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9 Hacks That will Make Your Life Simpler and More Productive All Year Round

9 Hacks That will Make Your Life Simpler and More Productive All Year Round

Many people make resolutions to be more productive and to live simply, but these hopes often fizzle out over time, as it may become unclear as to what needs to happen in order to live in that way. Fortunately, huge life changes are not the only option—a handful of seemingly small life hacks can aid in keeping the momentum through the whole year.

Set Your Alarm for Earlier

Setting your alarm for 20 to 30 minutes earlier can make a huge impact on your day. So much can be done in this sliver of time. Make breakfast at home, take the time to style your hair, do the things that you normally do not have time to do or can’t enjoy because of rushing. If your morning routine is already pretty simple, use this time to read.

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Take Over Your E-Mail

Email can be one of those things that can suck the productivity right out of you. The average person has about 3,000 emails in their inbox, which is overwhelming to say the least. To reclaim your inbox, take the time to unsubscribe from lists that do not benefit you, aim to archive, label, and mute as necessary, and batch task your email.

Clean Your Bag Weekly

Throw out all of the extra mess like gum wrappers and old receipts. After the initial clean out, it will take less time weekly, and you will be able to easily find whatever it is that you normally spend 5 minutes digging for. Make this a habit to have healthy and smarter life.

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Make a Giveaway Box

This is the container that holds all of the things needed to give for donation. It prevents items from piling up in a closet while awaiting donation, while simply being a piece for storage. Make your donation run when the box gets filled up and then start all over.

Make Your Bed Every Morning

Yes, every morning. This is beneficial because you will look like you have your priorities straight if someone shows up unannounced. When you do this every morning, it helps to build on other small but productive tasks that should be done daily. It will transform from a single mundane task to just one part of a productive morning routine. Plus, if you are setting your alarm earlier you will have the time to do it.

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Shop and Meal Prep on Weekends

Take one day to buy and prepare food for the week. It will save time and money while reducing stress throughout the week. All meals can be made ahead, so that on any given day you can grab what you need and it’s ready to heat and eat.

Get a Key Holder and Never Misplace Your Keys Again

Hang up your little key holder in the entryway and never lose those keys again. Make it a routine to drop your belongings (keys, wallet, and cell phone) in there every day when you get home.

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Put Those Coins in a Jar

Get a piggy bank or coin jar to keep your coins. Make it a habit to collect them from your pocket, dresser, the sofa, and all over your car. This will help declutter your space while saving for miscellaneous items.

Get a Planner and Use It

Some sort of planner or calendar is essential for being successful and productive. It will store all of your daily commitments and activities. You will spend less time wondering about what your week looks like and more time working on tasks to make that week successful, as you will know what needs to be done to prepare.It is impossible to remember all the events and tasks, that is where the planner comes to the rescue.

Featured photo credit: nightwriterpoet via nightwriterpoet.com

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Brad Shugar

Business Development Consultant

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Last Updated on August 21, 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. Hello promotion, here I come!
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. No, thanks Alzheimer’s; you and I are just not a good fit.

So how to train your brain to learn faster and remember more?

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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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.

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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!

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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