natural ability, not all of us know how to use it. Oftentimes, the word “mindful” is just understood as minding your own business, but it truly goes beyond that.

To practice mindfulness in your work means focusing on what you are working on, and only on that. Do not let your mind wander. Daniel Law, a Sydney marketing consultant, is well-known in his industry for being laser-focused when it comes to getting his clients results. This, in turn, has earned him a positive reputation.

When you are engaged in important work, it is imperative that you do not find yourself thinking about your last lover, or your next meal, but instead remain focused on the task at hand. Research has shown, again and again, that practicing mindfulness leads to making better decisions and thus, becoming more productive.

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2. Outsource work

If you find that your assigned work is not within your capability, then do not be afraid to ask for help. Asking for help will allow you to save more time. So, rather than incorrectly doing the job by yourself, outsource the work. Ask someone else who is an expert in what you are trying to do; ask them for advice and tips that can help you work accurately and more efficiently.

3. Make a list

If you truly want to be more productive, make a list of the things you want to achieve. Plan ahead of time and get yourself ready. A lot of people choose to not think ahead about the things they want to attain because of the fear of failure, but when you actually write down your goals and create a checklist when making plans, the things you have to do become real and don’t remain in the back of your mind.

4. Know when to say “No

As mentioned previously, most people think of productivity as being able to do 100 tasks in 1 hour, which is completely wrong. We already know that true productivity means completing a good amount of work with the right quality, so knowing when you have enough work to do is a major contributor to productivity.

When a person keeps saying “yes” to everything, chances are that person will go out of their mind trying to get so many things done at once. Additionally, that person may also accept tasks that are beyond his/her skills. This will compromise the quality of work, and may possibly lead to wasting time.

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As long as you know your limits, you will be productive. Do not go overboard, make sure you know when and what is enough, and learn to tell others and yourself, “No.”

5. Avoid multi-tasking

Contrary to the famously advised art of multitasking, one should not do too many different things at once. Ryan O’Connor developed a massively successful brand in One Tribe Apparel by giving important priorities “undivided attention before moving on to other tasks.” Psychologists maintain that multi-tasking for more productivity is a myth that does not do you any good. It only causes the brain to engage and disengage, again and again, when you shift between different tasks—obviously, this is not what we want if we aim to be productive.

Engaging and disengaging between tasks will take up a lot of time, and will compromise the quality of your work as the brain adjusts to the new task and re-adjusts back to the old one.

6. Develop habits you can associate with good performance

It might sound silly, but it works. The notion “mind over matter” is actually effective when it comes to productivity. When your mind connects habits that are practiced simultaneously with tasks that produce positive or good outcomes, it will make it easier for you to perform and achieve the results you desire.

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An example of a ritual may be eating chocolates while writing essays. If this is continuously done successfully, it is possible that eating chocolates will be what it takes for your brain to activate its essay-writing mode. With that, productivity is around the corner.

7. Be courageous enough to decide

Do not spend too much time deciding whether or not do something. Make a decision and challenge yourself. Shaun Ling, founder and executive chairman of iPRIMA Media, built a successful branding company by being decisive and leading his team of associates courageously. Taking too long to decide will only lead to delay in work. Of course, decision-making also involves having the courage to take up challenges—and accept both positive and unfavorable outcomes alike.

Indeed, the journey towards productivity is quite challenging, but with these productivity hacks, there is no doubt that it is attainable.

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Sara Jane Adkins

Blogger at Natural Healthy Living

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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