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The 3 Most Controversial Tips On Personal Productivity

The 3 Most Controversial Tips On Personal Productivity

Imagine going through life working hard on everything that you are required to do, but by the end of the day, besides losing up your energy, time and spending your life checking off tasks on your to-do list, you have no significant results to show. How would you feel?

This is what is happening to most people out there. They seem to have an endless list of tasks to do. However, after putting in hours of effort and hard work for months, they have nothing to show for. They work hard but they are not producing the results that they want. Does this describe you?

If this sounds familiar or is happening to you, you are doing something wrong, and you need a wake-up call right now. Below are the 3 most controversial ideas you have learned about productivity and thought that they can make you less effective. You may not be aware of their truth yet until you discover it here.

1. Working Hard Can Increase Your Chances Of Failing

Yes, you read it right. If you are not doing right, working hard can increase your chances of failing. A lot of people get it wrong and thought that if they want to accomplish more and be more productive, they need to work harder. Well, not necessarily. Allow me to explain.

Most people are so pumped up when they read something inspiring or when they first get started. They are so motivated that they take massive action to produce the outcome they want. The problem is that results don’t come fast. Success is not something that you can achieve in just days or weeks. Rome was not built in a day.

So guess what happens. They poured in a lot of effort but they are not seeing any result. At this point, most people will feel dejected and start to lose faith. They lose hope and more importantly, they lose their confidence.

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As a result, they start to doubt themselves or if what they are doing is working, soon they will get distracted by the “next big thing” or another “shiny object” and then jump ship. They switch from one project to another. They build website after website, but none of them is working or is making any money.

You have to understand that success takes time. It is a journey, not a destination. You are running a marathon here, not a 100m sprint. You can take massive action if you are working on something short-term, but if you are running a marathon, a sprint is not going to work.

Unfortunately, this is where most people make the mistake. They treat success as a short-term goal, and whenever they don’t get the result they want, they started to doubt themselves, lose hope and eventually they quit. Thus, instead of working hard, choose to work consistently. If you want to lose weight, it is better to hit the gym for an hour a day for a month than to hit the gym for 30 hours straight in one session.

How do you read a 500-page book? Do you try to read it in one sitting within 24 hours without sleep or do you read 50 pages a day? When you try to do something too much, you will suffer burnout, and that will kill your productivity. Therefore, choose work consistently from now on. Everything takes time, and you just cannot force the results to come. What we do each day is more important than what we do once in a while.

Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Hence, make sure what you do is sustainable. Don’t choose to do something that you cannot sustain. Working out in the gym for 10 hours a day is not going to be sustainable for most people. Writing 10,000 words content for your blog each day is not going to work over the long-term.

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So do something sustainable and something that you can do consistently. The power is in the consistency, not a rush of hard work that fades after a few days.

2. Multitasking Is Not The Solution

How often do you try to multitask and do a few things simultaneously? Research has shown that we cannot multitask. When we multitask, what our brain is trying to do is that it will try to switch back and forth from one task to another.

If you don’t believe this, try to talk to someone while reading a book. You simply cannot do it. When you concentrate and put your focus into your conversation, your brain will process the conversation and ignore the words in the book. On the other hand, when you concentrate on reading, you cannot fully process the conversation you are in. You will have to pause on one task to jump into another.

Why do you think we are not allowed to use our phones when we are driving? Multitasking is not going to work for us. It is the same when it comes to goal setting. I have seen many people set many goals in one go. There is nothing wrong with having many goals, but when it comes to putting in the effort to achieve them, that’s where the problem occurs.

It is always better to have one completed project than to have five incomplete projects at hand. When you try to chase two rabbits at the same time, you will end up catching none. So from today onward, try to focus on doing your work. Choose to work on only one goal at a time.

Imagine if your goal is to work hard to grow your business and at the same time, you want to spend more time with your family, so which comes first? You need to prioritize and make the decision to go for the most important goal. You have to list down all your goals in front of you, and then ask yourself what is the most important goal that will make the most positive impact on your life if you achieve it.

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Concentrate on doing one thing at a time. Use time-blocking techniques to stay focused. For example, you can time-block from 9am to 11am to do your most important task. And during these two hours, you will devote yourself to do nothing else except for working on the task. You will never do other things or allow others to distract you. This is a very powerful and effective method to getting things done.

Do you know how the swimmer who won a total of 28 medals in the Olympics, Michael Phelps, goes through his day? His life during training is nothing more than eating, swimming, and sleeping. He is in the water training and swimming most of the time. Phelps put in all his energy and focuses on just one goal and doing only one thing; to keep swimming and improving.

