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Want To Double Your Chance Of Success? Acquire This New IQ In Today’s World

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Want To Double Your Chance Of Success? Acquire This New IQ In Today’s World

How much time do you spend surfing the internet? It might be a crucial part of your work or take up a big part of your personal time. Either way, most of us are glued to the never-ending stream of information at our fingertips and it may be becoming increasingly detrimental to our attention and ability for success.

How? Purely by the way the internet is changing how we focus. Now a normal, everyday habit of today’s society, being distracted by technology, has affected how deeply we think and, in turn, it’s affecting the way in which we live.

Developing The Art of Detrimental Distraction

The author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, Cal Newport, has commented on the increasing loss in people’s ability to focus.

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“The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.”  –  Cal Newport

While the internet serves many advantages such as sheer access of useful data and ease of connection with others, the way you use it could determine your success in work, education and even your personal life.

The younger generations that have now grown up not knowing life before the internet, are particularly susceptible. However, we are all in danger of being affected. The core problem is distraction and the way we can use the internet to open up opportunities for endless procrastination.

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We all know focus is the number one key to get anything done, whether it’s a menial activity or a major project. But like many habits, we as internet advocates, have managed to develop the instant ability to distract ourselves several times throughout a task – to the point where we don’t always realise we’re doing it.

Your Ability To Focus Will Determine How You Thrive

The trouble with this is, while we feel we’re rewarding ourselves by generating a distraction, we are actually stopping our deeper thinking.

Focus allows us to concentrate on the central point of what we’re trying to do and taking away this focus, even for a small moment, means we need to make extra effort to get ourselves back to that focal point. This detracts from the deep thinking and creates a more shallow thinking. Our willpower – which is highly connected to our focus – also wanes in the process and as we all know, once willpower is compromised it can take extreme effort to get back in the saddle.

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As mentioned earlier, the internet is the biggest distraction we have with many scientific studies coming through backing up how this is affecting our brains.[1] Our focus is slowly but surely declining and this is becoming a huge problem when it comes to our work.

Deep Thinking vs. Shallow Thinking

Cal Newport talks about the development of shallow thinking in today’s distracted world. Shallow thinking or shallow work, is the little tasks we get done such as answering emails, texts or ticking off a to-do list of mundane stuff. It’s stuff that needs doing but the problem is that we’re opting for this shallow work instead of the deep work.

Deep thinking or deep work is when what we are doing is creating value and contributing to our goals. When our brains are filled up with what’s going on in the virtual world of the internet, our real world priorities tend to lean towards the less important tasks.

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As Newport points out, people who can cultivate this dying skill of focus and attention, contributing to the forward movement of ideas and innovative projects, will become the rare few who will thrive in this distraction-based world.

So, what should we do? It’s hard to completely shut ourselves off from the internet and our phones, but trying to reduce the amount of time we spend idly browsing will help immensely. Take note of how often you find yourself distracted without even realising and make a conscious effort to stop yourself.

It could be the difference to how successful or unsuccessful you are.

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Reference

[1] The Saturday Essay: Does the Internet Make You Dumber?

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer 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.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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