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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 August 19, 2019

How to Succeed in Life on Your Own Terms: 7 Essential Steps

How to Succeed in Life on Your Own Terms: 7 Essential Steps

There is a great deal of advice in the world telling us how to succeed in life, but often we are given advice that isn’t tailored to our needs, desires and priorities. Success means different things to each of us, and living a life that feels genuinely successful to me might be very different to your idea of a successful life.

Naturally, when we follow the advice of someone else, which is tailored to their life goals and personality, we can end up with something that doesn’t deliver on the promise. We don’t get rewarded with our vision of success: we get theirs.

This is why I’m a proponent of self-discovery, introspection and personal sovereignty. So how to succeed on your own terms?

These 7 essential steps are not going to tell you exactly what to do, but they will provide you with the tools and the questions to ask so that you can discover your own path, so you know how to succeed in life on your own terms.

1. Know Thyself

One of Socrates’ most well-known quotes is,

An unexamined life is not worth living.

I argue that an unexamined life is not a successful one. Self-knowledge is something we could dedicate our lives to, but I’m not suggesting you sit around and navel-gaze in order to find happiness and meaning.

Thankfully, there are people who have created techniques and systems that less us fast-forward through a lot of personal philosophizing, and quickly identify some key aspects of what makes us, us.

You might want to find out what your ideal daily schedule is,[1] and you can take tests that reveal just that. Or you might want to figure out what you need to get things done – and yes, there’s a quiz for that too.

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None of these tests are infallible, and some are more scientific than others, but the process of asking yourself questions about your behaviors and traits is invaluable when it comes to determining your path to succeed in life.

For example, if you know you are an introvert and are unhappy in your current workplace, it might be worth considering why that is (an open plan office space perhaps) and what you would prefer.

It’s these little questions that will provoke answers in you that can guide the decisions that truly improve your life now and in the future.

2. Figure out What Matters to You

What lights you up? This is a question that often gets forgotten as we age. A fortunate child will be given the stimulation they desire in the form of bright toys, affection and entertainment. Little by little, the things that bring a child joy get replaced by what society demands on their behalf.

When we return to that question, and ask ourselves what really matters and what brings us joy, we can move closer towards a successful life. It can help to think back to your childhood, and the times in your life when you were in what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls a flow state.[2]

In a state of flow, time slows and our focus is directed like a laser. We are fully present.

Whilst not everything in life that matters to you will conjure up a flow state, it’s a good indication of the kind of activities and experiences you can try to incorporate into your life on a regular basis.

A successful life is made up of moments like this, and when you know what matters to you and brings you a sense of joy and purpose, you can go about creating more of that.

3. Play to Your Strengths

Why spend your time only on mitigating your weaknesses, only to feel average? Instead, playing to your strengths and amplifying those skills and qualities you already have will help you go from average to extraordinary.

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If you’re great at big picture thinking and love dreaming up new ideas, but often lack attention to detail, acknowledge that. Then instead of trying to improve your analytical skills, focus instead on developing your existing skills of imagination and insight. When you need someone with a keen eye for detail, you can collaborate with those people.

Jackson Pollock was an extreme introvert, with no real desire to get his artwork in front of people. Fortunately, he had Clement Greenberg, who was much further towards the extrovert end of the spectrum, to popularize his work and get Pollock the publicity he needed.[3]

Start by identifying your strengths and what comes naturally to you. Then work on developing those and becoming known for those strengths. You can always find someone who will help you in fill in the gaps.

4. Listen to Yourself

It isn’t always clear to us that we’re on a path that leads us to failure or to success. People can spends decades in a job that is unfulfilling and slowly breaking their spirit, without even realizing it – until it’s too late. This is usually because they haven’t learned how to truly listen to themselves.

The challenge we face is that we’re listening to so many other sources of information; whether it’s the news, television, social media, family, friends or colleagues. Many may want to help, but that doesn’t mean they know what’s best for us. Only you know what success means for you, and working this out begins with listening to yourself.

Listening to yourself requires practice. It’s a daily effort, which over time, does get easier. That inner voice of wisdom will get clearer, and the decisions you make will feel more convincing.

To start, you could try to set aside 10 to 15 minutes when you first wake up, in silence. Rather than look at your phone, checking emails or social media, simply sit in silence, listening.

Ask yourself a simple question like, what am I feeling right now, in this moment? Notice the answer that bubbles up, without getting lost in the story. Starting an inner dialogue, without judgment is one of the key tools you can use to start making better decisions in your life.

Learn more about listening to your true self in this guide: How to Listen to Your Inner Voice for Greater Fulfillment

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5. Listen to Others (But Not Everyone)

Listening to yourself is one thing, but listening to others is crucial in order to learn, empathize and be of benefit to your community.

Truly listening to others is not just waiting patiently until it’s your turn to speak. Active listening requires focused attention, and the intention to understand where the other person is coming from.

When you do this, you can ask better questions and discover more about the world and everyone in it, as well as learn how to interact with others in order to succeed in life on your own terms.

However, this doesn’t mean you have to listen to everyone you come across. Trolls on the internet may come into the category of people not to listen to. Some people’s opinions will do more harm than good, as not everyone has your best interest in mind.

It’s worth identifying a shortlist of people whose opinions you will listen to. Brené Brown, author of the New York Times best-seller Daring Greatly, recommends taking a 1-inch x 1-inch square of paper and make a list of people whose opinions matter to you. These are the people who love you and will genuinely support and help you. According to Brown,

“If you need more paper, you need to edit.”

6. Make Time for Reflection

It’s easy to go through life without taking inventory of what you’re actually accomplishing. Missing this crucial step means we end up jumping from one goal to the next, without feeling like we’re getting anywhere.

Make time, ideally each day to reflect. You might keep a paper journal, or an online document. Either way, jot down:

  • What went well today
  • Something you’re grateful for
  • What would make tomorrow even better

Doing this can have measurable benefits to our overall sense of well-being, as well as keeping us focused for more success in the future.[4]

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It also helps combat feelings of lack and doubt, that arise when we compare ourselves to others. When we look at someone who appears to be more successful than us in an area of life, we can forget how far we’ve come and how much we have to be grateful for.

Making time to reflect on what you have accomplished is critical to keep you on track, and just not looking at what others are doing.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Change Your Mind

Arguably the most important step of all:

Remember that there’s nothing wrong in changing your mind and correcting course.

The path to a successful life is not straight and narrow. It meanders and there’s no harm in going back and picking a different (and better) route.

“I think our life is a journey, and we make mistakes, and it’s how we learn from those mistakes and rebound from those mistakes that sets us on the path that we’re meant to be on.” — Jay Ellis

Be willing to make mistakes, learn from them and change your mind. Ultimately, there’s no better way to succeed in life on your own terms.

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Featured photo credit: Shirly Niv Marton via unsplash.com

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