Thus, if you want to produce remarkable results, you have to do the same by focusing your energy and effort on just one thing at a time. What is the one goal that you want to achieve? What is the one task that will help you accomplish your goal? Stop multitasking and start focusing on what you want. You will feel more productive and get more done when you focus.

3. Don’t Focus Too Much On The Results Or The Goals

This is another common productivity mistake people make. They thought that all they need to do is to keep an eye on the rewards or their goals so that they can stay motivated and productive all the time.

I’m not saying that you should forget about your goals or the results. What is more important here is to focus on the progress, not result. This is because when you focus on the progress, you are focusing on taking action. Imagine if you are a blogger like me and your goal is to build an email list of 1,000 subscribers in a month. How would you feel if you did not reach your target after a month? Do you feel down and frustrated? Of course, you would.

In fact, you don’t have to wait for a month to see the effect. The negative effect will kick in just a few days after you have taken action but get no result. Most people will feel like a failure when they don’t reach their goals or not getting the outcomes they want. This explains why people lose motivation along on their journey to success.

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Let me give you a clearer example. If you want to build a blog with 1,000 average visitors a day, all you need to do is to focus on creating valuable content and marketing the content. For instance, you focus on publishing three articles to your blog each week and submit guest articles every day. When this goes on from day to day, week to week, and then month to month, your blog will grow, and the visitors will come.

The traffic will come because you are putting in the work, consistently. You are taking consistent action each day. And the best part is that because you have shifted your focus onto the progress instead of the outcome, you feel great and victorious when you successfully hit the publish button on your blog to publish another new content. Whenever you are moving forward and making progress, you feel good, and you know you are on your way there.

On the other hand, if you choose to focus on the goal, which is to drive 1,000 visitors per day, there’s nowhere you can put your focus on. The goal itself is not something that you can perform or something that is actionable. When you choose to focus on the goals or the results, there’s nothing much you can do. What produces the results are your actions. Remember, it is your action that will make your goals come true.

So stop putting in too much effort into chasing the result, the outcome or the reward. Instead, build the right habits that will put you into the action progress. When you have built up the habit of working on your goals, you will never fail to achieve them. Remember, the most important key to getting result is to develop the habit of taking action. When you have made taking action your habit and part of your life, you can accomplish whatever goals you set.

Here is what you can do. Set a progress for your goal and focus on the progress. Do understand that the best weightlifters are in the gym every day at the same time. And the best writers sit on their table to write every day. The same applies to all the best performers in all industries. Focus on the progress and put your mind on doing the action, not on achieving X target by a certain time frame.

Conclusion

So choose to work consistently rather than working hard. Do not multitask, and more importantly, focus on the progress, not the result. These are the 3 controversial tips on productivity, if you like what you have read, remember to share this article.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Shawn Lim

Blogger, Entrepreneur, and Motivation Expert

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

15 Best Productivity Hacks for Procrastinators

15 Best Productivity Hacks for Procrastinators

Let me guess.

You should be doing something else rather than reading this article. But due to some unknown force of nature, you decided to procrastinate by reading an article about how to hack procrastination. You deserve a pat on the back.

Fortunately, procrastination is not a disease. It’s just a mindset that can be changed, however, here are some productivity tips you need to start getting work done:

First, you need to acknowledge that procrastinating is an unhealthy habit. Not only you’re prioritizing unimportant things, basically, nothing gets done. Still unsure if you’re a procrastinator? Check out this article: Types of Procrastination (And How To Fix Procrastination And Start Doing)

Second, your commitment to change is very important. You should be physically, emotionally, and mentally determined to change this habit. If not, then you’ll just succumb to the tempting lure of doing other things rather than your tasks or chores.

Here are sthe best productivity hacks to improve productivity and keep yourself from procrastinating at work:

1. Give (10+2)*5 a Try

Let’s start with a classic but very effective hack called (10+2)*5 created by Merlin Mann,[1] author of 43Folders.com. Don’t worry. This is not a complicated Mathematical formula you need to solve.

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The (10+2)*5 simply means 10 minutes work + 2 minutes break multiplied by 5, completing 1 hour. It is crucial to stick with the time limits and not skipping work and break schedules. The point of this is for you to create a jam-packed routine of work and break schedules. The result? You will eventually skip your break schedules.

2. Use Red and Blue More Often

Clean your desk and remove things that might distract you. According to a Science Daily study[2] about which colors improve brain performance, red was found out to increase attention to details while blue sparks creativity. Surrounding your workplace with these colors not only benefits your brain, it’s also pleasing to the eye.

