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5 Fun Ways to Increase Your Productivity

5 Fun Ways to Increase Your Productivity

A lot of us look for ways to improve and better ourselves around the start of a new year. What better time to turn a blank page and start fresh? At the same time, I think we’re sort of always looking for good productivity tips, no matter what time of year it is. Everyone could always be more productive, right? We all have long to-do lists and, if possible, we want to get more things done in a shorter amount of time.

Admittedly, I’ve tried a lot of productivity tips and they always work for a while but then they get sort of boring and I stop doing them. Let’s face it, you’re less likely to stick with new habits if they aren’t something to enjoy. So, combining productivity and fun is the perfect solution for making productivity tips stick with you. Read on for five fun ways to increase your productivity:

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1. Make things a friendly competition.

Whether you’re trying to be productive at work or at home, making things into a competition can do a lot to rev up productivity in a fun and interesting way. If you’re with coworkers, challenge them to a contest. Who can type something up the fastest? Who can sell more of something? Who can clear out their inbox the fastest? Then have a “prize” for the winner – lunch on you or them, maybe?

You can also do this if you work by yourself. Challenge yourself to complete something and then offer yourself a reward. Studies show that people are more motivated if they have an incentive for completing a goal.[1] Rewarding yourself gives you something tangible to work toward and it offers an instant gratification that makes you want to push yourself and hold yourself accountable at the same time.

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2. Take more breaks.

Breaks are shown to make people more productive, especially if they’re feeling unmotivated or burnt out by their work tasks. If you’re a workaholic, it might be tempting to skip that 30 minute lunch break, but breaks are crucial. A break allows you to unwind, recharge, and go back to your work with a whole new sense of drive and focus.

So, take regular breaks and spend your time doing things that you enjoy. Spending your break doing your favorite hobbies has been shown to allow you to relieve your stress and increase your creativity.

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3. Spend some time outside.

Whether you’re feeling tense, unfocused, unmotivated, or completely stressed out, nature can help with that! Nature has been proven to have many benefits. Plus, it’s beautiful and calming. Fresh air can help you clear your mind and breathe easier when you’re stressed. Trees can also improve concentration and alleviate mental fatigue.

Go outside to eat your lunch, or spend your break going for a walk. If you live in a city and don’t have easy access to trees, get a lot of plants for your office! If you work from home, having green plants around you can offer the same benefits.

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4. Do something that makes you laugh.

Laughter is a wonderful thing. It can boost your heart rate up and increase the blood flow to your brain. Not only that, but you’ll just plain feel happier! You could spend this time looking at cute baby animal videos because, yes, studies have also shown that doing so will improve your focus.

Allow yourself a regular “laugh break” during your day! This will keep you motivated because it will give you something to look forward to as well!

5. Listen to music (that you love).

Do you have a favorite song that, when you listen to it, you can’t help but dance to? I think we all have one of those! And when you listen to it, you may notice that you’re able to focus better, have more energy, and feel way more motivated to get things done.

So if you feel unproductive, just play your favorite music. Not only will this give you an energy boost, but it will also help block out distractions so that you can stay focused. That’s why a lot of offices play music in the workplace!

Reference

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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