3. Create a Break Agenda

List all the things you want to do on your break, be it surfing the web, checking your emails, snack time, taking selfies, Facebook/Twitter—everything.

Like the (10+2)*5 hack, squeeze these in between work time but the difference is you schedule these activities for ONLY 20 minutes. Eventually, you’ll take your break minutes wisely. You’re finishing tasks while sidetracking to doing the things you enjoy.

4. Set a Timetable for Your Tasks

Like any other habits, procrastinating is a tough wall to break. Replace this habit with another habit. When you’re assigned a task, set a timetable for each step. Let’s say you have a big research task. Here’s a sample timetable:

9:00 – 9:10 am – Set up all your tools, browser tabs, emails, coffee, etc..
9:10 – 10:00 am – Internet research
10:00 – 10:45 am – Look through existing files
10:45 – 11:00 am – Break time!
11:00 – 12:00 pm – Outline the research report

Deadlines are the best hack for getting things done. Setting a specific time to finish a task creates time pressure even if the deadline has passed.

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5. Take It Outside!

Do yourself a favor and don’t ruin the comfy vibe of your home. If you need to work on a stressful project, do it in a library or coffee shop. You’ll never finish it anyway. Your cozy sofa and toasty bed will just lure you into napping yourself to doom.

6. Become Productively Lazy

Instead of finding all sorts of ways to unproductively procrastinate, use your habit to look for shortcuts and new ways to finish your tasks. Staple multiple papers at a time or master the 3-second t-shirt folding technique. A strong drive combined with laziness sometimes bring out the productive and creative side you never knew you have!

7. Assign a ‘Task Deputy’

It could be your colleague, your supervisor, or your significant other, anyone who has the unforgiving guts to reprimand you when you procrastinate. You could go the extra mile by paying up unfinished tasks or times you open your Facebook or watch a funny cat video on YouTube. Let’s see how five bucks every time you procrastinate will change you.

8. Consider a Gadget-Free Desk

According to a study by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, average users check on their phones 150 times per day and having your phone just an elbow away just creates sizzle to this habit.[3]

Removing mobile devices and gadgets allows you to focus on your work without the constant interruption from notifications, calls, and text messages. It eliminates the very distracting ambiance and the urge to unlock your phone just because.

9. Prepping the Night

Before hitting the sack to oblivion, prepare everything you’ll need the next day. This will probably take you 15 minutes tops, saving you more time for coffee in the morning.

Spin class at am? Pack up your gym clothes, shoes, socks, etc. or better, create a checklist so you don’t miss anything. You can also prep your food into containers and just grab one before leaving.

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10. Do a 7-Minute Workout in the Morning

Exercising is proven to increase productivity and stimulate release of endorphin or “Happy Hormones”.

Take a jog outdoors and get warmed up for the day. Don’t feel like running outside? Hop on a treadmilli. It’s a great investment and there are a lot of ways you can use a treadmill like endurance running and metabolism training. On a budget? Here’s a 7 minute, no-equipment needed workout you can do at home:

11. Set-up Mini Tasks

If you’re given a big project, break it down into mini tasks. Create a checklist and start with the easy ones until you finish. Got an article to write? Just start with the title and the first sentence. Or perhaps you have a visual presentation to make?

Spend 15 minutes on your outline, take five minutes coffee break, then finish the first two slides. Accomplishing something, no matter how tiny, still gives you that sense of fulfillment.

12. Create an Inspirational Board or Reminder

I found these mini desk chalkboards from Etsy you can use to write motivating quotes.

Or you know what? Simply write “Do it now!” and stare at it for 10 seconds every time you feel like dropping by on Reddit.

13. Redecorate Your Room

Redecorating my room motivates me to maintain that ‘new’ look for some time until I get use to it and eventually stop. So I redecorate again and again, it became a monthly habit really. Here are some DIY ideas you can do to any room without spending much.

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14. Ready Your Nibbles

You know that trip to the pantry? It’s just seconds away but it took you several minutes just to get your fruit snacks in the fridge. Before starting a task, prepare your nibbles on your desk to avoid zoning out and losing yourself on the way to the pantry.

Bonus productivity hacks you can do at home:

15. Schedule Your Chores

Write down your chores in a weekly basis with matching day and time when you should be doing these.

For the artsy folks, you can create fun chore charts like these or simply stick the list somewhere visibly annoying e.g. mirrors, doors, TV. The trick is listing as many chores as you can for the week and including unfinished chores the following week. Who likes seeing a long list of chores first thing in the morning?

More Tips to Overcome Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

Reference

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